Short answer: ANYTIME!
Long answer and explanation: any time of year is beautiful and exciting in its own way and you’re sure to have an incredible experience regardless of which month you chose to come.
Our typical “high season” for tourism is December through March; when the weather in most of Northern America is inhospitable, the climate in Belize is nothing short of beautiful—sunny days cooled by Caribbean breezes. I’ve wrote about spending the holidays in Belize here before and chronicled some of the fun you can expect. February is arguably our best month with predictably perfect weather. Placencia’s Arts Festival weekend along the sidewalk is not to be missed. Catch the sometimes-silly action of Carnival in San Pedro in the week leading up to lent: paint bombing and parades, the SanPedroScoop has done a great job of covering it here. March is madness with Easter celebrations in hotspots like San Pedro, Caye Caulker, and Placencia where devout party people come to dance and drink the long weekend away at the craziest parties of the year. If beer chugging and twerk contests aren’t your thing, no worries, March also boasts the Ruta Maya canoe race as well as your best shot at seeing wild scarlet macaws by the dozen on their migration. (remember my post about even pre-schoolers enjoying birding?)
The “shoulder seasons” for tourism are April/ May and October/November. The “start” and “end” to our rainy season, respectively. If the term rainy season or hurricane season fills you with trepidation, I’m here to tell you: it shouldn’t! Instead of the 4 seasons I’m accustomed to from growing up in Pennsylvania (winter spring summer fall), Belize has a wet and dry season. Or I’ve heard locals say in a tongue and cheek manner that there’s three seasons: hot, hotter, and wet. Don’t fear the word “wet.” Wet won’t ruin your vacation! Do we get rain? Of course! But its typically overnight (and in deluge quantity, providing a relaxing roar of white noise for sleeping) or in a Florida-esque afternoon quick-hitting shower where the sun reappears as quickly as the storms passed. Very rarely will you have “wash-out” days that are wasted in your hotel room because the precipitation doesn’t let up. These days are most likely to happen in October if they happen.
Shoulder season has it’s perks. I’d say that April is firmly in the “hotter” season; humidity ramps up but the rains have rarely started, it’s a steamy month but it’s the best time of year to spot the massive and rare whale sharks as they pass our shores. April and May are also stars for seasonal foods and their celebratory festivals. Trees explode with nature’s bounty: cashews, mangoes, cacao! There seems to be a food festival somewhere in the country every other week, which keeps the momentum going for June.
June through September are considered our “slow” months for tourism though happily that seems to be changing as more American and Canadian families are traveling to Belize for culture and adventure during the school’s summer holiday. It would be criminal to visit Belize in June and not catch one of the Lobsterfests throughout the country. If you haven’t read my write-up on Placencia’s Lobsterfest, click here and be prepared to drool!
The summer months are a wonderful time to visit and bring the kids; everyone will be dazzled by Belize’s natural beauty and landscapes. The rains have made the jungles thrive and the rivers flow briskly. Zip lining, hiking, canoeing or tubing, caving, ATVing, horseback riding, fishing-there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to keep families busy. You might be thinking, “hey isn’t this hurricane season?” I suppose it is but what that usually means for Belize is absolutely stunning beach days. Whaaaatttt?!?? Yes! Tropical depressions formed elsewhere nearby suck the wind from our sails and leave our sea perfectly flat and clear and clean. There will be day after glorious day when the sea looks like a turquoise lake and even the most timid of snorkelers could skim the glassy surface for hours in a state of Zen.
September was historically the lowest month for numbers of international visitors and many local businesses would take that time to close for a few weeks, give staff an extended break and make any renovations or repairs. What a pity! September is a great month to visit, full of uniquely Belizean holidays and celebrations. Placencia presents a parade of note for Independence celebrations, check it out in this entry.
So, there you have it—there is no wrong time to visit Belize. Or maybe I should say, the time is always right for a visit to Belize. I hope to see plenty of visitors in the near future and beyond, here in The Jewel.
What’s your favorite time to visit?