Embracing The Rainy Season...


While our year round temperatures rarely swing more than 10 degrees up or down, Costa Rica does enjoy the luxury of two distinct seasons... DRY and WET.  Most of the tourists like to visit when the chance of rain is at it's least.  Therefore the dry season (generally late November through the end of April) is also synonymous the HIGH SEASON and commands the highest rates for everything. 

Dry May Not Be So Dry...

My friend George E. who lives just north of San Ramon, would argue the fact that his dry season is anything but dry.  With daily doses of blinding fog, torrential rains and roof lifting wind (see photo on left), he and his wife have decided enough was enough and they will be moving to a climate more fitting with their desired way of life.

However, another friend, George L. who lives in a completely different part of the Central Valley (Puriscal) feels that he and his wife have found meteorological nirvana.  They embrace the balance of both wet and dry. 

As for me and Fran, we live in an area (Guanacaste province) that can only be described as Costa Rica's equivalent to New Mexico and Arizona.  However all bets are off once the rainy season arrives.

The rains usually start (generally) in May and run through the end of October with September with October being the country's wettest months.  Last October was no exception.  However, while Costa Rica suffered through one of it's worst rainy seasons on record, the Guanacaste province stayed mostly dry with hardly a drop of rain reaching the ground. 

But even Guanacaste is not immune.  The picture on the right shows the Rio Tempisque, thirty five feet over flood stage!  This picture was taken two years ago after 7 consecutive days of "roach stompin') rain.

In general, Costa Rica remains green throughout the year.  But unlike the majority of the country, Guanacaste undergoes an annual metamorphosis, transforming it's seasonal, lush green hills into the stark, desert brown hue (that by some accounts) resembles an Iraqi battle field.

Embrace The Rain...

Since late November, we have seen no rain.  Hillsides, so dry, have become tinder boxes and were laid to waste with the careless flick of just one cigarette.   However on April 27th. we were greeted with our first measurable rainfall of the 2011 wet season. 

As each day passes we see the changes taking place.  Morning are cool and dry, perfect for walks on the beach.  By 2PM, clouds begin to appear.  In a few weeks, these afternoon clouds will begin to produce rain and all that is brown will turn to green, literally overnight.

Many tourists avoid coming here during the rainy season.  Can't figure out why?  Maybe it's because of all the over-hyped nonsense they read on the internet.  But truth be told, most of us (full time residents) embrace it's arrival.  It means cooler days and even cooler nights.  The air is no longer filled with the smoke from field fires. 

But, depending on where you live, heavy, seasonal rains can be dangerous.  Water logged hillsides can collapse resulting in paralyzing landslides.  Our highways become impassable and transportation comes to a screeching halt.  Low lying roads can wash out and old bridges, in need of repair, have been known to collapse.  Strong caution must be taken whenever traveling throughout Costa Rica during our wet season.

I have been asked on many occasions by potential expats looking to move here, "When is the best time to visit Costa Rica to see if we would like to live there?"  My answer is simple and consistent... "come here in October!  If you like it here then, the rest of the year will be a piece of cake.

Pura Vida...


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