Today I’m headed back to the United States to spend Christmas with my family in Maryland and ring in the New Year with a few of my travel buddies from Madrid in Washington D.C. I can’t wait to spend time with my family, eat way too much of my mom’s cooking, and relax and reset before heading back to Costa Rica to finish the last few months on my contract here with Outward Bound.
Leaving Costa Rica behind for Christmas also means leaving behind rainy season. After 15-months of living in the rainforest near Tres Rios, I can’t believe the last of the rainy madness is behind me!
Costa Rica, like much of Central America, has two distinct seasons — dry and wet. The temperature doesn’t vary much throughout the year, but during the wet season, which runs roughly from May to November, it rains nearly every afternoon and evening, especially in the rainforest. True, the dry season technically started in December, but since I live in the mountains in a rainforest our wet season lasts a little longer. It has however, been sunny and beautiful the past week or so.
To bid a final farewell to Costa Rica’s rainy season, I wanted to share some snaps of our jungle magic with you. Most days during the rainy season it starts raining around 11 a.m. and doesn’t stop until sometime in the wee hours of the morning when I have long been fast asleep. On the rare rainy season afternoon when it doesn’t rain, something magical happens– The air fills with a thick mist, draping the landscape in a blanket of enchantment.
These afternoons are my absolute favorite and I relish taking a coffee break so I can get up from my desk and walk through the spellbinding scene. The view of our office from the top of our base camp is especially mesmerizing!
To make this time of year sound more appealing to tourists, many in Costa Rica have started to call this time of the year the “green season” instead. However, these months continue to be the low season for tourism in Costa Rica. If you are looking to visit during this time you can save between 10 to 40 percent on lodging.
Rainy season 2015 witnessed only 64 percent of the normal rainfall level. Although I only experienced one other rainy season in 2014, I noticed that it was a lot drier this year. Scientists say that an El Niño weather phenomenon is to blame for the drier than usual conditions.
The rainforest plays a critical role in stabilizing the planet’s climate. The mass amount of plant life that live in rainforests absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, keeping temperatures lower and the atmosphere healthy. They also release vast amounts of moisture in the air that plays an important role in the Earth’s water cycle.
While living in the jungle has had its fair share of challenges, it has been a gift to be able to learn more about this unique ecosystem, not by reading about it in a book, but by living in the thick of it, and observing the subtle changes every day.
So farewell, Costa Rica’s rainy season! I look forward to finishing my time in Central America on a dry and (hopefully) sunny note.