When is the best time to visit Guatemala?
There really is no best time to visit Guatemala, but it can be helpful to take the weather into consideration when planning your trip. The rainy season runs from May until the end of October, with a brief respite called the canícula in July or August. During these months it will almost surely rain every single day, but the afternoon deluges typically do not last more than a few hours. Near the end of the rainy season, however, it may not stop raining for days. Late rainy season is also prone to hurricanes, which have the potential to derail travel plans by causing landslides and blocking main roads. If you plan on doing a lot of hiking, visiting during the dry season (November to April) will allow you to stay nice and dry. Remember, Guatemala is known as “The Land of Eternal Spring” for a reason. An extended period of time without a perfect, sunny day is rare.
Many travelers decide to visit in late March or early April for the spectacular Semana Santa (Holy Week) festivities preceding Easter. Attractions include the colorful sawdust alfombras and impressive parades of Antigua and its surrounding towns. Another popular time to visit is in early November due to the Festival de Barriletes Gigantes (Giant Kite Festival) in Sumpango Sacatepéquez and the drunken horse races of Todos Santos Cuchumatán. Both of these events occur on Día de los Santos (All-Saints Day), which is celebrated on November 1st. December and January are one of my favorite parts of the year in Guatemala, as the rainy season has ended, the countryside is still green, and temperatures are slightly cooler. Finally, keep in mind that large numbers of international university students descend on Guatemala during their summer break from June to August.
Photo Credit: Grupo Satélite