The Best Time to Travel to the South Pacific of Costa Rica
Are you a bargain hunter? Surfrider? Nature lover? ...always wanted to visit Costa Rica but didn’t think you could handle the heat, scorching sun or buses full of tourists? Well, here’s a local’s tip, the best time to travel and experience Costa Rica is during “Veranillo de San Juan” (Dog days of summer) and the Green Season, also known as the rainy season. As a local guide, Barney, explained to me, “Veranillo de San Juan” is “the last chance to make money before the rainy season”. Tour operators are flexible, long term room rates can be negotiated, not to mention, you receive personalized service everywhere you go. There are fewer people around in general, so you feel as if you are VIP, not saying you aren’t, but it’s as if you’ve just rented out the entire hotel for you and your friends at a really awesome one room a night rate! Score! Let the vacation begin.
Needless to say, the fewer people, the more relaxed pace gives everyone time to experience and experience of the local flavor. If you’re lucky (or tip really well) your guide may even splurge and take you to their favorite hideaway, discovering that gem, just out of public reach. So go, get off the beaten path and take the road less traveled. As the saying goes, locals know best, and true to form, I haven't met one local who didn't have their personal favorite waterfall, and each has its unique experience and story to tell thereafter.
Another main reason us locals just don’t get why more people don’t travel to the South Pacific of Costa Rica during the rainy season is that nature comes alive during this time of year. The forests are lush, flowers are in bloom, and frogs, snakes, birds, they all, come out to play. Most of us locals don’t own or are not interested in TV, Nature provides ample entertainment. The noticeable amount of rainfall makes for higher water levels all around, which in turn make more impressive waterfalls for the nature lover and the rafting and waterfall rappelling/canyoning are better for any adventure seeker.
For the surfers, waves are more consistent with south swells coming in from storms originating in Fiji. You know the waves are big when local surfers, who normally surf Playa Hermosa or Playa Dominical (intermediate to advanced surfing) are going to Playa Ballena or Playa (Colonia) Chaman to surf, which are normally great beaches for swimming, with softer waves that carry you back to shore.
And not to mention, these days, we like to top our days off with electric sunsets. The surreal hues of pinks, oranges, reds, and even purples paint the sky, capturing that moment of perfection and satisfaction in your day's effort. The clouds look as if they are painted in the sky, nothing is moving and at that moment, you not only touch eternity, you realize you are eternal. Yeah, it sounds like a bunch of hogwash, but anyone who's ever witnessed one while walking on the beach invites you to judge it for yourself. In those moments, all that matters is here and now, all worries fade away and you are simply present and happy to be there. So if you are stressed out from work, we have the perfect therapy. Walk the beach with an electric sunset, listen to the waves crash on the shore, feel the salty air on your skin, it'll take a load off and lighten your mental load, maybe your waistline too.
So by now, you are looking to book your flight but you look on the weather channel first to see when it's best to come, and as my family and friends have pointed out, it's announcing rain every day. Seems discouraging right? Well, that's just it, it may announce rain, and may even rain every other day or a few days consecutively, but be that as it may, the rain isn't that big of a deal. I'm Canadian, so you tell me it's going to rain, I say bring it, I'll take rain over paralyzing cold snow any day! All jokes aside, sometimes it's bright and sunny and it also happens to be drizzling rain. Like I said, not too much of a big deal, plus when the rain does come it's normally at the end of the day, like a refreshing shower that cools the temperature down and sends you off to bed with the soft sound of raindrops falling on your roof. Ah, the sound is more than soothing on a tin roof, another natural therapeutic technique to calm those nerves. And as they say, the early bird gets the worm, so go to bed early, wake up refreshed and make the most of your day and your vacation in Costa Rica, most mornings remain clear blue skies until at least noon.
And if you do come and it's raining cats and dogs and thundering like Zeus's evil twin got a hold of his lightning bolt, you may not be disappointed, even then. It's amazing to watch the rain fall and witness Nature at its best. The thunderstorms are a demonstration of sheer power and the amount of rain that falls per minute, astounding. If you want to feel the power of Nature, during the green season, the rain and thunderstorms are amazing to witness. It is an activity all unto itself. Watch the storms from an elevated view, perhaps you may be lucky enough to watch a South Pacific Ocean storm from afar, and you get the best show on earth, as I said, Nature provides entertainment in the South and we are the lucky observers who get to witness the live show, all you need to do is show up.
So come, be like the butterflies that metamorphous after the first rains. Come flutter your worries away. Come play, adventure awaits in Costa Ballena!
...so now you're hooked, let's start from the beginning...where is Costa Ballena?!