Sep 27 2016

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

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

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
  • Tinamastes, Perez Zeledon
  • 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 July

If read every month, the following “observations, facts, & tidbits” can give you great insight into the areas of the country in which you might be interested. They are personal insights from folks with their feet on the ground in these towns.

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

  • The coolest night was 61°F three times.
  • The warmest day was 77°F two times.
  • From July 1st through the 12th, we took our 12 day road trip to the southern zone. We went to San Isidro de El General, Tinamastes, Uvita, Drake Bay, San Vito, San Isidro again, and to Quepos before heading home to San Ramon. We had a great time and only spent $1114 for the 12 days. We got to visit three of our weather guys/gals: Gordon, Bonnie, and Lance M.
  • We got married (again) on the coolest day (67 F) of the month, but it was fine. We got married in Costa Rica and celebrated on our porch. It was really one of the “coolest days of the year.”
  • On July 15th, we had 2.5 inches of rain, on the 18th, 2.2 inches, and on the 23rd, 5.1 inches (in only 4 hours, not even starting until 2:45 pm). If you add up those three days it comes to 9.8 inches in three days. That means we only had an additional 1.2 inches total during the entire rest of the month.
  •  The Veranillo de San Juan (“Little Summer“) occurs in late June into July. School starts around 10 February and ends around 15th of December. But during July, and coinciding with “little summer” the students have 2 weeks off.
  • 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 July:

  • I am obliged to take a 3 month sabbatical from Atenas weather reports (July, August and September). Soon after our digital digital thermometer / humidity monitor (kept outdoors) was pilfered and replaced as previously reported, our house, along with others in our neighborhood was burgled. They took computers, iPads, cell phones, flat screens, etc. My latest information is that four are now in custody. Where the stolen property has gone remains a mystery.
  • A replacement computer should arrive by mid-September. My plan is to then reinstall my weather data high-end software. Everything else being equal, my next weather report from Atenas will likely be for the month of October.
  • 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 July:

  • 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 July:

  • July was both a very happy month and also a very sad month. The rain was good to us in July, with a total of 25.3 inches. On the happy side of the month, we had a wonderful visit with Paul and Gloria as they were able to stop by and spend a day with us during their Southern tour of the country.
  • We also picked up a friend at the airport who was relocating from California. This was on the 17th of the month and that is when the sad days started. Our friend’s plane was 2 hours late arriving and we found out the main highway was closed to traffic coming out of San Jose so that vacationers could use all lanes to come home. We should have gotten home around 2 to 3 in the afternoon. But, we had to take the old road over the mountains to get home, so with all the delays it was almost 8 hours. When we walked in the house, my wife noticed the back door did not look right and as she got closer she saw it was bent. She walked in the bedroom and that is when we found out we had been robbed.They stole both computers and all my wife’s jewelry. Thank goodness they did not hurt the dogs. We filled out a report at the OIJ, but that is more of a formality since they really can’t do anything if you don’t have pictures and appraisal document on the jewelry, and pictures and model and serial numbers off the computers. We now have a roll down door (like the ones on the store-fronts) on the back door, and are getting estimates on a perimeter security system. It was a hard lesson learned, but we will never leave the house again without taking all our valuables with us.
  • Map_Quepos_SanIsidroTotal rainfall for the last 2 years in our area:
    • 2015 – 130.3″ / 330.96 cm
    • 2014 – 73.5″ (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 July:

  • As this year is our 30th wedding anniversary, we took  a 2-week river boat cruise down the Rhine river in Europe.  We left from Budapest, and ended up 2 weeks later in Amsterdam, so there is no weather report from me for the month of July.   I’ll be back in the August issue to tell you all about our trip.

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

  • July was a good weather month – sun and clouds, winds not excessive, and at fourteen inches of rain, plenty for the garden and pond, buHeredia-Mapt not too much. The amount of volcanic ash coming from Turrialba was also less than June, which meant less car washing.
  •  The veranillo (or little dry spell, in English) came right on schedule. The first one, El Veranillo de San Juan, arrived on June 24, the day before John the Baptist’s saints day and lasted for four days. The second one, La Canícula, lasted for much of July. Canícula is the Spanish word for the star Sirius, or the dog star, thus the expression, dog days of summer. In July and early August, Sirius is in proximity with the sun. Although Costa Ricans talk about both the veranillo de San Juan and La Canícula as two separate dry seasons (although there is some confusion about this) I think they are actually part of one dry spell. It’s arrival and duration vary from year to year.
  • So why does Costa Rica have a little dry spell this time of year? I had wondered about this for most of my life. The rainy season is brought to us by the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), known in days of old as the Doldrums. This is a low pressure band circling the planet. It migrates north and south of the equator as the tilt of the planet changes in relation to the Sun. From June through October, it hovers over or near Central America. During July it reaches its maximum point north, which sometimes is just a wee bit north of Costa Rica. I read about this for the first time in a link provided last year in Retire for Less in Costa Rica.
  • Family visited from the States for almost the entire month. Wanting to spend as much time with the grand kids as possible, I let the vegetable garden go, and it has now turned into a jungle. Although the kids spent almost all their time at our home (we’ve turned the property into a paradise for kids), we took them on several trips. My favorite was the trip to the Orosi Valley, a little Shangri-La if there ever was one. We’d planned to visit the Irazú Volcano that day because it offers good views of Irazú’s twin, Turrialba Volcano). The weather up on Irazú looked foreboding, but we had to go that day because it was a Sunday, and the best day to drive through San Jose. When we got up to Tierra Blanca it was dark and raining, so we went with PLAN B, which was the Orosi Valley. We drove around the Cachí reservoir, stopped in at the Ujarrás ruins, had lunch at the Rio Palomo Restaurant, and spent some time in the town of Orosi. I highly recommend the trip. Oh, there is also a long pedestrian suspension bridge across the Reventazón River that is wild. To find it, you have to ask the locals about it.
  • 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 Tinamastes, Perez Zeledon Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for July:

  • We’re settling into our new lives in the Southern Zone, taking Marley for walks, finding our way around San Isidro de el GeneTinamasteMapral to shop and run errands, meeting some wonderful people, and trying some exotic tropical fruits.
  • We enjoyed a reprieve from the rain during most of July, and most of the rain we’ve gotten has been late in the day, so we’ve taken several day trips to various Pacific beaches, sometimes on the spur of the moment.  We love being at the beach, but we’re always happy to arrive back home to relax in the cooler climate.

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

  • June 20 was the summer solstice, but for another month, sunsets moved later, from 5:58 PM all the way to 6:02 PM by mid-July; only now aElCajonDeGreciaMapre sunsets back to 5:59 PM.
  • Rainfall in July measured only about half of that compared to June – 257.8 mm vs. 511.0 mm last month. The 257.8 mm of July are more in line with last year when we measured 255.0 mm. 2014, however, was very dry in July when we had only 120.5 mm of rainfall, yet in 2013, we measured 353.8 mm — so rainfall during the last 4 years is all over “the map”, ranging from 120.5 to 353.8 mm, with the mid-two-hundreds in between.
  • July 10 was a hot day; we measured both, the highest lo and the highest hi that day: 19.6 °C and 30.4 °C respectively, while high temperatures didn’t climb beyond 23.4 °C towards the end of the month. We don’t see temperatures that low very often. This low of only 23.4 °C does not correspond with rain – that day it only rained 0.3 mm – barely measurable. It was just simply a cold day where we pulled out sweaters, socks and blankets.
  •  2015 rainfall for year: 107.6 inches (273.23 cm)

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

  • July continued the recent pattern of being much drier than the previous 2 years. With 397 mm (15.6 inches) of rain falling over the SiquirresMapmonth, the total was only 45% of the rainfall for July 2014, and 34% of last year’s rainfall in the month. We had our share of cloudy days, and the sky was frequently grumbling from distant thunder, but seldom did we get any appreciable rain.
  • We recorded no rain for 17 days out of 31, or 55% of days. This number is consistent with May and June. April was our sunniest month so far this year, with 26 rainless days (87%). Our temperature, thankfully, is cooler than it has been. We broke the 30°C (86°F) mark only 18 times during the month, and the average daytime high was a full 1 degree cooler than the previous month. May remains our warmest month.
  • The great green macaws (lapas in Spanish) are back. Every morning they fly overhead from the mountains to the Caribbean lowlands, and every evening they make the return trip. They used to make their appearance in the November-December rainy season, but I guess El Nino changed the fruiting seasons for the various jungle plants, and the birds have changed along with their food source.
  • 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 July:

  • map-CachiThe annual Romería (pilgrimage to Cartago) occurs every August 2 but by the end of July the roads are heavily congested with walkers.  Stay tuned for more updates in the August report.
  • Our average overnight humidity was up to 98%  this month and the average daytime humidity remained unchanged from the past 2 months at 62%.  Daytime low humidity was 51% and daytime high was 88%.
  • Speaking of humidity, my Steinway grand piano has taken a major beating down here with the high and fluctuating humidity, to the point of really just being a nice piece of furniture.  Let that be a warning to anyone thinking about bringing a piano.  However, I did get a Yamaha Clavinova digital piano this month, so I’m back in business.  Yea me.
  • Finca update: We had 10 baby ducklings hatch. The next day we had 9 ducklings hatch. A few days later we have a clutch of 5 more hatch. 2 days later we had 4 more. So with the 4 mothers and 28 new babies swimming in the river, and the 9 other adults makes a total of….ummm… well, a LOT.

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

  • Little rain for most of the month, due to the Veranillo de San Juan,” or St. Johns’ Summer.  Little rain with not too hot climate, with everything green, in our opinion makes it one of the best times of year to spend outside!
  • EscazuMapIf 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.


Our Weatherguys and Weathergals

Our San Ramón Weatherguy, Paul Yeatman

Meteorology has been Paul’s lifelong hobby.  As a child, he devoured books about the weather and earth sciences vigorously. Later, he took a few college courses in meteorology, and still later, he served as a meteorologist for the U.S. Army in Vietnam.  Now, Paul gets to practice his avocation in Costa Rica, albeit on a very small scale with just temperature and rainfall data, probably the two most important factors regarding the weather. He wanted to include weather info on our website to help people decide where to live, although weather is just one of many factors to consider in determining where to relocate. Current weather data is from our current home at about 3,000 ft. elevation and 10 minutes outside the town of San Ramón. Weather data prior to December 2012 is from our previous home at about 4,000 ft. elevation and 10 minutes outside the town of San Ramón.

Our Atenas Weatherguy, Lance Turlock

Lance and his wife, Diana, moved to Costa Rica over 4 years ago after living 30+ years in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia (Vancouver and environs). They live in the Central Valley near the town of Atenas and are at an elevation of about 2700 feet. They have no need for air conditioning or heating. Overnight low temperatures are comfortably cool (low 60’s). Daytime highs can be relatively hot (high 80’s, low 90’s), but rarely uncomfortably hot.Lance started to keep track of daily temperatures and rainfall in order to have factual ammunition to help disabuse friends, relatives and acquaintances of any misconception that the weather must be like that of a tropical jungle.

Our Nuevo Arenal Weatherguy, John Nicholas

After many visits to Costa Rica, John and Cathy Nicholas moved from New York to Costa Rica in 1991.  They chose Arenal for its sacred, majestic beauty, its lush wildlife, its relaxing lifestyle, and its proximity to activities and sites such as the Volcano Arenal and the beaches. They own the B&B, Chalet Nicholas, which has been in operation since 1992. Temperatures and rainfall are measured at Chalet Nicholas which is located at approximately 2,200 ft. elevation and 1 mile west of the town of Nuevo Arenal.

Our Central Pacific (Quepos) Weatherguy, Lance Miller

LanceM2I was born in a very small town in northwest Iowa and raised on a farm. When I was 18, I joined the service, in which I spent 22 years before retiring in 1990. For the next twenty three years my family and I lived in south central Pennsylvania. After having a stroke in 2012, I was unable to work and that is when my wife and I began talking about retiring. Thanks to your newsletter and a website we found about San Isidro, we began looking at Costa Rica. We came down in March 2013 and looked around for a week. Went home, packed up, and moved here in April. We settled in a small village called Playa Matapalo which is located between Quepos and Dominical. We later moved to Quepos. The word Playa means beach. It is so nice to lie in bed and listen to the ocean. Pura Vida.

Gordon_photo_croppedOur Villa Nueva (10 minutes NW of San Isidro de El General) Weatherguy, Gordon Stanley

Gordon and his wife Bea moved here from Lloydminster, Alberta, Canada, where he used to track the correlation of the winter hoer frost and the spring/summer rains. After 30+ years as a Purchasing Agent for a retail lumber yard/Homes Manufacturing company, he decided to say “Adios” to the snow and ice. They arrived in Costa Rica Oct 2, 2014, and originally lived in Quebradus, which is 15 minutes NE of San Isidro de El General, but as of November 2015 now live in Villa Nueva, which is 10 minutes NW of the city.  They are at a altitude of about 800 meters, living in a rental house that friends built on their acreage.  The fruit trees are abundant, and in the rainy season the water in the nearby streams can be heard from their deck.  They overlook a beautiful valley, and enjoy watching the sun setting behind the hills every night!

SteveJohnsonOur San Rafael de Heredia Weatherguy, Steve Johnson

I’m a weather geek and have been recording daily weather data for the last 4 years in Concepcion de San Rafael de Heredia. We live at 5,000 ft. (1,500 meters) elevation, above San Rafael centro on a low ridge that comes off of Cerro Chompipe (between Barva Volcano and los Cerros de Zurqui). We have a 60 mile wide view from Turrialba Volcano east to somewhere around Cerro Turrubares west. I first lived in CR as a Peace Corps volunteer (1968-71), married a tica school teacher, and moved back to Costa Rica in 2009. My wife grew up in downtown San Rafael just three miles away, and the weather is quite different there. I am also an avid gardener and birder.

BonnieViningOur San Marcos de Tarrazu Weathergirl, Bonnie Vining

Bonnie, her husband Joe, and their dog Marley moved from Tucson, Arizona to Costa Rica in mid-2015. Bonnie was a CPA, turned software engineer with IBM for 20 years and later opened and operated a specialty coffee shop, founded a non-profit dedicated to connecting musicians with appreciative audiences, and managed a school district theatre. A self-professed “data geek”, she enjoys being our weathergirl while pursuing her other passions which include traveling, gardening, cooking, hiking, meeting people, and hanging out with Joe and Marley. They are enjoying retirement life in the town of Tinamastes in Perez Zeledon which lies at about 2475 ft. elevation, after moving from San Marcos (4,800 ft. elevation) in the heart of Costa Rica’s prime coffee-growing region.

Our El Cajón de Grecia Weathergirl, Irina JustIrina-with-mariposa-at-la-P

Born in Germany, Irina spent 40+ years in the USA (all on the Pacific coast) before she and her husband Jim moved to Costa Rica three years ago. For the 20 years prior, they owned and operated a vineyard in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, famous for award-winning pinot noir. During that time, it became critical to keep precise records of daily temperatures, rainfall and pertinent weather patterns to accurately forecast seasonal tasks, such as when to prune the grapes, when to harvest, when to protect them from an early or late frost. As little as one degree made the difference between a bountiful harvest – or a lost crop. After moving to el Cajón de Grecia, the Justs continued to take daily readings of temperatures and measurements of rainfall because they quickly discovered that the micro-climate in the foothills of Poás differs widely from the weather in nearby Grecia.

mike-wise-photoOur Grand View Estates (Siquirres) Weatherguy, Mike Wise

Carmen and Mike Wise, together with their 2 large dogs, drove to Costa Rica from Calgary, Alberta a little over 3 years ago. Carmen is a professional musician. She was a guest clinician at Suzuki workshops in Costa Rica for many years, so developed good friendships here. Their network of friends helped them ease into the Pura Vida life! They built their own home in the gated community of Grand View Estates. It is located about 9km ESE of Siquirres, at an elevation of 200m. Their home has expansive views out to the Caribbean. Although the climate is tropical rain forest, it never gets too hot. They don’t need air conditioning. They run a small bed and breakfast (see Mike still works as a financial advisor, serving his Canadian clients. Telephone, email and Internet, supplemented by occasional trips back to Calgary, make living and working in a remote location possible. He does his own research and writes a quarterly newsletter Investing Wisely (see

JMArthurHeadshotOur Volio de Cachí (Orosi Valley) Weatherguy, John Michael Arthur

Mike uses the moniker Juan Miguel in Costa Rica. He and his partner, Michael, both native Texans, moved to Costa Rica a year and a half ago and they have never looked back.  Mike spent thirty years practicing medicine as a Family Practitioner in his hometown near Dallas.  The retirement destination was quickly narrowed down to Costa Rica and, after three years, they found a 3 1/2 acre farm complete with a river in the Orosi Valley.  Mike spends his life now as what one of his heroes, Thomas Jefferson, called a “gentleman farmer.” Days are spent tending to the over 125 fruit trees in the orchard, milking the goats for homemade ice cream and cheeses, gathering eggs from the chickens, ducks, and geese and turkeys and like Jefferson, creating special nurseries for monitoring and recording the best vegetable and flower results, and finding creative ways to use the river and land.

Photo-Tim-GarrettOur Escazú Centro (Barrio Los Profesores) Weatherguy, Tim Garrett

Tim Garrett was born in Costa Rica, and with an international background, with strong European and Latin American influence.  He loves spending time outdoors with whatever activity that comes his way. He works as General Manager of Garrett Brokers (, a family owned insurance broker, that has serviced the expat community for more than 35 years. They handle Automobile, Homeowners, Liability, Medical insurance and more. Garrrett Brokers, where both English and Spanish are spoken, is even a stop on the Retire for Less Ultimate Healthcare Tour.

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