February is a couple of months into Costa Rica's dry season, which means you can expect warmer temperatures. These often reach as high as the mid-90s Fahrenheit, especially on the northern Pacific Coast. Conversely, the northern Caribbean side of the country and the central highlands enjoy slightly lower temps due to the higher elevations and lowland rainforests. Temperatures here are typically in the mid-80s.
Crowds & Costs
You'd do well to book your Costa Rican holiday as far in advance as possible because February is crowded. Flights and hotels are going to be more expensive (count on about 15% higher, at least). And depending if you arrive at the beginning of the month, you might also have to contend with one of the biggest parties of the year and all the crowds it draws (more on this below).
Where to Go
Be sure to head to the Pacific coast during your Costa Rican vacation. Much of this area, from the Nicoya Peninsula on down to Puntarenas Province is known as the Gold Coast. You'll find many surf havens on this stretch of coastline, including Tamarindo, Playa Avellanas, and Jacó. There are also tranquil coves and bays like Playa Hermosa and Nosara, the latter of which is famous for its massage and yoga wellness retreats.
If you do happen to be in the north, consider adding a trip to Monteverde and nearby Arenal. The weather in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is perfect this time of year, as it is in Arenal Volcano National Park. Plus it's only a couple hours from Monteverde to the Pacific Coast.
Of course, these areas will be packed with visitors, so if you want something a little more off-the-beaten-path, consider venturing far south to the Osa Peninsula. This less-visited area of Costa Rica's south is home to the famous Corcovado National Park, as well as the Caño Island Biological Reserve, which is home to an abundance of exotic marine life. Those are just a couple reasons that the Osa Peninsula is regarded as one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet.
What to Do
You can always embark on a road trip along the Gold Coast. There are few better ways to experience all the aforementioned towns and villages than behind the wheel at your own pace. Perhaps start in San José and head down to Manuel Antonio National Park before venturing up to the Nicoya Peninsula and east to Monteverde. Or mix and match the routes according to your interest. Read more about Manuel Antonio in our Ultimate Guide.
If you do go south to the Osa Peninsula, try a multi-day hike through Corcovado National Park. On these overnight trips, you'll be treated to an abundance of exotic wildlife, including various species of monkeys, scarlet macaws, tapirs, and the occasional jaguar. You could also visit the north of the peninsula and book a snorkeling/diving trip to the Caño Island Biological Reserve. Here's more information about the Osa Peninsula.
If you're here in early to mid-February you can partake in one of the biggest parties of the year: Carnival in Puntarenas. Located in the capital of Puntarenas Province, this wild, seven-day affair sees the streets packed and the beer flowing. Like any respectable carnival, there are plenty of parades and dancers in colorful attire strutting like peacocks day and night and reveling in the occasion.
Events in February
Puntarenas Carnival. For seven days each year in February (exact dates change), the coastal city of Puntarenas hosts the biggest carnival celebration in the country. The main parade takes place on the Saturday of the last weekend of carnival and the grand procession makes its way from the Balneario Municipal down the Paseo de los Turistas.
CENAC Summer Festival. During the second week of February, San José hosts this cultural festival. It's a couple days of carnival rides, dances, storytelling, movies, and other public events.
Liberia Fiestas. Liberia, the capital of Guanacaste Province, celebrates the cowboy heritage of the region during the last week of February. There's live music, dancing, and plenty of bulls on the streets.
Traveling to Costa Rica in January? Check out these great itineraries.
Pacific Gold Coast Roadtrip. This 7-day trip is perfect for travelers looking for a beach holiday, great for February's hot temperatures. Arrive in Liberia and head south to Playa Sámara, a coastal village on the Nicoya Peninsula. Then, drive north to the popular surf town of Tamarindo, where you'll spend your days riding the waves and taking part in nature excursions.
Best of Costa Rica in 2 Weeks. February is pleasant throughout the country, making it a great time to visit all of Costa Rica's greatest hits. You'll venture into the country's most beautiful national parks to zip-line, hike, and spend time on the beach. You'll even have a free day to check out Puntarenas if you're there during the carnival celebration.