NOTE: The content on this page was last updated on August 29th, 2017.
Get the Costa Rica information you need asap! Browse our article's content sections below...
DOES IT RAIN IN THE RAINFOREST DURING THE RAIN SEASON?
You bet it does! Costa Rica is a tropical environment–not only is rain inevitable, but it plays a significant part in keeping the country as beautiful as it is. This is especially true for the La Fortuna/Arenal region of the country, where the majority of first-time visitors plan to spend at least a night or two during their vacation. Given that the area is a lush and green inland destination (it is kept this way as a result of sunshine and rainfall experienced year round), we are often asked about La Fortuna weather and what travellers should expect at different times throughout the year. While most people would prefer to hear us say that cloud cover and rain is rare in La Fortuna, the truth is, both are common occurrences.
LA FORTUNA WEATHER: DOES IT RAIN ALL OF THE TIME?
No, it does not rain all of the time in La Fortuna, even during the rain/green/wet season. Yes, the Arenal region experiences sporadic and heavy downpours from time to time as most other Costa Rican destinations do, but the duration of each rainshower is typically short. One morning the town is fresh, smothered by cloudy patches and dampened by rain, and the next it is overcome by sunshine and a surprisingly muggy heat. That same afternoon it might be bright and sunny without a cloud in the sky, only to suffer a torrential rainstorm an hour later that develops as quickly as it passes. For this reason, the irregularity of La Fortuna weather scheduling makes each day’s outcome difficult to predict, which is why travellers should never judge what a day’s weather will be like based on the morning view from their hotel window.
This is true year-round in La Fortuna, when one can wake up to a clear morning with an exposed Arenal Volcano, only to watch the clouds march in from the east moments later as they swallow the volcano whole. Of course, favourable weather is much more consistent during the summer season (hence, why the period is nicknamed the “dry season”), however beautiful days are plentiful from the first of January to the thirty-first of December in La Fortuna. As many times as we have found ourselves caught in unlikely rainshowers during February and March we have been blessed with surprisingly sunny skies in September and October, and although we can preach with a certain degree of confidence that La Fortuna weather is at its best during the first four months of the year, the most valuable lesson we could ever teach is one that confirms Mother Nature’s ways are neither predictable nor guaranteed.
PLANNING A VISIT TO LA FORTUNA (OR ANYWHERE IN COSTA RICA) BASED ON THE WEATHER
Know that any time of year is a good time of year to visit Costa Rica
When planning a trip to La Fortuna (or anywhere in the country, for that matter), know that any time of year is a good time of year to visit Costa Rica; that is, if you are up for an adventure. Although travellers who aim to visit coastal destinations only (such as travellers who plan to embark on all-inclusive resort vacations) would be best to visit the country during the dry/summer season in order to maximize the chance of experiencing as many sunny beach days as possible, other travellers in search of country’s rainforest, rivers, mountains, volcanoes, national parks, and more will find value travelling during any/all of Costa Rica’s weather seasons. We believe, if you are the type of person who has selected Costa Rica above all other countries in the world to visit, there is a good chance you are also the type of person who is open to experiencing everything that the country has to offer… potential rain and all!
Visit with a plan to predict the unpredictable
Since La Fortuna weather reports aren’t overly telling or reliable, the best way we recommend to plan for the weather in La Fortuna is to predict the unpredictable: visit the region with an understanding that it may (or may not) rain while you are there, and prepare ahead of time for both outcomes. This will allow you to plan for the worst (with rain poncho in hand) while hoping for the best, or in the very least, it will save you from disappointment and surprise if you are greeted with rain. On a more positive note, perhaps it will enlighten you to a reality of the Costa Rican rainforest with an attitude towards rain that it will not hinder your experience.
What is there to do in La Fortuna if it rains?
Fear not, disgruntled traveller; fortunately there are plenty of rain-friendly activities to participate in when rain strikes in the La Fortuna region. Activities such as white water rafting tours, waterfall jumping tours, and canyoneering/canyoning/rappelling tours that cause participants to get wet anyway run rain or shine and are unaffected by rainshowers (so long as the amount of rainfall received is not significant enough to cause the activity to be too dangerous to run). Covered boat tours such as those run on Rio Frio (the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge) protect participants from the rain, so the tour experience would not be ruined, put on hold, or a waste of time or money due to the weather, and for those who would rather avoid the outdoors altogether when it is damp, activities conducted indoors–such as cooking classes, dance classes, and exhibit tours–are alternative options to fallback on.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Although a hindrance, would rain be enough to negatively affect your overall travel experience?