A warm, subtropical climate makes Honduras an ideal year-round destination so the best time to visit depends on what you want to do when you arrive.
Many outdoor activities are weather-dependent and, just to add a little spice to your travel planning, some parts of Honduras remain dry while the rest of the country gets lashed by tropical deluges.
Whenever you visit, be prepared both for sun and rain and pack a sweater for the cooler highlands. Here’s our guide to the best time to visit Honduras.
January to June is the best time to visit for outdoor adventure
Sunny, warm days and brisk nights draw visitors to Honduras to explore the Maya ruins of Copán, hike in the mountains around Lago de Yojoa, and soak up the atmosphere in the quirky coastal town of Trujillo. This is Honduras’ busiest season and hotel prices spike around New Year and during Easter.
It’s also the driest time to hit the Bay Islands, where you can head beneath the waves to explore the world’s second-largest barrier reef – visibility is best between January and March.
January is a relatively quiet month, as everyone goes back to work after the Christmas celebrations and the Día de los Reyes Magos parades on January 6.
It’s cold at night in Santa Rosa de Copán, Tegucigalpa and other high-altitude destinations, but it’s a great time to head out to the Bay Islands where balmy temperatures and the last of the winter rains are a boon for beach bums and scuba divers alike.
February is the driest month of the year and that means terrific visibility for scuba divers visiting Roatán and Utila; if you’re lucky, you may spot the first solitary whale shark of the year.
It’s a wonderful time to explore the Maya ruins at Santa Rosa de Copán, but pack a sweater or two for the cold nights. Feria de la Virgen de Suyapa is celebrated across the country on February 3.
Easter is one of the biggest festivals in Honduras and highlights include solemn processions and carpets of flowers. While the highlands are beginning to see rain showers, they rarely last long, and warmer evenings bring an influx of visitors to Santa Rosa de Copán.
May brings the start of the rainy season in mainland Honduras; daytime temperatures remain hot and muggy. Coastal La Ceiba kicks off its two-week-long carnival – the biggest party in Central America, complete with costumed parades, exuberant dancing in the streets and live music.
It’s still relatively dry in the Bay Islands in June but it’s one of the hottest and rainiest months of the year in the rest of Honduras. In the forests, savannahs, and grasslands to the far east of the country, humidity is close to 100% and hurricanes begin to form in the Atlantic.
July to September is best for whale shark spotting
If you have your heart set on spotting whale sharks, July is the time to visit the Bay Islands. It's the peak of the annual whale shark migration, and you have a good chance of diving alongside a pod of these remarkable creatures.
Coastal Honduras is ruffled by occasional tropical storms in August and the rough seas can make traveling to the Bay Islands by boat a bit of a rollercoaster. Pods of whale sharks are still spotted in the depths around Utila, and it’s warm and pretty dry in the northern highlands – a pleasant time to be in Santa Rosa de Copán.
Many Hondurans go on vacation in August, so book your accommodations in advance. The Festival del Maiz is celebrated with parades and music across the country.
While the mainland is drenched by the heaviest rains of the year in September, there's a mini dry season in remote Moskitia in eastern Honduras.
It's the perfect time to head for the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve and the small indigenous villages in the jungle, accessed only by riverboat. September 15 sees El Día de Independencia celebrations all over the country.
October to December is best for white-water sports and exploring Moskitia
While mainland Honduras is battered by torrential downpours during the rainy months, and overland travel is affected by occasional flooding and mudslides, conditions for white-water rafting and kayaking are particularly good after the rainiest months of September and October.
November sees the rivers swelled up by fall rains and adventurous travelers go white-water rafting on Río Cangrejal. The Chortí Indigenous people of the Santa Rosa de Copán area spend much of the month celebrating their biggest annual festival, Tzikin.
This is also an excellent time to jump aboard a riverboat and explore the remote La Moskitia region, which has its own mini dry season.
Scuba diving centers on Roatán and Utila stay open year-round, and while visibility isn’t as great as during the drier months, now is the time to get some real bargains on diving packages.
Festivities are in full swing during the weeks preceding Navidad (Christmas), so head for Santa Barbara to catch the celebration of El Paseo Real de las Chimeneas Gigantes, or to the north coast to witness Garifuna drumming and processions. It’s the start of the dry season, and accommodations get booked up ahead of the holidays.
Does Honduras have a hurricane season?
Honduras’ east coast and the Bay Islands are bathed by the Caribbean Sea, and the region is notoriously affected by the Atlantic hurricane season that typically lasts from June to late November.
However, the last time the Bay Islands were affected was in 1998 when Hurricane Mitch scored a direct hit. Odds are, you’ll only encounter a tropical storm or two in September or October. If you’d rather not risk it, opt to travel during the high season instead.