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Costa Rica Weather in December: Rain, Temperatures

Costa Rica weather in December
Average high temperature and rainfall for Costa Rica in December. © 2023 Scott S. Bateman

For a small country with Caribbean and Pacific coastlines, Costa Rica weather in December is wildly uneven.

This Central American country is known for its ecotourism, rain forests and natural attractions. As a result, it is popular with resort and cruise ship visitors on both coasts.

The two most popular coastal cities are Limon on the east coast—a popular stop for western Caribbean cruises—and Puntarenas on the west coast—a popular stop on Pacific cruises.

December is a great time to visit Puntarenas, but it’s a terrible time to visit Limon. Let’s find out why.

Puntarenas in December

One of the unusual aspects of Puntarenas for resort and cruise visitors is that it has remarkably consistent temperatures throughout the year compared to most tropical destinations.

The average high temperature for Puntarenas in December is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 degrees Celsius, according to the country’s National Meteorological Institute. That average varies only by a few degrees throughout the entire year.

The average low temperature, which is mainly at night, is about 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 22 degrees Celsius.

December also is an excellent time to visit because of the low risk of rain.

Puntarenas averages only about one inch of rain during the month and is the start of the dry season. It lasts from December through March.

December also has one of the lowest number of rain days—the number of days with actual rainfall—at less than six.

Although tourists will find better weather from January through March, the warm temperatures and low risk of rain make December a good time to go.

Limon in December

The same can’t be said for Limon on the Caribbean coast, which has the worst month of the year for rainfall.

Average rain for Limon in December totals nearly 18 inches, which is one of the highest levels of any Caribbean cruise destination for any month of the year.

It also has one of the highest number of rain days at 21.

To be fair, Limon receives high amounts of rain throughout the year because of its location. But every month receives less than December.

Temperatures do remain comfortable. The average high temperature for Limon in December is 84 degrees Fahrenheit or 29 degrees Celsius, according to the country’s National Meteorological Institute.

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Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
November 14, 2023

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