Frequently Asked Questions about Roatan’s Weather

1. What’s the weather usually like in Roatan?

Sometimes in our forecasts you will sometimes see us write about TRW. That stands for Typical Roatan Weather. That means the skies will be partly cloudy to mostly sunny, the air will be humid, the low will be around 80 (26.7 Celsius), the high will be around 89 (31.7 Celsius), the wind will be from the east at 12-20 mph during the day and 20-25 mph during the evening, seas will be 2-4 feet (.6 to 1.3 meters) and you can’t rule out an isolated downpour of rain.

2. I’m staying in West Bay. Will the sea be choppy?

As you can see from this map, our east winds (also called trade winds) create wavy conditions on the south side (if the winds are east or southeasterly) or on the north side (if the winds are northeasterly), but rarely on the west side of the island, because the island itself is a wind barrier.

3. But are there hurricanes?

Yes, there are hurricanes, but these are rare. One of the most memorable events here was Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which did a lot of damage to the Bay Islands, especially Guanaja, east of Roatan. But most of the time, Central America protects the Bay Islands from a direct hit, since most hurricanes would come from the southeast and would have to go over land before getting here. That being said, the most common months for hurricanes or tropical storms here are September and October. Any earlier would be extremely rare.

Because hurricanes form in the Southern Caribbean and then move northwest, they generally have to move over land before it gets to us in the Bay Islands, weakening the storm.

4. When is the best time to visit?

As you can see in this chart giving average rainfall on the island by month in inches, the majority of Roatan’s rain comes between October and January. This is the rainy season here. But even in those months it doesn’t rain continuously. Rain comes in tropical downpours, usually in the early morning or late evening. and even when it’s raining, it usually doesn’t affect swimming, snorkeling or diving unless it is lightning, which is rare here compared to the U.S. The biggest problem with boating and water activities is the wind, and September and October tend to be the least windy months, so I often recommend those as the best times to visit.

5. Why don’t your forecasts include the temperature?

Because the temperature is almost always the same. In the summertime that means about 80 (26.7 Celsius) for a low and about 89 (31.7 Celsius) for a high. In the wintertime it may be 75 (24 Celsius) for a low and 83 (29 Celsius) for a high. The dewpoint (the lowest temperature a rain shower will cool the temperature to) is usually 70 to 80, quite muggy. The main variables that affect the heat here are how cloudy it is and how windy it is. The electricity here is very expensive (about 35 cents a kilowatt hour) so people tend to keep their ACs off and their windows open. When a local says it’s hot, he or she usually means there’s not much wind and no clouds to block the sun, not that it’s actually any hotter than normal.

6. Can it get cold there?

The lowest temperature we’ve ever recorded is 65 degrees (18 Celsius). About three or four times a winter you will get a cold front dropping down from the north. When that happens, locals get out the long-sleeve shirts.

7. Where is the radar so I can see if there is rain in the area?

Honduras has no publicly available radar. I assume the airport and military has some sort of radar, but I have found no way to access it. We use satellite images to see where the clouds are. Usually you can tell from cloud height whether they contain rain, but it’s not a sure thing.