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Travel in Latin America

Costa Rica's Weather and Climate Variations

Although the country of Costa Rica is small in terms of land mass, it has a lot of variation in terms of weather and climate. The country consists of several different regions where the climate is quite dramatically different. If you are planning to visit Costa Rica or live there on a temporary or permanent basis, it can be quite advantageous to choose an area that has a climate that you think you would enjoy.

Tropical Costa Rica

Because Costa Rica is located close to the equator, the country is classified as being "tropical." In Costa Rica, the sun shines throughout the entire year, and there really isn't an actual winter season. Because it is located close to the equator, the day length is consistent throughout the entire year. No matter what time of year it is, you can expect the sun to rise at around 5:00 a.m. and then set again at around 6:00 pm. Consistent with other locations close to the equator, Costa Rica has over 12 hours of daylight every day of the year.

Regional Climate Variations

The country of Costa Rica has a variety of different weather conditions, primarily because of the fact that the country consists of different elevations. In the lowland areas such as Guanacaste, you can expect to find dry and arid conditions. In this area you will find average temperatures in the upper 70s. However, at the higher elevations you can often find foggy and even misty conditions, such as is the case with Montverde. Temperatures are naturally a bit cooler at the higher elevations, averaging in the mid-50s.

The Central Valley area is known for its consistently pleasant weather, with a coastal breeze and temperatures that average around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Many people feel that this area has the nicest weather in all of Costa Rica.

Along the Caribbean coast there is another unique area of the country, which has its own special microclimate. In this area the tradewinds heavily influence the climate. You can expect to find heavier rainfall and hot, humid weather all year long. The dry season is also almost non-existent in this region.

Seasonal Climate Variations

Although there really isn't a specific "summer" or "winter" season in Costa Rica, there are variations in climate, rainfall and temperature that correspond to the time of the year. If you love hot and sunny weather, plan to visit Costa Rica between March and May. During this time, you'll find the hottest weather and the most sunshine. If you prefer cooler temperatures, plan your visit from November through January, as these months tend to be the coolest.

There are also certain time periods throughout the year where there are marked rainfall variations. Costa Rica has a rainy season, which lasts between May and November. The months of September and October are known as having the heaviest amount of rainfall. From December through April, Costa Rica has very little and sometimes almost no rainfall. Of course, some of the mountainous areas of Costa Rica get considerably more rainfall throughout the year as compared to the more arid lowland regions.

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