When you think of Costa Rica, you think of secluded beaches, crashing waves on volcanic rocky shores, and lush rainforests. While those things definitely do exist, they don’t define every part of the country at all times. There are two seasons in Costa Rica – dry and rainy. But, while you may not see a drop of rain during most of the dry season, you will see plenty of sunshine in the rainy season.
Chances are during Tamarindo rainy season you won’t have to worry about it raining all day. It may rain in the morning or, more commonly, late afternoon and early evening. Sometimes, it can rain hard during these downpours, covering the street in water. However, due to the high heat and thirsty land (at least at the beginning of the rainy season), the water and dirt all tend to dry up very quickly.
Tamarindo rainy season begins in May and ends in October, turning everything incredibly green, lush, and beautiful practically overnight. Tamarindo is in the province of Guanacaste, where the majority of land is covered by what is known as a tropical dry forest. This type of ecosystem is one of the most endangered in the world. It is characterized by long periods of drought followed by long periods of monsoon-type rains. This unique microclimate of Costa Rica is part of what makes this region so special. So, you have times when it is dry, leaves are falling, and roads are dusty, and you also have times when it is vibrantly green, wet, and muddy. There are also the transitions in between. And whether you visit Tamarindo during rainy season or dry season, there are advantages to both.
With a new season just getting started, let’s take a look at the best tours to try during Guanacaste rainy season.
Tamarindo Rainy Season Tours
Tamarindo ATV Tour
One tour that is definitely more fun with a few puddles to plow through is an ATV tour. During the Tamarindo ATV Tour, you will be driving through sand, mud, and dirt, so a little rain added to the mix won’t hurt. It just adds to the wild jungle ride! Plus, the rain here is never cold, especially if it’s during the day when temperatures can soar to 32 degrees Celsius (90F). If anything, you’ll be thankful for the cool down a short rain blast or drizzle can provide.
The tour starts in the small yet authentic beach town of Brasilito, where you will drive along the beach and down trails through the forest. You’ll head up into the mountains and stop at a gorgeous lookout to enjoy the view before heading back along another beach until you return to the starting point. This tour is fun whether you are solo or with a group because you have the option to get your own ATV or go as a pair on one. A solo traveler can join a group, or you and your friends can take over the tour and have fun cruising around together. Either way, you will have a blast driving around on your ATV rain or shine.
Tamarindo Surf Lessons
It may not seem like surfing would be fun in the rain, but in fact, rainy season is the best time to surf according to many surfers in Costa Rica. During the dry season, there are days when it can be too windy or there just aren’t many swells big enough to surf. In the rainy season, the waves are normally bigger and a lot more fun. Plus, if you are in the water when it starts to rain, it won’t make much difference to you since you’re already wet!
Surf lessons at Iguana Surf will go on rain or shine because we know that it will still be a great time. Obviously, if there is a big storm, lightning, or the conditions are unsafe in any way, we will cancel the lesson and get you rescheduled as soon as possible. If you decide to rent one of our surfboards, you can go out on your own to avoid the showers if you prefer. Remember, if you take a lesson at Iguana Surf, you will receive 50 percent off of board rentals for the rest of your vacation.
Guanacaste Rainy Season Tours
White Water Rafting
White water rafting is another tour that is better during the rainy season. With more water falling from the sky, the river rises, which means the rapids are bigger and way more fun! While it is still possible to white water raft during the dry season, the rivers can get low, and you won’t get the same exhilarating experience that you can get during the wetter months.
Our white water rafting tour is located near the Tenorio Volcano, where you will raft through the canyons of the Colorado River. The shuttle will pick you up from Iguana Surf and take you to the national park, which is located about three hours away. When you arrive, you will board the boats and navigate the river for about four hours, going through class III-IV white water rapids. During the calm sections of the river, you can take a moment to enjoy the scenery and wildlife of the rainforest, which is noticeably different than the tropical dry forest of Guanacaste – even in the rainy season. Midway through the tour, you will stop on the riverbank for a prepared lunch.
Volcanic Hot Springs
There is nothing like a dip in a volcanic hot spring in the jungle during a rain shower to make you feel refreshed and truly at one with nature. Our adventure tour in Rincon de la Vieja National Park will have you immersed in the raw beauty of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano with a full adventure package, including ziplining, rafting, rock climbing, and rappelling down a canyon wall. After lunch, you will end the day with a mineral-rich volcanic mud body mask and a dip in the soothing hot springs where you can unwind and relax after a full day of adventure. Not a bad way to spend a (possibly) rainy day!
The hot springs here are heated by the active volcano’s intense thermal energy. This is a power so great it is even harnessed by the Costa Rican government for electricity. The soupy mud for the mud baths comes directly from the ground where the thermal energy bubbles up. As you slather on the warm mud, you’ll realize you can’t get more immersed in the nature of Costa Rica than this! Full of anti-aging sulfur and inflammation relieving magnesium and zinc, you will come away from the experience feeling exfoliated, purified, and stress-free! The slightly cooler temperatures of the rainy season are an ideal time to relax in the comfortably warm waters of the natural springs.
Not only does the cooled down air and cloudy skies of a Guanacaste rainy season give you a bit of a respite from the intense heat of the Costa Rican Pacific coastline, it also means fewer crowds, experiencing the coast while it is lush and green, and getting to take advantage of price drops during the low season on everything from flights, to hotels, to food, to tours. Not only that, but the Tamarindo rainy season has the best sunsets of the year, thanks to the clouds, which turn shades of orange, pink and magenta before your eyes, while being reflected over the sea. All this and more makes Tamarindo’s rainy season the perfect time to visit!
Blog by Jennifer LaCharite