The rainy season in Costa Rica usually lasts from May to early December, with the heaviest rains falling in September and October. In the early fall, places like Manuel Antonio and Arenal are hit with fairly steady rain. It might not rain all day every day, but there is a good chance of consistent rainfall for three to four days at a time.
Miraculously, however, the Caribbean coast enjoys its driest months during September and October. The Caribbean coast’s weather pattern – which for much of the year can be wet and unpredictable – becomes much drier during the fall. This is because the Talamanca Mountain Range, which separates Costa Rica’s Pacific and Caribbean coasts, pushes the moisture out of western winds. This clears the skies and dries the ground—and is great news for travelers looking to visit Costa Rica during the fall.
If you’re looking to hit some beaches during September or October, the Caribbean is the place to go. You can head to Cahuita and lounge along the black sands of Playa Negra or snorkel in the protected waters of the Cahuita National Park. You might visit Puerto Viejo to enjoy white-sand beaches and easy access to the Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge. Or else travel north to Tortuguero and watch green sea turtles nest within the Tortuguero National Park. Needless to say, there is no shortage of activity options during this time of year.
The Pacific coast can also be visited during the fall, though you’ll certainly encounter rain—either as an afternoon shower or as a late evening downpour. But don’t let this stop you from having fun. During these months, dry coastal forests turn a vibrant green and are great places for hiking (aside from the mud). This is also the best time of year to surf big waves along the Pacific coast.
Fewer travelers visit Costa Rica during the rainy season, so you’ll have less competition for bed and beach space. Hiking trails and restaurants will also be less crowded.
If you’re looking to vacation in Costa Rica in September or October, look at visiting the beautiful Caribbean coast or braving some rain to explore the uncrowded Pacific coast.
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