Costa Rica is a tropical country situated between 8 and 11 degrees above the equator. We have only two seasons: dry (our summer–December through April) and green, or wet (our winter-May through November). However, our “winter/wet” season still affords us at least 5 hours per day of sunshine. Being so close to the equator, sunrise and sunset times don’t vary much over the year, around 6am and 6pm respectively. Although there is not a huge differential in temperatures per season throughout the country, one should note, though, that the Caribbean coast doesn’t have this extended dry weather and stays green all year round and, due to the humidity, the Central Mountainous Region is more temperate.
The main influence on temperature is altitude. San José at 1,150m (3,772ft) has a climate which we refer to as the “eternal Spring”. It has simply delightful weather all year around! Average temperatures in San Jose range from 14° to 24°C (57° to 75° F) in December to 17° to 27° C (63° to 81°F) in May. The coasts are much hotter, with the Caribbean averaging 21°C (70°F) at night and over 30°C (86°F) during the day. The Pacific side is a few degrees warmer still, but the humidity is generally less, so it tends to be more comfortable.
The Northern Pacific Region, referred to as the “Gold Coast”, has an abundance of large resort due to the drier and sunnier climate. It is also referred to as the “Guanacaste Area”, together with the greener Central Pacific Region (due to more rainfall. You can be quite comfortable in the lowlands weather of either side if you dress minimally, don’t exercise too much, and limit your exposure to the midday, intense tropical sun. Don’t forget to bring your suntan lotion (with sun block protection).
The typical conditions in several regions you can see in the next table:
|Region||Dry season||Rainy season|
|Central Valley||71ºF – 93ºF||62ºF – 84ºF|
|North Pacific||82ºF – 104ºF||73ºF – 86ºF|
|Central Pacific||81ºF – 100ºF||73ºF – 86ºF|
|South Pacific||82ºF – 102ºF||70ºF – 85ºF|
|Caribbean Coast||75ºF – 95ºF||68ºF – 89ºF|
|Northern Valley||75ºF – 93ºF||68ºF – 84ºF|