Expats from around the world are drawn to Costa Rica for many reasons; among the most popular: it’s noteworthy enjoyable climate. For such a small country, Costa Rica experiences a decent variation in weather patterns, so you still need to evaluate what you want in a daily climate in order to choose the best place in Costa Rica for you.
Guanacaste is the province covering the northwestern portion of the country, partially bordering northern neighbor Nicaragua and including the famed Nicoya peninsula. This is the hottest and driest region of the country, so for heat and sun lovers, this is the place for you.
Costa Rica experiences just two seasons, rainy and dry—also sometimes referred to as green and dry or even winter and summer. In Guanacaste these seasons tend not to differ dramatically. Dry season has less rain, but is not void of humidity. While it is less humid in this region than more dense rainforest/jungle covered regions, you will still find some dampness in the air.
Humidity in Guanacaste generally stays within the 60% to 90% range. Humidity in the 60s F and low 70s F is common from about December through May and higher humidity in the 80s F June through November. The highest humidity can be expected during the two months that also have the most rainfall: September and October.
While temperatures can exceed 90 F and occasionally fall into the 70s F in the evenings, average temperatures hover between 80 F and 90 F year-round.
Even during the rainy season, which technically goes from May through early November, it’s rare to have rain every day, and equally rare to have a day where it rains the whole way through. The Guanacaste region more commonly offers days that start out sunny, with the occasional afternoon or evening tropical rain.
During the months of January and February it’s typical to expect less than an inch of rainfall. While in months like September and October it’s possible for rainfall to exceed 120 inches.
Weather in Guanacaste is pretty consistent throughout the region, with the exception of the area around Tilarán and Arenal. This area starts to creep into the more jungle and rainforest climate, with more intense rainfall and higher humidity, as well as cooler air at higher altitudes which creates some of Costa Rica’s famed cloud forests.
Temperatures in this inland portion of the region are also slightly lower. A range of mid-70s F to low-80s F year-round can be expected.
The climate in Guanacaste generally supports a tropical dry forest landscape, with the exception of the Arenal area, which is rainforest. This region also has plenty of farmland and lots of roaming cattle. Because of the lack of rainfall in the region however, it’s not perfect for all crops. The most common in Guanacaste are sugar cane, cotton, and rice, along with some fruits including mangos. It’s possible to grow crops like coffee and cacao, but only in small pockets of the region, like near the base of Tenorio volcano which offers protection from the heat and more moisture, as well as uniquely rich soil.
It’s rare to need trousers or a jacket in Guanacaste. The hot climate keeps waters warm as well. Water temperatures along the coast in this region do not drop below 68 F, and are typically much warmer than that—usually in the high 70s F or even low 80s F.