- High Season
- Rainy Season
- Green Season
- Low Season
- Shoulder Season
- Peak Season
- Dry Season
Wow, what a lot of season’s Costa Rica has! If you ask about Winter or Summer or Spring or Fall they will say “We don’t have those seasons.” Or they will tell you that Winter is 'the rainy season' (Which even though they are North of the Equator, it is during Canada/USA summer)
So let’s look at these.
First let’s look at them from a weather perspective. There are 2 seasons in Costa Rica. The exact dates vary by where you are in the country and who is telling them, but basically they are:
The Rainy Season aka The Green Season, about May to Mid October
These are one in the same. People have been calling it the ‘Green Season’ because so many people in Canada and the US think ‘Hawaii rainy season’ when they hear ‘Rainy Season’. People think of ruined Hawaii vacations where the rain started the day they arrived and rained all day every day until after they went back home. So to avoid the inaccurate info from people who have visited Hawaii, people have started calling it the ‘green’ season.
But that is not the Costa Rica rainy season. If you are coming for 2 weeks in the Rainy/Green season you can expect to have one day where it rains most or all of the day. The rest you can expect to have heavy rain for 1 to 4 hours during the day – and sunlight or light to medium cloud the rest of the daylight hours. It will likely rain again during the dark hours, but who cares! But I have never heard of anyone coming for a week or more and who thought the rain ‘ruined’ their holiday.
The typical way to live in the rainy season is: Get up early, enjoy the morning, do something in the early afternoon, then expect a rain shower (most days) – have a siesta, or use that time for driving or eating, then enjoy the fresh air and go out for the later afternoon or evening.
Read about the dry season, see how similar it is!
The Dry Season is about Mid October to the end of April
The closer you get to the green season, the browner and dryer and dustier everything gets.
In the dry season plan on getting up early, enjoying the morning, then have a siesta in the early afternoon – the heat of the day – then get up and enjoy the late afternoon and evening, then have your big sleep.
Now let’s look at the ‘High season’, ‘Low season’, ‘Peak Season’ and ‘Shoulder Season’s
These are so named not because of any weather issues, but because of how many people are there.
The High season roughly equates to the Dry season, roughly the beginning of October (so starting in the end of the rainy season) through to the end of April. PLUS 2 weeks at the beginning of July. Let’s look at why:
Tico’s have a break in school for the 1st 2 weeks of July – and many of the middle and upper class head to the beach for those 2 weeks. Hence, those 2 weeks are busy and are ‘high’ season. Everything will be booked up early and prices will generally rise.
The rest of Canada/USA’s summer is the low season in Costa Rica. Why? Is it because of the rain? No! It is because Ticos are in school, and people from Canada and the USA say ‘Why would I want to waste my nice weather back home for wonderful weather in Costa Rica’. That is why it is the low season. If coming in the low season works for you, will find the prices that change will be the lowest, there will be the most options for accommodation, the beaches and really everything including restaurants are the quietest (excellent for people with Sensory Friendly needs.)
Starting in October, Tico’s look at vacation time again, school’s out in December/January (like the ‘summer vacation’ of most schools in Canada and the USA. So people without children look at October/November as ideal, people with Children in school look at December/January as ideal. This also ‘conflicts’ with people from Canada/USA with children wanting to escape the cold and come down for Christmas, making Christmas/New years part of the ‘peak’ season, then Easter being the other ‘peak’ season.
Then February to May corresponds with ‘Spring Break’ in Canada (typically earlier) and the USA (typically later). Where those further North want to escape the cold and enjoy the heat and beaches of Costa Rica. As a result, the accommodations are full and it is ‘high’ season. This time period also attracts farmers and retirees and others who are able to schedule their vacations – and want to escape the cold.
The so called ‘shoulder’ seasons are those between high and low, where people can often get cheaper flights because fewer people are flying but planes haven’t changed their paths yet.
This brings up the issue of transportation….
The airlines typically seem to have more airplanes flying ‘South’ during the winter high season and shoulder seasons, then, during the Canada/US summer season, they fly the same planes to Europe – when it is not cold in Europe (and similarly people in Europe want to come to Canada/US when it is not winter in Canada/US)