Whale-watching on the Osa Peninsula peaks during the rainy season
Costa Rica’s green season, also known as the rainy season, is known for two things: great rains and great discounts. Let’s talk about the rain first. Most days, you’ll have sunny mornings and afternoon showers. Sometimes, those afternoon showers turn into torrential downpours. And sometimes, there’s thunder and lightening.
But the rainy season is a fantastic time to travel. Even during the rainiest months (September & October), you’ll usually have several sunny hours to enjoy outdoor adventures before heading inside – and in Costa Rica, indoors means wildlife rescue centers, frog ponds, ancient caverns, and plush spas. Even more, the green season is all about smaller crowds and awesome deals – think 15-45% off high-season prices! And here’s the kicker: some destinations are better in the green season. That’s right, better.
Here are three destinations you absolutely, positively must visit during Costa Rica’s rainy season:
The Osa Peninsula
Famed for luxury ecolodges, isolated beaches and varied wildlife, the Osa Peninsula is one of Costa Rica’s most sought-after (but least-visited) destinations. Since the peninsula is mostly covered in lush rainforest, you’ll encounter rain year-round, so why not swap and extra hour or two of rain for discounts of 25-45%? And if great deals aren’t enough to convince you, consider this: dolphin and whale watching peaks July-November, and snorkeling off Caño Island is in its prime during the rainy season.
Tortuguero, a small village on Costa Rica’s north Caribbean, is a labyrinth of reflective river canals, pastel-painted homes, and rustic hotels ensconced within vibrant forests. Tortuguero is also home to four species of endangered sea turtles – leatherbacks, hawksbill, loggerhead and green sea turtles – that nest on the region’s protected beaches. And guess what? These ocean giants lay their eggs March-October. In fact, green sea turtles, Tortuguero’s most prolific nesters, are most easily spotted July-October – the heart of the green season. That means you can enjoy peak turtle nesting season at off-peak prices.
Cahuita & Puerto Viejo
Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean is home to the popular towns of Puerto Viejo, Cahuita and Manzanillo, as well as awesome wildlife watching, delicious chocolate tours, rich indigenous culture, and pristine beaches. The region’s Afro-Caribbean flair is unique in Costa Rica: Jamaican jerk chicken roasts on street stands; homemade chocolate decorates store shelves; and many locals speak English patois as their first language. And while the southern Caribbean’s sights, sounds and flavors stay constant year-round, you should the weather does, too. There is no defined dry or green season in the Caribbean, although convention wisdom says that the seasons flip-flop from traditional Costa Rican weather. That means that while the rest of the country is wet, the Caribbean is drier. And that makes green-season deals all the more attractive!