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Hummingbird, Monteverde Cloudforest Reserve, Costa Rica

When is the best time to visit Central America?

With balmy, tropical weather year-round and significant regional variety in climate, it can be hard to pinpoint a single best time to visit Central America. However, as a rule of thumb, December to April is the dry season in most of the region.

The exception is Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, which is drier from May to September, with rains falling across the region between about May and November. Although rain is heavy, it usually only lasts a few hours, and the wet season can be much quieter and offer better deals, though higher humidity can make it feel very hot.

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Our recommendations for when to visit Central America

Destination Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Belize climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is not recommended

Travel is not recommended

Travel is not recommended

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

Costa Rica climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

Cuba climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is not recommended

Travel is not recommended

Travel is not recommended

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

Guatemala climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

Honduras climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

Mexico climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

Nicaragua climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

Panama climate guide

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

The best time to travel

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year

A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of

The best time to travel

Best time to visit

Best time to visit

Good time to visit

Good time to visit

Travel possible

Travel possible

Not recommended

Not recommended

Month-by-month guide to travelling in Central America

Relaxation on the Belize coast

Visiting Central America in January

The height of the dry season across the region, January is one of the best times to visit Central America. The weather is hot and sunny, and conditions are good for beach and temple visits, jungle treks, adventure activities and spotting whales in Baja California. Book well in advance, however.

Events & Festivals

  • Havana’s Jazz Festival (mid-late January): This is a big event in the city, with formal concerts taking over many venues, though the odd impromptu performance can also be found.
Waterfall in Tenorio National Park, Costa Rica

Visiting Central America in February

Another excellent travel month for exploring the region, February sees prolonged periods of warm sunshine, whales along the coast of Baja California, and very little rain, though the tropical nature of the region means that showers are possible at any time of year. It’s also peak season for visitors however, so book well in advance, up to a year ahead for visits to Cuba.

Events & Festivals

  • Carnival Week (just before Lent): Lively festivities with costumed parades, street music, dancing and a party atmosphere take over the region.
Humpback whale breaching, Baja

Visiting Central America in March

Temperatures pick up in March, and long hours of sunshine make it ideal for lazing on the beach, visiting ruins, colonial towns and cities, or trying adventure activities. Humpback, blue and grey whales can be seen in Baja California and visitor numbers remain high, so advance booking is essential.

Events & Festivals

  • Holy Week (March/April): Religious processions, streets carpeted in flowers and re-enactments of the walk to Calvary are common across the region.
Tikal, Guatemala

Visiting Central America in April

The last month of dry weather across much of the region, April sees Mexico’s towns and cities warm up, making it a great time to visit the hot and sunny Yucatán Peninsula. Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala and Nicaragua are all hot and dry and visitor numbers can surge around Easter, making it important to book early.

Events & Festivals

  • Holy Week (March/April): Religious processions, streets carpeted in flowers and re-enactments of the walk to Calvary are common across the region.
  • Punta Gorda Festival (12th April): Celebrates the indigenous Garifuna people of Honduras, who settled in Roatán in the Bay Islands in 1797, through high-energy traditional dance and music performances.
Great Egrets, Juan Venado Island

Visiting Central America in May

The official start to the rainy season across much of the region, this usually means increased humidity and higher temperatures with occasional heavy showers. It’s a good time of year to snorkel or go birdwatching in Nicaragua, pods of whale sharks begin to frequent the waters around the Bay Islands in Honduras, and Costa Rica’s national parks are quieter.

Events & Festivals

  • Belize Chocolate Festival (end of May): Punta Gorda in Toledo revels in a week of events celebrating the cacao bean, chocolate making and local crafts.
  • Labour Day (1st May): This is a big event in Cuba, marked by a national holiday, political rallies and processions in the streets of Havana.
White water rafting, Costa Rica

Visiting Central America in June

Temperatures and humidity levels are high across the region with short, sharp showers followed by long hours of sunshine. Surfers in Costa Rica will enjoy increasing swells on the country’s beaches, waterfalls are in good flow and rivers are filling up for rafting adventures. It’s far drier than later in the season, and a more affordable time to visit.

Howler Monkey Tortuguero National Park

Visiting Central America in July

High humidity levels are reduced by short, heavy afternoon showers across much of the region, though Cuba sees a rapid increase in temperatures — particularly in Havana and Santiago. In Costa Rica, green sea turtles can be seen on the coastline of the Tortuguero National Park, and the whale watching season begins in Dominical.

Ambergris Caye, Belize

Visiting Central America in August

The region is entering the height of its rainy season by the time August arrives and though it is increasingly wet, the rains often fall as heavy but short-lived afternoon showers that give welcome relief from the high humidity levels. Rivers and waterfalls are full, whales and turtles can be seen in Costa Rica and hotel prices are low.

Events & Festivals

  • Fiesta de la Virgen de la Asunción (15th August): The feast of Guatemala’s patron brings processions and small fairs to many Guatemalan towns.
  • La Costa Maya (early August): The biggest festival in Belize with musicians arriving from across the Americas to perform. In Ambergris Caye there are pageants, music and dance events.
Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Visiting Central America in September

It’s the height of the rainy season with high humidity, heavy rain and the risk of tropical storms, including very occasional hurricanes. If you accept rain as an eventuality, you will see the region with as few visitors as possible, enjoy the best low season rates and experience some great festivals. Travel to more remote regions can be difficult however, as roads become increasingly muddy.

Events & Festivals

  • Independence Day (15th September): The anniversary of Guatemala's independence is celebrated across the country with a public holiday, parades and music.
  • Independence Day (15th and 16th September): Mexico celebrates with crowds gathering to eat, drink, dance and enjoy military parades and firework displays.
Hummingbird, Costa Rica

Visiting Central America in October

The rains are starting to ease in Mexico, though high temperatures and humidity remain. Much of the rest of the region is still in the height of its wet season with heavy, though often short-lived, rains. Some lodges in Costa Rica and Belize close for repairs but many hotels are quiet and offer low prices for visitors willing to accept the rainy conditions.

Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City

Visiting Central America in November

The rains ease across the region and humidity begins to decrease. Most destinations in Mexico are warm and dry, while Cuba is getting busy again, though destinations are quieter and prices are lower than in December. This is a great time to make the most of the improving conditions and still have a more affordable trip.

Events & Festivals

  • Day of the Dead (1st November): Festivities take place in central and southern Mexico with elaborately decorated skull-shaped masks, decorations, costumes and live music. Mexico’s Day of the Dead
  • Garifuna Settlement Day (19th November): Brings traditional dancing, drumming and celebrations to Belize, most notably to Punta Gorda, Dangriga and Hopkins.
Coastal Waters of Belize

Visiting Central America in December

It’s warm and dry across the region and visitors are returning in great numbers to relax on the beaches and avoid the worst of the northern winter weather. Hotel prices rise accordingly and advance bookings are essential — up to a year in advance in Cuba — especially for Christmas and New Year breaks.

Events & Festivals

  • Purisima festivities (early December): Processions, singing in the streets and fireworks displays in Nicaragua to celebrate the Immaculate Conception.

Central America trip ideas and travel guides