Costa Rica’s Green Season
It may be raining but it’s still amazing: Green Season in Costa Rica.
Croc’s Resort & Casino, on the Pacific coast in Jacó, is the perfect jumping off point for all the amazing highlights of the green season, when the extra moisture makes the rainforest even greener. Blooming flowers and ripening fruit draw more birds and butterflies to the forest and make it even more lush and colorful.
Here are some of our favorite things to see and do in the green season:
Humpback whales from the Southern Hemisphere arrive from July through October, and September is the best time to see them. They travel to Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast from the Arctic and Antarctic to give birth and rear their calves. The overlapping arrival of Northern and Southern Hemisphere humpback whale population means you’re likely to see whales, especially at Marino Ballena National Park, about six months out of the year.
During green season, migratory birds from the north take to the Pacific Flyway to winter in Costa Rica or to continue farther south. Raptors, scarlet and western tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, barn swallows, American redstarts, and warblers join the more colorful Tico species: toucan, macaws
Whitewater river rafting
Near-daily rains mean higher flows for a real adrenaline rush rafting down the river. The Savegre River’s Class II-III rapids are tame enough for families and first-timers. The Naranjo, Class III-IV is for more experienced rafters, though fearless beginners can probably make the trip. Half, single and multi-day trips are available time for a swim along the way. River rafting outfitters employ bilingual guides and supply all the equipment and safety instruction.
Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast is at its best during green season, when the experts paddle out to catch some of the gnarliest waves in the world at Playa Tamarindo, Playa Hermosa, and Puerto Viejo. In Jacó, board shops and surf schools line the beach. Be cautious: waves are big and powerful. If you have never surfed or haven’t paddled out in a while, ask the pros for recommendations or take a lesson.
Olive Ridley turtles arrive in droves (called arribadas) at Ostional between June and February, with the highest numbers from August to November. Every 2 – 4 weeks, hundreds of Olive Ridleys come ashore in a single night to lay their eggs. A single nest averages 100-plus eggs, which hatch 45 – 54 days after they were laid. Access to nesting beaches is strictly regulated, which means you’ll need to book with an approved tour operator.
Costa Rica’s green season sometimes gets a bad rap: self-styled experts talk gloomily about the wet season between August and October, when there is more rain on the Pacific coast. However, it’s not all day, nor is it every day. When it rains, it’s mostly in the late afternoons and evening, leaving plenty of time for sightseeing adventures if you’re willing to risk getting a little wet. And, when the afternoon rain does come, cool down in a comfortable hammock and wait for those partly cloudy skies that create the most phenomenal sunsets imaginable.