The Rainy Season in Costa Rica

One question that a lot of people ask is, "just how bad IS the rainy season there in the tropics"?  It seems to be something that really freaks people out, as bad weather is typically sensationalized.  I don't know about the rest of the tropics but here in Central America, I am pretty familiar with the ebbs and flows of the weather.  It isn't quite the fluctuation I was used to in New England but the weather does change slightly from month to month, with 2 distinct seasons; dry and rainy.

I have been in Costa Rica now for 5 dry seasons and 5 rainy seasons, and to be honest, there is a lot to like about both seasons.  Just the fact that the seasons change, however slightly, makes even the rainy period a welcome occurrence.   As a disclaimer, I will admit now to some slight complaining on my part that "may" have occurred over the last 5 years in regards to the rainy season here in Costa Rica.  But after 5 years I can say it really isn't so bad.  Of course, this is helped slightly by the fact that we are now finishing up our out last Costa Rican rainy season, but I don't think that is what we need to be focusing on here!

So down to the nitty gritty I guess.  The breakdown goes as follows; dry season is typically, and I mean typically, as there is a slight fluctuation from year to year, from mid-November until May.  During this period there is very little rain, some years none at all for this entire period.  From May until November it is considered the rainy or green season.  The rain itself gets progressively more common culminating in some full day rain in October.  Usually, it is a beautiful day until around 2 or 3 and then some clouds and a small amount of rain.  This progressively gets worse and by October we see rain for days on end, as I have been experiencing here for the last 3 days.  But it is important to note that this happens infrequently.  Most days you get the best of both worlds!

The rain itself is like nothing I have ever seen, it pours so heavy at times that a street will flood in minutes and a docile river will turn to a complete raging river in the time it takes for a storm to pass over.  The lightening and thunder storms that sometimes accompany the rain are amazing, breathtaking, and leave you wanting more.  It is moments like those that I wish I had a more suitable camera, but that is an entirely different complaint, I mean discussion.  There is good and bad to everything, right, so lets separate it out:

Pros to the rainy season in Costa Rica

How fun is this??
-Hotels, airfare, and even food are priced lower in reflection of the decrease in tourism

-Everything is green again.  In the dry season it hardly ever rains at all, and that leads to some dingy brown, well...everything!
-The temperatures are usually a bit cooler, more humid at times but  it is when the cooler weather starts to show
-The rainy season is the lead up to the "windy" part of the dry season where temps are absolutely perfect in my view.  Without the rain before the amazing wind and perfect temps would not occur
-Kids get extra muddy playing outside (some view this as a negative but with 3 boys a sign of a good day is how much dirt you are wearing and in the rainy season a nice thick coat of mud means lots of fun was had)

Cons to the rainy season in Costa Rica

-In a country where most people do not have a clothes dryers, at times it can be a real challenge to get the clothes dry
-Mold everywhere, on wood, leather, and especially concrete, making walkways very slippery
-Biting bugs come out in full force which leads to the mosquito-killing spray chemicals to prevent Dengue (this occurs in the markets, on the roads, and in your neighborhood...YUCK)
Friendly guy in my kitchen
-Tarantulas get flooded out of their holes and hang out in the house more, sorry but it is a reality for some of us
-Depressing at times especially when it is hard to plan an outing because of the looming rain hour
-Landslides!  This is a big one.  Our first year here 14 people were killed in our small town overnight due to a huge landslide.  The highways also experience major issues with this as almost everything is cut into the side of a mountain.  So plan for it to take more time getting places.

This is just a short list of my personal experiences with the rainy season in the Central Valley of Costa Rica.  One of the really interesting things here is how even just a short drive can take you to an entirely different microclimate.  Some areas of Costa Rica experience a different time frame altogether.

All in all I think the rainy season is the best time to visit.  The pros definitely outweigh the cons.  So what are you waiting for?  Take advantage of the lower prices and visit Pura Vida land today!



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