Costa Rica Weather Makes for perfect Surfing

A nice strong offshore breeze can create perfectly shaped clean-breaking waves.

Let me paint you a picture.
You wake up to see a flag blowing toward the beach, an onshore breeze. You get that feeling of a kid at Christmas. You run to the ocean. As you get a glimpse of that first wave peeling away perfectly down the beach, your heart jumps and nothing else matters. You have to get in the water.

Costa Rica Weather
Weather has a large effect on surfing and Costa Rica weather is no different. The weather in Costa Rica is a bit unusual. Located just above the equator, Costa Rica is considered a tropical country. The average annual temperature is 21 to 27ºC or 70 to 81ºF. Perfect surfing weather. Throughout the year, the sun rises between 5 and 6 a.m. and sets between 6 and 7 p.m. That means 12 hours of sunshine, or 12 hours of surfing!

The Seasons
Costa Rica has two main seasons. Depending where you stay in Costa Rica. The season can have a large effect on your surf trip.

Dry Season
Starts in late November and lasts till mid-April.
The dry season is just that—dry with little rain. It is usually hotter than the wet season, with March and April being the hottest.
The dry season is the same months as most of U.S. and Europe’s dreary winter. That is why it has become the most popular time to visit Costa Rica.

Wet Season (Green Season)
Starts in May and lasts till mid-November. September and October see the heaviest rain, while late November and early December are usually the coldest times of the year. Some areas of Costa Rica get over 20 feet of rain. All the rain makes everything nice and green, thus the “Green season.”

Wet Season Not All Bad?
People hear “wet season” and they think it rains 24/7. That is not true. Days often start off sunny and have an afternoon shower. It’s not uncommon to be nice 22 hours a day then pour like cats and dogs for 2 hours. Like weather everywhere else, it’s unpredictable. There are some weeks it can rain for 3 or 4 days straight (usually in October).

Veranillo (Little Summer)
Defined as a lesser dry season, Veranillo is a couple weeks of dry weather that breaks up the rainy season.
Costa Rica’s Veranillo will often be between July and August or August and September.

Surf the Green
Some surfers like to visit Costa Rica during the rainy season. There are usually less people then and accommodations can be cheaper. In general, the Pacific coast typically gets less rain than the Caribbean coast. For a wet season trip, it’s a better bet.

When To Go
Costa Rica weather is so diverse it is really a year-round vacation spot. There may be some times you want to avoid:

  • During Christmas and Easter week: popular beaches can get very crowded.
  • Late April and early May: is the very end of the dry season so it can get a little hot.
  • October is usually the rainiest month.

Costa Rica Weather Zones
Costa Rica weather is so different because of the vastly different elevations. It is easiest to understand the weather in Costa Rica if you split it up into six different weather zones:

  • Northern Zone
  • North Pacific
  • Central Pacific
  • South Pacific
  • Caribbean

Costa Rica is far enough south that hurricanes are not an issue. By a fluke of nature, hurricane Cesár hit Costa Rica on July 27, 1996. An occasional hurricane may swing down close to South America and bring some extra rain. For the most part, Costa Rica weather is hurricane-free.