Vacation Rental Seasons

Whether already living in Costa Rica or visiting from abroad, Costa Rica’s seasons will affect the price you pay for a residential property.

Picture 201Keep in mind that in most parts of the country.  The rainy season starts in May and continues through late November. In Guanacaste, there is often a short dry spell in July commonly referred to as the Veranillo de San Juan, but in general it is rainy during this season.  The Caribbean side has a very different weather pattern with a dry spell in October and November.

There are three holiday weeks in Costa Rica that cause an influx of people in any area of touristic interest: beaches and mountain areas.  New Years is by far the busiest week with Christmas and Easter weeks also busy.  These weeks also command the highest nightly or weekly prices.

So prices look like this:

  • Low Season (May – November):  Base rate
  • High Season (Dec – April, non-holiday): Base x 1.2 -1.3
  • Holiday: Base x 1.5-3

Sometimes New Years is priced at a premium to Christmas because typically only international visitors rent over Christmas whereas Costa Ricans from San Jose rent over New Years also.

How do vacation seasons affect your rental?

1.  If you want to rent a holiday week, expect to pay a lot more and reserve early.  Almost ALL available units for New Years are rented by the end of September. These weeks will also be really busy with people in all touristy areas.

2.  If you rent in high season, you will pay a small premium, have dry weather, and more people will be around.

3.  If you rent in low season, you may get a lot of sunshine, and you will certainly get better prices.

4.  Airline prices track the seasons so expect to pay a lot to fly on holiday weeks, with a mid-level price during high season and discounted fairs for low season.  This applies to both international and national carriers such as SANSA and Nature Air.

5.  Long term tenants should be aware of seasonal pricing also.  Looking for a monthly rental in touristy area in October or November is going to be really tough because most owners or managers will make far more income for Christmas and New Years on weekly rentals than they would on a 3 month long term rental.

Lesson Learned:

Book early to maximize your negotiating power and give yourself the best chance of booking the property of your dreams.