Planning a visit to Costa Rica is exciting, but it is a good idea to know what traveling to Costa Rica is like in November before you go. Whenever you travel somewhere new, you want to be prepared so you can have the best possible vacation experience.
Table of Contents
- What’s it like visiting Costa Rica in November?
- Costa Rica Overview
- Visiting Costa Rica in November
- Seasons in Costa Rica
- Where To Stay In Costa Rica
- Best Hotels in Costa Rica
What’s it like visiting Costa Rica in November?
If you visit Costa Rica in November, then you should know that the weather is a gamble, road conditions can potentially be bad if there has been plentiful rainfall, but there are fewer crowds because it is right before peak season, and hotel prices are at some of their lowest during this time.
When traveling to a new destination or even traveling somewhere you have been, but at a different time of year, it is a good idea to know what to expect during that month, so you are prepared for the difference in weather, crowds, and prices.
Costa Rica is beautiful all year round, and November is no exception. This guide has been prepared with information from people who have traveled to Costa Rica on numerous occasions and travel industry experts to ensure the information is accurate and will prepare you to have the best trip possible if you visit Costa Rica in November.
Costa Rica Overview
Costa Rica is a country in Central America that is bordered by the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The closest neighboring countries are Nicaragua and Panama.
Costa Rica has a president who is chief of state and the head of the government. They are run under a democratic republic. The economic system in Costa Rica is mixed with private freedom, centralized economic planning, and government regulation. Costa Rica has been regarded as having the most stable government in Central America.
Costa Rica Weather
The weather in Costa Rica is similar to many other tropical locations, but Costa Rica does have many different microclimates. This can occasionally make the weather harder to predict, but in general, the weather in Costa Rica tends to be mild, just like many other tropical climates.
Costa Rica also has a wet and dry season. The wet season runs from May to November, and the dry season is from December to April.
Temperatures can vary depending on where you are located in Costa Rica. In many of the lower lying and coastal areas, temperatures will hover around the 80-degree Fahrenheit point but can potentially reach as high as 100 degrees Fahrenheit in warmer months.
However, in mountainous regions, the highs can be in the 70s and drop down into the 60s at night because of the elevation. These areas will not get as warm as coastal regions.
Costa Rica can also get a large amount of rainfall during the rainy months so it is sometimes recommended not to travel to Costa Rica during the wet season due to the fact that heavy and frequent rainfall can occur.
Costa Rica has been known to have incredible wildlife and plants to see when visiting. Approximately one-third of Costa Rica’s landscape is filled with dense green forest. There are a wide variety of beautiful trees and tropical plants as well as mosses and orchids.
Due to the different climates and landscapes, Costa Rica has an incredible number of animal species. In the southern regions, these include monkeys and sloths, while in the northern regions, they have weasels, otters, and coyotes. There are also many tropical birds and plenty of reptiles, including snakes, frogs, and iguanas.
Ethnicities in Costa Rica
The population in Costa Rica includes almost four-fifths of the people being of European descent. Due to the large number of people that are of European descent, Costa Rica has the greatest number of people that are of Spanish descent in Central America.
There are people of African descent who make up a very small percentage of the country’s population. They reside mainly in the lowlands area. These people are descendants of people who were brought from the West Indies to build the Atlantic Railroad and work on banana plantations.
A small Chinese population resides in Costa Rica as they were descendants of imported laborers. There is also a small group that makes up less than one percent of the population that are indigenous people. The number of indigenous people in Costa Rica was greatly reduced over the years due to disease and slave raids.
Visiting Costa Rica in November
If you plan to visit Costa Rica in November, there are certain things you should keep in mind when planning your trip. November can be a quieter month before the business of holiday travel, but it is good to know what to expect.
Weather in November
The weather in Costa Rica in November is a gamble. Technically, November is still part of the wet season in Costa Rica, so you can expect some rain to still be present. However, there have been years where November has been completely dry and other years where there has been more rain than normal.
September and October tend to be the wettest months in Costa Rica, so some businesses will shut down during that time period and begin to reopen in November due to the weather getting better.
It is a good idea to check ahead in the event that certain excursions you want to go on are still shut down until the wet season winds down more in late November.
The Papagayo winds will typically be more present in late November. These winds can be very strong, especially in the northwest region of Costa Rica. Wind is produced because of cooler, dry air moving down from North America and pushing out the moist, warm air.
For the most part, temperatures in November hover around the low to mid-80s.
However, in certain parts of Costa Rica, the temperatures can be in the 60s and 70s, depending on if you are in the mountains or a higher region.
November can be a great time to travel if you want to avoid some of the local crowds. Many people will choose to travel during Thanksgiving because Thanksgiving is not a Costa Rican holiday, so local kids will still be in school and parents working.
You will not have locals vacationing during this time as you would during other international holidays. This can be a good time to travel if you are wanting quieter beaches and an easier time booking hotels and excursions.
Great Hotel Prices
November can be a great time to travel. The “green season” will be winding down around this time, but it is not considered high or peak season either. Hotel prices tend to be fairly low during the month of November.
You can sometimes find prices of hotels at 20% to 30% off of normal pricing. Some resorts book months to even a year or more in advance, so this can be a great time to snag a reservation at some of the more popular hotels and resorts.
Bad Road Conditions
November can be one of the worst months for road conditions. Because November is still considered part of the wet season, if it is a year of heavy rains, the roads can potentially be washed out.
It is a good idea to be aware of the fact that this can happen in case you arrive in Costa Rica and find it hard to get around. There are many positives to traveling in November, but the road conditions can pose a major problem if it is a year with a lot of rainfall.
Seasons in Costa Rica
When you are researching and planning your trip to Costa Rica, you will probably hear about references to certain seasons. There are certain times of the year that are considered more popular and better to travel than others. Those tend to be more expensive times to travel to Costa Rica.
Costa Rica’s actual weather seasons are opposite of those in North America. So while those that live in North America will be experiencing cold and snow in December, this is when Costa Rica is experiencing their warmer summer months. The high and low seasons actually follow the precipitation patterns on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, where most hotels and resorts are located.
The high season is from December to April. This is considered the dry season in Costa Rica, so rain is least likely during these months.
The weather during these months is the biggest draw for people wanting to travel. The other reason this is considered high season is due to the fact that in most parts of the world, the weather is very cold during some of these months.
Many people choose to travel to Costa Rica during December and January because they want to escape the rain, cold, and snow. However, the high season brings on higher prices for resorts and hotels as well as more crowds. Traveling during the high season means planning months to years in advance, depending upon where you are wanting to stay.
Low and Green Season
The low or green season runs from May through November. Rather than call the low season the “rainy” season, many people have decided instead to call it the “green season” because it does not sound as dreary.
The perks of traveling to Costa Rica during the low season include prices that are much lower and fewer crowds. Although the weather might be less than ideal, many people will still travel during this time due to staying at sought-over resorts for a fraction of the price. Even during the low season, you can still get many sunny days at the beaches.
Where To Stay In Costa Rica
Costa Rica boasts a variety of landscapes and things to do and see. Where you stay is extremely dependent upon what you are wanting to get out of your vacation. Some people prefer to stay somewhere more relaxing, whereas others want to stay in a location with plenty of activities and things to do.
The Arenal Volcano area is known to be the perfect place to stay if you are looking for some adventure. This area is actually known as the adventure capital of the country. Not only are there many hotels, but there are activities such as zip lining, rappelling, and white water rafting.
Many hotels in this area have hot springs on-site as a way to relax after a long day of adventuring.
If you want to enjoy your vacation in the city, then San Jose is a great place to stay. There are plenty of hotels, restaurants, and plenty of museums, and theaters. It is a great place to stay if you want to immerse yourself in the culture of Costa Rica and learn more about the country.
San Jose has certain areas that have European vibes and other areas that are more traditional. On the outskirts of the city is where you will find upper-class neighborhoods with large houses.
Although San Jose feels like a large and chaotic city, it is known to be safe and fun, making it a great stopping point on your trip, even if it is for a night or two. There are many places to stay for any budget, including hostels, boutique hotels, business hotels, and large international hotel chains.
Manuel Antonio is a national park known to be extremely accessible in Costa Rica. The beaches are known for crystal clear water and perfect white sand that rival the Caribbean.
The national park is a huge attraction for tourism, and people of all ages can enjoy aspects of the national park, from the beaches to beautiful hiking trails. There is also an abundance of wildlife and plants to see.
The park is known to be wheelchair friendly and is a great place to visit for those who are in a wheelchair and still want to experience the beauty and nature of Costa Rica.
Jaco is one of the closest beaches to the capital city and is also extremely Americanized. It has been compared to the beaches of Southern California many times.
Jaco is known to have decent-sized swells and can be a popular surfing spot due to the water conditions. For this reason, there are lifeguards on duty, and it is recommended not to get into the water unless you are experienced and comfortable in treacherous conditions.
One of the biggest things Jaco is known for is the nightlife. It is so well known that it has even been featured on the Travel Channel for the nightlife scene. There are high-rise beach resorts, casinos, and nightclubs in Jaco.
Monteverde is one of the most popular ecotourism destinations in the entire world. It is potentially what some people picture when they think of Costa Rica because it is full of beautiful green jungle.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve has the unique hanging rope bridges that you have potentially seen on television or in movies. Monteverde is located fairly close to the capital city and is a must-see location for those that are interested in ecotourism.
The area has plenty of accommodations, from hostels to cabins in the mountains and even a few luxury resorts.
The Papagayo Gulf is a well-known area in Guanacaste and worth a visit if you want to experience a more luxurious vacation in Costa Rica. The Papagayo Gulf is known to have some of the most stunning beaches in Costa Rica and high-end luxury resorts.
There are the most five-star resorts per square kilometer in this area of Costa Rica. The resorts include adults-only resorts as well as multiple all-inclusive options depending on what you are looking for in your accommodations.
This area boasts residences of many wealthy foreigners and even celebrities. It is a top destination in Costa Rica for a reason, and if you want top-of-the-line service, you will find it at places in the Papagayo Gulf.
Best Hotels in Costa Rica
There are many incredible hotels in Costa Rica, depending on whether you are looking for an adult-only resort, all-inclusive resort, or family-friendly resort.
1. Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica
The Four Seasons Resort in Costa Rica is a great choice if you are looking for a luxurious resort in Costa Rica. The hotel has the most incredible views overlooking the Gulf of Papagayo. You also have a great selection of activities, including horseback riding and golf on-site. There is also a spa for those that want to spend the day relaxing.
2. Hotel Riu Palace Costa Rica
The Hotel Riu Palace is a great option for those that are looking for an all-inclusive resort in Costa Rica. There is a wide variety of rooms available at Hotel Riu Palace regardless if you are traveling as a couple or with an entire family. The hotel is located on the beautiful Matapalo Beach and has plenty of activities regardless if you are looking to relax or want to do something more adventurous.
3. The Westin Resort and Spa
The Westin Resort and Spa is a great family-friendly resort that provides excellent accommodations and incredible customer service. It is an all-inclusive resort, but has plenty of activities for all ages and several on-site restaurants so you truly do not have to leave.
There are adults-only areas of the resort so if you are traveling without children you can still enjoy some quiet time.
4. Secrets Papagayo
Secrets is the perfect resort for those looking for a relaxing adult-only getaway. Secrets Papagayo is located on a beautiful beach and is an all-inclusive resort that provides plenty of activities for visitors.
There is an on-site spa that you can get pampered at as well as live music sessions, nighttime shows, water aerobics, karaoke, cooking lessons, and yoga classes. Regardless if you are there to just relax or want to do something more adventurous, Secrets is a great hotel to enjoy an adults-only vacation to Costa Rica.