Best time to visit Nicaragua

Updated: 06th March 2018

Granada skyline in Nicaragua - Best time to visit - On The Go Tours
Sightseeing in Granada is best enjoyed during the dry season

Seasons and Weather

Nicaragua enjoys a tropical climate with two distinct seasons - the wet and the dry. Generally speaking the dry season runs from November to May bringing with it hot and humid temperatures. This is the best time to visit with plenty of outdoor activities available and is great for beach holidays along the coast. The rainy season runs between June and October, washing out roads and making travel around the country more difficult. For this reason it is Nicaragua's low season.

The highlands tend to be a lot cooler in temperature and November is a great time for trekking in these regions as the the rains bring lots of greenery. This is the shoulder tourist season in Nicaragua. The high season is between December and April with services at a premium.

Climate | Managua


JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp Min °C202122232323222222222120
Temp Max °C313234343431313131313131
Rainfall (mm)515576296134130182243595

Festivals and Events in Nicaragua

Like its neighbouring countries in Central America, Nicaragua offers an enticing calendar of events that combines its myriad of cultures and religious beliefs. Here's our pick of the best festivals and events worth timing your trip for.

La Gigantona Nocturna

Showcasing Nicaraguan culture, this event features a huge wooden model of La Gigantona, a giantess with whom men were allegedly smitten. She is supposed to be a representation of the white Spanish women that came with the conquerors. She is accompanied by El Enano Cabezon, a dwarfish figure with a big head that is meant to symbolise the intelligent Mestizo (mixed race Spanish and Indigenous). The relationship between the two characters shows the bitter tension between social classes during colonial times.

Diriamba

Considered one of Nicaragua’s most authentic events, Diriamba, also known as the feast of San Sebastian, is a popular occasion that sees Nicaraguans from across the country gather in the town of Diriamba to celebrate. The main feature of the festival is the image of San Sebastian leaving the Basilica of Diriamba and being carried by the people to Dolores where it joins San Marcos and Santiago de Jinotepe. Traditional dances and beautiful costumes are staples of the celebrations.

International Poetry Festival

The largest of its kind in Central America, the International Poetry Festival takes place every year in Granada and is an absolute must for anyone with a penchant for poems. Poets from dozens of difference countries have participated in the past, coming from Egypt, South Africa, India, Mexico and more. What’s more, each year one Nicaraguan poet is honoured as his or her work becomes the centrepiece of the festival.

San Lazaro

Dog lovers rejoice as this unusual festival might just be one of the most adorable events on the planet. In honour of Saint Lazarus, who, according to the bible, had his sores licked by dogs and was healed, this celebration sees locals dress their dogs up in Halloween costumes and head to the church in order to have their pups blessed by the priest. Owners and their pets then usually stay to listen to a sermon before heading home.

Palo de Mayo

Originating in Bluefields, Nicaragua in the 17th century, this festival, which translates as May Pole, has become an integral part of Afro-Caribbean culture along the Caribbean coast of Central America. The event consists of sensual dancing accompanied by intense rhythms made by percussion instruments. Although it originated from British traditions, it has been wholly adapted and modified in line with Afro-Caribbean culture.

Crab Soup Festival

This festival takes place on the idyllic Corn Islands, off the west coast of Nicaragua, and celebrates the liberation of the slaves on the islands. The locals commemorate the occasion with singing, parades and a variety of sporting contests. Of course, one of the main features of the festival is the various crab-based dishes on offer, not least crab soup. This event is all about rejoicing, having fun and looking to a happy, liberated future.

2018 Calendar

To help plan your visit to Nicaragua, here's an overview of the most popular festivals and events taking place in 2018:

January 11th-19th - Fiesta a San Sebastián (Diriamba)
February 11th-17th - International Poetry Festival (Granada)
March (dates TBC) - San Lazaro (Masaya)
May 22nd-26th - Palo de Mayo (Bluefields)
August 27th - Crab Soup Festival (Big Corn Island)
December 23rd - La Gigantona Nocturna (Masatepe)

There's also a number of national holidays in Nicaragua and on these dates many businesses and some tourist sites will close for the day so plan your visit accordingly.

See Also

For more information to help plan your visit to Nicaragua check out our handy Travel Guide resources below:

Best Places to Visit - what to see and where to go in Nicaragua
Tourist Visas - what you need to know regarding visas and entering the country
Top Travel Tips - vaccinations, tipping, currency and more
Style of Travel - what to expect on our Central America group tours