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Travel Advice
best time to come to Costa Rica

When is the best time to come to Costa Rica? September! Without a doubt! Ah yeah yeah!…. it is the rainy season, for half the country, But the Caribbean and North regions are as beautiful and sunny as they can be! 

best time to come to Costa Rica

The is, without a doubt, September! A real connoisseur will tell you that, and you may not believe it, because is supposed to be the rainy season, but keep on reading and we will prove this right!

So, let’s talk about September as an excellent choice for those who can come at any time of the year, and are still picking a date. 

September in Costa Rica is the rainy season. If you look around you will find that it is the extreme pouring part of the season. However, yes, and no. 

And as weird as it sounds, the same happens in December and January. Half the country is really rainy, and the other half is super sunny. 

best time to come to Costa Rica


In September areas like Tortuguero, Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Bocas del Toro (Panama border), Arenal, Rio Celeste, Sarapiqui, Boca Tapada and Turrialba are quite sunny. 

And Costa Rica is amazingly quite empty. 


Why is it empty if it is sunny? 


There are several reasons:

  1. The Northern Hemisphere (where the majority of our tourists come from) has enjoyable weather in that time of year. 
  2. The sunny season on the Pacific side lasts from six to eight months, while on the Caribbean side, the sunny season is divided in March and April and September and October. 
  3. A lot of the advertising of Costa Rica is paid by big brands that have their resorts on the Pacific side.  
  4. The Pacific side has its own airport; therefore, the leading resort brands have their hotels based on the West. 

best time to come to Costa Rica

With these reasons, we start realizing that things are not always as they seem when talking about the best time to Costa Rica. 

Now… What makes September the best time to come to Costa Rica? 

best time to come to Costa Rica

  1. Regions: First of all let’s clear what the regions that are sunny in September: Tortuguero, the South Caribbean (Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, Manzanillo and Bocas del Toro (in Panama), Turrialba, Arenal Volcano, Sarapiqui, and Rio Celeste are. 

This means that you can have all the impressive tropical rainforests of the Caribbean (Teeming with wildlife), the fantastic adventures of Turrialba and Arenal regions and the leisure and relaxation of the beach in the South Caribbean. 

  1. It is empty:   In September students and families are gone, big group buses  and cruise ship multitudes have not started yet
  2. In the regions where the sunny season shines in September, there are plenty of accommodations, from luxurious, unique boutique hotels to fantastic lodges immersed in the jungle. 
  3. Wildlife:  In September, there is plenty of food in the forests; therefore, wildlife sightings are quite common. 
  4. The migration of the raptors start in September, and you can have the rare opportunity of watching -literally- thousands of hawks, eagles, and vultures flying South (Their route goes over the Costa Rican west coast). 
  5. Green Sea Turtles are still nesting (Early September), and the small ones are starting to hatch in several beaches in the Caribbean. 
  6. It is also the whales’ migration season! And they are on both coasts! 
  7. For birdwatchers, several of the migratory species are already here by mid-September, and this multiplies the possibilities of checking them in this time of year. 

Plus! This is the time of year when the Resplendent Quetzal is visible in the Talamanca Mountains. 

best time to come to Costa Rica

  1. Rates are better: As tourism drops, hotels create great rates and 2X1 opportunities! 
  2. On the Caribbean, rafting rivers are at their best! (Beware of the Pacific side rivers in this time of year). 
  3. The best of all reasons for some of us: It is empty. 

This means personalized attention everywhere, the hotels’ staff is more relaxed and happy, and they will pamper you! And, most likely the tours will be in small groups and you will have more time as the lines are much shorter (If any). 

You will enjoy it better if you are oriented by a valid travel agent, as they know the regions, and they will recommend you successfully where to go and the reasons why. 

You may also like: A guide to Manuel Antonio Region


best time to come to Costa Rica

What are the cons of traveling in September? 

Well as in everything you can find a downside in this time of year, and we will be straight forward about it: 

  1. It is pouring in the rest of the country, which limits certain amazing places like Drake Bay, Manuel Antonio or Monteverde. Usually, it rains only in the mornings, but September rains sometimes cause floodings and landslides. 

      2. Local flights may cancel when in the Central Valley is pouring or too cloudy. 

  1. Because of the landslides traveling to the regions where it’s sunny can be adventurous. 
  2. In the areas where sunny season installs in September, there aren’t any of the big known resort brands. 
  3. As there are fewer tourists, some of the nightclubs and popular bars will be empty also. 


To wrap it up: 

Costa Rica’s September is the great unknown in the travel business. It is a time of year where wildlife is everywhere, where adventures are there for you to enjoy, and everywhere the staff pampers you as everything is a personalized experience. 

The downside without a doubt is that it will be off the beaten track, but as we travelers know… those are magic words to see the genuine and the pure of the places we are visiting. 

So! Dare! And come and enjoy the best time to come to Costa Rica! September in Costa Rica!

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