Oct 06 2015

Monthly Costa Rica Weather Report for 8 Towns in Costa Rica – August 2015

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

You’ll notice that we now show rainfall and temperatures for eight 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

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.

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 Escazu and Puriscal in the coming months.)

You can click on the map above to enlarge it and check out the average rainfall for the towns in which you are interested. Remember that the areas shaded in darker blue tend to be higher in elevation and also the places most expats choose to live.

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

  • Due to El Niño, it’s been a little warmer — 1-2 degrees — than previous years and, for Costa Rica, El Niño means less rain (5.24″) near San Ramón, while the Caribbean slope has been especially wet this year. Historically, their dry time is September/October which is the best time to visit Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, and Manzanillo.
  • Our warmest day was August 2nd, at 81 degrees f.
  • costa-rica-map_cropped4Last year, it was pretty dry up until the end of August, and then September and October gave us quite a wallop, with 48 and 40 inches respectively. During those months, we had 2 days with 7 inches and one day with 10.5 inches which fell in a matter of hours. It’s hard to imagine that much rain in one day, isn’t it?!
  • Total rainfall in 2014 total was 120 inches and 2013’s rainfall was 111 inches in our area of San Ramón.

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

  • This August, there were 18 days without measurable rain. In August 2014, there were 16 days. Not much difference. But, the actual amount of rain this year was less than ½ of that last year.
  • With regard to temperatures, average overnight lows this year were about 2 ½ degrees warmer than last year. Average daytime highs were about 2 degrees cooler than last year. I think all of this is a reflection of cloudier days and cloudier nights but with clouds which do not necessarily produce any rain.
  • HeatIndexAtenasThe upshot is that El Niño may now be having its effect in the part of the country where we live. With all of this, I cannot help mentioning that the maximum “feels like” temperature in August this year never exceeded 93.9° F, though I must admit that there were a couple of days earlier this year when it went just over 100° F.
  • Total rainfall in 2014 was 73.59 inches and 2013’s rainfall was 63.84 inches in our area of Atenas.

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

  • In spite of the rainfall, which came in bursts mostly at night, we enjoyed our walks through the forest and even spotted a few red & blue Poison Dart Frogs, also known as “bluejean” frogs.  They are only an inch long, but their brilliant red color makes them easy to spot.


    Poison Dart Frog

  • The weather has been unusually hot this August with not as much rain as usual during the day.  Nobody is complaining, as most of the days are beautiful here with the lush year-round greenery and organic veggies growing along with the orchids!  We love our Lake Arenal area.
  • We had a record-breaking 185 inches of rain  for the year 2014. Total rainfall in 2013 was 164.75 inches in our area of Nuevo Arenal.

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

  • August was a busy month at the Millers. Since the article in International Living with Mary and I, we have been answering e-mails and talking to people on Skype, answering all of their questions on what it is like living in Costa Rica. That is really a hard question to answer because of the diversity in this country from weather to living style and many others. We advise people who have not been to Costa Rica to take a trip down here and explore the different areas that they think would like to live in. We also caution people about buying a house or land. Our advice is to rent for a year and travel around Costa Rica to make sure where you are living is where you want to be.
  • We are picking a lady up on the 24th and bringing her to our area since she wants to be close to the beach but the temperatures here worry her some. So after a couple of days, we are taking her inland to stay in San Isidro to try the climate there.
  • 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 Quebradas (San Isidro de General) Observations, Facts, & Tidbits for August:

  • Our report this month is for a short month (the first 25 days only), as we are going on vacation.
  • We had a total of 12.6″ (32cm) of rain, with only one day of over 2″ (5.08cm) actually measuring 4.4″ (11.2cm). There were several rainy evenings, which was good for us as we like to have fires in the backyard fire-pit.
  • Temperatures were consistent, with no really windy days.
  • As mentioned above, we are gone on vacation. We will be gone for 2 months in Canada;  1 month in Alberta, where we moved from, and 1 month in Newfoundland, which is home for my wife.  When we return, we will be living in a new area — Abarrio — which is located about 3 km. NW of San Isidro de El General, at an altitude of about 800 meters, which is 200 meters lower than where we now are.  Friends of ours are building a new house on their property and will be renting it to us. Life is good. Pura Vida!

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

  • Heredia-MapRainy Season — Total rainfall-to-date is 75 inches. Last year at this time it was 59 inches. So despite all the news about less rainfall this year, at our house at least, we aren’t doing badly at all. This year’s monthly rainfall pattern continues to be a puzzle. January was the wettest I’ve ever recorded; April was the driest recorded; June and July the wettest recorded; and August the driest recorded. So five of the first eight months set records in one direction or the other. My gardener tells me, “septiembre y octubre nunca fallan” (September and October never let us down [for rain]).
  • Water Storage & Irrigation – Managing rainwater storage is based on a good understanding of monthly rainfall averages. But this year, nothing is average. Fortunately the new pond filtration systems are working well, reducing the pond’s demands for water. In the last week of August I turned on the drip irrigation system for the garden. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined I’d be irrigating in August. Two miles up the mountain it’s been raining steadily, and that’s where our public water system gets its water. This is reassuring.
  • Other News – My Peace Corp reunion went well and it was good to see all those smiling faces after 47 years. The reunion was held in Portland, Oregon, so I took the opportunity to visit relatives in Seattle and Friday Harbor, Washington. On the last day before returning to Costa Rica I drove up to see Mt. St. Helens. When I was growing up I spent a couple of summers at Spirit Lake (near the base of the volcano), one summer at the YMCA camp and another at the Episcopal Church camp. Both were obliterated when the volcano erupted. I’d known Harry Truman, the old codger who lived by the lake and refused to be evacuated. He was among the 57 fatalities that fateful day in 1980. I still owe him $20 for a boat rental. At the time I’d been warned he’d have the county sheriff after me if I didn’t pay up. You win some and you lose some. However, I now live on the side of a volcano, and the thought has crossed my mind that Harry could possibly get his revenge.

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

  • SanMarcosDeTarrazuMapWe spent six nights in San Marcos de Tarrazu in September of 2013, and while we loved the area, we almost crossed it off of our list because the nights were cold. Having now lived here for six weeks, I’m finding the weather to be quite pleasant.  It only dipped down into the high 50’s on seven nights in all of August.
  • The other big surprise to me was that going into the last day of August, we had not yet reached 2 inches of rain for the month. Then the skies opened up on August 31st and delivered 1.1 inches…more than 1/3 of the rainfall for the entire month all on one day, which brought us up to a respectable, but unexpectedly low, 3 inches.
  • Alas, we achieved bragging rights over my old neighborhood in Tucson, Arizona which received 2.66 inches of rain in August. That figure is compliments of my friend, Bob Vining, who has been recording daily rainfall information at his home in Tucson for almost 25 years, and has all of that data contained in a single Excel workbook (with one worksheet per year)!

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

  • ElCajonDeGreciaMapIt looks like we’re beginning to see the impacts of El Niño in El Cajón. August this year was warmer and drier than the last two years. Daytime highs averaged almost two degrees centigrade (1.7 C, or 3º F) higher than 2014.
  • Rainfall totals, both for August and year-to-date, are about 88% of 2014 levels, and 2014 was itself below-average for precipitation. September and October are the big months for rain here. We’ll soon see what El Niño has in store.
  • In August, we recorded the warmest day ever (not just for the month, but for the entire 2 1/2 years since living in el Cajón): 33.1°C (91.6°F) on August 20th.

Costa Rica Weather Report

Costa Rica weather

Click to enlarge


Click to enlarge


Our San Ramón Weatherguy, Paul YeatmanPaulHubPhoto

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 about 2 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 Quebradas (15 minutes north of San Isidro de 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. 3, 2014, and live in Quebradas, which is a 15 minute drive North of San Isidro de General, at an elevation of about 3600 feet. There is a stream that runs behind the hill in their back yard, so are “forced” to listen to the sound of running water 24/7. Ahh the tough life! They are totally enjoying their new found retirement freedom in this wonderful land that they discovered thanks to this newsletter.

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 San Marcos de Tarrazu, 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 looks forward to 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 San Marcos which lies at about 4,800 ft. 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.

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