While September is the wettest month of the year, this doesn't mean that it rains all day every day everywhere—or even every day. Most mornings are bright and sunny, with rain for a few hours in the afternoon. This can be anything from a downpour to a deluge, providing a much-needed break from the heat and humidity.
Temperatures usually hover around 85-90°F during the day in the tropical lowlands—the coast, and Petén in the north—and 70-75°F in the Highlands, where they drop down to around 50°F at night and can get even lower in the mountains. It's also not too rainy in the highlands, with places like Quetzaltenango experiencing very little rainfall compared to the rest of the country.
September is also the mid-hurricane season in Guatemala. More often than not, they will come in over the Caribbean Sea from the east, but they can also occasionally form over the Pacific Ocean and make their way inland from there. Tropical storms can cause heavy rain and flooding, and occasionally wash out roads and affect transport-links, so pay close attention to the weather reports, and—if you're nervous—stick to the highlands.
Crowds and Costs
Not only is September one of the wettest months of the year, but it is also one of the quietest—although this probably doesn't come as much as a surprise. Still, the lack of visitors means that you can expect cheaper prices, accommodation, activities, and transport to be available more last-minute, meaning you can travel more freely. However, it can be fairly busy for Independence Day in Antigua, Guatemala City, and Panajachel, so if you do intend on being there to celebrate then make sure you do book ahead to avoid disappointment.
Where to Go
Despite the weather, September is actually one of the best times of year to go to the Highlands. While the threat of rain keeps the crowds away, some places like Quetzaltenango actually have little to no rain and warm, pleasant temperatures, making it the ideal season to go exploring.
As it's hurricane season, we'd say avoid the coastlines, or at least be vigilant with keeping an eye on weather reports. Rio Dulce—a little further inland—is still worth visiting though, with the bright sunny mornings perfect for exploring, and the rainy afternoons ideal for relaxing on the river.
What to Do
Wake up early and explore as much as possible in the morning. If the weather forecast looks great and you fancy having some beautiful black sand beaches all to yourself, then you might want to go to Monterrico to join in with the sea turtle hatchling conservation programs and watch the baby turtles make their way to the ocean for the first time.
Head to the Highlands, with the warm mornings perfect for trekking, and the rain making the countryside all lush and green. It's not as rainy up here either, so you can expect days and even weeks without downpours. It's also a great time to visit Lake Atitlán and maybe even enroll in one of the Spanish schools and spend the rainy afternoons drinking coffee and practicing.
If you have the chance, it's also worth heading to the capital or Panajachel to witness the Guatemalan Independence Day celebrations. Starting the night before, with torch-bearing athletes running marathons throughout the country, Independence Day celebrations take special significance in Guatemala City and Panajachel, where there is a marathon from the capital to the lake. The runners arrive around midnight, where they're greeted with fireworks and cheering crowds. On the 15th itself, you can expect street parties and parades in most of the towns and villages.
Events in September
Día de la Independencia de Guatemala (Guatemalan Independence Day) - September 14th and 15th: Celebrated across the country with torch-lit marathons the night before, known as the Antorcha de la Independencia, and dancing, music, parades, food, and fireworks. Head to Panajachel and Guatemala City for the biggest celebrations.
Sea Turtle Hatchling Release, Monterrico - September to January: Every day at sunset between September and January, the turtle conservation team at Tortugario Monterrico release baby sea turtles back to the ocean.
Traveling to Guatemala in September? Check out this great itinerary.
Best of Guatemala - 11 Days. This amazing trip takes you from Antigua to Lake Atitlán, Tikal National Park, Rio Dulce, Guatemala City, and the hidden paradise that is Las Conchas, where you'll spend a night in an eco-lodge in the rainforest surrounded by waterfalls.