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The Caribbean coastline has an average temperature of 21º C at night, and 30º C during the day. The rainy season has a rainfall average of 224 inches (5,600 mm) per year, along the coast, on the eastern face of the mountains and in the Caribbean lowlands. In most of Costa Rica the peak periods of rainfall occur during May to June and September to October, although precipitation remains substantial throughout the period. Though it is considered to be the wettest region of the country, rains usually occur in the late evening and nighttime. Due to humidity and trade winds, temperatures will remain low, and even drop noticeably during rainy nights.
The Pacific coast is warmer than the Atlantic by 3º to 5º C. The northern part of the country is totally dry for six months of the year. Rainfall averages only 59 inches (1,500 mm) a year in the northwest and central part of the country. The South Pacific region, where La Cusinga is located, is generally wetter than its counterpart to the north. General rainfall will reach up to 197 inches (5,000 mm) a year. High mountainous areas, such as the region surrounding Costa Rica 's highest peak Cerro Chirripo, have cold, windy and cloudy conditions all year round. Chirripo remains below 10º C (50º F) during the day, and may experience temperatures as low as 0º C (32º F) at night. Frost and even snow have been reported (okay, just once in the last century). As a general rule, temperatures decline with elevation at a rate of approximately 3.5 Fahrenheit degrees per thousand feet in Costa Rica (6.5º C per 1000 m). Thus, average December temperatures vary from 79ºF (26ºC) at Orotina on the coast, to 66ºF (19ºC) in San José at 3500 feet (1100 m), to a chilly 43ºF (6ºC) in Villa Mills at 10,000 feet (3050 m).
First-time visitors to Costa Rica often neglect to bring a warm jacket with them after reading about the climates of the coastal regions and the Central Valley . A medium-weight fleece jacket is ideal.
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