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Help! Should I go to Central America during the rainy season?

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Help! Should I go to Central America during the rainy season?

Old Jun 23rd, 2017, 02:45 PM
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Help! Should I go to Central America during the rainy season?

I'm planning on backpacking Central and South America starting in August. However, I'm having trouble deciding which continent to backpack first. I feel like I should do South America first to avoid Central America's rainy season, but everyone keeps saying I should go during rainy season because it only rains in the afternoon for a brief period and prices are cheaper.

However, these are my concerns:

1. I'm going to be traveling during the rainiest months within the rainy season (September-November)

2. I would prefer for it to be sunny most of the time I'm there. I'm afraid that even if it doesn't rain it will be cloudy most of the time.

3. I'm worried that the rain will get in the way of outdoor activities I want to do like hiking, or that the views will be ruined by the clouds. I would hate if I had to miss out on an activity I wanted to do or place I wanted to see because of the weather.

4. I've heard a lot of places shut down during rainy season and the nightlife dies down.

Are these concerns at all valid? Which option would you choose if you were me?
mecarber is offline  
Old Jun 24th, 2017, 09:52 PM
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I'm not going to sugarcoat it. All your concerns are real. At this stage of the rainy season, you get rain for a couple of hours in the afternoon. By September and October, the rains often become more prolonged, and it might rain 24/7. So far, this has been a very wet rainy season. I would expect September and October to be quite rainy this year.

That's not to say you can't have a good time during the rainy season, and prices are a lot cheaper.
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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 06:30 AM
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To answer only the -if I were you part- no I would not go backpacking in CA in the rainy season (it's not only about rain you need to consider higher daily temps and high humidity, more bugs, etc.).
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Old Jun 25th, 2017, 08:38 AM
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Of course you wouldn't go backpacking in Central America suze, because you don't have any intention of going, nor have you ever been.
Actually, temps in both the Guatemala and Costa Rica Central Highlands can be quite pleasant in the summer months. Xela, for example @ some 8,000 ft ASL is quite cool. Indeed, many vehicles have snorkels for good reason. But temps in many of the more popular highland tourist areas are not hotter in the summer.
Are you now not content with being the Queen of PV instead of running for the Queen of Central America?
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Old Jun 26th, 2017, 12:55 AM
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I've made a few dozen trips to Central America during the 'green' season, mainly in July/August with 3 or 4 visits during October/November. In the countries we visit (Guatemala, Belize, Honduras) it has rained almost exclusively in the night in low lying areas; statistically the rainy season starts a bit later in the Bay Islands of Honduras, like October instead of June, I think. In the Guatemala highlands the mornings are generally gorgeous and it rains sometimes starting in the afternoon or evening. In our experience it's unlikely to rain for days unless a tropical storm or hurricane is passing nearby, possible but unlikely.

We find it to be a great time to visit. Temps and lengths of day are pretty much the same year round that near the equator but you'll see more rain (and things will be greener and sometimes muddier as opposed to browner/dustier) during those months. We love the Guatemala highlands because it's spring-like year round; on Lake Atitlán where we have a little home for extended visits, temps are usually in the mid 70s: perfect!

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Old Jun 26th, 2017, 07:53 AM
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badone~ The person asked "which one would you choose?". It's OK for me to voice an opinion.
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Old Jun 26th, 2017, 08:50 AM
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You are entitled to your opinion, suze, but your comments only seem to apply to the low-lying and beachy areas of the Central American countries we visit year after year during the 'green' season. We spend the vast majority of time in gorgeous highland areas where the temps and humidity (unless you're standing in the rain) aren't high/higher and we've never had bug issues. Just sayin' ;-)
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Old Jun 26th, 2017, 09:32 AM
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I understand. No argument there, hopfulist. I know you have vast experience in this part of the world!! And this person didn't specify what regions they were visiting.

My comment comes from reading daily various (yes coastal) Mexico posts (especially at this time of year) when people are surprised to find it is raining... when they book a trip in the rainy season.
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Old Jun 26th, 2017, 11:25 AM
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Regardless of elevation, northern Central America does get less rain than the southern part of the isthmus does. Costa Rica during September and October can be a washout. The OP's wishes:

"I would prefer for it to be sunny most of the time I'm there."

... stand a poor chance of coming true. Predictions are that this will be a wetter than normal rainy season. So far, that is bearing out.

You can still have a great time during the rainy season, and people still do visit during September and October. Nature-themed activities usually go on rain or shine, unless there is lightning.

I feel sorry for people who schedule a beach vacation that time of year. I've visited big beach resorts during the fall and seen guests indoors, playing cards while there were torrential downpours outside. They're spending all that money to play gin rummy. It doesn't sound like that's the kind of travel you'll be doing.

I think it boils down to this: if you want good chances of good weather, then do this trip another time of year. If you don't mind the rain, it'll be okay.
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Old Jun 28th, 2017, 06:27 PM
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Thanks so much everyone. Your answers have been extremely helpful. I think I'm going to just go to South america first. Up until now almost everyone has said I have nothing to worry about but I think I needed that validation that I wasn't crazy to be concerned about this. Also I was not aware that it's been a particularly rainy rainy season so far so that's very helpful information to have.
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