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Costa Rica's Weather: Green Season Vs High Season
By Mark Sugar
The climate of Costa Rica is tropical year-round. Temperatures remain relatively constant throughout the year, and the seasons are indicated by the level of precipitation.
The temperature and amount of rain varies by elevation. Higher up, in the mountains, you'll see cooler temperatures and more rain. By the coast, the weather is warmer and more humid.
The weather in Costa Rica has two distinct seasons -- dry and rainy. The dry season is also called the "high season" and "green season" is also referred to the rainy season. High season means higher prices -- just remember that. Because of the more favorable weather during this time, this is the peak of the travel season and it's the busiest time of year. Generally speaking, most everything is more expensive during this time.
December to May sees the least amount of rainfall during the year and this is what's considered the dry season, or summer. You'll find the weather to be warm, dry, and sunny. It gets a bit windy in January and February and the temperatures are a little bit cooler.
The "winter" season, or rainy season, runs from June to November. (You'll find no snow during a Costa Rica winter!) We traveled to Costa Rica during August, which is smack dab in the middle of the rainy season. However, we didn't encounter much rainfall until we got up into the cloud forest and mountains. Even then, the rain came in bursts in the afternoon and then was done for the day.
Traveling during the rainy season worked well for us, however, as room rates were reduced quite a bit (by 30% or more) and in general everything was cheaper. We had no problems booking the tours we wanted, and none of our destinations ever felt overrun by tourists. Sure, the climate of Costa Rica was wetter at the time, but the temperatures were cooler!
The Costa Rica vacation tour package we chose had us driving around the country in a rental 4x4 and booking rooms as we decided where we wanted to go. Not everyone likes to fly by the seat of their pants, but it was a lot of fun and let us pick and choose what we wanted to do when we wanted to it. We had little problems finding available hotels in August. I'm not sure how feasible this would be during the high season.
You'll find San Jose and the Central Valley to be the most comfortable throughout the year. The mean temperature annually is 72 degrees F (22 degrees C).
You'll find it to be a good bit more humid down by the coasts, and temperatures will run about ten degrees warmer.
Being so close to the equator, you'll get a good 12 hours of sunshine every day of the year. (Rain clouds notwithstanding.) The sun rises around 5:30am and sets around 6pm. Get up early, if you can, and get your day started. Make the most of it before you settle in for a relaxing, tropical evening.
Costa Rica vacations are a lot of fun! For more information on getting there, check out flights to Costa Rica.
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