The Best Time to Visit Central America

Thanks to its tropical climate, outstanding wildlife, and easy accessibility, Central America is fast becoming one of the world’s most popular vacation hotspots. However, due to its vastly diverse and ever changing landscape, you aren’t always guaranteed good weather. Tropical storms, hurricanes and even blistering hot weather can all ruin a perfectly amazing vacation. So, no matter which of the 7 countries in Central America you’re planing to travel to, or what you are planning to do there, we can tell you the best time of year to visit.

Belize

Belize has warm, tropical weather all year round. However, the threat of rainy season, and the downright unbearable months of soaring humidity, makes planning the right time to go very important. At the end of April and throughout May the temperatures and the humidity levels skyrocket, making even the walk from your apartment to the local store a nightmare.

Discover the highlight of Belize.

Discover the highlight of Belize. Photo credit: shutterstock

The best time to visit this beautiful country is from late November to mid-April, during the very comfortable dry season. This is also the best time to enjoy some of the country’s most popular attractions. Walking through the Mayan archeological sites Altun Ha and Lamanai is a breeze in the cooler weather, and snorkelling the reef or diving the Great Blue Hole is fantastic when the visibility is so high. If you don’t mind a few tropical showers, and want to avoid the crowds, you may also want to consider visiting Belize in September or October. During this time some local establishments may close due to the ‘low-season’, but you will have all those beautiful beaches to yourself.

Honduras

After an unfortunate string of floods, hurricanes and political crises, Honduras is starting to become a very popular country for sun loving vacationers. This peak in tourism has left a lot of people wondering what time of year is the best to visit Honduras in order to avoid the unwanted weather.

February and March tend to have the most predictable weather. With dry roads, warm sunny days and lush jungle, this season is when Honduras looks its best. This is also the best season for diving and snorkelling in Honduras, as the visibility is incredible and large populations of Whale Sharks migrate to the warmer waters.

Visit the cultural and historical Copan in Honduras.

Visit the cultural and historical Copan in Honduras. Photo credit: shutterstock

However, prices at the beginning of the year can be much higher than in other seasons. So, to get the best deals on hotels, flights and food, you may want to consider traveling at the end of rainy season, in October or November. If you’re looking for a quiet holiday, and want to avoid the crowds of tourists, the best time of year to visit is from May to June. This is also the best season to see the local festivals and celebrations, such as the Rain of Fish, La Ceiba carnival and Feria Juniana.

Nicaragua

There is never a ‘bad’ time to visit this dreamy country. The weather is good all year round, and the temperatures are almost always predictable. They do have a slightly wetter season from May to June, but the showers are usually in the late afternoon or overnight, when the drop in temperatures causes the rain to fall. So, the best way to plan your trip to Nicaragua is to focus on the activities you want to do, and visit at the time of year that best supports your needs.

December to April is classed as Nicaragua’s dry season. The weather is warm, the sun shines all day, and it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy any outdoor activities. This time of year is also the best season for wildlife sightings. Unlike the winter months, the leaves and brush are much thinner in the dry season, so it’s much easier to spot the wonderful animals in their natural habitat.

May-November is the wet season in Nicaragua, but that doesn’t mean that you should write it off. You can enjoy cheaper prices, low crowds, lush green scenery and the big waves in this season make it perfect for surfers. This is also the time of year with the most cultural festivals. Sandinista Revolution Day, Santo Domingo and the Corn Island Crab Soup Festival are just some of the amazing celebrations you can enjoy.

See the highlights of the cathedral in Nicaragua.

See the highlights of the cathedral in Nicaragua. Photo credit: shutterstock

Costa Rica

Due to its larger size, compared to other countries in Central America, the weather in Costa Rica can really depend on which area you are planning to visit. Around the Caribbean coast, in the thick forested areas, there is almost always high humidity, and lower temperatures (around 70 – 80 degrees). Whereas, on the Pacific side, the humidity is much lower, but you will experience much higher, sometimes uncomfortable, temperatures.

Oh a whole, the best time to enjoy Costa Rica’s sunny weather and beaches is from mid-December to April, during the dry season. However, this time of year can be much more expensive, and you may have to fight with the crowds. During the wet season, May to November, you will experience a few tropical showers, but this is the best time of year to explore the lush jungle in all its glory. Plus, during the months June and July, there is usually a let up in the rain, so you can enjoy all the weather of dry-season, but without the high prices.

green volcano with clouds on the top costa rica

The Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. Photo credit: Shutterstock.

Panama

There’s a famous saying, “the only thing Panamanians take seriously are their holidays”, and that couldn’t be more true. Throughout January, February, November and easter, most of the stores and activity hubs will be closed, as there are many cultural holidays during that time. Even in Panama City, the banks, malls and restaurants all close during the holidays.

Panama has high humidity and warm temperatures all year around, but there is a wet season from April to July. During this season the Caribbean side of the country will receive up to twice as much rain as Panama City, so if you’re looking for a city break, you can still visit during this time. Panama has two dry season, from February to March, and then from September to early-December. During this time you can take advantage of the predictable weather, abundance of outdoor activities and the famous Mardi Gras carnival.

Explore Panama city by night and day

Explore Panama city by night and day. Photo credit: shutterstock

Guatemala

Guatemala has pleasant weather all year round. The highlands are famous for having beautifully warm days and cooler nights, whereas the lowlands are usually hot all year, and have higher humidity levels. The only time you may want to avoid visiting Guatemala is during September and October. This is the rainy season, and can make outdoor activities or any kind of beach time almost impossible.

The dry season in Guatemala runs from November to April, and it brings bright blue skies and glistening turquoise waters with it. Two of Guatemala’s most popular destinations, Antigua and Lake Atitlan, can get very busy this time of year, especially around Easter, so a trip in these months may be a little crowded. Guatemala’s famous ‘All Souls Day’ is also in this season, and is a cultural extravaganza not to be missed.

Even during Guatemala’s rainy season, the showers are usually in the late afternoon, and only last around two hours. The only part of your trip that the rain may interrupt is travel. Roads in Guatemala, especially in the lowlands of Tikal, can become very slippy and a little dangerous. So, if you’re wanting to explore more of the country by road, I would avoid this time of year.

Visit the Tikal National Park during your Central America adventure in Guatemala

Visit the Tikal National Park during your Central America adventure in Guatemala. Photo credit: shutterstock

El Salvador

The peak seasons in El Salvador are Semana Santa (the weekend just after Easter) and around Christmas time. During these periods, prices inflate and places become flooded with tourists and residents, all looking to celebrate the season. However, the best time to visit El Salvador weather wise, is at the end of December to February. The rainy season has just ended, so the landscape is a rich a luscious green, the weather is warm, but not too warm, and the air is crisp and fresh. This is also the best time of year to go wildlife watching, as most parks, such as the popular Montecristo, are closed during the other seasons.

If you are into surfing, then the best time of year to visit El Salvador is through the rainy season, March to November. The waves during these months are totally gnarly, but the visibility for snorkelling and diving is very poor. Turtle watching is also best in this season, as the sea turtles begin nesting in May.

Visit the cultural highlight of El Salvador

Visit the cultural highlight of El Salvador. Photo credit: shutterstock

Go a Central America adventures and discover all the highlights. Chimu adventures offers an array of tours to Central America or can tailor according to all your wishes. Contact us for more information.

 

Author: Fern Coll

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