The Best National Parks In Costa Rica


The Best Times To See Wildlife In Costa Rica

Seasons & climate

Costa Rica is very close to the equator, so expect warm tropical weather. Year-round average high temperatures range from 23 to 32 C (75 to 90 F) during the day, and average low temperatures hover between 15 and 18 C (60 to 65 F) at night. Like most tropical climates, Costa Rica’s year is divided into two seasons:

Dry season lasts from December to April. Coinciding with North American winter and spring break holidays, this is the most popular and recommended time to visit. However, being in the tropics, there is always a chance of rain regardless of the month. It's advisable to pack a light waterproof jacket or poncho, just in case!

The rainy season (or more optimistically called the “green season” goes from May to November. Usually, it’s briefly interrupted by a mini-dry season (or veranillo) in the month of July.

During the rainy season, expect dry, sunny mornings and predictable afternoon showers.

Microclimates of the national parks

Since Costa Rica is so geographically diverse, its climate can only really be described in general terms. Each national park represents a distinct subregion with its own microclimates. Weather can vary significantly between parks (and even within them!).

National Park

Climate notes

Rainfall per year

Average temperature

Manuel Antonio

Very wet rainforest, with chances of showers year-round.

380 cm (150 in)

27-30 C (81-86 F)

Poás Volcano

Cooler, higher altitude cloud forest, can get chilly, lots of wind and rain.

400-500 cm (158-197 in)

12-15 C (54-59 F)


Humid and very rainy June-November. Peak turtle nesting takes place July-September (high season).

444-597 cm (175-235 in)

20-32 C (69-90 F)


Coastal, warm and humid year-round. Seasons are reversed in the Caribbean coast, with drier weather from May to November.

No data

No data

Arenal Volcano

Normal rainy and dry seasons preside, although it’s a popular destination year-round.

No data

24-32 C (75-90 F)

Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

Rainy year-round, but slightly cooler, windier and less rainy during the “dry” season of November-April

No data

14-25 C (59-77 F)


Two climate zones: the coast and the highlands, at 782 m (2,565 ft) elevation. Whale-watching seasons: July-November and December-March

Coast: 350 cm (138 in)

Highlands: 550 cm (217 in)

No data

Tenorio Volcano

Heavily influenced by its Caribbean side, normal rainy and dry seasons preside.

350 cm (138 in)

15-24 C (59-75 F)


Varied, but notably dry for Costa Rica. Small annual rainfall is courtesy of its highland cloud forests

300 cm (118 in)

19-28 C (66 - 83 F)

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano

Caribbean side is lush and wet, while the Pacific side – the more visited – is very dry during half the year.

508 cm (200 in), mostly on Caribbean side

No data

Why Horizon Guides?

Impartial guidebooks

Impartial travel guides

Our guides are written by the leading experts in their destinations. We never take payment for positive coverage so you can count on us for impartial travel advice.

Expert itineraries

Expert itineraries

Suggested itineraries and routes to help you scratch beneath the surface, avoid the tourist traps, and plan an authentic, responsible and enjoyable journey.

Specialist advice

Specialist advice

Get friendly, expert travel advice and custom itineraries from some of the world's best tour operators, with no spam, pressure or commitment to book.