Costa Rica in the high season, the good, the bad and the ugly (En inglés solamente)

Costa Rica in the high season may be a bit, or very chaotic for all visitors. Depending on your destinations, there are some things you should know about this fantastic, beautiful, and messy time of the year.


To understand what happens in the high season in Costa Rica, best to start by saying: When does it happen?

In the travel industry in Costa Rica, you will find, usually, four seasons: High season, peak season, green season, and rainy season.

The high season starts on Christmas Eve and goes all the way to the end of Easter.

Peak Season: There are two top periods in high season:

  • From Christmas Eve to the first Sunday of January
  • Easter week (Whenever that is, as it changes year to year, for 2020 is from April 4th to April 12th)

Green Season: Coincides with summer vacations (June and July) and traditional European vacations in August.

Rainy Season: September, October, and November.  And the first portion of December as well as May, however, we are going to set a separate note for these particular months.


Now, we are here to talk about the high season, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

From late December to half May, Costa Rica is sunny and gorgeous. And depending on where you are, it can also be windy and fresh.

Let’s first talk about Peak Season: 

The good:

  • The weather is fantastic. Sunny, a bit windy and chillier in the mountains.
  • There are a lot of celebrations, and if you are around San José, you can witness the biggest horse parade in the country.
  • A lot of Costa Ricans are on vacation. So you will see the most genuine Costa Rican ways together with the most touristy.
  • Because of the weather, wildlife sightings are more common.
  • The best time for coffee tours, as this is the peak of the coffee harvest.
  • The best time to see waterfalls. They are as pristine as can be.


The bad:

  • Everything will be more expensive. Hotels, tours, and even food.
  • It’s almost impossible to find accommodations and even tour spaces in the most popular areas of the country.
  • It’s almost impossible to find cars for rent.
  • On the Caribbean side is the rainy season. And most likely there will be pouring rains.

The Ugly:

  • There will be lines to enter and to follow. Almost everywhere.
  • Rainforests will be noisier with human voices and even shouting at times.
  • Everything takes longer, restaurants, tours and check-ins and check-outs.

Our recommendations:

  • If this is the time of year you are planning to use for your vacation, please know that you must reserve at least a year prior.
  • Go for the off the beaten track destinations. Costa Rica has so many gorgeous yet undiscovered areas.


The High Season (Not Peak)

The good:

  • The weather, of course. The sunny season on the Pacific side, the Central Valley, and the southern mountains are very bright.  March and April are rather hot.
  • There are all sorts of cultural activities, concerts, art fairs, and much more in the main population centers. Check with your travel designer.
  • The travel industry is up and ready to be the best. Everyone is working. Service is the best in the year. There are no construction or restoration works in the hotels or anything similar.
  • Trees are in bloom in this time of year
  • The migratory bird species are in Costa Rica, adding more than 350 species to the already quite extensive Costa Rica bird species list.
  • Coffee Tours are great at this time of year as you can see the water mills at work.
  • Sunsets in the Pacific are breathtaking
  • Rafting tours are great and milder.
  • Waterfalls look stunning on sunny days.


The bad

  • Rates are higher than in green or rainy season
  • If you are on the Caribbean side, especially in January and February, there might be floods or landslides on the road.
  • If you go up the mountains (San Gerardo de Dota, San Ramón, or Monteverde), it will be chilly. We are talking about 40-50° F.

The ugly

  • Crowds almost everywhere in the most popular tours and national parks.
  • Long lines and waiting times in tours and national parks.


Some tips:

  • Come with a tour operator. It may sound like I am saying, “Go with us,” and yes, I am. But mainly because in this time of year a travel agent may be the difference to find better rooms or alternative tours when everything is full. 
  • Ask your travel designer when cruises arrive, and the crowds are more significant. And avoid these days.
  • Don’t leave all your planning for the last minute, particularly if you have your heart set on one singular place. Everything fills up fast.
  • Plan everything earlier in the morning and the most popular attractions like Manuel Antonio National Park or Monteverde Reserve for the afternoon.


To wrap it up

Costa Rica is great on any date. However yes, if you are coming in the next few months, let us know! Costa Rica has so much and it’s so varied that coming without a travel agent may make you easily lose your precious vacation time.

Contact us, and we will design a perfect vacation for you!


This article is written by Olga Sáenz Carbonell. It was published on:

Terranova. \”Costa Rica in the high season: The good, the bad and the ugly – TERRANOVA DMC.\” TERRANOVA DMC. 5 Nov. 2019. Web. 23 Nov. 2020. <>