Villa Quetzal

Villa Quetzal

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Why COSTA RICA has amazing sunsets every day at the same time?

Well, the reason why is because Costa Rica is a tropical country situated between 8 and 12 degrees above the equator.

Being close to the equator, Costa Rica does not experience the variation in day length that more northern or southern countries do.  It experiences about 12 daylight hours each day, every day.  The sun rises and sets at the same time all year round, so there are no short winter days or long summer ones. 

Enjoy the gorgeous sunsets every day at the same time, and whether you choose to do it by the beach or by the mountains, the experience will be equally captivating.

The best thing about tropical climates is predictability.
For any given month of the year, the weather in a particular Costa Rican town will be quite stable.  When you book your vacation, you will be sure what weather you are going to get. As a point of comparison, if you choose to visit the  European Alps for example, your vacation could be ruined by a rainy spell or it could be sunny and clear- there is no way to know in advance, so the only thing to do is book your flights and hope for the best.

Come to Costa Rica and you will be certain of what the weather will do.
The average yearly rainfall over Costa Rica is about 100 inches, but some areas get much more than that. It does have a positive side though.  High rainfall feeds lush rainforest and supports an incredible diversity of plant and animal life.  Do not be put off by a little rain- without it, the forests would not exist, and there would be nothing to see between the volcanoes and the beaches.  Without the generous rainfall, you would miss the spectacular parrots and toucans, green tree frogs and enormous butterflies.

Because Costa Rica is located between eight and 12 degrees north of the Equator, the climate is tropical all year round.  However, the country has many microclimates depending on elevation, rainfall, topography, and by the geography of each particular region.

Costa Rica's seasons are defined by how much rain falls during a particular period and not by the four seasons in the Northern Hemisphere.  The year can be split into two periods, the dry season known to the residents as summer, and the rainy season, known locally as winter.  The "summer" or dry season goes from December to April, and "winter" or rainy season goes from May to November, which almost coincides with the Atlantic hurricane season and during this time, it rains constantly in some regions.

The location receiving the most rain is the Caribbean slopes of the Central Cordillera Mountains, with an annual rainfall of over 5,000 mm (196.9 in).  Humidity is also higher on the Caribbean side than on the Pacific side.  The annual temperature on the coastal lowlands is around 27 °C (81 °F), 20 °C (68 °F) in the main populated areas of the Central Cordillera, and below 10 °C (50 °F) on the summits of the highest mountains.

Near the Equator, there is little distinction between summer, winter, autumn, or spring.  The temperatures there are usually high year-round—with the distinct exception of parts of the Equator that cross high mountains in South America and in Africa.  (For example the Andes Mountains and Mt.  Kilimanjaro.)  The temperature at the Equator can also plummet during the extensive rainstorms in many locations, but not in Costa Rica.  However, many places close to the Equator receive rain throughout the year.  The seasons can vary depending on a variety of factors including elevation and proximity to an ocean.  

Why is twilight short near the equator?
I have now read in several different books that relate the adventures of world travelers the same observation about the sunset at the equator.  They state that at the equator "darkness falls almost instantly after sunset, there is no twilight".  I ignored it the first few times I saw it, but after reading it again, and again, I began to wonder if it is true, and if so why?  I cannot figure out why twilight should shorter or longer anywhere in particular.  Is it true?  Why?
This is a very good question.  The reason is a little complicated to understand, though.  The simple answer is that at low latitudes, the sun sets perpendicular to the horizon, while at higher latitudes, the sun can set at a more oblique angle, allowing it to remain close to the horizon after sunset for a longer period.
Weather in the tropics is essentially a phenomenon of solar radiation and air circulation.  Intense heat at the equator puts air in motion, and a worldwide pattern of winds is established.  The most famous of these, for Costa Rica, are the northeasterly trade winds, known locally as "alisios".  These winds blow with considerable force from December to March and April.  These winds, for example, are responsible for carrying moisture in the form of mists to the slopes of the TilarĂ¡n mountain range.  These mists are what sustain the magnificent cloud forest ecosystem.

On the Pacific slope, the rainy season begins in May and runs its course until November.  
Here again, days often begin sunny and pleasant, with rains coming later in the day.  This is a period of time in which the trade winds coming from the northeast are much reduced in intensity, and as a result, storms often come in from the Pacific Ocean in September and October; however, the time you spend in Costa Rica will be quit enjoyable.

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