Nicaragua is a country with a difficult history, but also a place full of beautiful towns and landscapes as well as miles of picturesque coast and a wonderfully upbeat atmosphere. It’s been a very popular holiday destination with backpackers for some time now, but recently more and more types of traveller are coming to this part of the world to enjoy its holiday resorts and hiking opportunities as well as unbeatable surfing spots and historic settlements.
The weather in Nicaragua is hot all year round, with two seasons characterised by very wet and very dry weather. January may be the country’s coldest month, but with scorching heat and brilliant sunshine, we doubt that anyone will have any complaints if they’re travelling from somewhere that is stuck in the middle of winter.
Reasons to visit Nicaragua in January
- January occurs in the dry season in Nicaragua, meaning that you’ll get lots of sunshine and only a slight chance of rain during your stay
- Many exciting festivals are happening across the country in January ranging from celebrations of saints to cultural events and a carnival
- Temperatures are very high in Nicaragua in January which provides the perfect escape from the cold winter weather found across most of the northern hemisphere during the month
Weather in Nicaragua in January
Nicaragua is a country with two distinctive seasons; wet and dry. Luckily for you, January is part of the country’s dry season and therefore sees a very small amount of rain across the month and plenty of sunshine. Temperatures will be the highest inland and things will feel cooler and more breezy by the coast, so bear this in mind if you’re a traveller who doesn’t like the heat.
Because of the hot and dry weather in January in Nicaragua, temperatures are very high every day. The average high temperature is 31°C, whilst the average low is only 20°C. Make sure that you pack adequate sun protection if you’re spending time outdoors, and ensure that every member of your party stays hydrated throughout the day.
Nicaragua is bordered by both the Caribbean Sea in the east and the Pacific Ocean in the west, giving it two different coastlines. The average water temperature on both the east and west coast is 27°C in January, which is ideal for swimming in the sea as the water will feel very warm.
Clouds and Rainfall
There is an overall average of only 3 days of rain in Nicaragua in January, owing to the country’s dry season, although you may find that it is wetter in some parts of the coast. Most days the sky will be clear and the weather will be sunny, as there is only a small chance of constant cloud cover.
There are 11 hours of daylight on average every day in Nicaragua in January, with the sun rising just after 6 am and setting around 5.30 pm. Within this, you can expect around 7 hours of bright sunshine.
Where to go in Nicaragua in January
Granada was the first large Spanish settlement in Nicaragua, and is a fantastic place to visit if you’re a fan of colonial architecture. The bright coloured streets offer a myriad of photo opportunities to tourists, and you can see why it’s a city that has inspired so many artists and writers when you take in its sprawling beauty and lively atmosphere.
Nicaraguan people are known for being some of the happiest in the world, and if you want to absorb some of their infectious optimism then there’s no better city to mingle with a wide range of locals. And when you’ve had your fill of the shops, cafes, bars and cultural attractions that fill the streets, the surrounding area is full of opportunities for outdoor adventure such as hiking or kayaking.
The Corn Islands
The hot weather in Nicaragua in January sends many travellers to the country’s beaches, meaning that popular places like San Juan del Sur can get very crowded. An alternative for those who want to spend their time beside the sea during their holiday is the Corn Islands; two small islands found off the coast of the country and home to incredible Caribbean scenery waiting to be enjoyed in the peace and quiet.
You can choose to stay on Big Corn or Little Corn depending on what you’d like to get up to during your holiday, but both have a good range of accommodation and holiday activities on offer. Whether you want to spend your time snorkelling or just sunbathing on the sand with a book, these are the perfect destination for enjoying island paradise.
What to do in Nicaragua in January
Hike up a Volcano
Nicaragua is full of volcanoes that make up its landscape, and if you’re keen on hiking then you’ll find some of the best routes whilst hiking across these huge natural formations. León is the location with the most volcanoes that are suitable for day trips, but a little bit of research will show you plenty of other spots if you don’t want to be sharing the trails with lots of other travellers.
Boat on Lake Nicaragua
Lago de Nicaragua is the biggest lake in all of Central America; so big in fact that it was first mistaken for the ocean when the country was first discovered. There are numerous little islands to be found in the centre of the lake which can be reached by boat, or you can simply enjoy sailing the waters and admiring the volcanic landscape and scenery around you.
Slow Down and Relax
Nicaraguans are known for always being cheerful and welcoming, and a part of that positivity comes from the slow, stress-free way of life that happens across the country. It can be tempting to try and cram in as much as possible to your Nicaraguan holiday, but if you want to truly experience what life is like here the best thing you can do is simply sit back… And relax.
Crowds & costs
January falls within the dry season in Nicaragua, which makes it one of the best times to visit the country. However, the hot and dry weather also makes it one of the busiest times of the year in the country, as many people come to enjoy a bit of sunshine in the middle of what is winter for all of the northern hemisphere.
The beginning of January will be the busiest and most expensive time to visit Nicaragua, as this is when many hotels and resorts will be charging Christmas and New Year prices. Towards the end of the month however, things like flights and accommodation should be a little cheaper.
January festivals & events
In the town of Matagalpa, the life of the poet Ruben Dario is celebrated between the 5th and 19th of January every year. There are different activities organised in the town every day in honour of the poet’s life and work, including recitals, performances and parades.
Rio San Juan Carnival
One of the biggest events in Nicaragua in January is the Rio San Juan Carnival, which takes place from the 15th to the 21st of January every year in San Carlos. There is a huge aquatic parade put on by thousands of participants as well as numerous stalls and other celebrations.
Caballo Español Pura Sangre Fair
This international horse event takes place in Granada in Nicaragua, bringing horses and their owners from across the world to showcase a variety of breeds in order to win a prize. There is an emphasis on Spanish breeds of horses at the fair, but everyone is invited to take part.
Frequently asked questions about Nicaragua in January
Is Nicaragua safe for tourists?
In recent years there have been plenty of news stories surrounding Nicaragua that may make you think twice about whether it is a safe country to visit on holiday. Whilst there are relatively high rates of crime and violence between the country’s inhabitants, Nicaragua is actually one of the safest countries in South America for tourists to visit. As long as you use common sense and don’t take any risks during your trip, you’re unlikely to get caught in any dangerous situations.
What is the coldest month in Nicaragua?
January is the coldest month on average in Nicaragua, but this doesn’t mean that you should expect bad weather if you are visiting at this time of year. Temperatures remain in the high twenties throughout the month, and with very dry weather as well you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’ve arrived in the middle of summer!
Nicaragua once held a bad reputation as being a fairly dangerous spot for travellers to visit on holiday, but this simply isn’t true. There is so much more to the country than its fraught political past; almost every local you encounter will be warm and welcoming and the hospitality in all areas is fantastic.
Visiting Nicaragua in January offers the perfect chance for a Caribbean beach holiday that will feel like paradise in amongst the cold winter months, particularly if you’re staying in one of the many luxury beach resorts found across the country and its nearby islands. There’s sun, sea, and unlimited chances to relax – what more could you want?