From volcanoes and beaches to ancient ruins and sprawling cities, Guatemala is one of the most diverse countries in Central America. Bordered by Mexico, Belize, Honduras and El Salvador, with the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Caribbean Sea to the east, Guatemala’s climate is tropical on the coasts but milder in the mountains. The overall best time to visit Guatemala is during the dry season, from November to April, avoiding the heavy rain from May to November. Here’s more detail on what to expect from the weather throughout the year.

The Coastal Plain

The Pacific coast of Guatemala stretches from northwest to southeast. It’s very hot and humid with temperatures hovering around 38°C and rarely below 25°C. In July and August the average temperature is 32°C. Humidity tends to decrease during the dry season from November to April but visitors should still expect showers. Strong winds also sweep through southern Guatemala.

The Plains of Petén

The Plains of Petén in the north of the country have a varied climate. Composed mainly of tropical forests, the plains can quickly change from hot and humid to hot and dry. This is the country’s wettest region; it rains heavily from May to October and while brief showers should also be expected during the dry season, this is the best to travel to the Plains of Petén. Temperatures are high, hovering between 23 and 32°C. April and May are the hottest months, while December and January are the coolest, with an average minimum temperature of 14°C.

The Highlands

The mountains of Guatemala cover a large part of the country and enjoy a more temperate climate. It’s very wet during the rainy season and temperatures are cold, even dropping to 0°C. The nights are particularly cool so pack warm clothes if you’ll be there overnight. In the dry season, it’s much more pleasant, hovering between 5 and 14°C. Still, there’s a big difference between day and night so plan your clothing accordingly.

The Caribbean Coast

By the Caribbean Sea, the climate varies little. It is tropical and humid all year round, unlike the east coast where rainfall decreases during the dry season.

Central Guatemala

Central Guatemala is home to most of the country’s population, as it’s where the main cities, such as the capital Guatemala City, are located. It enjoys a temperate climate with pleasant temperatures year-round. Minimum temperatures vary between 12 and 16°C with highs of 22 to 29°C. During the wet season, showers are frequent in the afternoons and early evening, but expect sunny skies before and after the rain and take advantage of the drier mornings to explore.

Guatemala City

The capital, Guatemala City, is in the highlands in the centre of the country. During the summer, and especially in June, there is only an average of one hour of sunshine per day, and in the wet season, there are about 20 rainy days per month. Because of its high altitude, the capital experiences very mild temperatures (from 12 to 28°C) and despite its tropical position, Guatemala City has a subtropical climate cooled by strong breezes. In fact, Guatemala City is the coldest capital in Central America, with an average temperature of 21°C. In winter, the mercury hovers between 12 and 27°C, increasing slightly in summer to between 16 and 28°C. Although temperatures are mild, the dry season is the best time to visit Guatemala City to avoid the downpours.

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