This week is President’s Week. Our hotels, resorts and lodges have been booked solid for this specific week for months. Last Saturday, the San Jose airport nearly collapsed with wait times in immigration of more than one hour. The beaches are super busy, restaurants jam packed and it is hard to get a space on activities such as canopy tours, horseback riding and whitewater rafting.
So why do so many people come to Costa Rica in the peak season? Most likely it is all about the weather. Cold, grey and grim weather in the north. Everybody wearing boots, sweater and scarfs wants to put on shorts, flip flops and have a cold drink at the beach. Very understandable. We have lived through winters up north and are thankful for the all year around great weather here in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
So where you live will determine what the best time to visit Costa Rica is. Somebody from Chicago, Philadelphia or Boston will most likely want to escape winter for a bit between October and April but somebody from San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas or Miami might want to escape humidity or extreme dry conditions and 100 degree plus heat between May and September. Coming to Costa Rica to “escape the heat up north”? Sounds funny, but it makes sense…
As operators of sustainable luxury hotels, resorts and eco lodges, we try to encourage guests to come during the off season when demand is lower and our most powerful tool is rates and promotions. It is not unusual to pay less than half for the same room and same experience during a stay in May or June versus a stay in February or March. Airline fares are often less than half price as well, but even with all of those economic factors in favor of the traveler, we still struggle to sell rooms in the off season.
It is also important to keep in mind that visiting a destination during the off season is much more sustainable then visiting during the peak season when all public services are at full capacity. See last months blog: How Travel during the Peak Season is Not Sustainable.
A lot of the reason for the lack of demand for the off season might have to do with the lack of information what the experience of visiting Costa Rica or Nicaragua is like during the months of April through November. Let’s “dis-spell” some of the myths of the “green” or rainy season:
Not true! It usually rains only for a few hours during the day, most often in the afternoon and at night. The rain is “warm” rain and in most cases does not influence the activities and tours. It can actually make them more fun, authentic and unique. Don’t be scared off by tropical rain showers. Look forward to them. They are magical!!!
“It is hard to see wildlife during the rainy season”.
Wrong again. More rain equals more life. Frequent showers and high humidity are a given during the country’s rainy season, but so are cooler temperatures, an explosion of vibrant flora and fauna, and an abundance of emerging wildlife. August through November, the remote Osa Peninsula, home to the fantastic Corcovado National Park (where jaguars and pumas roam), sees nesting turtles and their hatchlings on the beaches. Humpback whales are in the Uvita area, just beginning to arrive in late July to have their calves. In the rain forest, now more lush and exuberant than at any other time of year, you can see exotic species and abundant wildlife.
Keep in mind that while rain is more frequent in the green season, it often comes and goes quickly, and there can be days at a time where it doesn’t rain at all. Weather patterns are changing all around the world and we had a couple of days of rain this February and weeks of uninterrupted sunshine in the “rainy season” months of May through November.
Mornings are usually sunny and warm, with plenty of time to hit the beaches and pools. Still, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to experience the magic of being in a rain forest during a rainstorm, with massive leaves glistening around you and everything buzzing.
Take a look at our green season values that offer savings of up to 50% in comparison to the high season rates. Let us know if you need any help and feel free to contact us at [email protected] or click here.