High season is dry season in Manuel Antonio National Park. From December to May, the days dawn sunny and hot and stay that way. And the height of the high season is the holidays—Christmas, New Year’s, Semana Santa—when the cul-de-sac at the park entrance is jammed with Tico cars and motor coaches full of honeymooners. The largest event of the year is February’s Festival del Mar, which brings in dancers from all over the country to celebrate in the streets of Quepos—plus almost a month of parades and concerts.
Weekends tend to be packed with families from the capitol, San Jose, so avoid them (if you can). No matter what, you should get an early start if you want to ensure you can enter the reserve: Sometimes the park-visitor quotas are filled by 10 a.m. But once you’re in, you’re in.
The rainy season pretty much lasts the rest of the year, with October typically the wettest of all. Keep in mind that it isn’t all drizzle: The sun often breaks first thing in the morning, the temperatures are a bit cooler, and the vegetation—already thick—is off-the-charts verdant. The biggest plus to braving the rain? You won’t have to brave the crowds.