Why Shoulder Season Rules!
We are heading into springtime in the Northern Hemisphere, and we are all enjoying more light during the day, warming temperatures, and all of the life on earth that is starting to bloom and grow again. What a joy! In Costa Rica, there is not an intense winter where all of the plants die and go dormant… The flowers are blooming and the fruit is fresh all year round! That is part of what makes it such a paradise. But there are seasons, just not in the traditional way most people think of them. Are you wondering what part of the year is the best time to visit Tamarindo? It might not be what you think. Keep reading to learn more!
Planning a trip to surf in Costa Rica isn’t necessarily super easy. There are so many factors like hotels, transportation, boards, waves, and more. But to me, there is one important thing that sticks out above all the rest: the time of year you decide to travel. This can truly make or break your trip. If the weather sucks or there are too many crowds to even enjoy your vacation, then what is the point? That is why we have written up a handy little guide filled with the truth about the year-round seasons of the Guanacaste Region of Costa Rica so you can decide for yourself when to plan your perfect Tamarindo surf vacation!
The weather varies a great deal around the country depending on which coast you are on if you are in the central mountains, etc. so this guide will focus on the Guanacaste region around Tamarindo. Guanacaste is actually the driest region overall of Costa Rica, so if you like the sun and warm weather, then this is the place for you! Since Costa Rica is located close to the equator, the weather is fairly temperate and does not have super high highs or extremely low lows. For the most part, the weather is around 65-95 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Sounds just about perfect, right? There are two main seasons: rainy season or green season, and dry season. As a general rule of thumb, the rainy season tends to be the low season and dry season tends to be high season for tourists visiting from other countries around the world.
Rainy season or low season in Guanacaste is about May – November every year. Now, you might be picturing extreme tropical downpours all day long, but this is actually not the case. The truth is, there is actually a ton of sun during these months – pretty much every day in fact! There might be a rainstorm for an hour or so in the morning or the late afternoon, but then the clouds will clear again revealing the warm rays and gorgeous sky. The temperatures overall are slightly cooler, (but when I say cool, it is really still hot) and the rain can come as a nice relief from the sun. There is still plenty of time for going to the beach, surfing, and all of the other activities you will want to try on your Tamarindo surf vacation.
You might even be able to do more this time of year because there will be fewer people around. Simply because these months do not have any of the major holidays where big groups of people have long stretches of time off from school or work, there are fewer people going on vacation. So the good news is that if you can get some time off, you will be among a few other visitors! Sometimes places also offer lower prices this time of year or green season discounts. You can definitely take advantage of these if you are traveling to Costa Rica in the low season and get cheaper hotels and tour deals! You also won’t have to worry as much about finding a place to stay, and activities will be available and have space without having to plan super far in advance. This time of year is very relaxing and you are sure to leave feeling refreshed and zen!
Dry season, or high season, in Tamarindo is considered to be December – April. During these months, although it is hard to believe, it really does not rain at all. Most people picture Costa Rica as lush and green all year round, but that is not the case, at least not in Guanacaste. During the dry season, it is almost like a version of winter in the northern hemisphere because the trees lose their leaves, some of the plants die, and everything gets pretty brown. It is also very hot with temperatures consistently in the 80’s and 90’s, peaking in February with the hottest temperatures of the year. But don’t get me wrong – you will never feel miserable in heat in Tamarindo because you are right by the ocean! That is the beauty of life on the beach. Whenever you feel a little overheated, just take a plunge in the ocean and you will instantly feel refreshed. There are also a ton of water activities to try in Tamarindo like surfing, snorkeling, and fishing boats so that you will stay nice and cool while having a ton of fun.
As far as crowds go, Christmas, New Years, and Easter are the biggest holidays in this area for locals and visitors alike. During these major holidays, many Costa Rican people from various parts of the country use their time off to come to Tamarindo and enjoy the beach. Ticos bring their friends and families from all corners of Costa Rica to eat, drink and be merry tropical style. This is also the busiest time for foreign visitors because like I said, everyone is trying to take advantage of their time off! Tamarindo is busy and bustling, and you need to plan things out well in advance so that you can do everything you want to do. You will also want to consider that you will need to factor in a bit of traffic this time of year, and rental cars are often hard to come by.
So the point is… SHOULDER SEASONS RULE!
These are the times between low and high season that are essentially the best of both worlds. You will be able to enjoy nice weather conditions, the best surf in Costa Rica, and lots to do without too many crowds and at affordable prices! For the locals, these are the best times of the year… so why not come for a visit to see for yourself?
May-July and November are considered the main shoulder seasons in Tamarindo. During May through July, yes it rains a bit, but it is still completely reasonable and the majority of the time is filled with sun. Rainy season doesn’t really set in until August – October, where it can REALLY get wet. Sometimes the streets even flood! This is an adventure in and of itself and honestly, worth checking out. But if you are looking to get the most out of your time in Costa Rica, these late spring and early summer months could be a great time to take a trip. November is a lovely month thrown in right after the intense rain and before all of the crowds hit. The sun is coming back so the weather is lovely, but everything is still extremely green and lush from the months of rain. It is truly gorgeous! You can come and enjoy everything that Tamarindo has to offer before everyone else arrives in December.
Hopefully, after learning a little bit more about what the seasons are really like in Guanacaste, you feel better educated so that you can pick the time of year that would work best for you and everything you want to experience on your trip! Maybe you want to plan your trip in the next few months, as the dry season ends and the slower season begins. Maybe you want to come in October to experience a true tropical jungle in action! Or maybe you are planning a Christmas trip with the whole family. No matter what time you find yourself here on the beach in Tamarindo, we know you will love it. Time to check those flight deals!
Contact us with any questions!