Costa RicaCosta Rica

Changing Seasons in Costa Rica

I wake up early, around 5:30 every morning, and slip outside to watch the sun rise over the mountains. I savor the crisp morning air in Atenas — it’s in the upper 60’s — as the locally-grown coffee works its magic on my tastebuds. It’s a typical January morning in Costa Rica’s Central Valley: gloriously sunny and full of possibility. The dry season has arrived, and with it comes a welcome drop in humidity, cool winds, and the best sleeping weather you can imagine.

If family and friends are planning a visit, I always recommend early-mid December or the month of January. The first offers all the perks of green season travel (fewer crowds, lush landscapes and low season rates), while a January visit almost guarantees pure sunshine along with delicious winds. The dry season sees greater temperature variations, with fluctuations as much as 18°F. So you can rollick in 85 degree temps all day, then snuggle under your blanket at night.

Mountain view from Hammock in Atenas The Central Valley’s coolest temperatures occur from late November through January, and are mostly attributed to the northeasterly trade winds that flow through the mountains. Other than a week-long brush with a tropical storm, this year’s rainy season (May – November) was mild compared to most, but our lawn is still green and the orange trees still laden with juice-worthy fruit.

The clothes in my closet are no longer musty from damp air. I can do laundry anytime of day (like many, we don’t own a dryer), confident that a thunderstorm won’t grace our backyard. After six months of afternoon showers, the dry season’s enveloping rays beckon me outside. The horseshoe pits go back in the yard; 4 p.m. weekend bbq’s become the norm, and a familiar dust once again coats my old truck. I’m off to our local farmers’ market, canvas tote in hand, to pick up this week’s fresh produce and flowers. Life in the land of Pura Vida is good.

Ripe Oranges on the TreeFor those of you interested in relocating to Costa Rica’s Central Valley, here’s what you can expect from Mother Nature:

The average annual temperatures range from 72°F and 75°F. The daily max is around 85°F, while the lowest averages 64°F. Relative humidity runs about 75%, dropping to 69% during the dry season. September and October are generally the rainiest and most humid months ( 26 inches per month) of the year.

Changing Seasons in Costa Rica in Pictures