The Best Time to Visit Guatemala

The market at Almolonga, Guatemala
The market at Almolonga, Guatemala | Ⓒ Gusjer / Flickr
Jack Guy

Central America’s largest nation contains many different ecosystems, each with their own climatic conditions. However there are some broad trends that you should bear in mind when planning a trip to Guatemala.

The view from the terrace at Casa Palopo, Guatemala

Factors to consider

First things first, dry season runs from December to March. This is also the coldest period in the northern hemisphere, which means that Guatemala is a popular getaway for those who want to escape the winter.

If you travel during this time, be prepared to find lots of North American tourists and face more competition for tours and hostel beds.

Antigua Guatemala volcano

Busy dates

During this time there are major Guatemalan holidays at Christmas and Easter, so you’ll have to book accommodation in advance if you want to be sure of having somewhere to rest your head.

Another point to consider is Holy Week, when many Guatemalans go on holiday. Antigua Guatemala is a particular hotspot thanks to the religious processions that wind through its cobbled streets, so book well in advance for these dates. Check before you travel as Holy Week falls on different dates each year.

Santa Catalina Arch & Aqua Volcano, Antigua Guatemala

Weather and altitude

Rainy season runs from May to October, and rural areas can become impossible to access. If you want to see Semuc Champey for example, it’s worth checking before you travel in case of impassable roads. It’s also harder to visit the jungle areas of Peten, where the Mayan ruins of Tikal and El Mirador are found, when heavy rain causes deep mud to form.

Another factor to consider is altitude, which plays a major role in temperatures. Both Guatemala City and Antigua Guatemala are cooler than the Pacific coast thanks to altitude, while the western highlands can get chilly at night as they are even higher.

Guatemala is known as the land of the eternal spring, so the weather is generally agreeable. Take a rain jacket in the rainy season and a light jumper for cooler nights in the highlands, but otherwise don’t worry too much about the weather.

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