The Central Pacific Region at a Glance
Manuel Antonio Main cities: Puntarenas, Quepos, Jacó Beach, Tarcoles
Population of Puntarenas: 107,545
Climate: Hot moderated by ocean breezes, afternoon rainfall Apr.-Dec.
Average temperature: 90° Fahrenheit
Tourism: Manuel Antonio Park, Nauyaca Falls, beaches, surfing, ocean fishing
Known as the “Gold Coast,” the Northern Pacific region boasts an abundance of large resort hotels, gorgeous beaches and a dry and sunny climate. Located in Guanacaste province, the Northern Pacific region stretches along the western portion of the southern border of Nicaragua and includes several dormant and active volcanoes, hot springs, waterfalls, and tropical dry forests.
The Northern Pacific Region at a Glance
Main cities: Liberia, Tamarindo, La Cruz
Population of Liberia: 40,200
Climate: Warm with rainfall averages of 55” per year
Average temperature: 82° Fahrenheit
Tourism: Rincon de la Vieja National Park, beaches, all-inclusive resorts
Southern Pacific & Osa Peninsula
This biologically rich area of the country is home to the Costa Rica’s famous rain forests and offers fabulous parks with inland and beachside hiking trails surrounded by an abundance of plants and animal life, including the world’s largest population of scarlet macaws, large cats, crocodiles, monkeys, and more. Other activities available in this region include a variety of Spanish language schools, scuba diving, canoeing, and surfing at world famous breaks. Visitors may have some transportation challenges and will endure high humidity at the southern reaches of this region.
The Southern Pacific Region at a Glance
Main cities: San Isidro, Golfito, Puerto Jimenez, Domincal
Population of San Isidro: 32,600
Climate: hot and humid
Average temperature: 88° Fahrenheit
Tourism: World-class surfing, eco-tours, Stone Spheres, Corcovado Park, rainforests, endangered species
Home to just nine percent of the country’s population, Costa Rica’s sweeping Caribbean coast is a world apart from its popular Pacific counterpart. The Caribbean region offers a casual, laid-back lifestyle and spectacular natural beauty with its mangrove swamps, beaches and forests that are protected by two National Parks and Wildlife Refuges. This part of Costa Rica is inhabited by a large population of blacks of Jamaican descent as well as several tribes of native peoples. Unlike the rest of the country, the best months to visit the Caribbean region is February, March, September, and October, when you’ll enjoy beautiful weather and plenty of sunshine and mild temperatures.
The Caribbean Region at a Glance
Main cities: Puerto Limón, Toruguero
Population of Puerto Limón: 76,000
Climate: Tropical, humid with long lasting rainstorms
Average temperature: 75-82° Fahrenheit
Tourism: Beaches, Caribbean cuisine, world-class fishing, rafting, horseback riding, Tortuguero National Park
With its arid land and sprawling cattle ranches, the Northern Plains region offers visitors and residents a different side of Costa Rica. With lakes and swamps, active volcanoes, cloud forests, and high mountains, the dramatic landscape of this region is unmatched in any other part of the country. The remote villages in this area have a small population of mostly natives, offering a secluded, quiet lifestyle with plenty of time for reading, rest and relaxation.
The Northern Plains Region at a Glance
Main cities: La Fortuna, Arenal, Monteverde, San Carlos
Population of La Fortuna: 5,707
Climate: Windy, moderate to very warm temperatures
Average temperature: 65-80° Fahrenheit (depending on altitude)
Tourism: Eco-tours, Arenal Volcano, windsurfing, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Costa Rica is a small country that is divided into six different regions covering seven provinces – Alajuela, Cartago, Guanacaste, Heredia, Limon, Puntaremas, and San Jose. Although Costa Rica is small and tropical in nature, the country’s regions do vary somewhat in climate, average rainfall, terrain, and lifestyle.
Costa Rica enjoys a warm, tropical climate due to its close proximity to the equator. The average temperature throughout Costa Rica is between 71° and 81° Fahrenheit, and the average temperature of the capital of San José is 69°. Costa Rica has just two seasons, dry and rainy (or green), which vary in length and intensity from coast to coast.
On the Caribbean slope of the country, the rainy season runs from April to December, with the wettest months being July and November. Major storms are known to hit this area of the country, sometimes causing continuous rain for several days in a row. The dry season here begins in January and runs through March and early April. But remember, dry in Costa Rica means little or no rain, not desert like conditions.
On the Pacific slope, the rainy season runs from May through November, with many storms coming in September and October. The northern half of the country on this coast endures a moderately severe dry season each year with no rainfall for many months. The southern half of the Pacific slope enjoys a shorter dry season and more rain during the rainy season.
Regions in Costa Rica
The Central Valley
Surrounded by towering green mountains, the Central Valley is known for its mild, pleasant dry season, moderate temperatures and lower-than-average rainfall amounts. Home to the capital of San José, the Central Valley area encompasses the San José province and also includes popular cities like Heredia and Cartago. The Central Valley is where most Costa Ricans live, making it the most populous region in the country. The capital of San José is Costa Rica’s banking center, and is home to most of the larger hospitals, airports, universities, museums, and theaters in the country.
The Central Valley at a Glance
Main cities: San José, Heredia, Alajuela, Cartago
Population of San José: 346,799
Climate: Mild, spring-like weather with some wind and afternoon showers
Average temperature: 71° Fahrenheit
Tourism: Capital of San José, museums, nightlife, dining, expatriate groups
One of the most popular tourist destinations, the Central Pacific region is located in Punterenas province and includes popular resort towns like Jacó Beach and the upscale Los Sueños Resort. This area is so popular because it has something for everyone, from swimming and surfing in the Pacific and enjoying sandy beaches to the excitement of sport fishing and exploring natural parks. The area is just two hours from San José, and attracts locals as well as tourists from around the world.