Travelling Central America During the Rainy Season

July 19, 2017

How many hours a day is it going to rain? Should I pack wellies? Is it gonna be cold or hot and humid because of the rain? How about the mudslides and tornadoes? Should I even travel to Central America during the rainy season?

I had so many questions about the rainy season and how it was going to affect my travels when I was planning my trip to Central America. I was googling packing lists, detailed information of when the rains where going to start and how many hours of my day should I be prepared to sit inside waiting for the sky to clear up. I automatically assumed that travelling during the rainy season would make my travels more difficult and less enjoyable but after a month in Central America I came to a conclusion that travelling during the rainy season had so many positive sides that the rain didn't even bother me! It made me wish I had spent less time worrying about tornadoes and more time hyping about my upcoming trip and inspired me to write down a list of things I wish I had known about travelling Central America during the rainy season before my trip!


It's going to rain but it doesn't mean it's going to rain all day long everyday

I might have been extremely lucky but when I was visiting Central America last summer the locals had been waiting for the rains to start for weeks. I was technically travelling during the rainy season but it wasn't raining at all in many places I was visiting. If you're travelling short term and at the start of the rainy season you might get so lucky that it's not going to rain at all. The rains vary so much depending on a country and the month you're visiting them that sometimes you couldn't even believe it's the rainy season.

Every country is different when it comes to rain

The fact that it rains in one country doesn't mean it will rain in the others. It rained every single damn day in Costa Rica during my visit. It started the same time every single day and you were thus able to schedule your days the way that you would be back to your hostel when it started raining. In Nicaragua on the other hand, it rained twice during my three week stay in there. I also spent three weeks in Mexico and I can't recall a single day when it would have rained. Always check the county and region specific information about the rainy season but also remember that sometimes rains come late - or early - and you might not get wet at all if you choose to travel at the start of the rainy season!


Do not book any trips or activities beforehand

Believe me, it sucks to spent seven hours climbing up a volcano just to realize you can't see a thing from the top because of the clouds. It's absolutely horrible to get caught in a storm when you go to watch turtles crawling to the beaches at night and it's also not very fun to hike in a jungle in a pouring rain. Keep your eyes on the weather forecast and don't book trips before you know what the weather is likely to gonna be like because honestly, you will enjoy all the activities so much more if you're not soaked.

The chances of getting hit by a hurricane are extremely slim

The rainy season is also the hurricane season in Central America. Yikes, I know. Being relatively scared of natural phenomena this was by far the scariest thing for me. Should I, besides possible earthquakes, volcano eruptions and mudslides, get myself prepared for tornadoes? There were so many times I was wondering whether it's actually worth going travelling if I'm just going to sped the whole trip panicking about what could happen. The thing is however, that once you actually get into Central America you magically forgot that anything bad could happen. There wasn't a single earthquake when I was visiting Central America and when the tornado hit the coast of Belize killing few people I was enjoying the sun in the Pacific Coast of Guatemala. Just check the weather forecast now and then to see what's coming - if you realize there's a hurricane heading towards you just relocate yourself - you'll usually have plenty of time to do that before you're actually goign to be in danger.


You save tons of money by travelling during the rainy season

Everybody knows it's cheaper to travel during the low season but the difference really is huge when it comes to popular travel destinations in Central America such as Costa Rica or Yucatan peninsula. You can easily get a hostel dorm for less than 10 euros in Costa Rica even when the booking is made just a day before arrival and I stayed in hostels in Riviera Maya that were just 5€/night for a dorm and included everything from all you can eat breakfast to free salsa lessons. You can obviously find reasonably cheap places to stay in peak season as well but you're going to have to book them early and won't thus have similar kind of freedom to move from one place to another whenever you feel like it.

Summer is the most beautiful time of the year to visit Central America

You might not get wet during the dry season but neither will the nature and let's be honest, Central America is all about the nature! Have you ever heard of people visiting Costa Rica for it's city life? Neither have I. The lush green jungles, beautiful landscape and the biodiversity of the region are the reasons people travel to Costa Rica. The rainy season also happens to be the season when the nature comes to life and is thus the most optimal season to visit for example Costa Rica to enjoy what the country is all about; the gorgeous nature.




There's not going to many people around

This can be a good or a bad thing depending whether you're a solo traveller or travelling with someone. It's great in terms of tourist attractions as you don't have to worry about the crowds but finding travel company can get tricky. The higher quality hostels seemed to have a bit more customers but I often ended up being the only customer in the cheapest lodging options. If you're following the gringo trail there will always be someone in there but if you're looking for exploring off the beaten path destinations you can spend weeks without meeting another traveller.

You need to pack for hot and cold and everything in between

There isn't a simple answer to the question whether the rains will be hot and humid or freeze your brain cause it will depend where you are. I'm from Finland and I've never been so cold in my life as I was in Guatemala in July. Most of the country is located in high altitudes and you're really going to need a jumper or even a jacket if you're heading to mountains. On the other hand I could have probably filled a swimming pool or two with the sweat my body produced in Nicaragua. Gross but true. The few times it rained in Nicaragua it didn't cool at all so it was just hot, humid and nasty.


Some regions might be inaccessible due the rain

The locals will always be travelling to remote regions despite the conditions of the roads or the amount of rain but I would personally consider whether seeing one waterfall is worth spending 12 hours in the car in sketchy mountain roads when the rain is pouring and the driver just doesn't seem to care if he's gonna drive off the cliff. The large majority of the roads in the gringo trail are in a good condition but for example the route to Monteverde in Costa Rica was in really bad shape during my visit. There had been multiple landslides in the road and that combined with pouring rain I was pretty sure that bus ride was going to be my last.



But wasn't this post about travelling during the rainy season? Why did you choose to post pictures of sunny days in there? Simply because that's what it looked like in Central America for most of my trip. These views combined with cheap prices and no crowds definitely made me wanna spend more time travelling off-season!

I hope this list has made it easier for you to plan your trip during the rainy season. If you have more questions about travelling Central America during the rainy season don't hesitate to contact me!


Have you travelled anywhere during the rainy season?



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28 kommenttia

  1. Matkakuumehan tässä iski. :D

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  2. I bet rain season in South America is still better than winter in Europe! Yeah its sucks that you might have to change your plans a lot and you might won't much after hiking, but like you said you save money and there isn't much people around! I bet South America is beautiful no matter what season! I would love to visit one day!

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    1. Haha is there anything worse than European winter? It was totally worth changing plans at the times and occasionally getting wet cause I got to travel places like Costa Rica literally for half the price compared to usual :)

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  3. Oh my word - you have no idea how timely this article is for me! I went to Costa Rica 10 years ago in March (not rainy season) and would love to visit again but am always considering whether to go in August when the kids are off school! Thanks - this really helped!

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    1. I'm so jealous, would love to head back to Central America anytime! Costa Rica was the only country where it actually rained when I was visiting but hopefully you'll get more lucky with weather!

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  4. I went to Mexico last June-July and this was something I was incredibly worried about! It's so true though, you should spend more time being excited about your trip rather than worrying about it- Luck had it, it only rained a few times, and when it did it was over within half an hour! I'm hoping to backpack Central America at some point so this will really help my decisions on when to go! X

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    1. I had the exact same experience about Mexico! Apparently the rainy season there isn't at the same time as it's in rest of the Central America. You defo should! It's an incredible place to travel x

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  5. I want to go to Central America now! I just 'discovered' traveling during the low season a month or two ago, and I plan on taking full advantage of it! It is so much cheaper and less crowded, which just means I get to travel longer and further away :D Love your pictures btw!

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    1. Travelling during the low season is the best simply cause you get to travel so much longer than during the peak season with the same amount of money! Thanks a lot Mille :)

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  6. This is a great perspective. It's not something I usually think about much when I'm planning my travels, but planning around the weather can be important. I read your advice about not booking any tours or activities too far in advance. Did you find it easy to book things at the last minute during the slower season?

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    1. As there are less tourists there will also be less people going for trips and tours so I ad absolutely no problems booking activities on the last minute. I believe I did most of my bookings just a day before the trip and it worked out great everytime. There was like one place in Costa Rica where we should have booked a guide to a hike beforehand and weren't able to do the hike cause we hadn't but like I said, otherwise had no issues!

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  7. I love visiting places in the off season you see a very different side of them and you know those storm clouds make great photos! Your photographs are fantastic!

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    1. Thanks a lot :) They make great photos as long as your whole view isn't covered by clouds haha!

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  8. Your pictures look amazing and you certainly got very lucky with the weather. Would love to visit South America one day!

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    1. Thanks! Not sure if it's always like that during the rainy season or if I was just lucky :D

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  9. How interesting, a Central America trip is something I've been thinking about for awhile now. I certainly don't mind a bit of rain and I like things to be green so the rainy season might be the right option for me!

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    1. Hope your dreams of the trip will come true! Definitely recommend travelling during the rainy season :)

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  10. I love that off season means cheaper and less tourists! That sounds mean since I am also a tourist, but less people means better pictures and less wait times for sights. After reading your article I'm pretty sure I would head to Central America during rainy season.
    -Kristin

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    1. I know what you mean. You can't really complain about the tourists you being one of them but at the same time you can't help thinking that you enjoy places a lot more with less crowds. Hope you got some inspiration Kristin x

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  11. To be honest, I avoid travelling to places in rainy season because I see plenty of rain in the UK ;) Even today as I am reading your post, it's been pouring since morning. However, I must agree that everything looks so lush after it has rained and that's the beauty of Central America.

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    1. Haha whereabout in UK do you live? I'm Aberdeen based and was fairly suprised how little it actually rained when I moved there :D To be fair it seems to rain every single time I go down to England!

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  12. I visited Central America in the rainy season too- end of July/early August. It really only rained badly one day. I would definitely recommend traveling then too!

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    1. Yeah, te rainy season really doesn't mean it's constantly going to rain!

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  13. Your photos look amazing! I travelled some of Asia in the rainy season and felt the same as you. It was so good having less people and the scenery is just as beautiful or sometimes more so after the rain!

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    1. Thanks Sonja! I've only been to Asia during the peak season but would love to travel there during the rainy season as well!

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  14. Great article! I'm wanting to go to Central America sometime, and had wondered how much travelling would be affected by the rainy season and hurricane season (if it is, during my travels). Just one big question - can you list what months are usually the rainy season? I'm from Australia and I haven't the slightest idea!

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    1. Hope this helped you! The rainy season should start around May and end in November but it really varies a lot depending on each country and region :)

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