The best time to visit Costa Rica is from December to May when it’s cooler and drier, unless you’re a committed surfer in which case the big stuff appears on the Pacific side from April-October. The rest of the year is a variably wet season, though it doesn’t usually rain all day, mostly a heavy hour or two in the afternoon.
The coasts – both Pacific and Caribbean sides – are pretty much always hot, ranging from the low 20Cs (70F) to high 30Cs (90F+), with high humidity (which is more tiring than the heat). San José, the less-than-inspiring capital has a much more comfortable climate due to its altitude of 1100m (3770ft) with temperatures ranging from 15C (60F) to 26C (80F).
Arenal, like many Central Americans, hasn’t given up smoking. Photo by Javier Losa
Taking a rainforest hike.
Things to Do
There are dozens of possible adventures and activities including high-anxiety rainforest tree-top wire slides, canopy tours, volcanoes to scout, rivers to raft, kayak or tube, golf balls to smack on manicured courses, big and consistent waves to ride off wild surf beaches or deep sea fishing and scuba diving if your pockets are deep.
Alternatively just simmer on the sand of some spacious, wild beaches Hot springs, mud baths and a cool one are a perfect way to end a sweaty day.
Towns in this impoverished Central American country are sadly disorganised and dilapidated, packed with style-free cinder block buildings splashed with eye-busting colours and gaily festooned with sagging cables.
But you don’t go to there for urban action, do you? We sincerely hope not. Head for the green amigo.
Manuel Antonio beach by Eric Gunther.