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May 02 2016

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Costa Rica Weather–March 2016 Observations, Facts, & Tidbits

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You’ll notice that we now show rainfall and temperatures for eleven towns in Costa Rica:

  • San Ramón de Alajuela
  • Atenas
  • Nuevo Arenal
  • Quepos
  • Near San Isidro de General
  • San Rafael de Heredia
  • San Marcos de Tarrazu
  • El Cajón de Grecia
  • Grand View Estates, Siquirres
  • Volio de Cachí, Orosi Valley
  • Escazú

This isn’t weather forecasting. We report after the fact to give you a much better picture of the weather in each of these areas. You can click on the map above to enlarge it and check out the average rainfall for the towns in which you are interested.

Do you track the weather data for your town in Costa Rica? If so, we’d like to talk to you about including it in our monthly report. Anybody interested?? (NOTE: we plan to include weather reports for both Puriscal and Santa Cruz in the coming months.)

Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for March

Paul’s San Ramón Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for March:

  • The lowest monthly temperature for March was 60.0°F (15.6°C) and the highest reading for March was 83.0°F (28.3°C). Fifteen  days were 80°F (26.7°C) or above. Five days came in at 79°F (26.1°C).
  • It was warmer in the town of San Ramón, which is 500 ft. higher in elevation than where we live. Even though our rental home in Magallanes de San Ramón is lower in elevation (2970 ft.)  than the town (3450 ft.), the temps are usually a bit cooler.
  •  SpringEquinoxMarch, April, and May are the warmest months in Costa Rica. We sit at 10 degrees north latitude (10 degrees north of the equator). The sun is at the equator on March 20th  (the Spring equinox) and moves north 1/4 of a degree every day. So, 40 days later (approximately April 29th), the sun is directly above us at 10 degrees north latitude.
  •  We just got back from the International Living conference in New Orleans and will write more about our trip next month. For now, let’s just say we ate a lot of great food and listened to a lot of great music!
  • Our rental house is still for sale. You can read about it in the featured property listing below. We are still looking for a great rental in downtown San Ramon.
  • We had only one tour in March, to Lake Arenal. This tour was real estate oriented at the client’s request, both rentals and to buy. The client is interested in the Tileran side of Lake Arenal and the towns of San Luis and Tronadora.
  • costa-rica-map_cropped4Total rainfall for the last 3 years in our area of San Ramón:
    • 2015 – 103 inches
    • 2014 – 120 inches
    • 2013 – 111 inches

Lance T’s Atenas Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for March:

  • The weather in March was quite boring in Atenas. Whenever it got hot (equal to or greater than 90°F/32.2°C), the humidity was quite low. With winds and breezes the “feels like” temperature was frequently less than the actual air temperature. Compared to last year, March temperatures were a bit higher but not much. Unlike last year, there was a measurable amount of rain on one day and some unmeasurable trickles on a couple of other days. The maximum “feels like” temperature with heat and humidity combined was 92.3°F (33.5°C). This is not particularly uncomfortable if you choose not to exert yourself.
  • Our house without air-conditioning actually remains a few degrees cooler than outside temperatures. It has a tiled roof (real tiles and not plastic or some other composite) and the roof is shaded by palm trees. This is good during the day and more than good for a comfortable sleep at night. In the cool early mornings, we can be obliged to draw up a comforter, but that is better than having to turn on an air-conditioner, which attracts the relatively high electricity rates in Costa Rica.
  • Total rainfall for the last 3 years in our area of Atenas:
    • 2015 – 63.70 inches
    • 2014 – 73.59 inches
    • 2013 – 63.84 inches

John’s Nuevo Arenal Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for March:

  • March was a beautiful month, weatherwise. I took advantage of it by swimming in Lake Arenal for the first time this year.
  • We’ve been in Costa Rica for over 25 years and own the B&B, Chalet Nicholas, located in Nuevo Arenal.
  • Total rainfall for the last 3 years in our area of Nuevo Arenal:
    • 2015 – 208.34 inches, setting a new record!
    • 2014 – 184.95 inches
    • 2013 – 164.75 inches

Lance M’s Central Pacific Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for March:

  • In Quepos, everyone was staying in as cool a place as they could find. The local folks who have lived here all their lives said this has been the hottest and driest dry season they can remember.
  • There have been water shortages and our never-run-dry-well has run dry once, but thanks to the spring that feeds it, it filled back up. Makes you stop and think about water usage. The good thing is that our landlord had two 500 gallon holding tanks installed, one for his house and one for our house, so we have never ran out of water; we just have to conserve a little. Ranchers are really hurting for water for their livestock. It could be worse.  We only had 9 days that were 100 degrees plus.
  • Map_Quepos_SanIsidro2014 rainfall for the Quepos area of the Central Pacific was 73.54 inches (as of February 2014 when I started measuring it for this newsletter).

Gordon’s Villa Nueva (San Isidro de El General) Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for March:

  • March was another warm month, with a new high of 91°F/33°C, breaking last month’s previous high of 90°F (32.2°C).  We also saw the greatest variances in the lows and in the highs this month.  The lows varied by as much as 8°F, (4.4°C) and the highs by as much as 9°F, (5°C).  Previously, as an example, the highs were  varying 4-6 degrees F.  Possibly a result of El Nino?  March was also the month that we our first recordable rainfall since the middle of December. Now, 0.2″ (.5cm) may not sound like much, but it sure was a sweet sound on the roof!
  • Sunset_GordonHouse

    Recent sunset at our house

    We also had some company from Canada and the U.S. in March.  They were only able to stay for a week, as one of them is a teacher and that was all the time she could have off, but we made the best of the short time they were here.  We all agreed one week was just not enough time to see even a fraction of this beautiful country, but time together with old friends is always special.

  • We are looking forward to the rainy season so we can get more flowers and finish off our landscaping – watering every day is fine, but there is nothing like good old rain water!  (You may want to remind me I said that when it is the middle of next November!)

Steve’s San Rafael de Heredia Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for March:

  • Heredia-MapAfter three months, the cumulative rain total for 2016 comes to 8.3 inches, a little below normal. We got a tenth of an inch on March 2nd and then on the seventeenth, a whopping two inches. Because we usually get a couple or three good soaking rains in March, after the seventeenth we waited for another rain, but it never happened.
  • The lack of rain has kept me busy watering the gardens, particularly the vegetable garden, and topping up the pond. The last monthly water bill came to 19,000 colones ($36), representing the highest water usage we’ve ever had in Costa Rica. Our average water bill is around 6,000 colones ($12). When we lived in South Carolina our average bill was about $60, so even though we use huge amounts of water here, it is much cheaper. We do conserve water in as many ways as possible. A couple of examples, when I take a shower I run the water into a bucket until the water starts to get warm (most people just let the water run down the drain). I then use the water in the bucket to flush the toilet. This saves, on the average, one flush a day. Another thing, as I rinse the dishes I dump the water into a bucket and then dump the bucket onto the compost pile, which usually needs it. When we rinse fruits and vegetables, that water is also collected and goes to the compost pile or used to water the plants on the veranda.
  • StevePond

    Steve’s Pond

    Besides watering the garden, I also change the birdbaths daily and water the chickens. I figure about a hundred gallons evaporate daily from the pond, so keeping it topped up puts a demand of more than 3,000 gallons a month during the dry season. One big water demand is the filtration system for the pond. During the dry season it takes 40 gallons of water a day to clean the system. So I’m using more than a thousand gallons a month just to keep the pond clean. But this water is not thrown away. The dirty water is pumped down to holding tanks in the vegetable garden and from there I can use it to water the vegetables, route it to the bog garden, or parts of the flower garden. Believe me, nothing gets wasted. 

  • March stands out as the hottest month we’ve experienced in six years of recording weather data. The average daily high was 81.8, five degrees above the figure for February. In a land of very even temperatures, five degrees is a huge difference.
  •  On another topic, my wife, Maria, and I are avid backyard birders. March is the month to watch for raptors on their annual northerly migration. Maria has the sharp eyes and she is usually the one who spots the bird first. Then I identify it in the field guide and take a picture. This March was one of our best ever, as we saw many groups of hawks rising in the thermals. The term birders use to describe these large groups of swirling raptors is “kettle.” This March we saw several kettles containing more than a thousand hawks each. It is one of Mother Nature’s more spectacular events. If you’re not a birder, a kettle looks like a bunch of small dots in the sky. Nothing to get excited about. If you’re a birder, it gets your heart pumping.
  •  Total rainfall for the last 3 years in our area of Heredia:
    • 2015 – 144.9 inches
    • 2014 – 115.1 inches
    • 2013 – 111.3 inches

Bonnie’s  San Marcos de Tarrazu Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for March:

  • We have recently moved and will continue our weather reporting from our new location in May.

Irina’s El Cajón de Grecia Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for March:

  • ElCajonDeGreciaMapWe recorded the highest temperatures to date during March — it was generally 2 degrees Celsius hotter, with 14 days when temperatures soared above 30°C (86°F). The lows, too, were approx. 2°C higher than in previous years. By comparison, previous years showed an average high of 27.3°C (81.1°F) last year, 27.4°C (81.3°F) in 2014, and 26.9°C (80.4°F) in 2013.
  • Humidity:
    • average high: 58.3%
    • average low: 20.9%
    • average humidity for the month: 39.6%
  • Although barely measurable, we had a little rain (less than 1 mm) in March of the past 3 years as well. Our latest measurable rainfall was last December — needless to say, it’s been very dry in el Cajón. We’ve heard thunder and saw dark clouds, but nothing came down. We can’t wait for the rainy season to start, so we can fix our caña living fence, transfer some shrubs and plant a few trees.
  • We’re looking for a white Hong Kong Orchid tree to plant on our beloved dog Zooey’s grave. We have a purple Hong Kong Orchid tree which does wonderfully and hope the white variety will do equally well. On a brighter note — several of our various orchid varieties, which we have either grafted onto trees (especially the “sandpaper tree”) or planted in the ground, are starting to bloom and our orchid garden looks very colorful right now.
  • Let’s hope for rain.
  • 2015 rainfall for year: 107.6 inches (273.23 cm)

Mike’s Grand View Estates (Siquirres) Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for March:

  • SiquirresMapMarch in the Caribe was quite warm. We recorded 18 days with no rain, and a further 6 days with just a trace. As a result, we also had no cool days (or nights), as reflected by our average daily high of 29.°C (85.6°F). The thermometer topped 30°C on 16 days, and at night only fell below 20°C once.
  • Total rainfall for the month was 153 mm (6 inches), which was 1 mm less than we recorded in March last year.
  • My niece from Ottawa visited Costa Rica and rented a house that was perched up on a hill outside of Atenas. We went to visit them. We found the countryside far different from our part of Costa Rica. Very brown, and somewhat reminiscent of the Italian countryside when viewed from our vantage point. We found it extremely hot (the thermometer reached 36°C (97°F) one day), and the low humidity caused our skin to dry out and itch almost instantly. And the wind! We had to keep the patio doors closed all the time despite the high temperature, and I swear there were whitecaps on the swimming pool. Sometimes it sounded as if the roof were being torn off. Atenas advertises itself as having the best climate in the world; it didn’t show off its best side to us. We were glad to return to our land of green, bathed by gentle zephyrs from the Caribbean.
  • Total rainfall for the last 2 years in our area of Grand View Estates:
    • 2015 – 305.7 inches
    • 2014 – 208.2 inches (May through December)

Juan Miguel’s Volio de Cachí Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for March:

  • map-CachiWe do get some rain even in the dry season, but it has been steadily decreasing while temperatures are gradually increasing.  I was thinking how we needed some more rain, since a few things have been a little “wilty” in the mid-afternoon, until I made a trip to Alajuela and realized how much drier and brown everything was there by comparison.  A few miles do make a tremendous difference here in PuraVidaVille.
  • We had one very foggy morning and two additional days with mist for several hours, but no measurable rain on those days.
  • Our average overnight humidity was up to 87%  this month and the average daytime humidity was 66% again.  Daytime low humidity was 50% and daytime high was 77%
goatbaby

Hasta luego Hombrecito

  • Goat update:  the adorable little buckling, Hombrecito, was taken to his new home and exchanged for a Flemish Giant rabbit.  These are not your average pet store kind of rabbit.  Trixie is the size of a Lhasa Apso.
Hello Trixie!

Bienvenido Trixie!

Tim’s Escazú Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for March:

  • EscazuMapMarch came with typical dry season days, with some hot nights.
  • We had a little rain — just a trace (.04″) on Sunday, March 13th.
  • If you are in the market for insurance — automotive, homeowners, liability or medical — contact us at Garrett Brokers, a family owned business that has serviced the expat community for more than 35 years.
  • Escazú County is one of 20 counties that make up the San Jose Metropolitan Area. It is west of the downtown San Jose area, with the Escazú mountains as its backdrop.

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