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Four Key Reasons to Bird Costa Rica in the Wet Season

The rainy season has arrived in Costa Rica. Visiting Costa Rica in the wet season might sound discouraging, wet weather might seem like the best time to go birding in Costa Rica but we aren't complaining! We need these annual rains and our forests and birds can't survive without them.

But what about the birding? Well, as long as you don't mind not seeing wintering birds, this is an excellent time to visit Costa Rica. The dry season is indeed the high season for Costa Rica but that's because most people would rather visit during the winter, and, it doesn't rain as much. However, that drier weather is mostly restricted to the Pacific Slope, and it can still rain on the southern Pacific Slope.

The Orange-collared Manakin is one of the more exquisite specialties from the South Pacific slope of Costa Rica.

Technically, there is no definite dry season on the Caribbean slope, nor in the mountains, any time of year. With that in mind, to see resident birds, we could really see just as much from April to December as we do from January to March. Sure, you have to know where to go and how to work with rainy weather but the birding is still good. In fact, it's typically fantastic. Check out these key reasons to go birding in Costa Rica in the wet season.

Bird Activity

The more active birds are, the more they feed and sing, the easier they are to see. In Costa Rica, as with so many other places, birds are most active in the early morning and late afternoon. However, they are also more active during cloudy weather or during occasional rains.

In tropical habitats like we have, if it rains on and off, us local birders are smiling. We know that with weather like this, we can have very active birding, all day long.

Good Lighting

Cloudy weather means sharp details, deep colors, and no need to worry about bright, direct lighting. The colors on stunners like the Crimson-collared Tanager and Golden-hooded Tanager can downright glow on cloudy and rainy days!

Rain can also provide interesting lighting and photo opportunities for other birds too. Hummingbirds can be more active and raptors can perch in the open and pose for shots.

Clear Mornings, Rainy Afternoons

But doesn't it rain all of the time? It can in some places but rainy season birding in Costa Rica usually translates to sunny weather in the morning and rainy weather in the afternoon. The rain cools things down and makes for a great excuse to enjoy a drink while also enjoying close views of beautiful tropical birds.

More Elbow Room

As a side benefit, there are fewer people visiting Costa Rica during the wet season. Go with the best local birding guides in the high season and you'll still see lots of fantastic birds but a bit more elbow room is always a bonus.

FAQs About Birding Costa Rica in the Wet Season

How often does it rain in Costa Rica during the wet season?

During the wet season in Costa Rica, it rains on most days. However, it is usually sunny in the morning and rains in the afternoon.

Is bird photography in Costa Rica possible during the rainy season?

Yes, bird photography in Costa Rica is excellent during the rainy season. Birds are very active and there are dozens of bird photo opportunities for toucans, tanagers, hummingbirds, and many other species.

What birds are in Costa Rica during the low season?

During the low season, more than 600 species of resident birds are in Costa Rica. This includes the incredible Resplendent Quetzal, the glittering Spangle-cheeked Tanager, surreal Snowcap, and much more.

Birding Costa Rica in the wet season is easier than you think and can be even better for resident species than the dry season. Which birds would you like to see in Costa Rica? tell us about them in the comments!


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