What’s Costa Rica like to visit in May?

Costa Rica Weather in May

Avg. temperature: 24°C / 75°FSun: 5.9 Hrs of sunshine, 12.6 Hrs of daylight
Rain: 268 mmAvg. humidity: 80%

The month of May in Costa Rica is known to be the start of the rainy season. Thankfully, the rainy season begins gradually, so you won’t really feel the effects of the rainy season until towards the end of May. With the temperatures lingering in the tropical average, you’ll get to experience bright, warm days and mild nights, with maybe an hour or two of rain at some point. 

One of the perks of the start of this ‘green season’ is it takes place after the rush of the peak season. This means there are fewer crowds and you can find accommodation prices to be around 10-20% cheaper than in the peak season.  

Even though the peak season may be over, you can still enjoy your time in Costa Rica as if the peak season never ended. Spend time relaxing on the beach or hiking through the rainforest, all tours are still operating so there is never a shortage of activities! It’s no wonder, visiting Costa Rica in May is one of the best times to visit Costa Rica! 

What to do in Costa Rica in May 

Festivals in Costa Rica in May

Costa Rica in May hosts a handful of festivals and celebrations, where you can meet the locals and learn their local traditions! The street fairs are where you will really see the native flair of the Costa Rican people with music, dancing, and traditional foods!  

Día de los Trabajadores

May first is Labor Day in Costa Rica, a wonderful celebration where you can find colorful parades, and listen to a speech made by the President of Costa Rica. You may even be able to see a peaceful protest, as this is a day where this can be facilitated. Continuing into the night and the next day you can find a street fair called, Fiesta Pattronale Desamparados, where the party continues. With music, dancing, games, and traditional food, you’ll be surprised that one of the main events is bullfighting (no blood is shed during the event). 

Día de San Isidro Labrador

Honoring the patron saint of farmers, this festival lasts about a week long around the date of May 15th. Street fairs all week long, this is the perfect time to visit if you want to immerse yourself in authentic Costa Rican culture. During this festival the main attraction is to taste the bountiful harvest blessed by Saint Isidro, as he is to thank for the rich crops that the communities now have. You can sample street food or smaller offerings at the markets, but whatever you choose, it is sure to be fresh and delicious! 

The days of the festivals bring in locals from all over Costa Rica, so if you are traveling at this time, it is probably better to book your trip in advance, but not completely necessary. 

Why to visit Costa Rica in May

While you can still enjoy the beginning of the rainy season anywhere in Costa Rica during May, you can find cities or regions that will receive more sun, less rain and vice versa. There are benefits to chasing the sunshine, as well as basking in the rain. The caribbean coast will begin to receive the rainfall first, as this is where the winds begin to change. At the beginning of the month you’ll still feel the hot, dry temperatures in May on the west coast, then it will gradually receive more and more rain as the month goes on. On the west coast enjoy the best beaches in Costa Rica in May to the fullest, while you surf and sunbathe until the rains blow through. The perk of the rainy season is seeing Costa Rica’s rainforests come to life. The vegetation receives a lush rejuvenation from the rainfall and transforms the forest into a living fantasy! 

Where to go in Costa Rica in May

Rain or shine, there are many things to do in Costa Rica in May! As Costa Rica in May is the beginning of the rainy season, this is the perfect time to see the magnificent rainforests in all of it’s glory after a refreshing rain fall. 

Monteverde Cloud Forest

One of the best places to see this is the cloud forests, Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is open year round and has a special liveliness after a fresh rainfall. Walk beautiful trails in the dense brush of the rainforest, or hike suspension bridges for an added thrill of walking in the clouds. Sitting at over 4,500 feet above sea level, this rainforest is truly an enchanting setting among the clouds, and a fan favorite when visiting Costa Rica in May. 

Tamarindo and Nosara (Guanacaste Province)

The west coast is home to many surf towns such as Tamarindo and Nosara. In the beginning of May you still have plenty of opportunities to enjoy sunny days, the best beaches, and those perfect waves. Playa Tamarindo, or Tamarindo beach, is a beautiful stretch of beach located at the focal point of Tamarindo. People flock to this beach as Tamarindo is known for the consistent waves, which make it perfect for beginners and experienced surfers alike. Similar to Tamarindo, Nosara is a great spot for surfing, but also snorkeling, water sports, and even yoga retreats. Enjoy the final days of the dry season on the best beaches in Costa Rica in May. 

Arenal Volcano

Venture a couple hours north of San Jose to see the imposing Arenal Volcano. In this area of La Fortuna, you can visit many hot springs in Costa Rica during May for that perfect place to rest and relax. Rain or shine, the natural hot springs provide an escape as well as relief from the outer elements. On the contrary, the La Fortuna area also has a beautiful forest surrounding these springs, which you can wander through to potentially find your own natural hot springs!

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