July is an interesting month in Costa Rica. Although it falls within the parameters of the nation's rainy season (May to November), there's also a "sweet spot," during this time. For about three to four weeks in July (and sometimes early August), the rains abate, especially in the northwest of the country, and visitors are treated to that perfect sunny beach weather that defines the dry season. So rather than experiencing highs in the 90s Fahrenheit, you can expect average temps (in most places) to be in low 80s or even high 70s.
Crowds & Costs
You'll get the best of both worlds if you visit Costa Rica in July. Not only will prices be lower and hotel rooms cheaper (up to 50% depending on where you look), but you'll likely get that aforementioned sunny weather as well. So take advantage of it and plan a beach holiday. You can often score major discounts at luxurious resorts in normally tourist-heavy locales like Manuel Antonio National Park and Arenal.
Where to Go
Because the weather should be sunnier in July than in other green season months, you can enjoy the main tourist hotspots without having to endure the high-season crowds. So consider heading to Arenal National Park and visiting the famed volcano and nearby hot springs. Then perhaps head west and do a canopy tour in Monteverde before arriving finally at the Pacific coast. You'll find ideas on what to do there below.
You could even continue the journey eastward to the northern Caribbean coast. Know that this side of the country has its own rainy season during July, so you'll want to avoid road-trips along the coast. That said, there's a very special place here only accessible by boat or plane: Tortuguero National Park. July is the perfect month to visit as this is when mother sea turtles are laying their eggs on the park's 22-mile (35 km) stretch of beach.
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What to Do
Because you'll likely get a break in the rainy weather, conditions might be good to embark on a road trip. There are few better ways to experience Costa Rica than on a self-drive tour. So hit the road from San José and head north to Arenal, then perhaps to Monteverde and out west to the Pacific coast. Here you can drive up and down the Nicoya Peninsula or even down into Puntarenas Province. If you're a surfer, this would be the perfect opportunity to hit some famed Costa Rican surf spots, like Tamarindo and Jacó.
It's good to note that the Caribbean side of the country experiences its own heavy rainy season during the month of July, so you'll probably want to avoid driving on that side of the country.
And speaking of Puntarenas, those who enjoy maritime merrymaking should head to the capital city of Puntarenas Province, on the central Pacific coast. Each year in mid-July they hold the Fiesta Virgin del Mar. The holiday is held to remember a storm in 1920 that resulted in a large loss of life. During the celebration, which features boats adorned with flowers and flags, they give thanks to the Virgin del Carmen, the Patron Saint of Puntarenas. More details below.
Events in July
Fiesta Virgin del Mar. Every year on the weekend closest to July 16th, the coastal city of Puntarenas comes alive with a celebration of live music, sporting events, oxcart races, parades, and dances all to give thanks to the city's patron saint.
Alajuela Mango Fiesta. You may not know it, but Alajuela, the adjacent city to San José, is known as the City of Mangoes. They celebrate their abundance of this exotic fruit every year with parades, live music, and plenty of mango dishes and drinks.
Traveling to Costa Rica in July? Check out these great itineraries.
Arenal & Manuel Antonio Family Tour. Take advantage of the lull in rainfall and low-season rates with this family-friendly tour of Arenal and Manuel Antonio. Arenal features one of the most famous volcanos in the country surrounded by tropical rainforest, while Manuel Antonio National Park is renown for its white sandy beaches and vast diversity of tropical plants and wildlife.
Best of Costa Rica in 2 Weeks. Road trip into the country's most beautiful national parks and enjoy zip-lining adventures, nature hikes, beach excursions, and more. This itinerary also takes you to Puntarenas, where the Fiesta Virgin del Mar takes place this month.