December marks the beginning of the dry season for most of Costa Rica. The Pacific side and Central part of the country will see vast improvements in weather and the Caribbean side will experience a fair amount of rain. December is one of the most popular months of travel for the country with people coming down to spend their holidays in paradise!
The Northwest Pacific will be full swing in the dry season in December. Day time temperatures are usually in the upper 80s to low 90s. Rains are much less frequent and usually only a passing shower in the late afternoon or early evening if at all.
December is the beginning of the dry season on the Central Pacific. Though most days are nice, there are still some late afternoon showers. These really begin to fade as the month progresses. Temperatures begin to creep back up to the upper 80s by mid-December.
You can finally take your snorkeling gear off in the South Pacific! The rains will begin to subside and the sun will come out much more frequently. Day time highs are usually in the low 90s. Rains still occur, but usually only in the late afternoon.
The Caribbean side is in the middle of the rain season in December. Daytime high temperatures will be in the upper 80s. Rains can occur frequently and at any time, but rarely last long.
Similar to the Central Pacific, the weather in the Central Valley and Arenal begins to improve in December. Temperatures are usually in the mid 70s. Rains are much less frequent, with the majority of showers in the late afternoon or early evening.
Reservations for mid-December to the end of the month should be made 6 months to even a year ahead of travel if you require quality accommodations or multiple rooms. December is one of the highest periods of travel in Costa Rica. Many Costa Ricans are also off work or school, so hotels fill up early. Make your plans and reserve well in advance for this popular month.
High season prices are in full effect in December and hotel rates often increase rates with holiday surcharges. Reserve early to get rooms in the areas you desire, or you will likely need to change your plans.
Holidays and Festivals
December 1 - Festival de la Luz- San Jose weeklong Festival of the Lights with concerts and fireworks.
December 4 - Fiesta Pattronale Pavas - street fair with music, dancing, food and bull fighting (no bloodshed).
December 8 - Immaculate Conception, Fiesta do los Negritos-religious masses and processions and costume dancing.
December 12 - Fiesta de la Yeguita-Bull Fighting, followed by a parade in Parque Central Nicoya with foods, concerts and fireworks.
December 24 - Misa de Gallo-Christmas Eve mid-night mass.
December 25 - Christmas Day celebrated by family gatherings and dinners.
December 26 - Tope Caballos- Horse parade in downtown San Jose displays their proud equine traditions and unique Criollo breed.
December 31 - New Years Eve - Festivities will occur across the country.