The cool, dry season months between December and February are the best time to visit Guatemala, with pleasant weather, bright blue skies, and lush green landscapes still in bloom from the rainy season. Bear in mind that this time also sees the most crowds flocking to the country. Opt to visit Guatemala in the shoulder months of November, March, and April for more elbow room at tourist attractions.
While the country is known as the “Land of Eternal Spring” due to warm days and mild nights in most places, it does have two distinct seasons: dry (November to April) and wet (May to October).
Thunderstorms during the rainy season in Guatemala can be pretty strong, but rains often hit at night and travelers can expect at least a few hours of sunshine in the morning. It’s worth noting that the natural landscape is especially vibrant during the wet season. However, the hurricane season from September to October is best avoided when heavier rains make some roads impassable.
Although Guatemala enjoys a pleasant year-round climate, the regional temperature differences can be significant.
Highland destinations like Antigua, Guatemala City, Chichicastenango, and Atitlán feature low humidity and daily temperatures between 64-82°F (18-28°C). Nights are chillier, so pack layers if you’re planning to stay in these high-altitude areas around 4,260 to 6,890 feet (1,300 to 2,100 meters) above sea level.
Higher destinations like Quetzaltenango, Huehuetenango, and El Quiché are colder, especially in the evenings from December to February.
In contrast with the highlands are the humid, low-lying jungles around Tikal, where temperatures often surpass 85°F (30°C). If you can stand the steamy heat, then witnessing the lush Petén jungle, impressive ruins, and ancient pyramids of the area are a worthy reward.
The coastal region enjoys hot temperatures all year round, but the refreshing sea breeze keeps it from being too stuffy at night. Summer lasts longer on the Pacific coast, while the Caribbean coast experiences rain showers the whole year.
Dry Season (November to April)
Hottest Months: Mach and April Best For: Archeological sites, birding, hiking, Semana Santa, Day of the Dead
The Guatemala dry season is high season for travelers, with bright blue skies and warm temperatures perfect for sightseeing and outdoor adventures.
Due to the clear skies, the coolest nighttime temperatures occur in December and January, with occasional snowfall and frosts at high altitudes. The lowlands like the Tikal National Park in northern Guatemala are especially stunning during these months, as the lush greens from the rainy season are still present but the climate is much drier. Many consider this the best time to visit Guatemala, whether you’re exploring Mayan ruins and pyramids, marveling at volcanos and kayaking in Lake Atitlán, or hiking Acatenango Volcano.
Make sure to book your hotels and make your reservations far in advance if you’re visiting Guatemala during the popular months of December and January. Holy Week or Semana Santa in April tends to be crowded as well, with many travelers coming for the religious processions and colorful parades in Antigua.
February and March are excellent alternatives, although visibility can become hazy towards the middle of March as the rainy season approaches. Limited visibility makes hiking less ideal from March onwards. Instead, these months are the ideal time to visit the remote ruins of Petén, as earlier months still see considerable rain in the area.
Look forward to fantastic weather in Tikal and the El Mirador Mayan site until April. Birders hoping to see the elusive quetzal can also begin searching the skies at the start of their nesting season in March.
November is a good month for a Guatemala trip, especially if your itinerary includes cultural events. The Day of the Dead at the beginning of the month is a unique experience, with locals dressing up in elaborate costumes and graves bedecked in flowers. Go to highland villages like Santiago Sacatepéquez for kite festivals, when giant kites are released to the sky carrying messages to the dead.
Wet Season (May to October)
Wettest Months: September and October Best For: River tubing, turtle viewing, lower prices
Due to the tropical Guatemala weather, even the rainy season in the country is interspersed with hours of sunshine. Downpours usually occur in the late afternoons, making way for clearer evenings and sunnier mornings. Travelers will still enjoy warm weather in Guatemala from May to October, but humidity increases significantly.
Regular downpours make some roads impassable in low-lying areas, so this isn’t the best time to visit Tikal, Petén, and off-grid destinations. On the other hand, the rainy season is great for river tubing in Cobán and the Verapaces. Turtle nesting season on the Pacific coast also starts in June, with Monterrico an excellent spot for viewing. Exploring the lush landscapes of Rio Dulce and the Highlands remains superb.
Hotels and tours are more expensive during the peak tourist season in July and August when travelers from Western countries flock to Central America for summer vacations. Book a Guatemala trip in May or June to avoid crowds and higher costs.
September and October tend to be the wettest months, making this the worst time to plan a beach vacation in Belize. Fewer travelers are around at this time, so for budget travelers, this is the best time to go to Guatemala—as long as you stay on top of hurricane warnings and weather reports.
Need further assistance? Let our Adventure Life travel experts know if you need more information on when to visit Guatemala and which regions to explore in the Latin American country.