What Time Is It In Costa Rica?


Costa Rica doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time. Here we discuss the reasons why and the effect it has on citizens and residents

Costa Rica makes keeping time easy! You never have to worry about different time zones throughout the country or Daylight Savings Time. Conveniently located near the equator, Costa Rica enjoys 12 hours of sunshine and 12 hours of night year-round. You can actually watch the sunrise over the ocean on the Caribbean Coast and then watch the sunset on the Pacific Coast all in one day!

Four white clocks on the wall illustrating daylight savings time

Since Costa Rica does not observe Daylight Savings Time, from mid-March to October, the time is the same as Mountain Standard Time in the United States. From November to mid-March, the time is the equivalent of Central Standard Time in the United States.

Why Costa Rica stopped Daylight Savings Time

The decision to forgo changing the clocks in 1992 stemmed from the fact that days and nights are nearly equal. Costa Rica is only 10 degrees north of the equator so the sun rises at about 5:30 a.m. and sets around 5:30 p.m. You will notice that the length of days varies by only half an hour depending on the season. During the rainy season (May-Nov) the sun rises and sets about 30-35 minutes earlier than the dry season (Dec-Apr).

Beach open early due to not having daylight savings time in Costa Rica

Other reasons for getting rid of Daylight Savings Time in Costa Rica were that DST would at most only have a 1.4% drop in energy consumption. It would be dark for children walking or taking the bus to school and for farmers or construction workers, there would actually be a loss of productivity. Costa Rica felt that changing the clocks would just be more of a nuisance.

Understanding “Tico Time”

When it comes to time in Costa Rica, you definitely cannot forget about Tico Time! It supersedes daylight savings, central time, or time zones. Tico Time dominates Costa Rican culture. So what is Tico Time? Essentially it is bringing the “Pura Vida” mindset to keeping time. Ticos are notorious for never being punctual or very relaxed when it comes to the pace at which they work.

Patio of a luxury home in Costa Rica a with a pool

This is definitely a curse and a blessing. Foreigners cannot wrap their minds around someone showing up 2 hours late for an appointment or taking a few hours on a simple task. But Tico Time represents a beautiful part of the Costa Rica way of life. Tico’s tend not to stress about keeping a tight schedule and working themselves too hard. This is a huge factor as to why Costa Rica is such a happy and laid back country!

No matter what time the clocks may indicate, remember it’s Tico Time here in Costa Rica, especially by the beaches! It’s best to go with the flow and embrace the “Pura Vida” lifestyle otherwise you may find yourself a bit frustrated.

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