Heading to Costa Rica in March? You might be looking for information on the temperature, useful tips, and things to keep in mind. You’re in the right place. March is a popular time to visit Costa Rica, but for a good reason – the weather is generally at its best at this time of year
Most people are looking to spend time outdoors when they go to Costa Rica; there are so many ways to enjoy nature, whether its the beaches, swimming, birdwatching, rainforest hikes, or coffee, fruit and chocolate farms. Almost all of Costa Rica’s attractions involve spending time outside, so its a given that you’d want to go when its sunny.
You might be wondering about weather, crowds, attractions and other things you need to know for visiting Costa Rica at that time of year, and I have you covered.
So let’s jump in – everything you need to know about visiting Costa Rica in March.
Costa Rica in March: Sunrise and Sunset Times
In March, Costa Rica has an average of 12 hours of daylight. The sun rises at sometime between 5:34 and 5:50 am, and sets around 5:46 pm in March. So, you can expect it to be already quite bright early in the mornings (make sure your accommodations have good curtains or wear a sleep mask if this will bother you) and it’ll be dark in the evenings, likely when you’re eating dinner.
March Temperature in Costa Rica
In March, Costa Rica’s temperature sits around an average high of 30-37 °C (86 to 96 °F) and a low of 25-30 °C ( 76 to 86 °F.) Needless to say, its quite warm. It’s the warmest month in Costa Rica, and even though it could rain – March is the lowest risk of rain in Costa Rica.
However, this doesn’t mean a 100% guarantee that it won’t rain during your stay in Costa Rica in March. We have seen it rain quite a bit in March. The weather is only an average, or an estimate – it can rain anytime throughout the year.
Which Areas in Costa Rica Get the Most Rain?
When it does rain Costa Rica, it tends to rain more on the Atlantic coast. This is good news for you, most likely, as most travellers in Costa Rica tend to stick to the Pacific Coast.
Many travellers to Costa Rica visit the Guanacaste region (near Tamarindo on the map) and this is one of the warmest, sunniest regions in the country. If you’re travelling to this area in March, you can expect sunny weather, but should bring a rain jacket in the event that it does rain sometimes.
Good to Know: The central valley (such as La Fortuna and Monteverde) tend to see more rain during the rainy season and dry season. So you should almost expect a bit of rain regardless of the time of year you visit if you’re going to those areas.
3 Costa Rica Holidays & Festivals in March
Here are the holidays that are celebrated in Costa Rica throughout March to be aware of during your visit, as well as how (if at all) they will impact your tourist experience.
1. Easter (Semana Santa)
Easter of course, may or may not fall during your Costa Rica trip in March. If it does, its important to know that the week leading up to Easter in Costa Rica is called Semana Santa, and its similarly as popular as Christmas in Costa Rica.
Almost 90% of Costa Ricans are Christians, with 3/4 of those being Roman Catholic. For Easter, there are religious parades in most towns. Many Costa Ricans get the week off and will travel to the beaches. Based on this, I’d recommend avoiding planning a trip to Costa Rica during the week of Easter. It will be much busier during that time and not ‘business as usual.’
2. Día de los Boyeros
Día de los Boyeros translates to “Day of the Oxcart Driver” and this national Costa Rican holiday is held on the second Sunday in March every year. It is not likely to interfere with your tourist plans unless you travel to the specific church at the festival is held at. If you do, it can be quite entertaining to take part in this exciting celebration.
3. Día de San José
Celebrated on March 19th every year, Día de San Jose honours St. Joseph by having special masses throughout the country, displays of beautiful artwork, parades and food in the cities. Most public and private businesses close for the day, so many Costa Ricans might spend time with their family at the beach with their loved ones.
As a tourist, Dia de San José shouldn’t interfere with your stay too much – most tourist businesses will stay open, as March is a busy season for them. Most Costa Rican churches are welcoming if you decide to join them to celebrate Día de San Jose.
Things to Do in Costa Rica in March
This of course depends on the kind of trip you’re looking to have. Some are looking for a beach vacation, others want to do adventure activities like go zip-lining in the rainforest.
- Head to Monteverde or La Fortuna if you want to see rainforests and wildlife. Some of Costa Rica’s rainforests have hanging bridges that give you a bird’s eye view of the jungle
- See a volcano. Poás volcano (pictured above) can be seen in a day trip from San José. Arenal Volcano is in La Fortuna
- Spend a day or two in the capital, San Jose – its home to interesting museums, a foodie scene, food market, and only 30 minutes away from a cloud forest
- Head to the beaches, which are popular for swimming and surfing. Tamarindo, Playa Conchal, Playa Hermosa, Dominacal and so many others are popular for different reasons. If you’re travelling to Costa Rica with kids and are looking for family-friendly beaches, I’ve got you covered on that.
- Do a coffee and/or chocolate farm tour. Costa Rica has so many small, family-owned fruit, coffee and chocolate farms. This tour in La Fortuna was our favourite that we did as a family (but it is suitable to adults only as well as groups with children.)
What to Bring to Costa Rica in March
Here are the things you don’t want to be left without during your March vacation to Costa Rica.
1. A good sunscreen
Choose a mineral-based sunscreen to avoid the chemicals used that are hurting the coral reefs. This sunscreen is perfect – affordable, effective and 50 SPF – perfect for protecting skin against the equator sun.
2. Good quality hiking shoes
If you’re going to be doing any hiking in the jungle, you’ll want good quality shoes – especially because of how damp the jungle can be, even in March. You’ll want a waterproof pair, like this pair for women or this one for men. If you’re heading to Costa Rica with kids, then this is the perfect hiking shoe for kiddos.
3. Mosquito Repellent
Don’t be caught in Costa Rica at any time of year without a good quality mosquito repellent.
4. Rain gear
Even in March, it can still rain in Costa Rica. We were glad that we brought umbrellas, and rain jackets because we needed them more often than we would have thought.
PRO TIP: You want your rain gear in Costa Rica to be EXTRA LIGHT because of the heat and humidity, like this set here.
5. A reusable water bottle
It gets hot in Costa Rica, and the tap water is perfectly safe to drink. Stay hydrated by refilling your water bottle (plus, it cuts down on plastic waste.)
In a Nutshell: Pros and Cons of Costa Rica in March
Here are some of the benefits of going to Costa Rica in March, as well as some of the negative points to be aware of and prepare for.
-March is one of the warmest, sunniest months of the year in Costa Rica. It also has the lowest risk for rain
-March is a great time in Costa Rica to see sloths, monkeys, and tropical birds.
-There are some national festivals and holidays at this time in Costa Rica that give you a chance to experience traditional Costa Rican festivities that only happen in March
-March is one of Costa Rica’s busiest months for tourism, along with December. The line ups at the airport can be longer, and tourist activities can be busier. Bbook things (hotels, car rentals and activities) in advance
–The week of Easter (on years when it falls in March) is a busy time in the country, with many Costa Ricans taking time off and heading to the beaches and mountains. This might mean extra crowds at the beaches
Costa Rica in March FAQ
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about visiting Costa Rica in March, and questions we wish we’d asked beforehand too.
Is March a good time to go to Costa Rica?
Yes, March is a good time to go to Costa Rica, but it is also quite busy during that time. March is one of the most popular times to go to Costa Rica because of the warm weather and low chance of rain.
Is Costa Rica crowded in March?
The airports, most popular beaches and tourist attractions can be a bit more crowded in March than usual. March is the most popular month to travel in Costa Rica, because of the weather and because of spring breaks typically happening in U.S. and Canada. To avoid disappointment, book your activities far in advance, and try to venture off the beaten path.
Which beach is best in Costa Rica in March?
The best beaches to head to in March will depend on what kind of beach atmosphere you’re looking for. If you want to surf, then you should check out Playa Dominical or Playa Hermosa. If you’re looking for family friendly beaches, then head to Jaco Beach or Tamarindo Beach.
How much does it rain in March in Costa Rica?
Despite there being a low risk of rain, it can still rain heavily in March in Costa Rica. You should pack rain gear even if you’re travelling there in March. Find rain gear that is light, so that you aren’t too hot. Even if it rains in Costa Rica, it still gets very hot.
Would We Recommend Going Costa Rica in March?
In an ideal world, it might be easier to travel to Costa Rica during January or February, but this isn’t a as easy for a lot of people. March in Costa Rica is popular for a few reasons, the typical time off in US and Canada being one of them. Rest assured – March is still a great time to visit Costa Rica. If you’re strategic in booking the hotels, tours and experiences that you want well in advance, you’ll be able to experience the best of Costa Rica; the natural beauty and relaxation of the Pura Vida lifestyle, even during its most popular month for tourists.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking for great hotels to stay with kids, read my recommendations for the best family-friendly hotels in Costa Rica.
Final thoughts on visiting Costa Rica in March
If travelling at peak times bothers you and you can avoid going to Costa Rica in March, then by all means – choose a less busy month. However, if March is the time that you have available, then you should still go. Costa Rica is a diverse country thats popular for a reason. I have never met someone who wasn’t happy with their trip to Costa Rica, regardless of when they went.
So, I recommend booking at trip to Costa Rica regardless of the month, experience the Pura Vida lifestyle, and find out why its so popular.