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Guatemala Weather and Climate

Guatemala Weather

Guatemala is often called the Land of Eternal Spring due to its sub-tropical and tropical climate. Find out more about the Guatemala weather.

Guatemala is often called the “Land of Eternal Spring” due to its sub-tropical and tropical climate. Guatemala's humid tropical climate is commonly known to be wonderful for traveling during most of the year round. However, during certain times of the year the weather in Guatemala can be affected by tropical storms, humidity and rain.

Guatemala's weather and climate is affected by its geography. There are two major mountain chains in Guatemala which essentially divide the country into three major geographical regions: the highlands (mountainous areas), the Pacific Coast region located to the south of the mountains, and the Petén tropical region to the north of the mountains. These three regions in Guatemala vary in climate and weather due to the difference in elevation and altitude which causes sharp contrasts between the hot and humid lowland areas and the colder and drier mountainous regions.

In addition the major geographical regions in Guatemala, there are three recognized climate zones based on altitude: the temperate zone, the tropical zone and the cool zone. In addition to altitude there are also two main seasons: the dry (summer) and wet seasons (winter). Altitude and season are the two most important weather factors to consider when traveling to Guatemala.

Guatemala Highlands - Temperate Climate Zone

Most of the population of Guatemala is located in the hilly valley highlands where the climate is subtropical all year round with considerable cooling occurring at night. The highlands are located in the temperate zone of Guatemala and generally range from 3,300 ft (1,000m) to 6,600ft (2,000m) above sea level. Daytime temperatures do not often exceed 85°F (30°C) and nights are often cool. Some of the Guatemala's most popular tourist destinations are located in the highlands including Antigua Guatemala, Lake Atitlan, Coban and Semuc Champey.

Guatemala Pacific Coast Region - Tropical Climate Zone

The weather in the Pacific Coast region of Guatemala is part of the tropical climate zone. These lowland areas generally encompass altitudes from sea level up to 3,300 ft (1,000 m). Guatemala lowlands are tropic, hot and humid with daytime temperatures reaching 100° F (40° C) and nights rarely dropping below 70°F (20°C). Popular destinations on the Pacific Coast of Guatemala include Monterrico, Puerto San Jose, Puerto Barrios, Puerto Quetzal and Retalhuleu.

Peten Plains and Jungle - Tropical Climate Zone

The Peten plains and jungle lowlands of Guatemala are known for their humid tropical climate. The Peten region is located in northern Guatemala and is also part of the tropical climate zone. The largest cities are Flores and Tikal, although the jungle region is otherwise sparsely populated. The annual rainfall in the lush jungles of the Peten region can reach 59 inches (1500 mm) and the temperature is often above 85°F (30°C) and never below 77°F (25°C). Tourists visiting the many ruins and pyramids in these Guatemalan jungles should prepare for the extreme heat and humidity and avoid the rainy season from May to October.

High Mountainous Areas - Cool Climate Zone

In addition to the tropical climate zone and the temperate zone of Guatemala, there is also a cool zone located at altitudes above 6,600 ft (2,000) in mountainous regions and peaks. Daytime temperatures are known to be cooler than in the temperate zone and the nights can sometimes drop below freezing and frost or snow. The only major Guatemalan city in the cool zone is Quetzaltenango, located in the northwestern highlands.

Guatemala Dry and Wet Seasons

The tropic temperature and climate of Guatemala are fairly uniform throughout the year. The exception to this is the amount of precipitation, which essentially defines the seasons. The two periods to keep in mind about the weather in Guatemala are: the dry season (summer) and the wet season (winter).

In the winter months of mid-May to October or November, the climate in Guatemala is generally very rainy. The rainy season usually brings periodical tropical showers in the late afternoons.

From November through April are the dry summer weather months in Guatemala. Strangely, the clear skies and nice weather in Guatemala during the summer are actually cooler than the rest of the year. The cooler drier weather in Guatemala during the summer season makes it the best time of the year for tourism.

The coolest temperatures occur in December and January, which are generally considered the best months to visit Guatemala, although it can occasionally frost or snow at high altitudes. The weather in Guatemala is hottest during the months of transition between seasons, normally from April to May, before the winter rains arrive.