The Best Time to Visit San Jose, Costa Rica for a Dream Vacation!

Dreaming of an unforgettable vacation in San Jose, Costa Rica? This is one of the most popular Costa Rican destinations, and for good reason. It’s a city with culture, nearby attractions, and amazing dining spots. However, its diverse climate can make it hard to figure out the best time to visit.

Should you go during the dry season for outdoor adventures or during the rainy months for a more immersive experience? It can be confusing. At Find My Costa Rica, we’re here to guide you. We’re local experts who can help you discover which season aligns with your vacation goals.

Keep reading to find out when to pack your bags for your San Jose adventure.

Visiting San Jose? At Find My Costa Rica, we make sure you're prepared for the weather before you get here!

What are the Weather Seasons in San Jose, Costa Rica?

San José is located in the Central Valley. As Costa Rica’s capital, it has a typical tropical climate. For this reason, there are two main tropical seasons: the dry season and the green season.

Here are the characteristics of each one:

Dry season

The dry season spans from December through April. During this time, you can expect sunny days with minimal rainfall. This period coincides with the high season, or “summer,” with temperatures ranging from 85-90 F (29-32° C). As such, you’ll find many locals seeking to escape to colder climates.

For many, the dry season is the perfect time for outdoor activities and exploration, and it’s also the peak tourist season.

If you’re visiting Costa Rica in December, keep in mind that the first two weeks of the month can be less crowded. However, the high season begins as the holiday season approaches, leading to higher hotel prices and fully booked excursions.

Rainy season

The rainy season generally begins from May to November. Despite the name, this period doesn’t necessarily mean constant rain, but it does increase the chances of rainfall. Instead, it’s considered the green season or “winter” because the landscape of the city becomes lush and green, and the temperatures tend to fall to 70 F (26°) during the day and 60-65 F (15-18°) at night.

The green season has various perks, including discounted hotel rates, fewer crowds, and increased wildlife activity, making it a favorite among many residents.

Decide between Costa Rica's dry season and rainy season for your next vacation with our help!

Planning Your Trip Beyond the Weather

Understanding the weather is crucial for a successful trip, but there’s more to consider when planning your adventure.

These are some of the local events, holidays, and activities to keep in mind before choosing your travel dates:

Cultural events

Tope Nacional

Held annually on December 26th, the Tope Nacional brings together crowds of locals from across the country. It’s a must-visit for horse lovers, with a lively parade winding its way through the streets of San Jose.

Festival de la Luz

On the second Saturday of December, starting at 6:00 p.m., the city lights up with the Festival of Light. You’ll see a parade of floats and top bands from the country marching along Paseo Colón and Avenida Segunda.

This spectacle of color and joy during the Christmas season has become a beloved tradition for Costa Ricans, drawing a crowd of 1 million attendees, including tourists from around the world.

Virgin of Los Angeles Day

Virgin of Los Angeles Day is a significant national holiday, celebrated annually on August 2nd.

This day gathers thousands of individuals, called “Romeros”, traveling on foot from various regions of the country. It’s a day of prayer, music, and shared meals, concluding with a mass at the Basilica in Cartago.

Experience the country's deeply rooted traditions at the Virgin of Los Angeles Day.

Holiday seasons

Holy Week and Easter

Holy Week in San Jose usually occurs in late March or early April, with Easter Sunday falling on March 31st this year (2024).

It’s a busy time for tourism, known for hot weather and minimal rain. Schools close for the week leading up to Easter, and many people take time off work, turning San Jose into a quieter city as residents head to the beaches.

Independence Day

September 15th marks Independence Day in Costa Rica, commemorating the nation’s separation from Spain in 1821.

On this day, locals celebrate with lantern parades, known as “desfiles de faroles,” traditional music, and traditional dances. While specific customs may vary by region, all Costa Ricans come together to proudly display the national flag’s red, blue, and white colors.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Many locals travel to the city during these holidays to participate in festivities, shopping, and other seasonal activities.

Additionally, tourists visit the capital to experience the holiday atmosphere and explore its attractions. As a result, you can expect increased crowds in popular areas such as downtown San Jose, parks, and shopping malls.

Visit Costa Rica and learn more about the country's unique holidays.



San Jose offers excellent birdwatching opportunities year-round. During the dry season (December to April), you can go to La Paz Waterfall Gardens or La Selva Biological Station for birdwatching, as migratory species and resident birds are more active and easier to spot in the clear, sunny weather.

Coffee tours

Costa Rica is renowned for its coffee culture, and San Jose provides easy access to coffee plantations. To experience it, take our coffee tour during the coffee-picking season, usually in November and December. 

You’ll learn about the coffee-making process and methods that experts use to produce some of the best coffee in the country and the world.

Hiking and exploration

If you’re visiting during the dry season, explore the Poas Volcano National Park trails with our tour. The clear skies and moderate temperatures make for ideal hiking conditions.

Moreover, if you’re coming during the rainy season, consider hiking, such as on the famous Monteverde, to enjoy the lushness of the cloud forest.

Ensure your Costa Rica vacation is filled with the best outdoor activities and tours!

What is the Best Month to Visit San Jose, Costa Rica?

The best month to visit San Jose falls between December and April, which mark the dry season. During this period, you’ll experience sunny days, minimal rainfall, and ideal conditions for outdoor activities and exploring the city.

Additionally, the dry season coincides with the holiday season. That means you’ll get to experience festive celebrations and cultural events.

Let Us Help You Have a Great Time in San Jose, Costa Rica!

At Find My Costa Rica, our team of local experts is dedicated to ensuring you have a fantastic time in San Jose, Costa Rica. With our in-depth knowledge of the region’s climate and attractions, we can help you decide the best season to visit based on your specific plans and preferences.

Our personalized recommendations ensure that your trip aligns perfectly with your needs, allowing you to make the most of your time in this city.

Contact Find My Costa Rica today and let us tailor-make your dream vacation. Plan your trip now!


1. Is it worth it to spend time in San Jose, Costa Rica?

Yes! Spending time in San José, Costa Rica, is worth it. You’ll experience a combination of culture and history and have access to nearby attractions.

2. What is the cheapest time to go to Costa Rica?

The cheapest time to go to Costa Rica is during the rainy season (May to November). You’ll find lower hotel rates, airfares, discounts on tours and activities, and fewer crowds at popular attractions.

3. How do you choose the right time to visit San Jose?

You can choose the right time to visit San Jose by considering your budget, activities, and weather preferences.

If you’re on a budget, the rainy season is the best choice because accommodations and tours offer lower prices. However, the dry season (December to April) is ideal if you prefer sunny weather for outdoor activities.

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