You’re in for some great beach weather in March. Be aware, though, that during the dry season the temperatures spike, and it’s not uncommon for the mercury to hit the high 90s Fahrenheit, especially in drier areas like the Pacific coast area of Guanacaste Province. A slight exception to this is the Caribbean side of the country. Much of it is covered in lowland tropical forest and it receives more rain than much of the rest of the country. Temperatures here average in the mid-80s.
Crowds & Costs
While not as busy as April, when Easter and spring break really bring out the crowds, the pleasant dry-season weather in March makes it a popular time to visit Costa Rica. Count on hotel rooms to be at least 15% more expensive, and these prices can really spike at the four-star, all-inclusive resorts. Needless to say, you’ll want to plan your March vacation well in advance.
Where to Go
There's no better time than March to visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Located in the northern highlands, most of the year this area is defined by its misty cloud forest and excessive precipitation. But in the dry season you have more of a chance of sun, so come and enjoy the activities. There are many on offer, from "skywalks" on suspension bridges over the canopy tree line to adrenaline-pumping zip-line tours. Costa Rica is actually the birthplace of the zip-line canopy tour, so you might as well take part in this local activity. For more on Monteverde, check out this Ultimate Guide.
Then there are the orchids. Every year Costa Rica hosts an orchid show (more on this below) in San José that celebrates the country's national flower. And while you're there, be sure to check out some of the capital city's other offerings—here are some suggestions. If you can't make the show, feel free to come to the Orchid Garden at Monteverde—there are a whopping 450 species of varying sizes and colors on display, and on any given day there are around 120 plants in full bloom. Guided tours typically last 45 minutes.
What to Do
March brings beach weather to Costa Rica, so enjoy as much sand and sun as possible. If you're an active vacationer, head to the Nicoya Peninsula and visit some beaches along the coast, including Playa Hermosa, Tamarindo, and Playa Avellanas. Tamarindo is a popular surf destination, so whether you're a first-timer or seasoned wave rider you can come here and enjoy epic waves break both left and right.
If relaxation is on your agenda, head to the village of Nosara, also on the peninsula. There's a beautiful beach here (with good surfing, too), but there are also a number of wellness retreats that offer everything from yoga to full-body massages. It's a place to come principally to relax and recharge.
Events in March
Día de Boyero. Every second Sunday in March, San Antonio de Escazú, located on a hill just outside San José, celebrates boyeros (oxcart drivers). There are traditional parades and townspeople display their ornately painted oxcarts.
International Festival of the Arts. This festival in San José is typically held over 10 days in mid or late March (although sometimes in April) and features presentations of various artistic groups from many countries. Groups include literature, dance, music, and theater.
National Orchid Show. In early March over two days, the Costa Rican Orchid Association holds this popular floral festival in the capital. The exhibition celebrates over 300 species of common and rare orchids and organizers give out a "best in show" award at the end of the occasion.
Traveling to Costa Rica in March? Check out these great itineraries.
Costa Rica's Cloud Forests. Head to the Monteverde region if you want to experience a distinct ecosystem, spot wildlife, and have plentiful options for hiking and zip-lining. Perfect for a quick getaway, the 6-day version of this itinerary will take you to both Monteverde and Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserves, along with time in vibrant San José to catch the annual Orchid Show.
Family Fun in La Fortuna and Nicoya Peninsula. On your 7-day adventure, you'll explore the towering Arenal Volcano, visit the white-sand beaches of the remote Nicoya Peninsula, and check out San José. There are plenty of kid-friendly activities along the way, from waterfall hikes to dolphin watching.