Costa Rica, one of the most popular destinations in Central America, has been visited worldwide since its discovery in the 15th century.
Even today, thousands of tourists visit Costa Rica yearly to experience its tropical climate, beautiful scenery, rich biodiversity, and clear skies.
Costa Rica in November presents travelers with a fantastic opportunity to enjoy the rainforest, flora, high season, and fauna without dealing with distinct seasons (the sunny days of the little summer or the rainy season) in December and January.
What Is Costa Rica Like in November?
As you might imagine, Costa Rica in November isn’t quite like Costa Rica in July—it’s not just the time of year but also the season and the events that are happening throughout the country that make travel to Costa Rica in November distinct from a trip at other times of the year.
With this travel guide, you’ll get all the information you need to have a fantastic time with your family and friends without worrying about the weather. Find out what the weather is like at that time of the year, what times of the year and places are best to visit Costa Rica to have a great time, what’s the crowd level, and more.
Costa Rica Weather in November
November is the month of the year with the most rain.
This is due to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation phenomenon, a climate pattern that starts when water temperatures are hot in the Pacific Ocean, which affects rainfall worldwide for about two years.
It’s always a gamble to know what kind of weather you can expect when visiting Costa Rica in November. For the most part, this is an umbrella-carrying month for Costa Ricans on the Pacific side of the country and also up in the central mountains. But sometimes – especially if an El Niño is going on – the dry season will come earlier than usual, while La Niña years typically intensify and lengthen the rainier months.
In general, Northern and Central pacific regions receive heavy rains daily, clearing up most of the day. The Southern Pacific and the Osa Peninsula remain hot and humid until around mid-month, when it finally starts drying out thanks to the few passing afternoon rain showers.
Lodges and tour operators who had closed their doors after September’s excessive rainfall reopen them when it begins to clear again at the end of October – because now is one of the best times of year for guests to visit Costa Rica.
The dry and barren Southern Caribbean Side (Cahuita, Puerto Viejo, and Manzanillo) contrasts sharply with the wetter northern coasts of Tortuguero; here, evening rainfall becomes commonplace.
Pacific Coast Weather
The rainy season typically runs from July to October, although the rain usually lasts only a few hours.
The average monthly rainfall is around 100mm, with some months receiving more than 200mm of precipitation. The Pacific coast is the wettest area of the country, so it’s a good idea to come during the dry season if you want to avoid heavy rain. There are many parks that you can visit during the rainy season as well to avoid high or little rain.
Many people may not be aware, but over 30 national parks are nationwide.
These include Palo Verde National Park and Juan Castro Blanco National Park near Liberia on the Central Coast; Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve near San Jose (or San José) on the Atlantic side; Arenal Volcano National Park near La Fortuna on the North Atlantic side; Manuel Antonio National Park near Quepos on the Central Pacific side; Rincon de la Vieja National Park and Poas Volcano National Garden near Liberia on the South Pacific side.
Caribbean Coast Weather
The Caribbean coast is generally hot and humid all year round, with a temperate climate ranging from 25-32 degrees Celsius.
The great month of July, August, and September are the hottest and most popular tourist months in Costa Rica. In November, the average high temperatures are 27 degrees Celsius, with an average minimum temperature of 24 degrees Celsius.
It’s a good time of year to enjoy the beaches and other outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, biking, or kayaking tours of some rivers. With days of rain scattered throughout the month, there’s plenty of opportunity to explore rainforests.
Wildlife enthusiasts should visit Tortuguero National Park, where more than 350 species of animals can be found, including jaguars, manatees, monkeys, and sloths.
If you’re looking for something even more exotic, make your way to Corcovado National Park, where you’ll find toucans and scarlet macaws, among many other endangered species.
Central Valley Weather
Central Valley is generally dry and hot during November and December, some of the year’s hottest months.
The average high temperature is around 81 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average low temperature is around 59 degrees Fahrenheit. In these winter months, Central Valley sees, on average, between 2-3 inches of rain.
However, it is not uncommon for this region to experience an El Niño event, leading to increased precipitation and flooding. So if you’re planning a trip here during rainy months like November or December, pack light rain gear just in case.
You’ll need a jacket as well. You should also be prepared with sunscreen and plenty of bug spray because mosquitoes are very common in this region at any time of year. Additionally, carry sunblock if you’re going out after dark because mosquitos don’t fly that far from where they feed at dusk (mosquitos are drawn to warmth).
Osa Peninsula Weather
The Osa Peninsula has a tropical climate with high humidity in the transition month. It is more relaxed in Osa than Nicoya peninsula or the rest of the country because it is surrounded by mountains, which block some of the sun’s rays and trap moisture.
During peak season, it will rain four days out of five. The temperature hovers around 80°F during the day and 70°F at night. There is no dry season; temperatures are relatively consistent throughout the year.
The rainy season lasts from May to December, when most of the annual rainfall occurs: 6-10 inches per month. For hikers, boots and an insect repellent are required to protect against ticks carrying diseases like Lyme Disease.
Strong winds strike northwestern Puerto Rico in November (usually late November and early December). This Papagayo wind is caused by cold weather, dry air coming down from North America, and pushing back the moist warm heavy tropical air.
These differences in atmospheric pressure cause high winds to develop over the island, reaching speeds up to 100 kilometers per hour.
November is a slower time of year, so expect fewer crowds. There are usually fewer tourists due to the rainy season except for the beginning of the month. That is during the country’s Dia De Los Muertos ( Day of the Dead) holiday. This is good news because there’s guaranteed maximum fun.
During your stay in Costa Rica in November, you will find that many places you plan to visit are void of tourists and travelers because the central touristic time has yet begun.
Walking trails around Arenal Volcano and tree cover found throughout National Parks and rain forests await you alone – an opportunity rare during other times when people flock here year round.
Another advantage is reduced rates on international flights and lodging. For lodgings, you can count on savings of at least 15%. Remote areas like the Osa Peninsula or Tortuguero National Park might offer up to 50% discounts!
More so, November is a popular time when the Yankees celebrate Thanksgiving, and there are only three weeks in the year when Thanksgiving is celebrated, so if you plan on coming down during those weeks – book your hotels ahead of time, as hotel prices are usually high.
Best Places To Go in November
November is a great time to visit the Pacific coastal areas of Costa Rica. The rainy days are starting to ease up, and you can take advantage of the warm, sunny mornings and fresh mountain air. During this time of year, wildflowers are abundant in bloom, so be sure to bring your camera.
It could be hard to choose between the Caribbean or the Pacific beaches. If you want to snorkel, we recommend going to the Caribbean coast. Places like Limon and Puerto Viejo de la Talamanca are likely picturesque.
If you’re looking for leatherback turtles, then definitely go for the Pacific Coast. This is where you’ll likely find yourself in a prime position for walking through the wooded trails of Arenal – or even canyoning!
You’ll want to make time for touring La Paz, too, as that’s when it tends to look its best after several months of rain; meanwhile, national parks and wildlife reserves, including Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, and Tortuguero – these spots are sure to fulfill any desires for coming into contact with nature.
The Caribbean side of Costa Rica is a popular place for tourists to visit in November. Mostly due to its diversity of wildlife, natural beauty, and average relative humidity.
You can spot toucans, hummingbirds, monkeys, and sloths from the safety of your vehicle. If you’re feeling adventurous, there are also plenty of activities like zip-lining that you can do.
Be sure to stop at this beautiful lake and Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Since it’s still relatively warm here, be prepared for rain showers. And don’t forget your umbrella. When it rains on the Caribbean side, it pours.
During these tropical seasons, storms bring lightning, heavy winds, and other problems. But when they end, there’s nothing better than lounging by the water under a palm tree while watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Don’t worry about the drizzle; enjoy the cool breeze coming off the waves. And know there will always be an adventure awaiting you tomorrow.
Some popular areas and the best things to do while vacationing in Costa Rica in November:
As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, Manuel Antonio is the perfect place to enjoy the warm and sunny weather all year round.
But if you are visiting in November, you will find it much more pleasant than some other months. The average maximum temperature ranges from 88 degrees Fahrenheit during the day to 70 degrees Fahrenheit at night. This is according to weather data by Weather and Climate.
It’s an excellent place for outdoor activities such as hiking or birdwatching because there is less rain. You can still swim or get afternoon showers as long as you are careful not to get overheated. Visitors can expect more crowds on weekends, but finding a peaceful spot is still very easy.
Anyone who loves nature should visit Manuel Antonio National Park in November. One benefit of visiting in November is that hotel rates drop dramatically. In addition, winter prices bring new deals for visitors to take advantage of.
Tortuguero national park
Known for its natural beauty, Tortuguero National Park is a must-see when visiting the country.
Sitting on the Caribbean Sea and bordering the vast Tenorio Volcano, this natural wonderland offers some of the most breathtaking views you’ll ever see. The lush rainforest is filled with animals such as howler monkeys, sloths, frogs, and toucans.
Visitors can either explore by boat or hike along one of the many trails to experience it firsthand. Make sure to make time to visit while you’re here!
The average high daytime temperature reaches about 29 degrees Celsius or 84.2 degrees Fahrenheit. This is at its highest point in the day, according to the weather forecast. In November, the average nighttime low for Tortuguero is about 21 degrees Celsius or 69.8 degrees Fahrenheit. It falls during the rainy season with an average rainfall of 367 millimeters or 14.4 inches per month.
La Paz Waterfall
La Paz Waterfall is one of the largest waterfalls in Costa Rica. And it is one of the most popular attractions outside of San Jose.
You can hike to the waterfall’s base or take a cable car ride up to a viewing platform. The park is also home to many beautiful waterfalls, natural pools, and jungle trails.
Hikers will find it easy to get lost among the forest of trees. But there are plenty of signs along the way marking where you are. Keep your eyes open for monkeys as well.
When you’re done exploring, head to Hotel El Bambu. This is one of our favorite local restaurants serving mouth-watering dishes and freshly roasted coffee beans.
A short drive from La Paz is Cerro de la Muerte Mountain. A part of the country which offers breathtaking views at the top (especially at sunset). The strenuous three-hour hike begins with a series of switchbacks that lead up through the dense forest. Then it emerges onto open grassland dotted with rocky outcroppings.
Most people consider November a lousy time to visit Costa Rica due to the weather conditions, but that’s not true.
November is a great time to visit this tropical country, especially for nature lovers.
Suppose you’re looking for a white Christmas. In that case, you might want to plan your trip for the end of November or the beginning of December. As it’s usually colder outside, and there are plenty of festivities.
The weather is still hot and humid but not too crowded. You’ll also find more local flavor because many tourists have left for the year.
Alternatively, you could also plan your trip for April-May, although the days can get quite hot. Most tourist attractions will be open throughout the country. So no matter what month you choose to go, you won’t miss out on much!