December brings the beginning of the high season in Costa Rica, but the month starts out relatively calm. The closer it gets to Christmas, the busier and more expensive you can expect your trip to be. Although tourism-based businesses will be open throughout December, with the possible exception of Christmas Day, other businesses will likely remain shut over the holidays. Keep in mind that Costa Rican school holidays begin the second week of December, so many beaches will be crowded with families as well as tourists.
Along the Pacific Coast, there is little rain and temperatures can reach the high 80s or low 90s. On the Caribbean Coast, however, be prepared for some lingering rain. Often, rain on the Caribbean side of the country will be minimal and only take place in the afternoons or evenings. To be safe, it’s smart to bring along some waterproof gear if you’re heading to that part of Costa Rica.
December is a busy place for most destinations in Costa Rica, but Manuel Antonio stands out as one of the best spots to explore this time of year. The biodiversity and beauty of Manuel Antonio National Park is a clear winner, but there are also a variety of spectacular beaches worth exploring. The Espadilla Sur Beach is located within the national park, and it is one of the best places in Costa Rica for swimming and even scuba diving.
When it comes to booking hotels in Manuel Antonio, remember to plan as far in advance as possible. If you’re traveling near Christmas, expect popular hotels to be booked several months early. One of the top hotels is Hotel San Bada, which is located right next to the entrance of the Manuel Antonio National Park and is just a short walk to the beach. After a day of soaking up the sun, fill up with a meal at El Avion. This unique restaurant is found within a reconstructed airplane, and the pub-style menu is comprehensive. It’s also a fun place to grab a drink and mix with the local residents and tourists in the area.
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