Guatemala may be called the Land of Eternal Spring, but that doesn’t mean the weather is spring-like all year round.
While temperatures generally vary according to altitude rather than by time of year, the country has two distinct seasons that can have a big effect on the experience of traveling in this colorful corner of Central America.
The year can be roughly divided into the rainy season and dry season, but these could also be described as the "muddy" and "dusty" seasons. The weather dictates the high season for tourism, and the rains can have a big effect on how you enjoy different sights and activities.
This doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a bad time to visit, but you might have to adapt your expectations, particularly if you want to enjoy the beach or go trekking in the rainforest.
Here's our guide to the best times to visit Guatemala.
Guatemala doesn’t have a traditional high season, shoulder season and low season. Instead, there are two high seasons separated by two low seasons.
The first high season coincides with Guatemala’s dry season, so sunny days are pretty much guaranteed. The dry weather kicks off at the beginning of November, when the hurricane season draws to a close, just in time for the Day of the Dead celebrations.
This peak period typically ends just after Holy Week (Semana Santa) in the run-up to Easter – another of Guatemala's biggest festivals – normally in late March or the first half of April.
This is the most important religious holiday for Guatemalans, and it's also when they have their main annual vacation. During Holy Week, everyone flocks to the coast and Lake Atitlán, which means big crowds and higher prices in these destinations.
The historic former capital, Antigua, also gets busy for Holy Week, when crowds gather to watch its famously colorful religious processions – budget for higher prices and book your accommodations in advance. If you want to avoid the crowds, Guatemala City is less frenetic than usual during this time.
Many tourist stops get busy as Guatemalan city-dwellers take time off for Christmas and New Year, and the lively festivals the season brings. The Burning of the Devil takes place all over Guatemala on December 7th at 6pm – locals gather to throw objects on a bonfire in a ritual designed to cast out bad spirits and the devil himself before ushering in the Christmas period.
The town of Chichicastenango springs to life during the Festival of St Thomas at the end of December. This celebration of their patron saint attracts visitors from all over the region, and the streets are full of music, dancing and singing.
If you visit between November and March, keep in mind that nighttime temperatures can drop quite drastically in the highlands, falling to near
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