Let’s start from the beginning … of the year that is. Once the breezes that traditionally break out shortly before Christmas clear away the smoke from the New Year’s fireworks celebrations, the dry season starts. Clear blue sky with puffy clouds and the occasional sun shower, known locally as “los orines del Niño Dios” or “Baby Jesus is tinkling.”
Pinkish, purple, white, yellow, deep orange red. And with no desire to steal any other tree’s thunder, the Madero, Carao, Roble, Cortés Amarillo, Flame of the Forest, and Malinche all flower in different months with a slight overlap so there’s never a barren moment.
This is the time of year when the ocean also gets its clearest and visibility is almost crystalline. Due to regular general climate, the sea is colder than normal, which is great is you want to go snorkeling and watch stingrays. Surfers wear wetvests for insulation unless they’re trying to prove a point for some reason. The rest of us just get wet in the waves and then warm up in the sun on the beach.
Along comes March and though the wind starts to take a break, it does start to get hot.
But no one ever came to Nicaragua to be cool.
By “hot” I mean “hot,” like 90°F in the shade with around 50% relative humidity. You can sweat that math but heatwaves in major metropolitan areas of North America are worse. The answer probably lies in the wind. And that wind goes offshore. It’s the stuff that puffs up surfers’ dreams of the perfect incoming point break curl while pleasure craft owners double down on the clean-up crew to remove salty dust and mothwings off the decks.
Every paradise has its price.
April arrives…the hottest time of the year in my considered opinion after years of experience. Bone-dry now but the sun is now straight up pressing down on your head like a flat iron trying to remove a crease from your Sunday best.
The clouds heralding the rains to come give some respite but with them comes increased humidity and you wonder what it is you were wishing for. No two ways about it … it’s hot-sticky-muggy-hot and people develop special relationships with their fans.
May comes and with it, maybe generally the rains. There’s something to do with Moon phases and when rains arrive and there’s El Niño and La Niña that make the climate into something as unpredictable as a Thanksgiving dinner.
It’s a safe bet that there will be rain in May. Whether it’s a “proper” rain to start the rainy season is anybody’s guess and the subject of much discussion among friends who get together to shoot the breeze, a favorite pastime of many here, conferring and concurring about local lore.
Some rains come a little bit early and tease us in late April, but that’s all they were … teasers … generally. There are always exceptions from the generally predictable norm almost every year. Welcome to the tropics. Welcome to Nicaragua.
But when the rainy season (called “winter” here because of some homesick Spanish conquistador way back when) — when it rolls in with its thunder and lightning, the speed at which the out-of-town world goes green is truly remarkable. Faster than you can say Bruce Banner. And point of fact, there are more shades of green than you can count.
Yet generally, by Mid-May we have usually had our first good downpour. Generally, it’s in the middle of a dark and stormy night in May and you are shaken awake by a thunderclap and we get our first taste of the rains. After that, it generally come in varying patterns … one week always at night, then next and it always rains when it’s day out. Go figure. Have an umbrella even if you have a vehicle with a tow rope and be prepared to help someone who couldn’t handle that rain that time.
Today as I write this (2nd week of August), there’s been little to no sunshine and that is unusual since we are supposed be full-on middle of the “little dry season” or “Canícula” as they call it here. Running from mid-July into mid-August as the Sun arcs overhead on its way south for the winter.
By late August, signs are that rains are on the horizon and expectations arise for what September and October might bring. Cooler, rainier, even darker greenery. The rainy season is, generally, at its heaviest at this time. Nice weather for ducks, as they say, and for that reason many choose this time to plan visits to family and friends out yonder.
Late October and early November see the rains begin to subside with an occasional outburst. Generally, end November and start December and the rains are almost totally gone. My favorite time of the year is around Thanksgiving because that is when it is still all nice lush green colors in the hills, pleasant weather and not much rain at all.
By December the rains generally are done and the winds start to pick up a bit for another annual run round.
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Jesse ‘Pedro’ Resau, originally from the Metropolitan DC area, has been living and investing in Nicaragua since 2002 and has helped countless people buy and sell properties since 2005. He currently resides in San Juan del Sur with his wife Gabriela Castillo and their 2 amazing daughters.