Best Time To Visit
When to go
The best time of year to visit Costa Rica is between December and May. Central America has a long rainy season, though the characteristic of these months tends to be bright sunny mornings, followed by afternoon showers. September and October can be quite rainy. On the coast and at lower altitudes, it is hot and humid throughout the year.
There are direct flights from from the UK up to 3 times a week. Iberia flies from Madrid to San Jose and a number of US airlines fly on a daily basis via their hubs in the US. Your can also route via Bogota in Colombia with Avaianca.
GMT -6 hours
British passport holders do not require visas to enter Costa Rica, though if you fly via the US, the ESTA will be compulsory.
There are no compulsory vaccinations required to enter these countries. Always consult your doctor at least six weeks before travel and refer to this useful NHS website for details of recommended vaccinations for your destination.
Things To Do
- Book into a hideaway on the Osa Peninsula
- See turtles lay their eggs in Tortugero National Park
- Explore the verdant Montverde Cloud Forest
- View the impressive Arenal volcano from the hot springs
- Hike the trails in the Manuel Antonio National Park
Our Frequently Asked Questions sections are here to help you decide whether a destination is right for you. Sarah Frankish answers questions about Costa Rica and offers some tips for travellers to this beautiful country. She is always happy to share her knowledge and passion one-to-one. You can ring her on 020 7666 1260.
Why should I visit Costa Rica?
There are so many reasons you should visit Costa Rica. For starters it’s a wildlife enthusiasts dream. When I was there I really felt like I was a guest in animal kingdom. Another thing I love is the friendliness of the local people some of whom are the most welcoming people I have ever met. Another great reason to go is the size of Costa Rica. It’s a fairly small country which means you can see such a lot in just one trip. Highlights for me included the exotic wildlife in the rainforest, surfing in Tamarindo, zip-lining in the Monteverde Cloud Forest and diving in the seas that surround Cano Island, off the Pacific coast.
What's the best way to get to Costa Rica?
There are direct flights from the UK to Costa Rica with British Airways. You can also fly via North America or Europe and change planes in the transit city; with the most common routes being via Madrid or Miami. The total flight time is approximately 15 hours.
How do you get around the country?
Travel in Costa Rica is mainly done by road with our private transfer companies. Sometimes people choose to transfer by light aircraft in order to cut down travel time on longer journeys or to remote areas.
What wildlife can I see in Costa Rica?
I’ve spotted Howler monkeys, White-faced capuchins, Spider monkeys, parrots including the resplendent Quetzal, trogons, macaws, hummingbirds and I even spotted a very well camouflaged sloth. The highlight for me was when I stayed at Latitude 10 in my own private villa; sitting outside in the evening listening to the howler monkeys was a very unique experience.
You can also spot turtles at Tortuguero and Isla Tortuga where you can snorkel and enjoy your own private beach. Here you can even spot dolphins, manta rays and manatees.
Is Costa Rica a safe country?
Costa Rica has a reputation as being very safe and I always feel completely at ease in the country.
Is English widely spoken?
Yes English is spoken fairly widely, especially those who work in tourism.
Whats the weather like in Costa Rica?
The most popular time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season which runs from December to April. The wet season runs from May to November although the rains often fall in short sharp spells with the rest of the day being clear and warm. Tourist numbers fall in the first rainy months of May, June, July and August. Throughout the year, the temperature is often dictated by altitude with it feeling chilly at night in the highlands. The sun shines strong all year and the sunrise is typically at 6am and sunset at 6pm. Costa Rica is a country with lots of microclimates so you can experience different weather patterns within just a few miles of travel!
What's the difference between a rainforest and a cloud forest?
While rainforests are characterised by high rainfall, a cloud forest can be found around the base of mountains, where moisture caused by settling clouds is more effectively retained. This causes a low level cloud cover normally at canopy level. The forest here is shrunken in stature with a canopy standing at around 30 to 35 metres and occasionally higher at lower altitudes. The higher you venture into the mist and cold, the smaller the foliage becomes.
In contrast, the rainforest sits at lower altitudes and has the largest diversity of species in Costa Rica. It is a high and evergreen forest with the tallest trees standing at an impressive 45 to 55 metres.
Do you have any tips for gay travellers?
Costa Rica is tolerant of homosexuality and has laws to protect people from discrimination. Although the country remains a machismo society, gay travellers are generally treated with respect and should not experience any harassment.
Is the tap water safe to drink in Costa Rica?
I would recommend drinking bottled water just to be sure.
What is typical Cost Rican food like?
The food here is bursting with flavour and full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Most Costa Rican meals use a lot of rice and black beans- simple but delicious.
What currency does Costa Rica use?
The Colon is the currency here but you will find that US Dollars are also widely accepted.
Can currency be changed easily?
Traveller’s cheques are the best option as these can be changed easily. Sometimes exchanging US Dollars locally in Costa Rica is best depending on the exchange rate. Most major debit and credit cards are widely accepted.
Do you have any top tips for my holiday to Costa Rica?
Definitely take binoculars to spot animals and birds in the forest canopy. Pack lightly for light aircraft transfers and prepare for warm and rainy weather by taking a light raincoat.
Looking for inspiration?
You'll find expert travel guides, holiday ideas and insider tips now on the Rainbow blog
Why Choose Us?
Passionate travel experts
- We've been leading wildlife travel since our first South Africa tours over 25 years ago
- Our Travel Specialists have lived in their specialist area for years
- We work with local guides to immerse you deeper in our diverse range of experiences
Personal & tailor-made
- You'll speak to your own expert who'll share their first-hand knowledge
- We'll make your itinerary seamless with 24/7 emergency contact available
- Your Travel Specialist will listen to ensure you have the best chance of seeing the wildlife you love
Responsible by nature
- We take care to actively contribute to the conservation of environments we visit
- For select countries, we make a charitable donation on your behalf when you make your booking
- We've partnered with conservation experts and NGOs to curate responsible tours