Last updated on July 23rd, 2020 at 08:15 pm EST
Pictured above (left to right): Great bird-watching at the Cano Negro Mixed Wildlife Refuge; Tour group heading out on a horseback riding tour; Dry landscape around Playa Hermosa (Guanacaste)
Some of the information in this article about traveling to Costa Rica in February can also be found in our related blog post:
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Is February a good time to go to Costa Rica?
The answer to this question depends on what you’re looking to get out of your travel experience, where in Costa Rica you’re headed, what you want to see and do while here, how much money you’re willing to spend, and several other factors. We compiled the information below to help you decide whether you should or shouldn’t go to Costa Rica in February which is part of Costa Rica’s “high season” (click here to learn more about Costa Rica’s high and low travel seasons), according to your own interests, wants, needs, and vacation priorities.
Planning to visit Costa Rica during a different month? Don’t miss our related blog posts:
Costa Rica in January / Costa Rica in March / Costa Rica in April / Costa Rica in May / Costa Rica in June / Costa Rica in July / Costa Rica in August / Costa Rica in September / Costa Rica in October / Costa Rica in November / Costa Rica in December
Special events and celebrations in February
If any of the following Costa Rica events interest you, you may want to plan your vacation to Costa Rica in February:
- Carnavales Puntarenas (Puntarenas Carnival): This cultural festival typically takes place in Puntarenas over a course of 10 to 14 days in mid-February.
- Bamboo Bass and Jungle Jam: These live-music festivals (that also incorporate art and culture) are typically held in Jaco during February, though they may also be scheduled for January or March.
- Envision Festival: This camping festival, which is typically held in Uvita during February, features music, dance, yoga, meditation, body painting, and more.
- Mardi Gras: This cultural festival in Playa Flamingo typically corresponds with Lent, which means it may be celebrated in February if not in March.
- Fiestas Civicas (Civic Festivals): These cultural festivals take place in most cities and towns around Costa Rica during the dry, summer months, including February. Ask staff or the host at the accommodation you plan to stay at when and where the local fiesta civica will be held during the year you plan to visit. With any luck, it will be held near your accommodation when you visit in February!
Noteworthy wildlife / marine life sightings in February
If you’re coming to Costa Rica to see a particular species of wildlife or marine life, consider the following benefits to visiting Costa Rica in February:
- Parque Nacional Marino Las Baulas (the Las Baulas National Marine Park) hosts leatherback sea turtles nesting on Playa Grande in February (best seen between October and March, ideally in December and January).
- Costa Rica’s Pacific coast hosts humpback whales migrating up from the north in February (best seen between December and March).
- Islas Catalina (the Catalina Islands, also known as “The Cats”) hosts giant manta rays in February (best seen between November and May).
- Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Mixto Cano Negro (the Cano Negro Mixed Wildlife Refuge) hosts migratory bird species in February (best seen between January and April).
- Parque Nacional Palo Verde (the Palo Verde National Park) hosts migratory bird species in February (best seen between January and April).
Interested in Costa Rican wildlife? Don’t miss the photos in our related blog post:
Costs in February
On average countrywide, the most expensive time to travel to Costa Rica is during the peak season, immediately followed by the high season, which includes February. This is when accommodation prices and car rental rates are at their highest (note that prices for tours / activities, shared and private transportation services, and food tend to remain the same year-round). As a popular month for travel in general, international flights to/from Costa Rica tend to be average or above-average in price for visits during February, save for seat sales and other flight discounts. If you’re only interested in traveling to Costa Rica during the high season, know that international flights to/from Costa Rica during February (and the last two weeks of January) tend to be less expensive than flights during March and the first two weeks of January.
Weather in February
Costa Rica’s most favorable weather is experienced during the high season, which spans February. During this time, most of the country experiences the dry season, which is considered Costa Rica’s summer season. You’re most likely to encounter above-average periods of sunshine and below-average periods of rain if you visit during February. However, the country’s tropical climate means there’s always a chance of sporadic rain.
Views in February
Since the dry season is synonymous with little cloud cover, February is a great time to take in countless beautiful views captured during adventure and nature tours, atop volcano craters, and at several miradors (viewpoints) around the country.
Landscape in February
February is part of Costa Rica’s dry season, which means you’re most likely to witness parts of the country brittle and brown during the month. This landscape is most common along the northern Pacific coast, in both the Guanacaste province and on the Nicoya Peninsula, where much of the land comprises a dry forest ecosystem. Parts of the country that are home to different ecosystems, including tropical rainforest and cloud forest ecosystems, may remain lush and green throughout the year. In regions where more than one ecosystem is present (along the central Pacific coast, for example), the landscape in February is typically a mix of green and brown.
Road conditions in February
Costa Rica’s roads are typically at their best during February because rainfall, known for creating bumpy roads dotted with potholes, is kept to a minimum. Also, the lack of rainfall received during February reduces road delays caused by landslides, the need to navigate river crossings, and the mess that comes with driving on rutted dirt roads that have turned to mud. In contrast, most unpaved roads in Costa Rica are dry and dusty during February. Regardless, having a 4×4 vehicle is a good idea if you plan to drive around Costa Rica in February. Some mountainous areas and areas with rough roads year-round require one.
Plan to drive yourself around Costa Rica? Learn what to expect from each road and highway by reading our related blog posts:
Water levels in February
Costa Rica experiences below-average amounts of rainfall during February, so water levels around the country tend to be low. This means that waterfalls (for swimming in and canyoning beside) may be less powerful during February than months that fall within the green / wet / rain season; Some waterfalls may be reduced to a trickle. Some white-water rafting excursions may only provide mild thrills, which may disappoint avid adventurists and/or travelers with prior rafting experience, but simultaneously excite timid rafters and/or families with young children. Though always possible, tour and activity cancellations resulting from dangerous water levels are uncommon during February and other high season months.
Terrain in February
Hike conditions tend to be at their best during February when trails are usually dry. Trails that aren’t shaded make for incredibly hot hikes, however, so be sure to wear a hat and carry plenty of sunscreen and water. Though trail closures can occur at any time in Costa Rica, closures due to landslides, floods, or fallen trees aren’t common during February due to below-average rainfall levels.
Tourism in February
Tourism in Costa Rica is most efficient and most obvious during high season months including February, especially at popular tourist destinations. If you plan to visit during this month, you can expect larger group sizes for organized tours; average to above-average numbers of hikers on popular nature trails; full hotels (or nearly full hotels), busy restaurants (the most sought after may require prior reservation); transportation vehicles and vessels you’ll likely share with other passengers (i.e., shared shuttle services, domestic flights, water taxis, ferries, and local buses); and higher levels of noise.
Atmosphere in February
Characteristic of Costa Rica’s high season, the month of February is bustling and gives off a social vibe. It’s great to visit during this month if you want to experience Costa Rica when it’s full of energy and doesn’t feel empty, but if you’d rather feel like you’re traveling off the beaten path, vacationing in February should be avoided.
Closures in February
Unlike Costa Rica’s green / wet / rain season, which typically sees several tourism businesses close temporarily, reduce their hours of operation, or renovate during off-season months, Costa Rica’s high season, including February, sees tourism businesses operate at full speed (some according to extended hours). This is great news because it means that the hotels, tour companies, and/or restaurants you wish to experience in Costa Rica will be available to you during your February visit.
Cruises in February
February nears the end of the cruise season in Costa Rica, which typically runs from October to March. Carnival, Celebrity, Disney, Marella, Oceana, Princess, Regent, Royal Caribbean, and Windstar are some of the more popular cruise lines that visit Costa Rica during the cruise season. It’s important to note that non-cruise visitors may find port towns such as Puntarenas (on the Pacific coast) and Limon (on the Caribbean coast) to be busier than normal during days in February when ships are docked.
Availability for accommodations in February
Several Costa Rica hotels sell out during the month of February, which means room availability can be difficult to come by. Though the amount of time you should book accommodations in advance depends largely on the area of the country you plan to visit and the property you wish to stay at, in general, it’s best to book February accommodations by September of the previous year.
Wondering when you should book Costa Rica trip items to not lose out on availability? Don’t miss our related blog post:
Availability for tours / activities in February
Though full tours and activities don’t always sell out during the month of February, specific tour dates, tour times, tour combinations, and tour guides get scooped up quickly. If your travel itinerary is flexible, you can wait to book tour and activity experiences until a few weeks before your trip. If you’re traveling according to a tight schedule and/or you have specific tours / dates / times / guides in mind, it’s best to book tour and activity experiences as early as you decide on them.
If you’re a single traveler visiting Costa Rica in February, you’re in luck! Though most tour operators require a minimum of two people before they’ll run some tours, since Costa Rica welcomes so many visitors during the month of February, it’s usually easy to find other people to participate in tours with.
Want to save money on your Costa Rica day tours? Check out the free discounts we offer for Costa Rica tours and activities:
Availability for transportation services in February
Some Costa Rica transportation services (including shared shuttle services, private transfer services, domestic flights, water taxis, and ferries) sell out during February. Remaining availability for transportation services may not be for the exact route or departure time you want, so it’s best to book transportation services as early as you decide on them. It’s worth mentioning, too, that many transportation service providers increase the number of services they offer during high-season months, including February. With a greater number of transportation services (i.e., departure times) to choose from, you’ll have more control over the schedule for your trip.
Need help deciding which transportation services to use in Costa Rica? Check out our related blog post:
Availability for rental cars in February
Nearly all Costa Rica car rental agencies sell out of their best vehicles during February. 4×4 vehicles are the first to go, so reserve one as soon as you decide to drive yourself around Costa Rica, ideally several months prior to your visit.
Have you booked your Costa Rica hotels, transportation services, or car rental yet? If not, don’t miss the free discount codes we offer for these items:
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Costa Rica in February? What did you experience?