Traveling to Central America During Rainy Season

My family decided to travel to Central America in the summer months because this was a time when we could get away for nearly one month without having to worry about missing school and activities.

Also, I appreciated the fact that it would be low season, resulting in less crowds and cheaper prices all around.

traveling to central america in rainy saeson

However, it is the rainy season in a country know for, well, rain forests. So clearly it was going to rain. Here’s what we experienced when traveling to Central America during rainy season.

It IS going to rain. 

We had rain just about every single day on our trip when we were on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and Panama.

While we were in Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, we had one day of pretty solid rain. Other than that, it would rain for an hour or so, and then clear up. Often times it rained while we were sleeping at night. And this was during a time when thanks to El Nino this coast was receiving 40% more rain than usual.

traveling to costa rica during rainy season

Apparently this is as bad as it gets in terms of rain.

traveling in central america during rainy season

On the Pacific coast, which is generally much drier anyway, we saw very little rain at all.

We packed solid Coleman rain jackets in our daypacks and took them everywhere with us. Even during the beach portion of our trip, I wouldn’t say the rain impacted our experience negatively whatsoever.

The rain might impact your driving route.

While overall the roads are good and well maintained in Costa Rica, in the hilly areas during rainy season often close due to mud and rockslides. For example, one of the main roads between San Jose, Costa Rica and the Caribbean coast is 32. This goes through a beautiful national park, but reaches some high points and is surrounded by steep cliffs. While we traveled around the country this main road closed for several days due to a massive mudslide.

renting a car in costa rica

We had to slightly reconfigure our itinerary. This wasn’t a big problem at all, and in fact ended up saving us some driving and forced us to slow down and stay in one place a bit longer. Just keep this in mind if you’re driving around Central America during the rainy season.

It’s best to stay somewhat flexible in the event of a road or activity closure due to unexpected rains.

If you’re stuck driving at night, rain can also make the experience a bit more harrowing. Especially during the rainy season, plan ahead to ensure you are not going to be driving at night.

The landscape is a vibrant shade of green I’ve never seen before. 

From the moment we landed in Costa Rica, the varying shades of green mesmerized us. Rich, vibrate, neon green colors surrounded us. As compared to the dry season, the lushness of the countryside and even the jungle are all the more rich and beautiful during green season.

traveling to central america in rainy season

Especially if you’re a photographer, consider using the colors of the rainy season to your advantage in Central America. 

Have you experienced traveling to Central America during rainy season? What was your experience?

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  • Tangerine Reyes Trubiano

    I am from the Philippines and used to rainy season. Central America still looks pretty even during rain.

  • WellWornSuitcase

    Haha, yes indeed! We were in Costa Rica last summer, and feel where you are coming from!

  • Sarah Ebner

    The colours sound amazing. And we are used to rain in the UK (even though this sounds somewhat different!) Great place to travel – I’d love to do so too.

    • Yes the colors are amazing, and I think especially for photographers the rainy season is ideal.

  • We’ve been to Mexico two times, and both of them at the end of the rainy season. People don’t get us, but it’s usually only rain for a short time or during the night, so why not? And btw: love the last picture of the beach. Beautiful!

  • Laura Murphy

    I’m headed to Bogota and Cartegena in October during Columbia’s rainy season – just today was chatting about how much this will impede our trip… Sounds like with the right gear we’ll be fine 🙂