Similar to the Caribbean islands, December through April is Costa Rica’s high season, when prices are at their peak. This is also the dry season, when San Jose receives only one day of rain per month. Temperatures are ideal, with an average of 75 degrees in San Jose during January and February. If you visit over Christmas week, expect to party. On December 26 and 27, the city celebrates its agricultural tradition with horse races, dancers, and carnival floats for El Tope. You can also head to the fairgrounds in the Zapote neighborhood to watch bullfights.
There really isn’t much of a shoulder season in this tropical country. It’s either dry or wet season. However, if you can manage to visit San Jose in the latter part of November or early December, prices are not yet at their peak and you’ll be at the start of dry season.
Costa Rica’s rainy season, which locals refer to as the green season, is from May through mid-November. Expect to see daily rain in the late afternoon, around 4 to 5 p.m. The rest of the day is yours—at a dramatic discount from the high season. Mid-May is when Carrera de San Juan, the country’s marathon race, takes place on the outskirts of San Jose. Independence Day, with festivals all over the country, takes place on September 15.