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Costa Rica in August: Costs, Weather, Wildlife, Roads, Tourism Closures And More!

Costa Rica in August: Costs, Weather, Wildlife, Roads, Tourism Closures And More!

Last updated on April 10th, 2022 at 02:54 pm EST

Pictured above (clockwise): An empty restaurant in La Fortuna; the basilica in Cartago where the Dia de la Virgin de los Angeles is celebrated; resident cormorants at the Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Cano Negro

Some of the information in this article about traveling to Costa Rica in August can also be found in our related blog post:

When To Go To Costa Rica According To Cost, Weather, Wildlife, And More!

Is August a good time to go to Costa Rica?

The answer to this question depends on what you’re looking to get out of your travel experience, where in Costa Rica you’re headed, what you want to see and do while here, how much money you’re willing to spend, and several other factors. We compiled the information below to help you decide whether you should or shouldn’t go to Costa Rica in August, which is part of Costa Rica’s “low season” (click here to learn more about Costa Rica’s high and low travel seasons), according to your own interests, wants, needs, and vacation priorities.

Planning to visit Costa Rica during a different month? Don’t miss our related blog posts:

Costa Rica in January / Costa Rica in February / Costa Rica in March / Costa Rica in April / Costa Rica in May / Costa Rica in June / Costa Rica in JulyCosta Rica in September / Costa Rica in October / Costa Rica in November / Costa Rica in December

Special events and celebrations in August

August hosts a few Costa Rican celebrations but not many tend to attract tourists. Mother’s Day is celebrated privately among Costa Rican families on August 15th. The Dia de la Virgin de los Angeles is a religious holiday celebrated by Roman Catholics (tourists welcome) in Cartago on August 2nd.

Noteworthy wildlife / marine life sightings in August

If you’re coming to Costa Rica to see a particular species of wildlife or marine life, consider the following benefits to visiting Costa Rica in August:

  • Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Ostional (the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge) hosts olive ridley sea turtles nesting on Playa Ostional in August (best seen between May and December, ideally between August and December).
  • Parque Nacional Tortuguero (the Tortuguero National Park) hosts olive ridley sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, loggerhead sea turtles, and green sea turtles nesting on Playa Tortuguero in August (best seen between March and October).
  • Refugio de Vida Silvestre Camaronal (the Camaronal Wildlife Refuge) hosts olive ridley sea turtles, leatherback sea turtles, and hawksbill sea turtles nesting on Playa Camaronal in August (best seen between June and December).
  • Islas Murcielago (the Bat Islands, also known as “The Bats”) hosts bull sharks in August (best seen between May and November).
  • Isla del Coco (Cocos Island) hosts sharks and whales in August (best seen between May and December).
  • Costa Rica’s Pacific coast hosts humpback whales migrating up from the south in August (best seen between July and October).
  • Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Cano Negro (the Cano Negro Mixed Wildlife Refuge) hosts resident bird species in August (best seen between May and December).
  • Parque Nacional Palo Verde (the Palo Verde National Park) hosts resident bird species in August (best seen between May and December).
Interested in Costa Rican wildlife? Don’t miss the photos in our related blog post:

Costa Rica Wildlife Photography

Costs in August

On average countrywide, the least expensive time to travel to Costa Rica is during the low season. This being said, August and July form the shoulder sub-season during which time some prices (mainly hotel rates and possibly some car rental rates) may be elevated but not as expensive as prices that apply during the high season. Prices for tours / activities, shared and private transportation services, and food tend to remain the same year-round.

Weather in August

On average around the country, Costa Rica’s least favorable weather is experienced during the low season, which spans August. During this time, most of the country experiences Costa Rica’s green / wet / rain season, which is considered Costa Rica’s winter season. Even though you’re most likely to encounter fewer periods of sunshine and above-average periods of rain if you visit during August compared to dry / summer season months (mid-December to April), there’s still plenty of great weather to be had. It’s also worth noting that on average around the country, August (and July) typically receive more sunshine and less rain than other green / wet / rain season months, especially when compared to September, October, and November.

Destinations along Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast (between Limon and Manzanillo) follow a weather pattern that’s partly opposite the rest of Costa Rica. Since the southern Caribbean receives its best weather during the months of September and October, on years when this great weather arrives early to the Caribbean, it’s possible that late August, too, could enjoy an increase in sunshine and a decrease in rain.

Views in August

Cloud cover and sporadic rain are experienced in Costa Rica during the month of August. This weather can affect otherwise beautiful views captured during adventure and nature tours, atop volcano craters, and at several miradors (viewpoints) around the country.

Landscape in August

August is part of Costa Rica’s green / wet / rain season, which means you’re most likely to witness the country lush and green (as opposed to dry and brown, in some areas) when you visit.

Road conditions in August

In general, Costa Rica’s roads conditions are average during August. Though driving at any time during Costa Rica’s green / wet / rain season comes with its challenges, including occasional road delays or closures due to landslides, river crossings, and bumpy roads dotted with potholes, the roads aren’t as bad as they can be at the end of the season (October and November). Since rain is a common occurrence during the green / wet/ rain season, if it has rained recently where you plan to travel, you may find that unpaved roads comprised of dirt and dust have turned to mud or become lined with ruts. Having a 4×4 vehicle is a good idea—if not a requirement, depending on which highways and roads you’ll be covering—if you plan to drive around Costa Rica in August.

Plan to drive yourself around Costa Rica? Learn what to expect from each road and highway by reading our related blog posts:

Costa Rica Highway Conditions By Route

Costa Rica Road Conditions By Route

Water levels in August

Costa Rica experiences an average amount of rainfall during August, which means water levels around the country are sometimes high. This means that waterfalls (for swimming in and canyoning beside) may be powerful, white-water rafting excursions may be intense, and other water-related activities (such as kayaking tours and boat tours) may require tour modifications during the month that you visit. Though tour and activity cancellations resulting from dangerous water levels are more likely to occur in October and November, they may also occur in August.

Terrain in August

Hike conditions tend to be average during August but rainfall throughout the month can produce muddy and debris-filled trails. Though uncommon during August, you may also encounter trail closures due to landslides, floods, or fallen trees.

Tourism in August

Countrywide, tourism in Costa Rica is average during the first half of August and low and muted during the second half of August. If you plan to visit during the last half of the month, you can expect smaller group sizes for organized tours; below-average numbers of hikers on popular nature trails, guests in hotels, and diners in restaurants; fewer occupants in transportation vehicles (i.e., shared shuttle services, domestic flights, water taxis, ferries, and local buses); and lower levels of noise. The first half of the month sees more travelers in hotels, restaurants, transportation vehicles, and tour groups but nowhere near the volume of travelers that visit during high season months.

Atmosphere in August

Characteristic of Costa Rica’s low season, the month of August (especially the second half of the month) gives off a laid-back vibe that thrives in the absence of crowds.

Closures in August

Several tourism businesses close temporarily, reduce their hours of operation, or renovate during late low season months, typically September, October, and/or November. Some businesses (many on the Nicoya Peninsula) close temporarily as early as August, usually mid-month. If you plan to visit Costa Rica during this month, you may want to contact each hotel, tour company, and/or restaurant you wish to experience to make sure they’ll be available to you during your visit.

Cruises in August

Costa Rica’s cruise season typically runs from October to March each year. Because cruises rarely dock in Costa Rica during August, tourism is practically non-existent in port towns like Puntarenas (on the Pacific coast) and Limon (on the Caribbean coast) during the month.

Availability for accommodations in August

Most Costa Rica hotels don’t sell out during the month of August, which means room availability is typically easy to come by, especially during the second half of the month.

Wondering when you should book Costa Rica trip items to not lose out on availability? Don’t miss our related blog post:

Booking Costa Rica Trip Reservations In Advance: How Much Time Is Needed?

Availability for tours / activities in August

Spaces for most Costa Rica tours / activities don’t sell out during the month of August. If you’re interested in booking preferred tour times and/or tour guides though, it’s a good idea to reserve tours / activities once you’ve selected them. If you’re a single traveler visiting Costa Rica in August, you may find it tough to participate in some tours / activities as many tour operators have a minimum two-person requirement. Since August doesn’t receive loads of visitors, it can be tough to find other people to participate in guided tours with during the low-season month.

Want to save money on your Costa Rica day tours? Check out the free discounts we offer for Costa Rica tours and activities:

Free Discounts For Costa Rica Tours And Activities

Availability for transportation services in August

Most Costa Rica transportation services (including shared shuttle services, private transfer services, domestic flights, water taxis, and ferries) don’t sell out during August. If you’re interested in booking preferred departure times and/or routes though, it’s a good idea to reserve transportation services once you’ve selected them. Some transportation service providers (such as shared shuttle service providers and domestic airlines) reduce the number of services they offer during low-season months, including August, so there may be fewer departure times available for you to choose from.

Need help deciding which transportation services to use in Costa Rica? Check out our related blog post:

Costa Rica Transportation: 12 Ways To Get Around Costa Rica

Availability for rental cars in August

Most Costa Rica car rental agencies don’t sell out of vehicles during August, especially for rentals during the last half of the month. 4×4 vehicles are the first to go, however. Since it’s recommended to navigate many of Costa Rica’s roads in August with a 4×4 vehicle, it’s a good idea to secure a rental car of this type as soon as you decide on it.

Have you booked your Costa Rica hotels, transportation services, or car rental yet? If not, don’t miss the free discount codes we offer for these items:

Free Costa Rica Discount Codes For Hotels, Shuttles, And Car Rentals

QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Costa Rica in August? What did you experience?

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Costa Rica in August: Costs, Weather, Wildlife, Roads, Tourism Closures And More!
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Costa Rica in August: Costs, Weather, Wildlife, Roads, Tourism Closures And More!
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Everything you need to know about visiting Costa Rica in August, including events, wildlife sightings, costs, weather, tourism, and more!
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The Official Costa Rica Travel Blog
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