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Costa Rica Weather in January: Wet on 1 Coast, Dry on Another

Costa Rica weather in January
Average high temperature and rainfall for Limon, Costa Rica, in January. © Scott S. Bateman

Costa Rica weather in January is just about as wet as every other month of the year, but how wet depends on which coast people visit.

Visitors don’t go to this ecotourism destination in Central America for sunshine and beaches, although the country does have a modest amount of both.

They go to Costa Rica because of the rain falling on large parts of the country produces one of the top ecotourism destinations in the western hemisphere.

The heavy rainfall throughout the year results in rainforests, waterfalls, ziplining through thick jungles filled with monkeys and traversing rivers that offer kayaking and whitewater rafting.

Whatever their reason for visiting, visitors will find the odds of getting rain are high in Limon and low in Puntarenas in January.

January Rainfall in Costa Rica

The cruise port at Limon averages about 12 inches of rain during January, according to historical data from the country’s National Institute of Meteorology.

That total exceeds just about every other destination in the Caribbean during the month.

But it isn’t nearly as bad as the 17 to 18 inches in July and December. A far better time to go is March with an average of eight inches or September with an average of six.

Limon historically has 18 days of rain in January, which is better than the high point of the year of 22 days in July and 21 days in December.

Unlike Limon, Puntarenas has a distinct dry season that goes from December through April. The cruise port averages less than one inch of rain and less than two rain days during January.

Puntarenas during the month is tied with February and March for the driest months of the year.

January Temperatures in Costa Rica

Heavy rains bring cooler temperatures to Limon. The lack of them bring warmer temperatures to Puntarenas.

The average high temperature in Limon in January is 84 degrees Fahrenheit or 29 Celsius, according to the National Institute of Meteorology. The average low temperature is 69 Fahrenheit or about 21 Celsius.

Although the January temperatures are the lowest of the year, they rise only a few degrees for the remainder of the year.

The much hotter Puntarenas has an average high temperature of 92 degrees Fahrenheit or 33 Celsius in January. The average low is 71 degrees Fahrenheit or about 22 Celsius.

Anyone planning a trip to Costa Rica will find that Puntarenas in January is an ideal time for warm temperatures and dry days. They also will find that Limon is typically wet but pleasantly warm.

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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.
December 21, 2023

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