Topographic Elevation Keeps You Warm or Cold
For most foreigners coming to live in Costa Rica, the climate could mean some sort of immediate discomfort. But generally for them the acclimatization is only a matter of time. In Costa Rica you won't have any trouble adjusting to the climate especially if you decide to locate in the Central Valley whose altitude ranges from about 800 to 3000 meters. Below that, you'll probably feel some discomfort at the heat and humidity; above that you'll note the coolness of the air. Above 2000 meters some persons feel somewhat dizzy. Any discomfort, however, will last no more than three days to a week while your body adjusts.
The good thing about Costa Rica is that distances are not too great. Within an hour's drive from any place within the country you can find the altitude you want. The Central Intermountain Valley, where the 65% of the population lives and works, has temperatures that average from 60 to 80 degrees throughout the year. Homes in the Central Valley don't need air conditioning or heating, thus cutting down on your electricity bills. In higher parts of the Central Valley, the most you need to sleep comfortably is a good blanket; at the lower levels, a sheet is sufficient.
The Central Valley has two sharply defined seasons: dry (summer or verano), which goes from November through the end of April, sometimes into middle May, and the rainy (winter or season which extends from May to November. On a normal year when neither the Niño nor Niña are present, you can expect your first sporadic showers to fall from April 13th to the 25th. In my more than 50 years of living in San Jose, I've observed how Nature has been exceptionally consistent, at least regarding the coming of the first showers of a new rainy season. However, March 2003 was the exception.
Tn late June appears the Veranillo de San Juan which is a break of about a week or more in the rainy season. It's given this name because on June 24 is celebrated the day of Saint John the Baptist. Then about the middle of July there comes the Canícula which is another break in the rainy season lasting for about a week. Later around the middle of August comes another dry spell which is called the second Canícula. From then on normally you can expect plenty of rain through the end of October. However, the months of September and October of 2001 were 25% drier than usual.