What to Expect During The 2019 Costa Rica Rainy Season

It’s the end of May and the rainy season is upon us in Tamarindo.  Here’s a heads-up on what to expect during your Tamarindo Green Season vacation.


Tamarindo weather
A peaceful green season morning at the beach in Tamarindo.


2019 has been a year of the “El Nino” weather pattern here in the equatorial regions. This means that our dry season began early and was extra hot and dry.  According to the El Nino pattern, we were told to expect a not-very-rainy rainy season, and this made everyone who loves Costa Rica’s flora and fauna very sad.  These cyclical fluctuations are part of normal weather fluctuations, but extra harsh dry seasons are difficult times for plants and animals.  They aren’t great for our taxed aquifers either, but humans are able to truck in water in a way that deer and monkeys aren’t.

Luckily for all of us, those predictions are turning out to be misrepresentative of the way the rainy season is starting out!  We’re getting lots of delicious rain, and Guanacaste is green as the garden of Eden.  The temperature has dropped back into the “pleasant” range, and life is good.


Afternoon showers

It almost never rains all day, especially not in the first half of the rainy season.  It’s not impossible, but it’s uncommon.  The rainy season mostly consists of sunny days with occasional afternoon showers.  They may be thunderstorms that roll through to cool off hot afternoons, or they may be simply cloud systems that bring rain and then dissolver over the ocean.  Enjoy them!  Tamarindo locals—both native Costa Ricans and implants from other places—love the rainy season.  If you thought you wanted to plan your Costa Rica vacation to avoid the Tamarindo rainy season, think again.  Don’t miss the best, most relaxing time of year.

tamarindo surfing
Surf the warm waves early in the morning while the wind is offshore.


The rainy season is humid—you might as well know it.  Some people like humidity in the air; some people don’t.  It should probably go without saying that rainy times of the year by the ocean have a higher humidity level than say, Las Vegas.  Two days in Tamarindo in the rainy season, and you’re guaranteed to look 10 years younger than you did when you got off the plane.  Your skin loves the humidity even if your brain is unaccustomed to it.  Enjoy it.  Think of it as a free sauna.

The humidity is most noticeable right before the rain starts to fall.  Refreshing afternoon or evening showers bring relief.  If it gets to be too much for you, enjoy the indoor comfort of your air-conditioned Tamarindo vacation rental, or one of the Tamarindo restaurants that offer indoor seating.  Better yet, jump in the pool or the ocean.  You’ll forget about it in a second.

Lots of lush vegetation

In the green season, expect green!  This is the time of year that trees are covered with new leaves, gardens spring back to life, flowers bloom, birds and monkeys are filling their bellies again with their favorite treats…  Nature is absolutely exuberant!  Mountains are green, pastures are green, forests are green, gardens are green—you could color the whole countryside with a palate of shades of green from emerald to lime to pine.  Canopy tours are fun to take at this time of year, mountain hikes, bike rides, horseback trail rides—anything that puts you out in nature under the millions of leaves.  Every breath you take is saturated with pure oxygen they create.


Photo: Unsplash

More insects

Pack your favorite insect repellent and use it.  Monkeys, hummingbirds, iguanas and the wild deer in the mountains aren’t the only creatures that thrive in the rainy season.  Critters that creep and buzz like it too, so be prepared.  We make sure to keep them out of your Tamarindo vacation rental as best we can, but if an industrious ant or a sneaky spider outwit us, don’t be surprised.  They aren’t dangerous; they’re just pesky and ingenious.  A broom, a shoe, or a can of spray can take care of any of your insect visitors if they are unwelcome.  Make sure to keep insect repellent on or nearby, especially in the mornings and evenings.  Mosquitoes don’t like hot sun, so they shouldn’t be much of a bother while you sunbathe, but they can chew up your toes under the table at dinner if you forget the repellent when you leave the house.  Throw some in your back and just keep it nearby.

costa rica insects
Tropical flowers of every imaginable shape and color emerge when the rains begin.


More and more of Tamarindo’s roads are paved, but when the weather gets rainy, it’s fair to expect a little mud.  How much of it you have to drive or step through depends on where your Tamarindo hotel or vacation rental is located.  Mud can be slippery, so walk carefully.

A word to the wise:  For your Tamarindo rainy season vacation, bring a pair of sandals that can get wet.  When we say sandals, we mean something besides your flip-flops—something that straps to the back of your ankle.  Why?  Because of flip flops in the rain or on a wet road/sidewalk flip water, mud and little stones all up the back of your legs while you walk.  We Tamarindo locals might know something about this.  We actually prefer to take our shoes off to walk in the rain, but we know you don’t have jungle feet as we do, so we won’t recommend you do that.  Bring rain-worthy sandals that strap to your feet so that you won’t slip or have to do a load of wash when you get back to your vacation rental.

Refreshing evenings

Evenings after a tropical rain shower are the best thing you will ever experience.  Depending on where you live and what you’re accustomed to, you may find rainy season evenings pleasantly cool.  You may, at most, want a light sweater or a light long-sleeved shirt.  Don’t bother with coats or jackets—it never actually gets cold in Costa Rica at sea level.  In May and June, the sun sets between 6 and 6:30 PM, and by 7:00 PM it is dark.  These long tropical evenings under the stars or under raindrops are the perfect relaxing end to days filled with fun in the sun.


pangas costa rica
Enjoy a delicious meal at Pangas Beach Club in the cool evening breeze.

Warm ocean water

Rainy season wind patterns create amazingly warm ocean temperatures in Tamarindo.  Breezes generally blow on-shore during the afternoon hours which keeps the sun-warmed surface water close to the beach where we can enjoy it.  Surfers aren’t the biggest fans of on-shore winds, but if you get up early enough or you wait until sunset, a few hours of light off-shores are often your reward.

Mornings are the sunniest part of the day

No matter what else happens during the day, mornings are generally the sunniest.  This is important to you to know so that you plan your trips and tours accordingly.  Take your Tamarindo surf lessons, your canopy tours, your snorkeling trips, your ATV tours, or whatever else our concierge helps you plan during the morning if at all possible.  Leave the afternoon for relaxing, listening to the rain, sipping a cocktail, or taking a nap.

Lower prices

Because the first half of the rainy season coincides with summer in the northern hemisphere, more vacationers choose destinations closer to home, and Tamarindo experiences its lower tourist season.  Less demand creates, in some cases, lower prices.  You won’t find this price fluctuation in stores or restaurants, but you may find it in hotels and vacation rentals, in car rental agencies, and in some tour companies.  Boutiques offer sales and restaurants are more likely to offer low-season specials, especially to guests who pay in cash.  Don’t be concerned about cash—you don’t need to go to the bank for colones.  Tamarindo businesses are all more than happy for dollars and in fact, you will be surprised by how many of them lists prices in American dollars.


tamarindo vacation rental
Many homes like this beach-front beauty are easier to afford in the lush green season.

Electricity flickers

This can happen at any time of year for a variety of reasons or for no reason at all, but for sure during Tamarindo’s rainy season, don’t panic if the lights go off.  Storms are one of the things that can cause power outages.  When the electricity goes, the wifi goes with it but don’t worry—when one comes back, the other will follow.  Nowadays, power outages of longer than 30 minutes are rare.  They aren’t impossible, but they are unlikely.  If the lights go off for no apparent reason, just remember this is part of everyday life in the jungle and everything is going to be fine.  If you can see that your vacation rental is the only house to have lost power, you might want to contact us or whichever company is responsible for the home.  If you can see that other homes near yours have also lost power, the best thing you can do is hang tight and enjoy the ride.  Property managers can pull a lot of strings, but power company issues are bigger than we are.  Chances are we’re in the dark too, and the lights will be back by the time you find your phone.

Beautiful sunsets

Have you heard that the rainy season has the most beautiful sunsets?  It’s true.  The clouds act like screens or prisms the reflect or refract the light of the sun as it sinks below them on the horizon.  Dry season sunsets are beautiful too, but they’re a simple firey ball sinking into the sea.  Rainy season sunsets can be performance pieces that go on and on until night has completely fallen.


tamarindo sunsets
Every evening a unique show is displayed between the sky and sea.

A Word to the Wise:  Rinse out your salty stuff

We’re ending this What to Expect post with a tip:  rinse out your salty beach stuff with fresh water when you get out of the ocean.  Why?  Because salt holds moisture, and if you hang your salty bathing suit up to dry in the rainy season…it won’t.  You will be putting on a clammy wet bathing suit tomorrow.  Guaranteed.  The salt in the cloth will pull water from the humid air, and your salty stuff will never dry.  If you hang it in the sun and it dries there, it will pull in moisture from the air during the night and feel sticky when you go to put it on.  It takes just a moment to rinse the salt out of your bathing suit before you drape it over the shower or a patio chair or to dry, and you’ll have a much more pleasant experience of putting it back on in the morning.

We have all kinds of rainy season tips and advice.  Contact us to get in on the best of Tamarindo’s green season, 2019!

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