The Caribbean Sea from a viewpoint in Tortuguero in Costa Rica in February

Travelling to Costa Rica in February: Tips, Events, Weather & More! 

For many countries in the northern hemisphere, February is the coldest month of the year. What better time to run away to Costa Rica and lap up some of that year-round sunshine? With Costa Rica becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination, it is one of the safest and most accessible countries in Latin America. 

Costa Rica’s driest months are between January and April, and July and August, so this is the best time of year to visit weather-wise. However, this peak travel season is also when you can expect to run into the most tourists in Costa Rica, so bear that in mind!

I’ve been to Costa Rica in November (yep, during rainy season!), January and February. Of course there was a noticeable difference in the amount of rainfall and the humidity, but luckily for Costa Ricans they get warm weather all year round, and I think we got a bit lucky with not much rainfall in November. January in Costa Rica as well as February were noticeably drier, with more sunny days, and the average temperatures were a little higher, too. The temperature in Costa Rica is more affected by your altitude than the time of year you go, but the dry seasons do tend to be a little warmer. 

Personally I think February is a great time to visit Costa Rica because you’re right in the middle of the dry season. The chances of you getting caught out by an off-season rain storm are quite low (but always come prepared, just in case!). When I was there I also felt like I was skipping out on the worst of the European winter (and yes, I did feel a bit smug about it).

The Pacific Coast of Costa Rica in February

This section will mostly focus on the central pacific coast of Costa Rica, because I have written other sections specifically for each of Costa Rica’s peninsulas (the Nicoya Peninsula in the north and the Osa Peninsula in the south). In the central pacific coast of Costa Rica you’ll find a whole range of popular beach towns that have exceptional weather in both the dry season (including February) and the rainy season.

The Pacific coast is both quite sheltered from the rain in rainy season, and stiflingly hot during the dry season. In February, these towns are amongst the hottest in Costa Rica. So, if you’re looking for some serious sun in February in Costa Rica, the Pacific Coast in February is for you! Otherwise, the Caribbean Coast offers a little (not a lot of) relief.

The main attraction amongst these coastal areas is Manuel Antonio National Park as well as the town itself, Manuel Antonio, which are both well worth a visit. You’ll also find some of Costa Rica’s most popular surf towns on this coast, thanks to the ideal surfing waves in this area.

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The Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica in February

As I mentioned, the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica is slightly less hot during the dry season, thanks to the winds coming in from the Caribbean Sea, but don’t be fooled – it’s not going to be cold! It’s just slightly more bearable than the Pacific Coast. It tends to be less humid around here in dry season (again, thanks to those winds), but you can still expect to be praying that your accommodation will have air conditioning…

The most popular towns on this side of Costa Rica are Puerto Viejo and Cahuita. These are two towns very close together in the south, and you can reach them both easily by bus from San Jose. and Tortuguero National Park, which is incredible, but exclusively reachable by boat.

The Central Valley of Costa Rica in February

The Central Valley of Costa Rica includes its capital, San Jose, as well as various surrounding mountainous areas and national parks. The best places to visit in this area are La Fortuna, the Arenal Volcano National Park (including its incredible hot springs!), Monte Verde, and, if you’re lucky enough to be able to pay a visit, the Saripiqui Rainforest.

Especially when it comes to this area, your altitude will affect the temperature more than the time of year that you visit. The average temperature at the high of the day in San Jose is a breezy 25 degrees, with an average of 0 days rainfall (yep, you heard that right!).

The Nicoya Peninsula in February

The Nicoya Peninsula is the larger, more northern peninsula on the pacific coast of Costa Rica that makes up a large part of the Guanacaste province. Around here they have the longest dry season of Costa Rica, and February falls right in the middle of it. The Nicoya Peninsula is home to the popular surf town, Santa Teresa, and Playa Flamingo, a popular spot for higher-end resorts. 

The average temperature on this side of Costa Rica tends to be a little higher, often climbing well above 30 degrees in February. By the coast the weather can be a bit stiflingly hot (perfect if you’re looking for a beach getaway, less so if you’re into outdoor activities!).

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The Osa Peninsula in February

The Osa Peninsula is a smaller, much less touristic peninsula in the south of Costa Rica. It’s best known for the Corcovado National Park, which takes up a large portion of the peninsula. Corcovado National Park (Parque Nacional Corcovado) is known for lush hikes through the rainforest, stunning beaches, and incredible wildlife.

The main town in the Osa Peninsula is Puerto Jimenez, which sits right on the coast and gives you great access to both the beach and the incredible national park. 

The climate in this area very much follows the same pattern as the rest of Costa Rica in terms of the wet season, the dry season, and the general climate, but the average temperature tends to be a bit cooler, especially if you’re staying in one of many eco lodges that sit at slightly higher altitudes!

Best Places to Surf in Costa Rica in February

The places with the best surf in Costa Rica don’t tend to change based on the season. The quality of the surf will, but the best surf spots tend to be on the Pacific Coast, year round. The surf on the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica tends to be better at this time of year because it’s windy season, but the classic Costa Rican surf towns are largely on the Pacific Coast. 

Best Places to Go Scuba Diving in Costa Rica in February

No matter what season you go in, the best scuba diving spots in Costa Rica are on the Caribbean Coast, thanks to warm waters and an incredible stretch of coral reef. However, because February is the windy season it is better suited to seasoned scuba divers. The peak season for learning how to scuba dive is from August to December, when the waters are calmer, however this falls within Costa Rica’s rainy season.

Best Places to Go to the Beach in Costa Rica in February

There are so many beaches to visit in Costa Rica that you couldn’t possibly visit them all in one trip – at least, not unless you have a few months on your hands! The south of the Caribbean Coast has both white and black sand beaches which have great weather in February and full, touristy vibes. The most visited places tend to be Cahuita (where the beaches are pretty but small) and Puerto Viejo (where the beaches are amazing).

My absolute favourite beach in Costa Rica was in Manuel Antonio on the Pacific Coast. The sunset from here was just unreal, and the beaches are white, serene and a great place to learn to surf. I actually went here in November 2021 and I’ve never been there in February, but I met a lot of people on my most recent trip who’d been to the Pacific Coast in February and had great things to say about it.

Events in Costa Rica in February

Liberia Fiestas (Fiestas Cívicas Liberia) 

This festival in Liberia falls in the last week of February, in Liberia in the Guanacaste Province. This festival includes traditional bull riding, races including a recreational mountain bike race (!) and a traditional parade. For those of you who are less thrill-seeking, there will also be general music, dancing and festivities that include something suitable for the whole family.

Ash Wednesday/Semana Santa (Easter)

Ash Wednesday, which begins the Christian season of lent and falls in holy week (Semana Santa), usually falls in February, too, although it changes every year and sometimes falls in March. Easter week traditions vary throughout the country, so make sure to find out what’s going on wherever you’ll be on Ash Wednesday. 

Also be aware that a lot of bank holidays fall around this time, which draws crowds of Costa Rican locals to the beach!

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