For a sojourn into the Caribbean Islands, November to April is the time to travel. Idyllic temperatures averaging 28 C and an absence of rains, hurricanes and other unfriendly weather conditions make for perfect diving, surfing and chilling-out conditions.
The same is roughly true of Central America in general, though the Caribbean coast is more prone to rain at any time of year than the Pacific coastline to the West.
If you are after an urban setting, Panama City makes a great stop for the festive season or the early months of the year, when there is little rain and plenty of action, though bear in mind that prices, too, can be higher unless you plan well ahead. Carnival takes place in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday and is particularly busy, but as one of the world’s largest it is well worth a visit.
Heading into the lowlands of Panama and Honduras is best done in dry season, especially if you are considering doing some strenuous hiking. Bear in mind that if you are heading to altitude you will need warm clothing at any time of year. If you do choose to travel to Central America later in the year, head to the inland waters for rafting and waterfalls to make the most of the seasonal rains.
Costa Rica has a lot of weather variation for such a small country. Cold in the highlands, mist in the cloud forest and soaring heat and humidity on the coasts pretty much all year round. Like the rest of Central America, Costa Rica has a distinct high season from November to April, peaking during the long school holidays in December and January.