Travelers often ask about the rain when coming to Costa Rica. To mind come images of monsoon-like devastation, commonly associated with the dark side of tropical paradise. Fortunately, Costa Rica has been blessed with a perfect geographic location, generally out of reach from the hurricanes, 10 degrees from the equator, and in between two warm oceans. Officially, Costa Rica has 2 seasons: dry and rainy. The dry season spans from December to April, and the rainy from May to November.
Recently a cute euphemism was coined for the rainy season, they now call it the “green season”. Cute and friendly, however, still very true. During the green season, the country goes through a Kafka-esque metamorphism and emerges emerald green. The temperature stays quite constant through-out the year, so calling it “winter” would be odd for visitors from truly frigid areas as Maine or Norway. In fact in my closet I only have a light jumper that I bring out at most twice a year. I like to call Costa Rica’s weather: t-shirt weather, as that is what I wear 90% of the year.
It still amazes me that after 20+ years of Costa Rican living, when May arrives, I find the rain a novelty. It is so dry during the previous months, that when precipitation finally falls, theme music from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” plays in my mind. The ritual for the rain is quite predictable and stable. Gloriously sunny morning (in fact I believe it gets hotter during the green season than in ’summer’), followed by a gloomy grey transition of a few hours, only to let it rip around 3pm. It will rain for a few hours, and then clear up for a mellow evening.
The rain in Costa Rica plays a pivotal role in many areas: economy, agriculture, society, and even primitive religions.The country proudly runs a majority of its power generation from hydroelectric plants located throughout the nation. Seasonal fruits and vegetables will flourish, like my favorite green mangoes!
Well, if you don’t like the rain as much as I do, then at least you can take comfort in the fact that hotels are worth 30% less, there are less lines and tourists everywhere, and the rainforests truly come to life. Next time your dusty travelguide advises against the green season, think again.
|Written by Richard|
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Filed under: Travel on July 11th, 2007