Costa Rica’s popularity has skyrocketed since the COVID-19 Pandemic. So much so that many travelers choose the low season months to enjoy the country’s natural splendors, crowd-free.
That said, November in Costa Rica is an ideal time to enjoy the attributes of the rainy season while avoiding the heavy rains of September and October. Although November is the last month of the rainy season, the end of the month is often drier as the season transitions into “summer.”
Costa Rica weather in November explained
The term that best describes the weather in Costa Rica in November is unpredictable. Only the El Niño and La Niña weather patterns can help us determine if the month will be wet or dry.
In general, El Niño pulls the dry season in early. While La Niña favors the heavy, moisture-laden clouds of the rainy months. For late 2023 and 2024, it looks like El Niño will be in effect, which means sunny afternoons and dry evenings of summer will arrive early.
However, Costa Rica’s weather is affected by local factors, too. For one, the country is divided in half by four towering mountain ranges. On either side are two world oceans and great blankets of rainforests intersected by rivers, volcanoes, and other features.
What results is an entirely diversified climate characterized by areas with distinct microclimates. For example, the microclimate around La Fortuna in the central lowlands experiences very different weather than the surrounding region.
In simple terms, Costa Rica in November weather really depends on where you go.
Temp in Costa Rica in November
As you can imagine, the extreme changes in altitude across Costa Rica also affect the temperatures. High daily temperatures in the beaches and lowland areas range in the low to mid-eighties. Evening lows range in the mid to low seventies.
It’s much cooler in higher elevations like Monteverde, San Gerardo de Dota, and Mount Chirripo. Expect highs in the mid-sixties and lows in the mid to low fifties in the evening.
The Central Valley and Capital, San José, are more moderate, although most locals argue that November and December are the coolest months to visit Costa Rica. On average, daytime highs are in the high seventies to mid-eighties. Nighttime lows reach into the low and mid-sixties.
Getting the most from the shoulder travel season
The great part of travel in November is that it offers the best of both worlds. In particular, the deals and discounts associated with the low season.
Past decades saw hotel owners and tour providers scrambling to maintain occupancy and bookings during the green season.
Hence, they offered significantly reduced low-season prices to attract customers. Although the deals aren’t as good as in the past, most tourism-geared businesses have kept the tradition going. For travelers on a budget, the best time to visit Costa Rica is undoubtedly during the green season.
What’s more, room availability is highest when tourism is lowest. Many of the most popular resorts and boutique hotels are booked months, if not years, in advance. Try reserving in November, and you may get lucky. Enjoy the best tours and hotels everyone raves about at a discounted rate!
High season rates generally don’t kick in until around December 15. So, if you’re determined to enjoy sunny weather and the rainy season discounts, visit towards the end of November and early December.
November with Adobe Rent a Car
At Adobe, the green season also translates to discounted rates for renters. Vehicle availability is at its peak, too. Visitors have a larger variety of vehicles to choose from.
However, one downside of visiting Costa Rica in November is the roads. Hazards are at their highest after months of heavy rains. Many dirt roads are potholed or washed out. And persistent rains may mean fog and limited visibility in higher elevations or evenings.
For these reasons, we encourage renters to choose a 4WD vehicle for traveling to remote areas. We have a large selection of 4×4 and SUV vehicles for driving in November. The added traction, power, and clearance are welcome when facing inclement weather and terrain.
We also offer a full coverage supplemental protection plan for peace of mind during rainy-season driving. Out Adobe Extended Protection Coverage includes 24/7 roadside assistance across the country. It also lowers the deductible to zero while raising the coverage to 2 million USD per event.
Planning your trip to Costa Rica in November
Preparing for unpredictable Costa Rica weather is really quite easy. The tropical climate is rarely too hot or too cold. And even during the green season, some 90 percent of days begin with sunny mornings.
But where should you go to get the best weather possible? The driest regions to visit in November are the northwest and Central Pacific Coast. If you want to see the Caribbean side, stick to the southernmost reaches. The area around Puerto Viejo tends to have less rainfall in November.
Otherwise, the southern zone is wet and rainy. The south Pacific side of the country, including the Osa Peninsula, is primarily covered in rainforest with plenty of rain. Likewise, on the Caribbean Coast and in the higher elevations and cloud forests.
To play it safe, visit the beautiful beaches on the Nicoya Peninsula, Central Pacific, or Northwest Pacific Coast.
And don’t miss visiting Manuel Antonio. Because of the town’s soaring popularity, it is usually packed in the high season. November is a great month to experience the natural beauty and wildlife while paying less and avoiding crowds.
Events and festivals in November
In terms of celebrations and festivals, November is a quiet month. The Oxecart Parade in San Jose towards the end of the month is a fun event. Oxecarts were essential to Costa Rica’s economic growth in the 1800s and 1900s. The celebration is accompanied by traditional food and festivities in local town centers.
Costa Rica doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but its expat residents generally do. Spending a holiday in Costa Rica, like Thanksgiving, may not entail the same green season rates or lodging availability. But It will be less expensive than Christmas and New Year’s, hands down. Reserve well ahead of time if possible.