When planning a trip to Costa Rica, vacationers often hope to avoid the rainy season. They imagine waterlogged beaches, muddy walks through the rain forest and unmitigated dreariness. For them, a trip to the tropics should be sunny and rain-free.

However, for those travelers willing to take the wet with the dry, the Costa Rican rainy season can be a wonderful time to plan a trip. The rainy season usually begins in late April and lasts until November. Most mornings are clear and sunny, and the rain normally only starts after lunchtime. An industrious traveler can do a lot of hiking, swimming or sightseeing before the rains even begin each day.

During the rainy season, plants and trees spring back to glorious, verdant life. Rivers are full again, the air is clear and cool, and the vegetation is lush and just what one would expect in the tropics. The rain itself is spectacular. It pounds heavily on streets and sidewalks but is surprisingly warm.

More importantly for travelers, the rainy season can often mean a reduction in prices. Hotel rates tend to be lower at this time of year. Many tourist attractions are less crowded, and travel bargains are more plentiful.

Although the rain makes day-trip planning more uncertain and can adversely affect driving conditions, it can also make for a truly memorable Costa Rican vacation.

Writing and editing by Beaumont Hardy Editing.