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Climate - Honduras

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

United States version (°F - inches - feet). See also the metric version (°C - mm - meters)

Flag - Honduras

Map - Honduras

In most of Honduras, the climate is tropical, with a dry season in winter and a rainy season in the summer months, while in the north there is an equatorial climate zone, ie rainy throughout the year. In fact, the north-east trade winds which blow in the winter months, are able to pick up moisture from the sea, and then cause showers on the north coast and the northern side of the mountains. As regards the temperature, they are high all year round in the plains, while in mountainous areas they becomes milder or cooler depending on altitude.

In the north, the Caribbean Sea coast, directly exposed to the trade winds, is very rainy throughout the year, with a total of 110/120 inches per year. The rest of the country (mostly hilly and mountainous, with a small outlet on the Pacific coast, in the Gulf of Fonseca) is less rainy: rainfall ranges from 35 to 80 inches per annum, and experiences a dry season from November to April, called el verano, and a rainy season from May to October, called el invierno (which despite its name, "the winter", is a warm and sultry period). The difference in climate between the two sides is also reflected in vegetation: the interior and the southern side are dominated by the savanna, while the northern side is covered by the rainforest.
The prevalence of the northeast trade winds, constant winds typical of the tropics, makes the Pacific side warmer and drier especially in the dry winter season, because the air heats up as it comes down from the mountains, while the northern coasts and slopes that receive the winds from the sea, are less hot but more humid. In fact, the average daily temperature reaches 86 degrees Fahrenheit in the hottest months (March and April) in the southern plains, while it stops to 82 °F in the northern plains (in the period from May to June which here is the hottest), but in December and January the difference is even greater: on the south coast the average is around 82 °F, while on the Caribbean coast it's around 73/75 °F.
As mentioned, the Caribbean coast, (as well as the Caribbean Islands like Guanaja, Roatán, Útila) has no real dry season, although in general there is a decrease in precipitation in the period from February to April, especially in March and April, more marked on the eastern part (Gracias a Dios Department), where it drops to 2/2.4 inches per month. On the western part, the decrease in precipitation is less noticeable: in Tela and La Ceiba, precipitation does not go below 3.1/3.5 inches per month.
Here is the average precipitation in La Ceiba.
Average precipitation La Ceiba
La Ceiba J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 10.9 9.1 6.3 3.3 3.3 5.6 5.8 6.3 7.6 13.9 16.5 14.6 103.3
Days 16 11 8 6 9 16 19 20 18 20 19 17 179

In this northern part, the rainfall records are high throughout the year, which means that sometimes it can rain a lot even in the months which are normally less rainy, although normally the rainiest period is from October to December in the western part (in Tela, 16 inches per month fall in this period), while it goes from June to July in the eastern part (in Puerto Lempira, in these two months more than 16 inches per month fall). In May, the rains increase in frequency in the western part, and also in intensity in the central-eastern part.
Here are the average temperatures of La Ceiba.
La Ceiba average temperatures
La Ceiba J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 66 66 68 70 72 73 72 72 72 70 68 66
Max (°F) 81 81 84 86 88 88 88 88 88 84 82 81

For swimming, the sea is warm enough all year round: the water temperature varies between 81 °F and 84 °F.
Sea temperature Roatan
Roatan J F M A M J J A S O N D
Sea (°F) 81 81 81 82 82 84 84 84 84 84 82 81

In the southern and inland areas, where the rainy season lasts from May to October, there is some decrease in rainfall in July and August, so the rainiest periods are May-June and September-October.
The Honduran capital Tegucigalpa is located in the tierras templadas, at 3,300 feet above sea level, and its climate is certainly more pleasant than at sea level: the normal daytime temperatures range from 78 °F in December, to 86 °F in April and May. Really hot days are rare, except in March and April, when the temperature can touch 95 °F. Here are the average temperatures.
Tegucigalpa average temperatures
Tegucigalpa J F M A M J J A S O N D
Min (°F) 58 58 60 63 65 65 64 64 64 64 61 59
Max (°F) 78 81 85 86 86 83 82 83 83 81 79 78

The rainfall amounts to 34.5 inches per year, of which more than 4.7 inches in the four rainiest months (which, as we have said, in this area are May-June and September-October). From November to mid-April, it rains very rarely.
Here is the average precipitation.
Average precipitation Tegucigalpa
Tegucigalpa J F M A M J J A S O N D Year
Prec. (in) 0.2 0.2 0.4 1.7 5.6 6.2 3.2 3.5 7.0 4.3 1.6 0.4 34.3
Days 1 1 1 2 9 12 9 9 13 10 4 2 73


The Mayan archaeological site of Copán lies at 2,300 feet above sea level, so it is a bit warmer than the capital; here the maximum temperatures range from 79 °F in December to 88 °F in April.
Above 6,500 feet, the night temperature can be cold, especially in the period from November to March, while above 8,200 feet, it can get cold even during the day.

Sometimes from December to March, Honduras can be reached by cool air masses from the United States, and in these cases at night the temperature can drop to around 50 °F in Tegucigalpa, and around 55/59 °F in the plains.

Although the tropical rains occur mainly as heavy showers, the amount of sunshine in the rainiest months is not so high, with around 6 hours of sunshine per day, while from February to April there are about 7-8 hours of sun a day.

Honduras is located in the path of hurricanes, which may hit the country in the period from June to November, coming from the east. However, the period in which they are most likely runs from August to October.

When to go

The best time to visit Honduras runs from December to mid-April on the southern side, in Tegucigalpa and in the interior, while in the northern coast, and in the small Caribbean islands belonging to Honduras (the largest of which is Roatán), it only corresponds to the period from February and April.

What to pack

In Tegucigalpa and tierras templadas: all year round, light clothing, a sweatshirt or sweater, a jacket for the evening from November to March; raincoat or umbrella from May to October.
On plains and coasts: lightweight clothes, a sweater for the evening from December to March; from May to October, tropics-friendly clothing, plus a light sweatshirt and a light raincoat for thunderstorms. For the reef, equipment for snorkeling, water shoes or rubber soled shoes.
On high mountains: warm clothes, jacket, hiking boots.

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Metric version (°C)
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