The Best Time To Visit Costa Rica: The Green Season

We use affiliate links to support our travels. Read more here

The Best Time To Visit Costa Rica: The Green Season


So when is the best time to visit Costa Rica? It’s time to consider staying in the off-season, better known as the “Green Season”. The Green Season spans from May to November and offers unique experiences and advantages to travelers. While we don’t pass up any opportunity to visit Costa Rica, Anna and I LOVE traveling to Costa Rica in May and September. Especially to stay at Tulemar in Manuel Antonio. The crowds are minimal, lodging and rental cars are much cheaper, and everything is lush and vibrant.

The Beauty of Fewer Crowds

During the Green Season, Costa Rica has fewer visitors compared to its high season. It’s a much more enjoyable travel experience when the beaches are empty in major tourist towns like Manuel Antonio and Playa Flamingo. Instead of fighting crowds of tourists on the beach, you can relax on your empty patch of sandy paradise. Hotels and restaurants are less busy and often half the price of the peak season, which is December into April.

One negative is that many restaurants close completely in October when the rains are heavier and tourism slows down. They’ll begin their off-season maintenance projects to get things cleaned up before the busy holiday time. It doesn’t stop us from grabbing our favorite koozies for a beach brew and having a great time when visiting in October.

Vacation rentals in Playa Flamingo
  • Pinterest

Playa Flamingo in September

Lush Landscapes

The term ‘Green Season’ is as literal as it gets. Many assume that all of Costa Rica is green and lush year-round. Unlike the central and southern regions, Guanacaste is home to a huge amount of dry tropical forests that turn brown over the course of the peak dry season. During these months, the regular rain showers breathe life into some northern parts of the country.

The rainforest truly comes to life during this period, providing stunning sights and wildlife, making it the perfect backdrop for your next adventure. Don’t forget a solid rain jacket if you’re visiting in the Green Season. We love the Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket for a good balance of quality and cost. This Marmot Eco Jacket is also another good option at a little better price point. 

La Fortuna Waterfall
  • Pinterest

A rainy day hike down to the La Fortuna Waterfall

Keeping Costs Down

Traveling during the off-peak Green Season often means cheaper flights and accommodations. Many airlines, hotels, and vacation rentals offer substantial discounts during this period. You can enjoy the same beautiful destinations for a fraction of the peak season cost. Tulemar Resort is rated one of the top hotels IN THE WORLD, and they often have great specials in September. Take a look at TripAdvisor. If you’re traveling on a budget, the Green Season might just be the best time for you to visit.

Green Season Travel Tips

Rent a 4×4

If you’re planning on renting a car for your trip, opt for a 4×4 vehicle. The extra power and traction can be a lifesaver when navigating the wetter road conditions, which are often washed out due to rain. Our favorite rental vehicle is the Hyundai Tucson AWD and it’s normally the midsize option at Economy Rent A Car. Check out our tips to renting a car in Costa Rica.

Don’t Forget a Rain Jacket

This period sees a significant amount of rain and occasional tropical storms. Pack smart and make sure you have the right waterproof gear. The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L Jacket is our go-to Costa Rica rain jacket. Its 3-layer waterproof shell will keep you protected in the heaviest downpours. Shake it off afterwards and it’s near dry again. The weather can change quickly, so stash it in your bag before heading out for the day.

Choose Weather Tolerant Activities

Some activities are more weather tolerant than others. Visiting Manuel Antonio in the Green Season? Check out river rafting with Amigos Del Rio. In Tamarindo? We love a day trip to Liberia to hike to the La Leona Waterfall. These tours typically operate rain or shine, and you’ll get wet either way. Have fun with it!

Be Flexible with Your Travel Plans

While rain might lead to tour cancellations or travel delays, don’t get too bummed out. This downtime can be a great chance for a rainy ocean swim, an extended meal at a local “soda”, or simply enjoy the refreshing rain from the comfort of your hotel. We crack a beer, get the travel backgammon board out, and cross our fingers for thunderstorms when the evening rains start.

Flexibility allows you to adapt and make the most of whatever the Green Season throws your way. Instead of seeing weather shifts as obstacles, view them as part of your Costa Rican adventure. Who knows? These unplanned moments might end up being the highlights of your trip!

Rafting with Amigos Del Rio on the Savegre River
  • Pinterest

Another great rainy day activity

Anna and I Playing Backgammon during a thunderstorm
  • Pinterest

So is backgammon while watching the lightning ⚡️

Let’s go!

While some may be deterred by the idea of traveling in the off-season, don’t let a little rain dampen your spirit. Visiting Costa Rica during the Green Season lets you experience the country at the most vibrant, authentic, and budget-friendly time. So why not swap the crowds and dry landscapes for a peaceful, lush, and cost-effective trip? Embrace the Green Season!

Thanks for your support 🤙

We just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU. This 100% all-content, junk-free website’s biggest source of support is when you use our affiliate links for any purchases. It helps us continue sharing our guides and tips, without any ads. There is no extra cost to you and it’s the easiest way you can support us. We truly appreciate it!

Trip questions? Let’s Connect!

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Cody & Anna

Cody and Anna Traxler

We’re Cody and Anna, and we’ve fallen in love with Costa Rica over the past decade. We’re not experts in every part of the country, but our countless adventures have inspired us to create this travel guide. Our goal is to share our experiences and help you jet off on your own unforgettable journey. Enjoy Ultimate Pura Vida and start planning here 🤙

Travel Tips Delivered

Popular Posts

Rental Car Deals

Featured Essential

Our Favorite Sand-free Towel

Microfiber Towel

Pin It on Pinterest

Skip to content