Best time to go to Guatemala

Temperature & rainfall

The best time to visit Guatemala is Nov-Apr, when the rain ceases and the sun shines. Christmas and Easter holidays are very busy, so book well ahead if travelling at this time – especially for Antigua. The May-Oct rainy season is still warm but very humid, especially in lower regions including Tikal and Petén, and road travel can be disrupted. Rains usually fall in the afternoon and evening – so make the most of your mornings! Nov is a good month to travel as the scenery remains green, and All Saints’ Day on Nov 1st is worth experiencing – without being as crazy as celebrations in neighbouring Mexico.

When to go to Guatemala

a month by month guide

The rainy season typically lasts from May to October, but in some regions it can continue until November or even as late as December – particularly around Petén, which is hot and stuffy all year round.

December, January and February are damp and cool in the highlands – with cold nights in the highest regions. Bring very warm layers if travelling here – at any time of year.

The mid-elevation regions, such as Antigua and Lake Atitlán, live up to Guatemala’s reputation as the “Land of the Eternal Spring” , with warm, sunny days, refreshing nights and low humidity.

If you are tied to travelling in the holiday season, then the March or April Easter break is one of the best times to go to Guatemala as temperatures begin to warm up and the rains are still a way off.

School summer holidays in July and August are possible too, depending on your itinerary – the heaviest rainfall occurs in September and October. Often during the rainy season, the rain will fall during a couple of hours. Your holiday company and tour leader will be aware of this and will plan itineraries accordingly.

If travelling during the peak seasons of December and January, the Easter “spring break”, or July and August, be sure to book well in advance as it can get busy. Expect to pay higher prices at these times, too.

If travelling on a tighter budget, May and June can be a good time to explore Guatemala – without the crowds and high prices of Easter and midsummer, or the heavier downpours in autumn.

El Día de Todos los Santos – All Saints Day – takes place on 1st November. While not quite as huge a celebration as in neighbouring Mexico (the Day of the Dead falls the following day), there are plenty of smaller events taking place around the country, as families spend time in cemeteries remembering loved ones, prepare a special dish called fiambre, and fly extraordinary, huge kites. This is a busy time, and some places may shut down.
If you'd like to chat about Guatemala or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
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Best time to go to Guatemala

Responsible Travel’s suppliers recommend

Scott Marquardt, tour leader with our supplier Tucan Travel tells us the best time to visit Central America: “In general November is a perfect time to visit Central America, with the rain tailing off and still not too many tourists, although there is the odd chance of a hurricane or two coming up the Caribbean Coast.”

Vicky Rodford from our supplier Intrepid Travel: “Arriving over Easter (Semana Santa) has pros and cons. The cons are that everywhere is really busy as many Guatemalans have this as a holiday period; the pros are without a doubt the festivities over the Easter weekend, particularly in Antigua.”

Guatemala events & festivals

Our pick from Guatemala’s cultural calendar

Did you know about…?

The Day of the Dead Kite Festival
As part of the celebrations on November 1st, elaborate, colourful kites are created from paper, fabric and bamboo. As these enormous artworks – some spanning over 20 metres – fill the skies, they are said to connect Guatemalans with their deceased ancestors. The kites’ designs allow family members to be “recognised” from the afterlife, as well as sharing political and cultural messages. Following traditions dating back over 2,000 years, the kites will later be burned near cemeteries. Head to Santiago Sacatepéquez and Sumpango for the most extravagant celebrations.
Photo credits: [Temp chart: Abel Pardo López] [Helpdesk: David Amsler] [Vicky Rodford: 4Neus] [The Day of the Dead Kite Festival: Marina Kuperman Villatoro]
Written by Vicki Brown
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