Green Season 2023: Heat Wave and El Niño


El Niño is definitely having an effect on the weather in Costa Rica, but not for long…

May usually brings about the first rains here in the Guanacaste region. But this year, at the beginning of May, Playas del Coco experienced a heat wave instead. Temperatures reached 39 degrees celsius or 102° degrees fahrenheit! The occurrence of this prolonged heat wave in Playas del Coco is tied to the phenomenon known as El Niño.

Beautiful rocky cove in Costa Rica

What exactly is “El Niño”?

El Niño is a climate pattern characterized by the warming of the Pacific Ocean near the equator. Its effects can be far-reaching, impacting weather patterns across the globe. During El Niño years, regions in the Pacific, such as Costa Rica, often experience unusual weather conditions. Such as alterations in temperature and rainfall patterns.

El Niño can significantly affect the rainy season in Playas del Coco and Costa Rica as a whole. Typically, Costa Rica experiences a distinct wet and dry season. During El Niño years, the arrival, intensity, and duration of the rainy season can be altered. In some cases, El Niño may delay or reduce the amount of rainfall during the rainy season.

Temperature gauge showing high temperature

Rainy season is just around the corner

While the heat wave may seem unrelenting, there is hope on the horizon. Recently our area has received those first few sprinklings of rain meaning that the rainy season is on its way! The rain brings relief from the higher than normal temperatures and replenishes the lush landscapes.

The rainy season in Playas del Coco is characterized by refreshing afternoon showers and occasional thunderstorms. These natural phenomena rejuvenate the flora and fauna, replenish water sources, and bring relief from the high temperatures. The anticipation of the rainy season is met with great enthusiasm by locals and tourists alike, as it brings a sense of balance and harmony to the region.

How to cope with the El Niño heat wave

In the meantime, while we wait for the coming rainy season, we can cope with the heat in the following ways.

  • Look for shaded areas such as trees, umbrellas, or covered outdoor spaces to protect yourself from direct sunlight.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Dehydration can occur quickly in hot weather, so it’s essential to replenish your fluids regularly.
  • Take advantage of cooling measures to lower your body temperature. Use fans, air conditioning, or portable misting fans to create a cooler environment indoors.
  • Schedule your outdoor activities during cooler times of the day, such as early morning or late afternoon. Avoid the peak heat hours, usually between mid-morning and mid-afternoon, when temperatures are at their highest.
  • Take a dip in the sea or relax under a beach umbrella while enjoying the refreshing coastal environment. Playas del Coco is fortunate to have beautiful beaches along its coastline. The ocean breeze and the cool water can provide relief from the heat.
  • Wear lightweight, breathable clothing in light colors that reflect sunlight rather than absorbing it. Opt for loose-fitting clothes to promote air circulation and allow your body to cool naturally.
  • Protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays by applying sunscreen with a high SPF. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to shield your face and eyes from direct sunlight.

Man snorkeling in the early morning off the coast of Costa Rica to avoid the heat

The recent heat wave in Playas del Coco, Costa Rica, serves as a reminder of the powerful influence of El Niño on weather patterns. Thankfully, we can always take a dip in the refreshing ocean and enjoy a tall cold drink to cool us off as we wait for the rainy season to arrive.

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