When's best to travel to Nicaragua?
Nicaragua has a varied array of landscapes - from beaches on its Pacific and Atlantic coasts, to huge lakes, towering mountains and vast swathes of rainforest, not to mention vibrant cities. This means that the climate can vary quite significantly from place to place.
For instance, in the mountainous region of the Central Highlands it is cool and often damp, with temperatures rarely getting above the low 20s. In the summer months (November to April), places like the Pacific forests and coast often experience temperatures well into the 30s and are generally dry.
More rain tends to fall in the east of Nicaragua, and there can be showers during the dry season, although they are less frequent than at other times of the year. The only exception to this is in the Rio San Juan region, which is always wet. As a result of the higher rainfall, the east of Nicaragua tends to be more humid than the west.
The wet season in Nicaragua occurs from May to October, when showers can be torrential, while there is a risk of hurricanes between June and November, although these typically affect the Atlantic, rather than the Pacific, coast.
When is it best to travel?
The dry season is the most popular time to book a holiday in Nicaragua, with the majority of travellers flocking to the nation between November and April to take advantage of the warm sunny weather.
Do remember, however, that if you are travelling into the mountains in the centre of the country, or visiting Rio San Juan, that there is still a risk of rain and, in the mountains, cooler temperatures - so pack accordingly.
While many people avoid the rainy season, the country is incredibly beautiful at this time of the year, as all the trees and foliage are a verdant emerald green and colourful flowers bloom in abundance. The wettest months are September and October, so if you avoid this period you are likely to see less rain and will be able to get out and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Getting active in Nicaragua
If you're keen to experience Nicaragua's varied natural attractions during your holiday by heading out on hikes, it's advisable to plan your holiday between November and April. At this time of the year, temperatures will be warm but the humidity will be lower, making it much more pleasant when you're out and about. Of course, it will also be drier.
For water sports enthusiasts, there are plenty of options both in terms of what to do and when to travel. Surfing is one of the most popular activities in Nicaragua and with very good reason - the seas on both coasts are surfable for most of the year, although the best and most consistent swells tend to hit the country's shores between March and November.
Scuba diving is another popular option on both of the country's coastlines, with the best season for the underwater sport being between December and April, especially on the Pacific side of the nation. It's important to remember, however, that visibility can vary significantly from day to day due to a variety of factors, so you aren't guaranteed crystal-clear waters even if you travel during this period.
Public holidays and festivals
As just over half of Nicaragua's population are Roman Catholic, many of the country-wide public holidays tie in with Christian holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. One of the biggest celebrations is Semana Santa, which occurs the week before Easter every year.
If you're visiting Nicaragua during this time, you can expect to see colourful processions winding their way along the streets of the country's cities and towns, while everyone is in a festive mood.
There are many regional celebrations that take place throughout the year, so there is usually some kind of fiesta happening somewhere in Nicaragua. For instance, each city has its own patron saint, who is celebrated with their own festival every year.
Other highlights to look out for include Managua's two patron saint festivals, on 1st and 10th August; Granada's International Poetry Festival, which is held in February; and the Folklore, Gastronomy and Handicraft Festival, also in Granada, during March.
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