The weather in Costa Rica in May depends on where you are. Moving into the wet season (roughly May to mid-Nov), Costa Rica experiences sunny mornings and afternoon rains. The crowds have petered out after Easter and travellers who prefer to play it by ear are much better off coming during the low or rainy season (euphemistically called the “green season”) when many hotels offer discounts.
What is the weather like in Costa Rica in May?
In Costa Rica, May is considered part of the transitional period between the dry season and the rainy season. The weather can vary depending on the specific region you are in.
During May, you can expect a mix of sunny and rainy days in many parts of Costa Rica. The mornings and early afternoons generally tend to be relatively dry and sunny, with temperatures typically ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (mid-20s to high 20s Celsius). However, as the day progresses, you may experience increased cloud cover and rain showers, particularly in the late afternoon or evening.
The amount of rainfall can vary throughout the country. The Pacific coast, including popular destinations like Tamarindo and Manuel Antonio, tends to experience more rainfall compared to the Caribbean coast during May.
The transition to the rainy season means that May can be a greener and lush time to visit Costa Rica. The vegetation is vibrant, and wildlife is often more active.
Travel tip: read all about the best time to visit Costa Rica.
Is Costa Rica warm in May?
The average temperatures vary across different parts of the country. In the coastal regions, such as Guanacaste and the Nicoya Peninsula, temperatures range from 80°F to 95°F (27°C to 35°C). These areas offer beautiful beaches and clear waters, perfect for sunbathing and water activities.
In the Central Valley, where the capital city of San José is located, temperatures range from 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 27°C). The highlands, including Monteverde and Arenal, have cooler temperatures ranging from 60°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C). These regions boast lush green landscapes and stunning cloud forests.
Rough Guides tip: a trip to Costa Rica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Do you want to get the best out of your trip? Connect with our local experts.
Is May a good time to visit Costa Rica?
May is one of the best times to visit, when the rains have either just started or just died off, and the country is refreshed, green and relatively untouristy.
May is the best time to visit Monteverde. Though generally associated only with its eponymous cloud forest reserve, Monteverde actually covers a larger area, straddling the hump of the Cordillera de Tilarán between Volcán Arenal and Laguna de Arenal to the northeast and the low hills of Guanacaste to the west.
The Nicoya Peninsula, Guanacaste and Puerto Viejo are also fabulous in May. As is Punta Uvita, a former island connected to the mainland by a narrow sandbar. At low tide, you can walk for 1km over the gently-shelving sand to the rocks, tide pools and reefs at the end, which stretch out into the sea and resemble a whale’s tail. From May until October, olive ridley and hawksbill turtles come ashore here to nest.
On this amazing tailor-made trip to Costa Rica, you will explore the Cloud Forest and rural life of Dota, before heading to the incredible Drake Bay and Corcovado National Park with its stunning biodiversity, and then the amazing beaches of Manuel Antonio.
What is the average rainfall in May in Costa Rica?
The average rainfall in Costa Rica during May can vary depending on the region. In general, May marks the beginning of the rainy season, and rainfall tends to increase compared to the preceding months.
San Jose gets around 200 mm (8 inches) of rainfall, whilst Manuel Antonio on the Pacific Coast receives around 280 mm (11 inches). The Caribbean Coast gets more rain, around 400 mm (16 inches) near Tortuguero.
Festivals and events in Costa Rica in May
There are several festivals and events that take place in Costa Rica during the month of May. Here are some of them:
- Día de los Trabajadores (Labour Day): On 1 May, parties and parades take place across Costa Rica in celebration of workers getting more labour rights.
- Día de San Isidro Labrador (15 May): The patron saint of farmers is honoured with fairs, parades and food as the livestock and crops are blessed for the coming year.
- Carrera de San Juan (17 May): Costa Rica’s most popular marathon takes place, running from Cartago to San Jose.
Ready for your dream trip to Costa Rica in May?
Our tailor-made trip service allows you to go on the trip of your dreams without the planning or hassle. All of our planned itineraries are created by local travel experts and can be tailored to meet your specific needs.
- Costa Rica: Coast to Coast (12 days): From paradise beaches, scenic narrow waterways and magical rainforests, Costa Rica has much to offer. Head east and discover the tranquil Caribbean Sea, head west for the tumultuous Pacific Ocean and surfer’s paradise.
- A Self Drive Caribbean Adventure (10 days): Embark on a Costa Rican adventure along the Caribbean coast with your rental car. Explore Boca Pacuare, witness turtle nesting, experience Cahuita's unique culture, and bask in the beauty of Puerto Viejo's beaches. Your journey concludes in Turrialba, where the country's primary archaeological monument awaits.
- Or discover more Costa Rica itineraries.