What Weather Can You Expect in Central America?

Varying Climates of 7 Central America Countries

Chances are if you are going away on vacation you want to know what weather to expect. It helps to know what types of clothes to pack, how many suitcases you will need, and whether you will need suntan lotion or rain gear.

Like most other places on the globe, Central American climate can be temperamental at times. However, dry and rainy seasons are often distinct. And, the climate can vary from country to country. Some countries have multiple climate zones depending on the region.

Check out the types of climates you can expect while visiting Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador.

  • 01 of 07

    Costa Rica Weather

    Isla Tortuga, Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Central America
    ••• John Borthwick/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

    Costa Rica is a tropical country year round being that it is just north of the equator. The average temperature on the coasts is 81 degrees. 

    A variable that affects weather is elevation. The country has the Cordillera Central mountains, where temperatures can drop the higher you go. The mountain tops can drop to an average of 50 degrees. 

    There are two seasons in Costa Rica—the dry and the rainy season. The dry season is summer, which usually spans December to April. The rainy season goes from May to November, coinciding with hurricane season. 

    Costa Rica has two coasts, the Caribbean Sea on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Humidity is usually higher on the Caribbean side, where there is usually more rain.

  • 02 of 07

    Belize Weather

    Belize Weather
    ••• Belize Weather. Kirsten Hubbard

    Belize is bordered by Mexico, Guatemala, and the Caribbean Sea. Like the other Central American countries is has a tropic climate with pronounced wet and dry seasons. The variables that affect temperature are elevation, proximity to the coast, and the Caribbean trade winds. 

    The average temperature along the coast is 75 degrees in January and 80 degrees in July. With the exception of the Mountain Pine Ridge, which is noticeably cooler, the inland region of Belize is slightly hotter than the coast.

    The country has 240 miles of coastline along the Caribbean Sea and has been devastated by many hurricanes over the years—primarily from August through October.

  • 03 of 07

    Panama Weather

    Panama Weather
    ••• Panama Weather. Kirsten Hubbard

    Panama is the southernmost country in Central America, serving as a unique land bridge between the North and South American continents. It is bordered by Costa Rica to the west and Colombia to the east. It is the closest Central American country to the equator and is the most humid of the Central American countries. 

    The country has two long coastlines, the Caribbean or Atlantic Ocean side and the Pacific Ocean coast, totaling 1,786 miles. Temperatures on the Pacific side of the isthmus are somewhat lower than on the Caribbean, and breezes tend to rise after dusk in most parts of the country. Temperatures are markedly cooler in the higher parts of the mountain ranges, and frosts occur in the Cordillera de Talamanca mountains in western Panama. The average temperature range on a typical summer day in Panama City is 75 to 86 degrees. Temperatures rarely exceed 89 degrees.

  • 04 of 07

    Guatemala Weather

    Guatemala Weather
    ••• Guatemala Weather. Kirsten Hubbard

    Guatemala’s coastal regions are typically the warmest parts of the country. There are two coasts, the Caribbean and Pacific. The coastal average annual temperature is about 80 degrees. During the warmest months of March and April, the temperature can hit up to 100 degrees.

    In the valleys between mountains, where the countries biggest cities are, like Quetzaltenango, Guatemala City, and Antigua, the temperatures are an average 60 to 70 degrees year round.  At the summits of the mountains and volcanoes, the temperature can drop to below freezing.

    Temperatures are generally cooler from November to February. Warm clothing will be needed if you plan to hike the mountains or volcanoes. 

    Like its Central American neighbors, Guatemala has a dry and rainy season. The dry season, from November until May, is the time of year to go if you plan to be outdoors most of the time.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Nicaragua Weather

    Nicaragua Weather
    ••• Nicaragua Weather. Kirsten Hubbard

    Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, and accordingly, Nicaraguan weather varies by region. Though most of the country's climate is described as tropical, mountainous regions like the north-central highlands of the Amerrisque Mountains have a much different climate than the coastal areas.

    Nicaragua has three distinct geographical regions: the Pacific lowlands, the mountains, and the Atlantic or Caribbean lowlands also called the Mosquito Coast.

    Rainfall varies greatly in Nicaragua. The Caribbean lowlands are the wettest section of Central America. It can receive up to 250 inches of rain annually. The western slopes of the central highlands and the Pacific lowlands receive considerably less annual rainfall. Like all other Central American countries, the ​rainfall is seasonal. May through October is the rainy season, and December through April is the driest period.

    During the rainy season, Eastern Nicaragua is subject to heavy flooding along the upper and middle reaches...MORE of all major rivers.

  • 06 of 07
    Honduras Weather
    ••• Honduras Weather. Kirsten Hubbard

    Honduran weather is considered tropical on both its Pacific and Caribbean lowland coasts with temperatures usually hovering between 82 and 89 degrees year round. The central and southern regions are relatively hotter and less humid than the northern coast. 

    The climate tends to be more temperate inland in the mountainous areas. For example, the capital city, Tegucigalpa, is in the interior area and averages from 77 degrees in January to 86 degrees in April.

    In the Caribbean lowlands, the only relief from the year-round heat and humidity comes during December or January when an occasional strong cold front from the north brings several days of strong northwest winds and slightly cooler temperatures.

  • 07 of 07

    El Salvador Weather

    El Salvador Weather
    ••• El Salvador Weather. Kirsten Hubbard

    El Salvador has a tropical climate with pronounced wet and dry seasons. Temperatures vary primarily with elevation and show little seasonal change. The Pacific lowlands are uniformly hot; the central plateau and mountain areas are more moderate.

    The best time to visit El Salvador would be at the beginning or end of the dry season when the northeast trade winds control weather patterns. The dry season runs from November to April.

    The coldest part of El Salvador is the Cerro El Pital mountains in the northeastern part of the country. Snow is known to fall during summer as well as during winter due to the elevation of up to 9,000 feet. From November to February the temperature ranges between 21 and 50 degrees. The rest of the year the temperature ranges from 41 to 68 degrees.