When’s the Best Time to Visit Costa Rica?

Volcan Irazu National Park, Costa Rica
Volcan Irazu National Park, Costa Rica. Photo by Alex Ip on Unsplash

Whether you’re an adventurous traveler or nature lover, the Central American country of Costa Rica has it all. And the best times to visit depends on your reasons for visiting. Are you going to surf, spot wildlife, go birding, or hike? Here is the best time to visit Costa Rica depending on your travel preferences.

Wildlife Spotting

Costa Rica has tons of national parks and wildlife refuges and it’s home to endemic species that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. When you go depends on what animals you want to see. Capuchin monkies can be seen year-round, but sea turtles can only be seen on the Caribbean coast from February to October and leatherback turtles can be seen in April and May.


Most of Costa Rica’s native birds can be seen year-round, but the best time to spot them is during the dry season from November to April. For migratory birds, September through November is the best time to see them.


People from all over the world come to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast to surf. Beginner surfers are better off visiting during the last two months of the dry season—March or April— when the waves are tame and experienced surfers can find the biggest waves during the rainier months of September and October.

Cloud Forests

The most popular cloud forest in Costa Rica is Monteverde, in Puntarenas. You’ll find trails that lead up the mountaintops that have fog formations, for a cloud-like appearance. The sight is breathtaking, but it can be hard to trek and slippery during the wet season.