NOTE: The content on this page was last updated on June 20th, 2017.
What is there to do (in La Fortuna/Arenal and Manuel Antonio) if it rains?
Given that Costa Rica is part rainforest, rain is inevitable (please see our answer to: What Happens To My Tour Reservations If It Rains for more information about tour reservations affected by the weather). Fortunately, most of the country’s tourism operations (with the exception of those impacted by high winds or water levels) run rain or shine. Since it rains so often throughout the year (even sometimes during the dry season), it is impossible to plan for. Sometimes weather forecasts call for rain and none is received. Other times there is no rain in the forecast, but clouds roll in and moments later everything is wet. Often it seems that when rain is predicted for the am it arrives in the pm, and vice versa. Mother Nature is a bit of a drama queen who is addicted to the thrill of suspense, we have learned; we never really know what she’ll do, and as a result, we recommend that travellers plan for their trip regardless of her wavering shenanigans.
To prepare for rain with respect to packing, we recommend bringing a light rain jacket or poncho and secure shoes/sandals (not flip flops) with you to Costa Rica (for more packing tips, please see our related blog post: What To Pack For A Costa Rican Vacation).
To prepare for rain as far as tours and activities go, consider the following.
Note: (A) means that a tour of the activity type is run to/from the La Fortuna/Arenal region (please see the following for a tour list in the La Fortuna/Arenal area of the country: https://puravidaeh.ca/category/costa-rica-tour-discounts/arenal-la-fortuna-tour-discounts/)
Note: (MA) means that a tour of the activity type is run to/from the Manuel Antonio region (please see the following for a tour list in the Manuel Antonio area of the country: https://puravidaeh.ca/category/costa-rica-tour-discounts/manuel-antonio-tour-discounts/)
Choose tours and activities that are least-likely to be affected by rain. These may include:
- Flat hikes/walks (A)(MA)
- Hanging bridge tours (A)
- Aerial tram rides (assuming significant wind is not a factor) (A)
- Canopy ziplining tours (assuming significant wind is not a factor) (A)(MA)
- Boat tours (A)(MA)
- Cave tours (A)
- Plantation tours (A)
- Activities performed inside, such as cooking classes or dancing lessons (A)
Choose tours and activities that already involve getting wet, so rain is likely to affect your level of comfort. These many include:
- White water rafting tours (A)(MA)
- Canyoneering tours (A)(MA)
- Waterfall jumping tours (A)
- Snorkeling tours (MA)
- Surf lessons (MA)
- Scuba diving tours (MA)
- Stand-up paddling (SUP) tours (MA)
- River tubing tours (A)(MA)
- Hot spring visits (A)
Note: As mentioned above, in cases where water levels are high, certain water activities may not be able to be performed. The above suggestions are appropriate for rainy days (i.e., the activities run regardless of whether it is raining or not), assuming the country has not received enough rain to raise rivers, waves, pools, and waterfalls to dangerous levels.
As a side note, if you opt not to participate in any tour or activity while it is raining (i.e., if you opt not to schedule tours or activities for your trip on the chance that it might rain), you could stay on-site at your hotel (there may be things to do on-site, depending on where you opted to stay), visit local shops, or tour any form of inside attraction (such as a museum, church, etc.).
Remember, as frustrating as it may be (especially while on vacation!), rain can be a blessing. Sure, torrential downpours are a downer, but when it gets hot–and we mean sticky/tropical hot, especially in the middle of a physically active and sweat-inducing activity–a cool breeze or rain shower works wonders to rejuvenate and re-energize drained batteries. 😉
Read our related blog post: What To Pack For A Costa Rican Vacation
Read our related blog post: Costa Rica (La Fortuna) Weather: Does It Rain In The Rainforest During The Rain Season?