Vacationers planning an excursion to Central America may have some preconceived notions about local weather, but a quick glimpse at the Guatemala climate will reveal a different story.

Guatemala’s eponymous capital city may be located within the tropics, yet its considerable altitude (more than 5,256 feet above sea level) has just as much of an effect on the weather as is latitudinal position. The result is a subtropical highland climate that offers mild temperatures year round, with brief heat waves during the dry season.

Vacationers will find that the best time to visit is the early winter (January-March) as the temperatures rarely climb above the high 70s and there are typically fewer than three days of rain, during this portion of the dry season.

Vacationers should be warned, however, that parts of the city can fall into the subtropical savanna climate category, which includes steamier weather and higher humidity. Fortunately, these regions benefit from the general windiness of Guatemala City, as the wind chill can bring the average temperature down to a more bearable level.