Avoid the rainy season – why?

How often have you heard those immortal words, “Avoid the rainy season”. In my opinion, whoever wrote those words has never been in Costa Rica between May 15th and November 15th, our terrible rainy season, or what the tourist promoters call the green season. Most of Costa Rica was originally a rainforest, much still remains, so rain is a part of our lives, and can’t be avoided living here but I question why?

The words ‘rainy season’ conjure up images of a 24 hour non-stop hurricane inundating Costa Rica, forcing people indoors, streets turning into rivers, Grandma, in her nightie, floating past, holding on to a log for dear life.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Of course there is the occasional flood when an unusual amount of rain falls on a particular part of Costa Rica, especially near the coasts, but those stories are so rare they make the news here in Costa Rica.

In general, the truth, you wake up it the morning to a bright sunny day with few clouds in the sky, the air is clean and fresh, the birds are singing and the vegetation everywhere is so lush and green and expanding its reach outward and upward. You go out and get your things done, banking, grocery shopping, go for a swim, get a tan, visit friends, take a peaceful walk.

Around noon the clouds start to roll in, and the bright sunshine turns to a still bright but cloud covered sky, with the sun hidden but directly overhead. Rising over the horizon in the distance you notice some fairly dark clouds starting to form, and moving in your direction. By about 2 pm, with the dark clouds looming overhead, it starts to rain, slow at first to give you a chance to find cover, then really heavy for about fifteen minutes including some flashes of lightning and heart-stopping claps of thunder. The less time between the two, the closer the lightning is, count one thousand, two thousand, … it’s almost thrilling if you weren’t so worried that you may lose your electricity or God help us, your precious Internet. Sit back, pour a coffee and enjoy God’s display of furry while it lasts, for maybe fifteen minutes on average, eventually tapering off to a light rain, thunder in the distance and maybe drizzle, the calm after the storm! Often by 4 or 5 pm the rain has stopped altogether, and by the time you go to sleep, the stars are coming out.

But remember, the climate is warm, and the rain is barely cool enough to call refreshing, your clothes will get wet if you are caught in a downpour, but it isn’t uncomfortable, and they quickly dry if you continue to wear them over the next couple of hours, almost like air conditioning!

And what else? How about most hotels and restaurants, and car rentals companies and tour operators and tourist shuttle operators and souvenir stores are clamouring for your business at this time of year. Get the best rooms at the lowest prices, the nicest seat in the restaurant, the most personalized service on a tour and car rental prices that are about three quarters of the high season rate. Explore beaches where your foot prints in the sand are the first of the day, wild dogs try to befriend you, and you almost look for another tourist to strike up a conversation and share the peaceful uncrowded environment. Meet Ticos who have time to stop what they are doing and say hello, see the real Costa Rica without the unnatural tourist influence that falsifies a true experience.

Rather than coming to Costa Rica during the constantly sunny but crowded high tourist season, come at my favourite time of year to enjoy a wonderful more authentic Costa Rican experience.

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