January begins the early dry season in Costa Rica. Rains have ceased entirely and Costa Rica is back to the tropical beach land you remember. While the tourist season picks up and prices start to increase for both lodging and tour options, you are practically guaranteed perfect weather during your January getaway. If you need a break from the ice and wind, a tropical vacation in Costa Rica will do the trick. Almost every region of the country will be enjoying sun and clear skies, but the heat won’t yet be overwhelming.
January is commonly considered one of the favorite months by Costa Rican locals and long-term residents. Rain no longer plays into a daily plan, but the country is still green and freshly blooming from months of long showers. The heat and dust is down, and you’ve lost the hassle of unpredictable weather. When traveling to a new country, it’s best to listen to the locals. Their experience will tell you exactly what to expect from each region of the country and how you can best prepare for your upcoming trip.
The Pacific Region is warming up in January. It will also now be totally dry, with no unexpected rainfalls during your trip. While in the past months this zone received somewhat unpredictable weather patterns as the season transitioned from rainy to dry, by January you will see nothing but sun and blue skies. For January tourists to Costa Rica, this is by far the favorite and most visited zone of the country. Temperatures will be in the low 90s, offering enough sun and heat to fill your tropical longings, but not enough sweltering heat to deter you from any hikes or water sports. January being a popular time for a Costa Rican getaway, the Pacific zone will be as active as ever. You’ll have your pick of small, secluded beaches for family time, but will also have access to the bustling excitement of the larger and more popular beaches, such as Tamarindo. On these beaches, you’ll find endless water sport options, countless hiking excursions, and bottomless tropical fruit smoothies. The typical visitor to these regions takes full advantage of the season, both in terms of beach time and tropical foods. Exotic fruits will be sold everywhere, and nothing helps you recover from the heat like a fresh glass of coconut water served to you right at your beach blanket.
In the nights, temperatures will dip into the lower 80s. This is absolutely ideal to participate in some Costa Rican festivities. The beach front bars will be hosting salsa nights throughout your trip, and the weather will be perfect for some tropical fun. Have a great local meal and head to an open aired bar. You’ll be able to try out your dancing skills, learn a few steps, and above all, enjoy the beats and movements of the more experienced dancers.
The Northern Region of Costa Rica is known for its ideal temperatures, and January is the epitome of this phenomenon. Temperatures will stay in the upper 70s, and exotic plants and animals will be seen everywhere. This is a very common time of year to visit an eco-lodge in hopes of spotting exotic animals. As monkeys love sunbathing, you may not need to stray too far from your lodge to find these tropical creatures. A quick hike in the jungle or in a nearby national park will bring not just monkeys, but sloths, butterflies, and birds of all kinds.
This area experiences a huge change in elevation as you move, so some areas may reach a somewhat chilly temperature in the nighttime. If you foresee visiting the highlands, you may want to bring along a light jacket for after sun down.
Southern Zone and South Pacific
The Southern Zone, especially along the Pacific, is recuperating from months of very hard rainfall, but it recuperates quickly. By this time of year, temperatures will already reach the low 90s and skies will be blue. You may receive a nighttime drizzle during your stay, but it won’t ruin any tour plans. The steamy weather will be absolutely perfect for those hoping for a more luxurious vacation. This region has countess luxury resorts and condo style hotels, so your trip will be full of swimming pools, white sand beaches, and light, tropical meals. You’ll have access to spas, massages, and any type of facial treatment. The Southern Pacific in January is a huge favorite for those looking to experience the tropics in style and luxury.
For lovers of the Central Valley and Arenal areas, January is the most welcomed month of all. The tropical colors of the landscape will be astonishing, and regardless of what region in the Valley you visit, you’ll be greeted with blue skies and warm weather. This area is considered to have the best climate on Earth, and a trip in January will show you exactly why. Temperatures will stay in the high 80s and rain will be infrequent and only in the late evenings. Any shower you experience on your trip will be light and short-lived, but may serve to further refresh your surroundings, keeping the rolling hills greener for longer.
While the Central Valley is defined by the bustling capital city of San Jose, January visitors tend to avoid the capital altogether. Instead, they aim for small towns such as Escazu and Santa Ana, preferring to stay somewhere with a more natural view and access to hiking trails. A Central Valley vacation will be a mixture of relaxation and adventurism, all topped off with fresh, local food and drink.
While the majority of the country is drying off and starting its hot season, the Caribbean Coast is in the middle of its rainy months. The rains can be heavy, but they will make any surrounding jungles and rainforests absolutely stunning. A trip to the Caribbean in January is usually best for the explorer and active tourist. Those looking to enjoy long days of meditating on the beach should aim for the Pacific Coast, as rain won’t interrupt your plans there. On the Caribbean, the temperatures will remain in the high 80s and when the rains stop, you’ll be aching for a long hike and jungle exploration. The rest of your time will be spent in beachfront bars, eating flavorful Caribbean dishes and watching the tropical storms.