Hurricane season and Costa Rica

Travel Blog

With our thoughts and concerns on Mexico, Florida, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic, many of us are wondering: is Costa Rica safe from Hurricanes?


The other day I got a Facebook message from a friend in the States; “Are my friends and family in Costa Rica safe from the hurricane?” she asked.

“Of course!” I said. “It might get a little rainy and cool, but the hurricanes never touch down here.”

Then, I got curious. Was that an accurate statement?

In the 20+ years that I’ve lived in Costa Rica, and travelled here, I’ve never seen a hurricane touch down. Nevertheless, I thought I’d better back up my claim with a little research.

I discovered that there was, on record, actually one hurricane that touched Costa Rica with a landfall; but, only one.

Unlike our friends in Mexico and the South-Eastern border of the United States, we seem not to be quite as exposed here; especially on the Central Pacific side of the country where Los Sueños Resort is located. At most, it seems, Costa Rica is typically only affected by heavy rains.

According to what I found on Wikipedia, the only hurricane on record to ever touch down in Costa Rica was Hurricane Nineteen back in 1887:

  • During the 1887 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Hurricane Nineteen passed over Costa Rica.
  • The 1906 Florida Keys hurricane impacted Cuba and southern Florida; there was, however, some damage to Atlantic coastal fruit plantations in Costa Rica, due to a landfall in Nicaragua.
  • Hurricane Martha, in 1969, has been the only known tropical cyclone to make landfall in Panama. Costa Rica had some flooding due to heavy rainfall, mostly in the southernmost area of Golfito.
  • Hurricane Gertcaused flooding and mudslides throughout Central America and Mexico in 1993. Although Gert’s center remained off the coast of Costa Rica, its large circulation only produced brisk winds and heavy rainfall across the country. There was some property damage, but mostly due to flooding.
  • In 1996 Hurricane Cesar–Douglas caused heavy rains in Costa Rica, but did not touch down in the country.
  • Hurricane Ida was the strongest land-falling tropical storm during the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season, crossing the coastline of Nicaragua with winds of 80 mph (130 km/h). In Costa Rica, the outer bands of Ida brought torrential rainfall, triggering isolated landslides.
  • Tropical Depression Twelve-E affected Costa Rica in 2011 with some landslides and flooding. Some roads and property were damaged.
  • The precursor of Hurricane Patricia in 2015 was a large and sprawling system that affected much of Central America with heavy rain for several days; there was some minimal flooding in Costa Rica.
  • In 2016, Hurricane Otto passed over Costa Rica as a minimal storm. However, prior to doing this Otto made its landfall in extreme southern Nicaragua.

So, with a sympathetic heart for those affected by the hurricane season each year, I am grateful that I can say that, at least here in Costa Rica, we are pretty safe from hurricanes. Of course, there is no place in the world that is 100% free from natural disaster, but I like to stay positive and consider the odds; especially when I’m thinking about my vacation!

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