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Central America remains consistently hot throughout the year, unless you spend a night in the chilly highlands. The rainy season runs from April to early December, but the region still experiences plenty of sunshine during this period. The hurricane season rains down in September to October and can cause flooding everywhere, though it can be particularly bad on the Caribbean coast. The dry season runs from Christmas to Easter and this is the tourist peak season. Easter is a particularly good time to go to Central America as the whole region goes crazy for Semana Santa. Make sure you book ahead, and expect higher hotel prices during this time of year. The low season means fewer people, lower prices, and you can still have glorious weather. A drawback: Some of the region's rugged roads become downright impassable without four-wheel-drive during the rainy season.

Holidays

Latin Americans love a good street party -- even ones devoted to celebrating chaste Catholic saints exude a wild exuberance. Christmas is colorful but Easter is the wildest celebration; during Easter week, some countries virtually shut down as the locals head for the beach for a week (be careful of canceled buses during this period). The best place to celebrate Carnaval is in Panama.

Whatever time of year you go, there's bound to be a small town somewhere celebrating its patron saint with parades, bullfights, and firecrackers. Many of the region's celebrations have a strong indigenous flavor, and employ folklore and traditional dances to honor things like famous battles or thwarted volcanic eruptions. Below are just some highlights.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.