It would be difficult to find a more agreeable environment than the one provided by the climate of Costa Rica. Although it is quite small, the country contains many distinct climatic zones due to differences in altitude and proximity to the ocean. There are no summer and winter seasons as such, but rather a dry and rainy season. The dry season generally lasts from December to April with the rainy season making up the rest of the year.
As in most tropical countries, when it rains, it pours. Average annual rainfall sits at approximately 9 feet with some higher altitudes receiving as much as 25 feet on the easternmost slopes. In contrast, New York receives about 3½ feet of rainfall each year on average. Admittedly, 9 feet sounds a lot, but the rain is never constant and sunshine is always around the corner. Besides, nothing is more relaxing than the sound of warm, tropical rain. And of course, this is why the climate of Costa Rica is so good for agriculture.
As you would expect for a country only 8 degrees from the Equator, the temperature remains relatively constant throughout the entire year. The mean temperature on the Caribbean coast is 82 degrees, rising to 89 degrees on the Pacific coast and resting at a much more temperate 72 degrees in the more mountainous Central Valley.
The Valley is home to two thirds of the Costa Rican population and the country’s capital: San Jose. At over 3700 feet, San Jose enjoys a nearly perfect climate, which the locals call the Eternal Spring. There is very little humidity, lots of sun and a cool mountain breeze.
The Caribbean side of the country tends to receive much of the rainfall. It is hotter and more humid than the Central Valley but also has the best beaches and a very relaxed atmosphere. Lush green rainforest and an abundance of flora and fauna go hand-in-hand with the higher humidity. The Caribbean coast is host to many of the renowned Costa Rican wildlife.
The Pacific side, also known as the Gold Coast, enjoys a more arid climate. It is the hottest place in the country but has much less humid climate than the Caribbean coast making it quite popular for tourists who don’t fancy having their days ruined by rain. There are many large resort hotels taking advantage of the drier, sunnier climate on this side of the country.
Travel brochures rave about the climate of Costa Rica and it is natural to be skeptical. You can be assured however, that the weather really is a good as it seems. Even National Geographic rates Costa Rican weather as some of the best in the world.