In this guide you will not only find when is the best time to visit Guatemala but also recommendations for traveling to Guatemala during any season. Having grown up there and still visiting regularly, I can confidently say that this country is a great destination no matter the time of the year. So even though there are months that have better weather than others Guatemala has a mild weather year around so it’s never a bad time to travel there.
With its diverse geography and varied elevations, Guatemala can experience a range of weather patterns throughout the year. In this article, I’ll walk you through the different seasons in Guatemala. Here you will find all the information you need for choosing the best time to visit. And I will also share some tips on how to make the most of your trip, whether you’re traveling during peak, low season or shoulder season.
Guatemala: The Land of Eternal Spring
Guatemala is known as the “Land of Eternal Spring” because of its wonderful temperate climate, which is generally pleasant year-round. The country is situated at a high altitude, ranging from 500 to 4,000 feet above sea level, which gives it a mild and fresh climate.
The country’s amazing weather is another reason why it’s such a popular destination for travelers. The temperature is relatively consistent throughout the year, with the average temperature ranging from the high 60s to the low 80s Fahrenheit (around 18-27 Celsius). There’s also plenty of sunshine, with an average of around 5-6 hours of sunlight per day. This makes for ideal conditions for exploring the country’s natural beauty and outdoor activities.
Furthermore, the country’s diverse geography means that visitors can experience a range of climates and landscapes. From the cool, misty highlands of the Western Highlands to the hot and humid lowlands of the Petén region, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re headed to lake Atitlán or relaxing it Guatemala’s black sand beaches, Guatemala’s weather and natural beauty make it a must-visit destination.
Seasons and Weather in Guatemala
Guatemala has two main seasons: rainy and dry. The rainy season typically lasts from May to October, with the heaviest rainfall occurring in September and October. During this time, the country’s lush rainforests and jungles come to life, and the landscapes are bursting with vibrant colors. .
Guatemala’s Dry Season
The dry season in Guatemala typically runs from November through April, making it the most popular time for tourists to visit. During this time, temperatures are generally mild, hovering between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21-27 Celsius) during the day, and cooling down to around 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celsius) at night. Humidity is lower during the dry season, which makes for more comfortable conditions for outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing.
Guatemala’s Rainy Season
The rainy season in Guatemala typically runs from May through October. While rain can occur throughout the year, the rainy season brings more frequent and heavier rainfall, particularly in the form of afternoon thunderstorms. However, despite the rain, the rainy season can be a beautiful time to visit Guatemala. The landscape is lush and green, and the countryside is alive with the sound of rainforest birds and animals. Plus, you can enjoy lower prices and fewer crowds since it’s considered low season.
In terms of specific months, June and September tend to be the wettest months in Guatemala. However, the rainfall can vary significantly depending on where in the country you are. For example, the Pacific Coast tends to be drier during the rainy season than the Caribbean Coast or the Highlands. It’s worth doing research ahead of time to determine which areas you’d like to visit and when they tend to have the most rain.
Guatemala’s Pacific Slope and Western Highlands are typically the wettest regions, receiving around 30-60 inches (76-150 cm) of rain per year. Meanwhile, the Central Highlands usually see around 20-30 inches (51-76 cm) of annual rainfall. Petén, on the other hand, experiences approximately 80-150 inches (200-381 cm) of rain each year, with rainfall occurring throughout the year. The Caribbean Coast is known for being the rainiest area in Guatemala.
It’s important to keep in mind that rainfall patterns can vary depending on which side of the mountain chain you’re on, and can also fluctuate from year to year due to natural phenomena like El Niño or La Niña. El Niño typically leads to an extended dry season.
When is La Canícula in Guatemala?
Despite the rainy season, there are usually brief intervals when no rain falls, known as canícula, which can last for a week or two in July or August. This period can be a great time to visit Guatemala with kids, on summer vacation. I’ve taken advantage of the canicula and found it usually happens in July sometimes for 3 weeks but it does change (last year we only had about a week of canicula in July). So, while rainfall varies in Guatemala, there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy the country’s natural beauty and vibrant culture regardless of the season.
The best time to visit Guatemala based on the weather
The absolute best months to visit Guatemala can depend on your preferences and itinerary. If you’re interested in cultural events and festivals, November and December are great months to visit as they coincide with important holidays like All Saints Day and Christmas. If you’re planning to visit the highlands, which includes popular destinations like Antigua Guatemala and Lake Atitlán, April and May can be ideal. The weather in Guatemala is mild, and the landscapes are lush and green after the rainy season. If you are headed to Tikal, in the Petén region the best time of the year to visit is November through February with less resin and cooler temperatures.
The best time to visit Guatemala according to the tourist season
As a tourist, it is important to know when the best time to visit is to make the most out of your experience. Guatemala’s tourist season can be divided into high , low, and shoulder seasons . High season offers great weather, but may encounter crowds in the most popular destinations and prices will be higher. Low season, on the other hand, had rainy weather and hotter temperatures and lush landscapes, with lower prices. Shoulder season offers a compromise, with pleasant weather, fewer crowds, and reasonable prices.
Peak Season in Guatemala (December – April)
The peak season in Guatemala runs from December through April, when the weather is dry and mild. During this time, you can expect sunny days and cool nights. Temperatures average in the 70s during the day and drop down to the 50s at night. This is the perfect time to explore the country’s many outdoor attractions, from hiking in the highlands to visiting the Mayan ruins of Tikal.
The biggest advantage of visiting Guatemala during peak season is the weather. With sunny skies and mild temperatures, you can comfortably explore the country’s outdoor attractions without worrying about rain or extreme heat. Additionally, many of the country’s festivals and celebrations take place during this time like the Giant Kite Festival. This offers visitors a chance to experience the local culture firsthand.
The biggest disadvantage of visiting Guatemala during peak season is higher prices on flights to accommodations.. With good weather and plenty of festivities taking place, this is the busiest time of year for tourism. This can mean more people in popular destinations like Antigua Guatemala. However the concept of “crowds” can be relative. Compared to more popular destinations like Europe or Disney, Guatemalan destinations never get that crowded. That being said do avoid places like public beaches during national holidays!
Tips for Traveling in High Season:
If you do decide to visit Guatemala during low season, there are a few things you can do to make the most of your trip:
- Save on flights by planning your trip well ahead of time. Although flights are more expensive during high season, booking well in with enough time will prevent you from paying the highest prices. It’s ideal to book flights at least 2 months in advance.
- Book your accommodations and tours in advance. As high season is the busiest time of the year, it’s essential to book your accommodations and tours in advance to avoid disappointment.
- Be prepared for crowds. Popular tourist attractions in Guatemala can get crowded during high season. Consider exploring less-popular destinations. Visit popular attractions like Antigua, Panajachel and Tikal during the week to avoid local tourists.
- Pack accordingly. As the weather is dry and mild during high season, pack clothes that are comfortable to wear in warm weather during the day, and warm layers for the cooler nights.
- Watch out for higher prices. High season often means higher prices for everything from accommodations to transportation. Be prepared to pay a little extra for these items.
- Bring clothes for cooler weather. Many destinations in Guatemala are at high altitudes including Guatemala City, Antigua and Quetzaltenango. Nights can get chilly with temperatures in the 50s and 40s especially in colder months. So make sure to pack a good travel jacket and clothes you can layer. If you are climbing any volcanoes temperatures can get pretty cold at higher altitudes so pack accordingly.
Low Season (May – November)
If you’re looking to save some money and avoid the crowds, then low season (May through November) is the time to visit Guatemala. During this time, the weather is generally wetter and warmer, with temperatures averaging in the 80s during the day and staying in the 70s at night. While the rain can be heavy at times, it typically comes in short bursts and is followed by sunny skies.
The biggest advantage of visiting Guatemala during low season is the savings. With fewer tourists around, you can often find better deals on accommodations and activities. Additionally, the rainy season means that the countryside is lush and green, making for some stunning photo opportunities.
The biggest disadvantage of visiting Guatemala during low season is the weather. The rain can be heavy at times, which can make some outdoor activities difficult or even dangerous. Additionally, the heat and humidity can be intense, making it uncomfortable for some travelers.
Tips for Traveling in Low Season:
If you do decide to visit Guatemala during low season, there are a few things you can do to make the most of your trip:
- Bring rain gear. Make sure to pack a rain jacket or umbrella, as well as waterproof shoes or sandals. This will help you stay dry and comfortable during sudden rain showers.
- Check the weather. Make sure to check the weather conditions daily so you can plan accordingly.
- Be flexible. Since the weather can be unpredictable during low season, it’s important to be flexible with your plans. If a certain activity or attraction is rained out, be prepared to switch things up and explore a different area.
- Take advantage of indoor activities. If the rain is really coming down, take advantage of indoor activities like museums or art galleries. This will help you stay dry and still experience some of the local culture.
- Plan outdoor activities in the morning. during the rainy season it tends to rain more during the afternoon so it’s best to plan outdoor activities during the first half of the day.
- Include indoor activities in your itinerary. Always have some activities you can do indoors for those days when it gets rainy. Whether it’s visiting museums or taking a cooking class there are lots of things rainy day activities you can enjoy Guatemala.
The shoulder season in Guatemala
The shoulder season for travel in Guatemala is between April and May, and from September to October. If you’re planning to visit Guatemala, you might want to consider traveling during this time of the year.
One advantage of traveling during the shoulder season is that there are fewer tourists, which means fewer crowds at popular destinations. You’ll have more time and space to appreciate the beauty of the country’s natural wonders, such as the Mayan ruins, the beautiful lakes, and the stunning volcanoes.
Another advantage of traveling during the shoulder season is that you can save money on flights, accommodations, and other travel expenses. Prices tend to be lower during this time because it’s considered an off-peak season.
Weather is not too hot and not too cold, so even though you might encounter some rainy afternoons you’re sure to enjoy your stay.
However, traveling during the shoulder season also has its downsides. For example, the weather can be unpredictable. You might experience occasional rain showers or cooler temperatures. Also, some restaurants and tourist attractions might have limited hours of operation during this time.
Tips for Traveling in Shoulder Season:
Traveling during the shoulder season in Guatemala can be a great way to avoid the crowds and save money. Here are some tips to help you make the most out of your trip:
- Take advantage of lower prices. Shoulder season offers lower prices on everything from accommodations to tours. Take advantage of these savings by booking in advance and being flexible with your travel dates.
- Enjoy the pleasant weather. Shoulder season offers mild and pleasant weather. this makes it an ideal time to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, exploring Mayan ruins, and swimming in Guatemala’s beautiful lakes and beaches.
- Avoid peak hours. Although shoulder season is less crowded than high season, it’s still a good idea to avoid peak hours and weekends at popular tourist attractions. Consider visiting early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.
- Pack accordingly. The weather during shoulder season can be variable, so be prepared for both warm and cool weather. Bring layers that can be easily added or removed as the temperature changes.
Overall, traveling during the shoulder season in Guatemala can be a great option. It’s ideal those who want to avoid the crowds. The best part is that you can save some money while still enjoying all that this beautiful country has to offer.
In Conclusion Guatemala is a Great Destination Year Round!
The best time to visit Guatemala will depend greatly on where you want to go and on your schedule. Guatemala is a year-round destination that has something to offer for everyone, regardless of your preferences. Whether you are attracted to the lush green landscapes of the rainy season or the comfortable temperatures of the dry season, there is never a bad time to visit this beautiful country. The key is to do your research and plan accordingly to make the most of your trip. You’re sure to have a wonderful time whether you choose to visit during peak season for optimal weather and festivities or during low season to save money and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere. With these tips in mind you can have an unforgettable experience in Guatemala no matter when you decide to go.
Other Guatemala Travel Articles You Should Check Out
- The best things to do in Guatemala. If you are traveling to Guatemala, here are the best things to do in this beautiful country. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxing on an exotic beach, or planning a family vacation, there’s something for everyone. Guatemala offers everything from lush rainforests and active volcanos to colonial ruins and architecture and ancient Mayan cities. So if you wonder what to do in Guatemala, here is the best guide to making the most out of your visit to this captivating country.
- Quick guide to Rio Dulce. Río Dulce is one of the most beautiful destinations in Guatemala, often overlooked. This area overflows with beautiful nature, colonial history, unique culture, and fantastic food. This quick guide to Rio Dulce covers the best things to do, where to stay, and what to eat.
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