The story often goes like this: You book your summer surf trip to Costa Rica, dreaming of sun and surf and long days at the beach, but as your travel dates approach, you start watching the weather and you suddenly realize, “Uh-oh, I booked a trip during ‘rainy season.’” And in your head, your dreams of enjoying the sunshine on your surfboard followed by a cold beer on the beach as the sun sets are replaced with images of being stuck inside as the rain pours down outside.
But before you call in a panic to cancel your Costa Rica surf trip, here’s what you need to know: Tamarindo weather can’t be assessed based on a simple weather forecast, and the “Costa Rica rainy season” at the beaches in Guanacaste Province aren’t what you’re imagining them to be. In fact, the “rainy season” is one of the best-kept secrets for knowing Tamarindo travelers — you often enjoy all the same benefits of traveling during the dry season, but with quieter beaches and more beautiful greenery.
Yes, It Rains, But Not Constantly
When was the last time you checked the weather forecast for your local area? Chances are, you saw rain in the forecast. Maybe it was a 30% chance of showers, or maybe it was an 80% chance of thunderstorms. But you also know that just because there’s a chance of rain somewhere in your vicinity, that doesn’t mean you’ll actually be subjected to a downpour, right?
The same thing applies to Tamarindo weather. Yes, during the rainy season, the forecast will predict rain almost every day. But the rain that may fall five miles inland from the coast often doesn’t reach the beach, leaving vacationers free to enjoy all the outdoor activities they’d normally do without a drop of rain.
And when it does rain along the coast, it rarely rains all day. Think of the storms that blow through as Mother Nature’s way of cleaning and refreshing the environment. The rain comes through, and in its wake, it leaves crisper air, glassier waters, and the type of rainforest-like greenery that will take your breath away. Not to mention, the clouds make way for the most beautiful sunsets you’ve ever seen.
Overall, the Weather is Better
Here’s the thing about the dry season in Costa Rica: It’s really, really dry. As in, it almost never rains. On the surface, this seems like the perfect time to take a surf vacation. But unless you’ve had the benefit of comparing the rainy season and the dry season, you don’t understand the drawbacks of traveling to Tamarindo during the high months between November and April. Namely, everything dries out. The grass and trees turn brown. The dust kicks up everywhere, exacerbating allergies and sore throats. The heat is intense and there’s not a cloud in the sky to offer a little shade. Of course, thousands of people still enjoy these high season vacations every year, but they’re missing out on some of the benefits of traveling during the rainy season.
Between May and November, when the rain starts showing its face in the forecast, the downsides of the dry season disappear. The trees and grass turn green and the flowers bloom beautifully. The nights are cooler and the intermittent clouds offer a break from the heat of the daytime sun. The dust also settles, clearing out the air. For locals, the rainy season is often the favorite time of year when it comes to the overall weather conditions.
Rain Rarely Interferes With Surfing
Unless there is thunder and lightning in the area, a little rain won’t impact your ability to surf. You’re already going to be getting wet, right? And unless there’s a major storm blowing in, it’s unlikely that a few showers will bring choppier waters that make surf lessons more of a challenge. In fact, surfing in the rain can be every bit as enjoyable as surfing in the sun — it’s just a different experience that’s often even better because fewer surfers are out there, crowding the waters.
And if you’re a more advanced surfer looking for a challenge, when storms do blow through, they bring with them bigger swells. This gives you the opportunity to test your mettle on bigger waves right here on Playa Tamarindo, rather than driving to other beaches, like Playa Grande or Avellanas.
The Sunsets Are Magnificent
It’s worth reiterating this point: Rainy season sunsets in Tamarindo are some of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see. As the sun descends toward the Pacific Ocean, making its way through the gathering nimbostratus clouds, the intensity of color and reflection of light off the ocean and the sand are guaranteed to take your breath away. Of course, sunsets are beautiful during the dry season, too, but with fewer clouds to add to Mother Nature’s nightly show, they just don’t have the same overwhelming impact.
There Are Fewer Tourists
You’re not alone in rethinking your rainy season vacation — overall fewer tourists hit the Costa Rican beaches between May and November. But for those travelers willing to enjoy a couple of short rain showers along the way, the benefits are huge.
During high season, the ocean is often packed with tourists taking surf lessons, vacationers bathing in the warm water, and locals catching a few waves of their own. Not to mention all the people lined up along the sand to soak up a few rays of sunshine. While it can be fun to share the beaches with so many people, it can also feel overwhelming. If you’d prefer a somewhat quieter vacation experience, traveling during the Costa Rica rainy season is the perfect solution. You’ll still have plenty of sunny hours to spend in the sand and in the water, but you won’t have to battle for position to catch the best wave or find the best place to lay out your towel.
You’ll Find Better Deals
It should come as no surprise that if hotels and businesses have fewer guests during the rainy season, they’re more likely to offer price breaks and special deals to those who book trips during this time. So, if you’re the type of person always looking for a bargain, or if you’re traveling on a budget, there’s no better time to book a trip than during the rainy season.
The deals are available pretty much across the board: prices on flights drop, hotels have low-season rates, sales are more plentiful in local shops, and tours, lessons, and surf camps often issue special discounts. Do your research and call around to see where you can save a few bucks. And just think: the money you save can be set aside to pay for your next Costa Rican vacation!
Check out our related blog – Why You Should Travel to Costa Rica During Green Season!