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If you visit from December to February, expect some cool nights and mornings. Weather-wise this can be the best time to visit El Petén. March and April are the hottest and driest months. The rains begin in May or June, and with them come the mosquitoes – bring rain gear, repellent and, if you plan on slinging a hammock, a mosquito net. July to September is muggy and buggy. October and November see the end of the occasional rains and a ­return to cooler temperatures.

When to go

There’s no bad time for visiting Guatemala, though the rainy season – called invierno (winter) – makes unpaved roads more difficult from mid-May to mid-October, and into November and December in the north and east. In the lowland jungles of El Petén, the mud at this time will slow you down, guaranteed. Humidity – never low on the coasts or in El Petén – increases during the rainy season, too. In the highlands things get cold and damp during invierno, especially at night. It doesn’t rain all day during the rainy season, but you can expect daily showers (downpours in the north) at the very least. The dry season – verano (summer) – is from about November to April, and this means sweltering heat in El Petén and along the coasts and comfortably warm days in the highlands. In the eastern parts of the country, rain is possible at any time.

The height of the foreign tourist season is from Christmas to Easter. Things become acute around Christmas, New Year’s and Easter, when Guatemalans take holidays too– in many places you’ll need to book ahead. Another high season runs June to August, when throngs of North Americans descend on Guatemala to study Spanish and travel.