When is the best time to visit Belize?
Belize’s high season for tourism runs from late November to late April, which coincides almost perfectly with the chill of winter in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain. The high season is also the dry season. If you want some unadulterated time on a tropical beach and a little less rain during your rainforest experience, this is the time to visit. During this period (and especially around the Christmas and Easter holidays), the tourism industry operates at full tilt — prices are higher, attractions are more crowded, and reservations need to be made in advance.
The weather in Belize is subtropical and generally similar to that of southern Florida. The average daytime temperature on the coast and cayes is around 80°F (27°C), although it can get considerably warmer during the day during the summer months. During the winter months, when northern cold fronts extend their grip south, it can get downright nippy. In fact, from late December to February, “northers” can hit the coastal and caye areas hard, and hang around for between 3 and 5 days, putting a severe crimp in any beach vacation. The best months for guaranteed sun and fun are March through May.
The rainy season runs from June to mid-November, while the hurricane season runs from July to October, with the most active months being August, September, and October. For the most part, the rainy season is characterized by a dependable and short-lived afternoon shower. However, the amount of rainfall varies considerably with the regions. In the south, there may be more than 150 inches of rain per year, while in the north, it rarely rains more than 50 inches per year. Usually there is also a brief dry period in mid-August, known as the mauger. If you’re skittish about rain and hurricanes, don’t come to Belize between late August and mid-October, the height of both the rainy and hurricane seasons. However, if you do come, you should be able to land some good bargains.
The Cayo District and other inland destinations tend to be slightly cooler than the coastal and caye destinations, although since there is generally little elevation gain, the differences tend to be slight.
Official holidays in Belize include January 1 (New Year’s Day), March 9 (Baron Bliss Day), Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, May 1 (Labour Day), May 24 (Commonwealth Day), September 10 (St. George’s Caye Day), September 21 (Independence Day), October 12 (Pan American Day), November 19 (Garífuna Settlement Day), December 25 (Christmas Day), December 26 (Boxing Day), and December 31 (New Year’s Eve).
Government offices and banks are closed on official holidays, transportation services are reduced, and stores and markets may also close.