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What is the Green Flash?

March 03, 2023 2 min read

Have you ever witnessed the green flash at sunset or sunrise? After trading in my heels in New York City for a surfboard and camera in Costa Rica, I often heard that the green flash was common in sunsets in Costa Rica. So every sunset, I kept looking and hoping to see this elusive "green flash" of light as the sun passed over the horizon. But, I had no clue what to look for. 

So what is the green flash?

According to Live Science, the green flash is 'a phenomenon in which [the very top part of] the sun can be observed suddenly and briefly changing [to a green] color.' The change in color only lasts a brief moment, just as the sun is dipping over the horizon, thus the reason for using the term "flash." And why the green color? Refraction in the atmosphere bends the light of the sun, filtering out colors like red and green and allowing green to show.

📷 Tropical Sol 

HA! Here I was thinking that I was going to see this flash of green light coming from the sun as it was passing over the horizon!!! And it only took me a couple of years of chasing sunsets in Costa Rica to finally witness a green flash - - which is more like a green glow than a flash. And now I know what to look for, I've been lucky to see many of green flashes. 

So what is the best way to see the green flash?

Seeing the green flash is all about the right conditions. For a green flash to occur, there needs to be clear skies (no clouds and in an area free of pollution), very good visibility, and a good sunset view location. A perfect place to watch the green flash is over the ocean or body of water - - like watching the sunset in Tamarindo Costa Rica, especially during dry season here when there are no clouds in the sky!



Pura Vida,




P.S. Do you have more questions about Costa Rica?

Click here to read more of my Costa Rica tips, check out the highlights in my Instagram stories "CR Tips", or feel free to email me and ask away!

*[Blog post originally posted on 9/1/17, updated March 2023]* 

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