The benefits of travelling to Costa Rica in the green season

A Vista Above the Clouds

I was initially very reserved about travelling to Costa Rica in the green (i.e rainy) season  – Not that we had a choice, as it came about as a result of a last minute planning.  From my research on the internet and from verbalised experiences of friends of friends I was informed to expect torrential downpours for pretty much our entire visit. I therefore went a little crazy, purchasing new lightweight waterproof coats, trousers, hiking boots and even bought waterproof hiking gaiters. I expected the worst and was, therefore, utterly delighted when it turned out that the green season is one of the best times to travel…here’s why:

  1. Everywhere we went we benefited from much cheaper rates – allowing us to visit and stay at some places that might otherwise been our of our financial limit
  2. Everywhere was much less busy than expected – restaurants, hotels, attractions etc It meant that we had an opportunity to experience Costa Rica as it is meant to be – in quiet contemplation of the forests, allowing the sounds of the rainforest to lull you to sleep, being woken by the sun rising opposed to noisy neighbours. Bliss!
  3. If you are prepared to get up and out early you can ‘miss’ the rain. For example, we often were out and about, hiking in the rainforest by 7am. This allowed a blissful (and cool) 5 or so hours of hiking before the afternoon rains came. This was especially true of Moneteverde Cloud Forest, where an early start meant we were one of the first few into the reserve, and were able to pretty much have the forest to ourselves before the afternoon storms. Once the rains hit, we were pretty much ready for a rest anyway, so we’d head back to our cabin in the forest for lunch during the rains and emerge again mid afternoon once the weather had cleared.
  4. There is a remarkable absence of other tourists. In the Selvatura Park, Santa Elena, we were seemingly the only tourists on the entire canopy tour and on the sky tram. We were allowed to wander freely and as a result, had the huge swing bridge to ourselves. What’s more, the absence of other tourists on the canopy tour meant the bridges were steady and provided a great opportunity to observe the rainforest and take photographs of the rainforest canopy completely undisturbed. On one occasion, we even sat down in the middle of the bridge for refreshment, gently swinging in the breeze and watching the wildlife in the treetops beneath us.
  5. It was quiet – oh so quiet! The overwhelming feeling was one of tranquillity and peace with nature.
  6. Reservations were not required for major attractions. In peak season you’d normally have to book well ahead for sky trams / walks, and for entry or tours into reservations. But the green season meant that we had complete flexibility for our itinerary – we could turn up to whatever, whenever the mood took us and linger for as long as we liked.
  7. Do not underestimate the experience of being in the rainforest in the rain – it’s what it is supposed to be like! What’s more, the rain brings out a plethora of wildlife that you might not normally see. For example, whilst hiking around Monteverde Cloud Forest in the rain, we were delighted and flabbergasted to see crabs darting beneath our feet. You had to watch where you were stepping to ensure you did not crush them. We were also informed that in some rainforests of Costa Rica, there are also turtles in the rainforest!
  8. It’s cooler (Thank goodness!). I cannot imagine what the heat and humidity would be like in the height of the summer!
  9. The afternoon rains often clear the clouds for the evening, providing some amazing star gazing opportunities in the evening. When staying in Arenal, we spent most nights sitting outside under the starts with a cold beer in hand, revelling in the cool breeze and watching the milky way overhead.
  10. Evening storms are often rain free, providing a spectacular lightning display. Whilst staying in Arenal, we  choose our accommodation specifically so we could have an uninterrupted view of the volcano – the lightening storms each evening behind the volcano turned the mountain into a eerie and stunningly beautiful silhouette.
  11. It does not rain half as much as you might expect!
Photos from our trip are available in our Costa Rica photo gallery.

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