The best time to visit Puerto Viejo depends on whether you’re a surfer. Waves peak between December and March, with a short bump in late June and July—if you want to brave the slamming Salsa Brava, this is your best chance. If you’re looking to dive or snorkel, come when the waves are calm (April, May, autumn); the waters are clear; and the surfers are either sleeping, smoking, or somewhere else.
Rains peak from May to August and December to January, when storms roll in from the sea (unlike the rest of Costa Rica, there isn’t a distinct dry season and wet season). Though it may seem to rain more often here than elsewhere, the overall precipitation is less, and days usually clear by late morning. It’s generally hot and humid, but light breezes waft through almost all year (which helps when most of the accommodations don’t have A/C).
No matter the weather, weekends are often full of tourists and locals alike going on happy benders. August brings the Arte Viva festival, a carnival-like two weeks of fire dancing, art fairs, alternative medicine displays, theater, dance, and parades—all to celebrate the unique culture of the South Caribbean.