November is a pretty magical time of year to visit Guatemala. Marking the end of the rainy season, the weather is warm and dry, the countryside is lush with wildflowers carpeting the hills, and there are plenty of fascinating cultural events and (slightly) fewer tourists than the high season. Arrive on the first of the month for the Giant Kites Festival in Santiago Sacatepéquez or head to the hills to enjoy the horse races and ring in All Saint's Day.

Weather

November weather is generally warm, dry, and pleasant, with cooler evenings and only very occasional showers, although these are mostly limited to the rainforest in Petén in the north of the country, where the wet season lasts a little longer. Temperatures are around 80°F on average and are a little less humid than at other times of the year, reaching highs of 90°F on the Pacific coastline, and dipping down to an average of 70°F in Quetzaltenango. In the Highlands it can also get quite chilly at night, so bring a jacket, especially if you’re planning on doing any trekking.

Crowds and Costs

The beginning of November is usually pretty busy, with crowds flocking to Antigua—the closest major city to Santiago Sacatepéquez—for the Giant Kite’s Festival on All Saint’s Day. If you plan on joining the festivities, make sure to book your accommodation and transport ahead of time and expect to pay peak prices. After that, it quietens down a little before picking back up in the winter months. Although it’s still a little rainy up north, November can be a good time to visit Tikal, with fewer people and cheaper prices—just make sure you bring an umbrella!

Where to Go

Head to Antigua for November 1st and join the celebrations in Santiago Sacatepéquez before climbing Acatenango and relaxing on Lake Atitlán. Adventurous folks might prefer to brave the long journey out to Huehuetenango to take in the spectacle that is the Skach Koyl drunken horse race on All Saint’s Day, before heading to Cobán or Semuc Champey to hike through the national parks to swim in turquoise pools, climb through one of the biggest cave systems in Central America, and see the waterfalls and rivers in full flow.

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What to Do

One of the main draws to visiting Guatemala in November is being there for the Dia de Los Muertos celebrations. Even if you don’t make it to The Giant Kites Festival or Todos Santos for the drunken horse racing, you’ll find celebrations in every town or city in Guatemala as well, with ceremonies to honor the dead, repaint the tombs, and leave offerings at gravesites, and families picnicking in the cemeteries. 

After the festivities end, there is still plenty to do. November is the perfect time to hike Acatenango, with perfect weather and good visibility, meaning you’ll get better views of Fuego exploding overnight than in spring and summer. It does get cold on the volcanoes at night though, with temperatures sometimes getting down to below zero.

The wildflowers are out in force in the highlands, so it's a great time to go trekking, or, if you fancy something a little less strenuous, head to Antigua for the annual Flower Festival and watch the city come to life with colorful displays in every street and doorway. It’s also a good time to go to the Pacific coast to soak up some sunshine and see baby sea turtles making their long journey to the ocean for the first time. On the Caribbean coast, there is the Garinagu Festival. Head to Livingston at the end of November to join the week-long festivities.

Events in November

Dia de Los Muertos (All Saint's Day) - November 1st: The Day of the Dead celebrations in Guatemala are about connecting with your ancestors, where people go to the cemeteries to decorate their ancestors' tombs with flowers, candles, and offerings. They also repaint the cemeteries in bright, vibrant colors, and have family picnics around the graves of their loved ones.

Festival de Barriletes Gigantes (Giant Kite's Festival), Santiago Sacatepéquez - 1st November: For over 3,000 years, people from the town of Santiago Sacatepéquez have been heading to the cemetery on All Saint's Day to fly giant colorful kites to honor the dead. In the town itself, celebrations continue with market stalls and street food. 

Skach Koyl, Todos Santos - 1st November: In the small town of Todos Santos, the All Saint's Day celebrations take quite a different turn in the form of a drunken horse race called Skach Koyl. Whilst this specific event takes place on November 1st, you can find similar races in different towns in the region throughout the year.

Festival de las Flores, Antigua - mid-November: Although it was only started in 2017, Antigua's Festival of Flowers is quickly becoming a popular event. Expect flower markets, workshops, and exhibitions around the Calle del Arco and the Central Park, and to see the whole city adorned in colorful displays.

Garinagu Festival, Livingston - End of November: A week-long party celebrating the traditions and culture of the Garifuna people, who also come from Belize and Honduras for the festival. Expect colorful street parties and parades, religious ceremonies, feasts, and traditional dancing.

Sea Turtle Hatchling Release, Monterrico - September to January: Join the sea turtle conservation team at Tortugario Monterrico on the Pacific coast at sunset every day between September and January as they release over 5000 baby sea turtles back to the ocean.

Traveling to Guatemala in November? Check out these Great Itineraries

Incredible Guatemala - 10 Days. If you can arrive in Antigua a few days early and add on the Giant Kite's Festival, then this makes the ultimate November itinerary, with trips to Huehuetenango to see the amazing Cenotes de Candelaría and Hoyo el Cimarrón, as well as Semuc Champey, Lake Atitlán, and Tikal. 

Mayan Adventure in Guatemala - 6 Days. Perfect for those short on time, this adventurous trip includes cycling down a volcano and climbing out and camping on another one, exploring the jungle ruins of Tikal, and wandering the cobbled streets of Antigua. Add on a few days at the beginning to check out the Giant Kites Festival on November 1st, or do it toward the end of the month and swing by Livingston on the way down from Flores to catch the Garinagu Festival and join the celebrations.

More Helpful Information

Guatemala in October
Guatemala in December
Best Time of Year to Visit Guatemala
Guatemala Tours and Itineraries