Weather: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador
The highlands of the sierra at the heart of Guatemala provide a refreshing change from the muggy air that loiters at sea level. At a typical sierra altitude of 1500m/4900ft – the height of Guatemala City – most nights drop below 15°C/59°F in winter and 18°C/62°F even in summer. Afternoons warm up nicely year-round, but there is precious little sunshine from late May through October, when a drenching occurs on most afternoons. Similar conditions extend eastward into the highlands of Honduras, with quite a bit more sun. The summer rains are lightest in the middle of the sierra and extremely heavy on the slopes of Guatemala, especially in the cloud forest along the north side of the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes and on the south side of the volcanic corridor. Few days are complete washouts, although some roads may become difficult to navigate as the wet season unfolds. The low-lying rain forests of Peten are sultry year round, except for sea breezes and a few shots of cool air in winter from northers that can bring rain as far south as the highlands near Coban. The Pacific coast gets progressively hotter and more humid as you move south toward El Salvador. Even at San Salvador's altitude of over 680m/2230ft, high temperatures usually hit 30°C/86°F during the wet season and often exceed 34°C/93°F when it's rain less, with humidity to boot. From November through April, most areas – except for those on and just in from the Caribbean coast – see periods of rain less than once in 2 or 3 weeks on average, with the low-latitude sun broken by scattered clouds.