Escape Routes – Costa Rica

You may be asking yourself, “Why is Becky talking about a vacation to Costa Rica in the middle of the SUMMER?!”

I’ll tell you why… because winter is fast approaching. I am well aware of what the calendar says: Fall begins September 22; Winter begins December 21.

But here’s a few more stats…

Denver typically sees it’s first snow by OCTOBER 18th. Denver’s average October snowfall… 4.0 inches. If you want to go extreme, the Blizzard of 1997 came October 24 – 25th. Almost TWO FEET of snow fell over that time frame.

October weather 1997

If you’re superstitious, Denver has not seen snow during the month of October for the last 3 years. That’s the first time that’s happened in Denver weather history. We’re due.

October weather

If snow is falling, then it might as well be winter. So let’s all agree that winter in Denver starts in OCTOBER, which is now only 2 months away.  By the time January rolls around, we’re right smack in the middle of winter, despite what the calendar says. And I don’t know about you, but by that time I’m ready for a warm break.

As I look at the family calendar, a January trip to Costa Rica sounds tempting. In full transparency, I have never been… but I’ve wanted to go for years. And this meteorologist doesn’t go anywhere on vacation until I’ve researched its weather. According to what I’ve found, Costa Rica is a pretty great place to be when Denver is looking mighty chilly.

Their “green season”, or winter, runs from May to mid-November. It’s called the “green season” because of all the rainfall. Costa Rica averages 100 inches of rainfall every year… with some mountain areas getting more than 25 feet. During “green season”, you’ll wake up to sunny skies with rain showers developing during the afternoon. If you like to surf, some of the largest swells come during “green season”. And full rivers make for great white water rafting. Not to mention, it’s a little less expensive to visit when there is so much rain! However, that four wheeling trip you are wanting to take might not happen due to some roads becoming impassable. Can you imagine zip lining in the rain? When rain hits you at high speeds, it burns! I don’t enjoy the feeling of small rocks pelting my skin. Constantly. And what if you want to be lazy and hang out at the beach? Not happening if it’s raining all afternoon.

That brings me back to January. It’s 5 degrees outside in Denver and you have 5 layers of clothes on to keep you warm. The Broncos are great (hopefully), but the forecast is bleak… calling for a slow warm-up back to the 30s in five days.

January Denver

Meanwhile, in Costa Rica…

January Costa Rica

It’s dry season… especially along the Pacific Coast. Temperatures along the beaches of the Pacific Coast average from 86 to 94 degrees. Average temperatures in the mountains around the central valley range from 75 to 85 degrees. A few rain showers are possible… but are brief in the afternoon or evening.

Yes, please. Maybe a quick, long weekend trip to the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica in January is just the break I need. 🙂

(NOTE: In January, the northwest part of Costa Rica gets windy as cooler air dives in from North America. And the Caribbean side of the central mountains is still rainy. Cooler air pushes across the Gulf of Mexico, collides with warm, humid air over the northeast side of the country… and results in days of rain locals call “temporales del Atlantico”.)


Author: nowcastinglife

I'm a meteorologist, wife and mom of 3. I've spent the last 18 years of my career in television news, but now I work for myself and my family!

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