Index


Introduction



In most of Honduras, the climate is tropical, with a dry season in winter and a rainy season in summer, while in the north, there is an area having an equatorial climate, ie rainy throughout the year. In fact, the north-east trade winds that blow in the winter months are able to pick up moisture from the sea, and then unload rain showers on the north coast and the northern side of the mountains. As regards to the temperature, they are high all year round in the plains, while in mountainous areas, they are 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 2,800/3,000 millimeters (110/118 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 900 to 2,000 mm (35 to 79 in) 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 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. This happens because the air warms up as it comes down from the mountains, while the northern coasts and slopes, which receive the winds from the sea, are less hot but more humid. In fact, the daily average temperature reaches 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) in the hottest months (March and April) in the southern plains, while it does not go beyond 28 °C (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 daily average is around 28 °C (82 °F), while on the Caribbean coast, it's around 23/24 °C (73/75 °F).
Sometimes, from December to March, Honduras can be reached by cool air masses from the United States, and in these cases, the temperature at night can drop to around 10 °C (50 °F) in Tegucigalpa, and around 13/15 °C (55/59 °F) in the plains.

Caribbean coast



As mentioned, the Caribbean coast, (as well as the Caribbean Islands, such as Guanaja, Roatán, and Útila) has no real dry season, although, in general, there is a decrease in rainfall 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 50/60 mm (2/2.3 in) per month. On the western part, the decrease in rainfall is less noticeable: in Tela and La Ceiba, it does not go below 80/90 mm (3.1/3.5 in) per month. By May, the rains increase in frequency in the western part, and also in intensity in the central-eastern part.

La Ceiba

Here is the average precipitation in La Ceiba.
La Ceiba - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)27523016085851401451601953504203702625
Prec.(in)10.89.16.33.33.35.55.76.37.713.816.514.6103.3
Days161186916192018201917179

In this northern part, the rainfall records are high throughout the year, which means that it can sometimes rain a lot even in the months which are normally less rainy, although the rainiest period is normally from October to December in the western part (in Tela, 400 mm (16 in) fall per month in this period), while it goes from June to July in the eastern part (in Puerto Lempira, the rainfall in these two months exceeds 400 mm (16 in) per month).
Here are the average temperatures of La Ceiba.
La Ceiba - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)191920212223222222212019
Max (°C)272729303131313131292827
Min (°F)666668707273727272706866
Max (°F)818184868888888888848281

In La Ceiba, all in all, the sun shines for a decent number of hours in the long rainy season (at least, if we consider the rainfall frequency), while it shines quite often in the least rainy months, from February to May. Here are the average sunshine hours per day.
La Ceiba - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours677876676555

Roatán

In Roatán too, and on the other Caribbean islands (Guanaja, Útila, Cayos Cochinos), belonging to the Bay Islands Department, the climate is hot all year round, but with a cooler season from November to February and a hotter and muggy season from May to October, and with abundant rains, without a real dry season.
In Roatán, the average temperature ranges from 24.5 °C (76 °F) in January and February to 28.5 °C (83.5 °F) in August and September. Here are the average temperatures.
Roatan - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)212123232425242525242222
Max (°C)282830303131313232302928
Min (°F)707073737577757777757272
Max (°F)828286868888889090868482

In Roatán, 2,700 mm of rain fall per year; the rains are very abundant from October to December, while they drop to acceptable levels from March to May. Here is the average rainfall.
Roatan - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)27518011575801402001701904454504002725
Prec.(in)10.87.14.533.15.57.96.77.517.517.715.7107.3
Days161186916192018201917179

In Roatán, as in the rest of Honduras, the sea is warm enough to swim in all year round: the water temperature ranges between 27 °C and 29 °C (81 °F and 84 °F).
Roatan - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)272727282829292929292827
Temp (°F)818181828284848484848281

Hills and mountains



On the southern slope and in 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.

Tegucigalpa

The Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, is located at 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) above sea level, in the so-called tierras templadas, and its climate is certainly more pleasant than at sea level: the normal daytime temperature ranges from 25 °C (77 °F) in December to 30 °C (86 °F) in April and May. Really hot days are rare, except in March and April, when the temperature can reach 35 °C (95 °F). Here are the average temperatures.
Tegucigalpa - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)141516171818181818181615
Max (°C)262730303029282929272625
Min (°F)575961636464646464646159
Max (°F)798186868684828484817977

The rainfall amounts to 870 mm (34 in) per year, including more than 120 mm (4.7 in) per month 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.
Tegucigalpa - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)55104514516080901751104010870
Prec.(in)0.20.20.41.85.76.33.13.56.94.31.60.434.3
Days11129129913104273

The sun in Tegucigalpa shines a little more often than on the north side, since it rains less and the dry season is longer.
Tegucigalpa - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours789876676677

Tegucigalpa

The Mayan archaeological site of Copán lies at 700 meters (2,300 feet) above sea level, so it is a bit warmer than the capital; here, the maximum temperature ranges from 26 °C (79 °F) in December to 31 °C (88 °F) in April.
Above 2,000 meters (6,500 feet), night temperatures can be cold, especially in the period from November to March, while above 2,500 meters (8,200 ft), it can get cold even during the day.

Hurricanes



Honduras is located in the path of hurricanes, which may hit the country in the period from June to November, however, they are most likely from August to October. Usually, they come from the east, from the Caribbean Sea, but sometimes, tropical depressions can also form on the Pacific Ocean, which can especially affect the western part of the country, as early as in mid-May, as happened with tropical storm Aletta in late May 1982 and with hurricane Adrian in mid-May 2005. A particularly destructive hurricane was Fifi in September 1974, another one was Mitch at the end of October 1998.

Best Time



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

What to pack



In Tegucigalpa and the tierras templadas: all year round, bring light clothing, a sweatshirt or sweater, and a jacket for the evening from November to March; a raincoat or umbrella from May to October.
In the plains and on the coasts: bring lightweight clothes, and 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. When going to the reef, you can bring snorkeling equipment, including water shoes or rubber-soled shoes.
When going to high mountains, bring warm clothes, a jacket, and hiking boots.

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