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Climate - Nicaragua

Temperature, rainfall, prevailing weather conditions, when to go, what to pack

See also the US version (°F - inches - feet)

Flag - Nicaragua

Map - Nicaragua

Nicaragua has a tropical climate, hot all year round, with average daily temperatures ranging between 25 and 27 degrees Celsius on the eastern side, and between 26 and 28 °C in the west. The cooler period is from November to January, while the warmest months are April and May. The real difference between the seasons is found in the rain: there are a rainy and a dry season, the latter is longer and more marked on the western slopes and in inland plains and valleys, while it's almost non-existent on the eastern side, which is exposed to the north-east trade winds, therefore it receives rainfall even in winter, and its climate can be defined equatorial.
Consequently, rainfall is abundant on the east coast, where it even exceeds 4,000 millimetres per year, while it's much less abundant in the central plains, where the capital Managua and the lakes Nicaragua and Managua are located, and along the Pacific coast as well.
In Managua, the capital, 1,150 mm of rain per year fall, and the dry season, which runs from December to April, is very pronounced, so much so that it almost never rains. In the rainy season, from May to mid-November, the wettest months are June and October, when more than 200 mm of rain per month fall.
Here is the average precipitation in Managua.
Average precipitation Managua
Managua J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (mm) 4 1 5 6 75 300 135 130 180 245 60 6 1147
Days 2 0 1 1 6 22 20 17 20 19 10 2 120

In the period from June to November, the maximum temperatures are around 30/31 °C and the humidity is high; from February to May they are around 32/33 °C, but often reaching 35 °C, with a lower humidity but still sufficient to give a feeling of sultriness. It goes a bit better on the Pacific coast, where the temperatures are a bit lower and the breezes blow.
Here are the average temperatures.
Managua average temperatures
Managua J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°C) 21 21 22 23 24 23 23 23 23 22 22 21
Max (°C) 31 32 33 33 33 31 30 31 30 30 31 30

In Bluefields, on the Caribbean coast, precipitation amounts to 4,000 mm per year; it rains a lot and almost every day from May to December, with a peak in July, when even 665 mm of rain fall. March and April are the only months when the rains give a little break, and it these months, respectively 80 and 75 mm per month fall, in both cases in 12 days.
Here is the average precipitation in Bluefields.
Average precipitation Bluefields
Bluefields J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (mm) 265 130 80 75 345 500 665 545 310 345 390 400 4050
Days 21 16 12 12 22 23 24 24 21 21 22 22 240

It goes a bit better further to the north, in Puerto Cabezas, where 3,000 mm of rain per year fall. So here and in general along the Caribbean coast, there is not a really dry month; due to the rains and the trade winds, the temperatures are a bit lower than in Managua, but the relative humidity is consistently high.
Here are the average temperatures.
Bluefields average temperatures
Bluefields J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°C) 22 22 22 23 24 23 23 23 23 22 22 22
Max (°C) 28 29 30 31 31 30 29 29 29 29 29 28

The sea is warm all year round, in both coasts, as we can see from the water temperature at Bluefields.
Sea temperature Bluefields
Bluefields J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°C) 27 27 27 28 28 28 28 28 29 29 28 28

The amount of sunshine on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua is never great, it's acceptable in March and April (with 7 hours of sunshine per day) and is mediocre from June to August (with 3/4 hours per day). It goes better on the west side: in Managua there are 8 hours of sunshine per day in February and March, and 7 in November, December, January and April. The least sunny month (and also the rainiest) in the capital is June, with only 4 hours of sunshine per day.

Lake Nicaragua

Nicaragua is known as the land of lakes and volcanoes. Some volcanoes rise from the plains, such as San Cristobal, other from lakes such as Concepción that emerges from Lake Nicaragua. In the north-central inner region, there is a mountain range, called Cordillera Chontaleña: in the highlands the weather becomes mild above 1,000 metres, in the so called tierras templadas.
Nicaragua is located in the path of hurricanes, which may hit the country in the period from June to November, coming from the east, ie the Caribbean Sea, but are most likely from August to October.

When to go

The best time to visit Nicaragua is from December to April in the central and western part, while it's limited to March and April along the east coast, due to the rains.

What to pack

For tierras templadas and the slopes of volcanoes: all year round, light clothing, a sweatshirt or sweater for the evening; raincoat or umbrella.
For plains and coasts: light clothing, a sweater or sweatshirt for the evening from November to March; in the rainy season (May to mid-November in Managua, even throughout the year on the east coast), a light raincoat for showers and thunderstorms.

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