What to wear
Q- What kinds of clothes should I bring?
Pack light. Bring comfortable, hand-washable clothing. T-shirts and shorts are acceptable in San José (during the day, if planning to go out in the evening slacks are highly recommended as some restaurants won't admit you in shorts or sandals). Loose-fitting long-sleeved shirts and pants are recommended if you want to avoid sun. Bring a large hat to block the sun from your face and neck. Pack a light sweater or jacket for San José's cool nights and early mornings and for trips up to volcanoes and highlands. Sturdy sneakers or hiking boots are essential if you plan to do a lot of sightseeing and hiking. Waterproof hiking sandals or other footwear that lets your feet breathe are good for strolling about town, and also for beach walking, fording streams, and navigating the myriad mudholes you'll find on rain and cloud forest trails. To get more specific, refer to the information provided in your itinerary. Also refer to the list of items we recommend to pack.
Q-How is the weather in Costa Rica?
The climate is idyllic. In the lowlands, which are dry in the Pacific Northwest and humid elsewhere, daytime temperatures range in the eighties to nineties F° (high twenties to mid-thirties C°). Usually in the seventies F° (low to mid-twenties C°) at middle elevations, the mercury can fall as low as the forties and fifties F° (five to mid-tens C°) at the top of the mountains. Costa Rica can be broadly categorized into four major climatic zones:
The wet lowlands:
The Caribbean and the Southern Pacific lowlands have short dry seasons and high temperatures. Rainfall is usually lighter along the coast, increasing proportionally as it moves further inland and altitude increases.
Lowlands with a dry season:
Most of the Guanacaste province and some of Puntarenas have high temperatures and a long dry season.
Temperate climate: Areas located between 3,000 - 5,000 feet above the sea level, such as the Central Valley, have defined dry seasons and the most comfortable of the climates.
Any area at an altitude higher than 5,000 feet has cooler temperatures. At altitudes over 10,000 feet, even reaches the freezing point. The weather is usually humid, with occasional fog or frost.
Annual Rainfall for Major Areas:
Central Valley: 1.100-2.500 mm 43-98 inches
Northern Pacific: 1.400-4.300 mm 55-98 inches Central Pacific: 2.300-4.300 mm 91-169 inches
Southern Pacific: 2.300-4.000 mm 91-157 inches
Atlantic Region: 2.000-4.500 mm 79-177 inches
The Northwest has a fairly well-defined dry season from December to April. The dry season is a month or two shorter along the southern Pacific coast. July also tends to be a dry month on the Pacific slope.
Welcome rains during the rest of the year bring about a general greening and freshen the countryside. Rains usually come in afternoon thunderstorms, leaving; the mornings sunny and the night sky filled with stars. This period is our rainy season or green season. Rainfall on the Caribbean slope is more evenly distributed throughout the year, with marked dry periods from May through June and again from September through October.