When you think of the rainiest places in the world, your mind might go to cities like Seattle or London, which are often touted as being gray and dreary most of the year. But when it comes to actual rainfall, the world's rainiest spots are much closer to the equator. Cities and towns in tropical climates might get steady rainfall all year long, or they might have a few months of heavy rains. Either way, make sure to pack an umbrella and a poncho if you plan to visit any of these eight places.
The city of Belem, Brazil, sits just below the equator and is the capital of the state of Pará. Also, it's the state's largest city. This port city sees rainfall on most days. It rains on average 251 days a year, with rainfall totaling 113 inches annually.
The rainy season is from December until May, with February and March often seeing the most rainfall. During these months, you can expect to see 12 to 14 inches of rain. June through August are significantly drier, with rain totaling only about five inches per month. September through November is the best time to visit if you want to avoid rain. These months only get up to two inches of rain per month.
Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia
Its location just north of the equator gives Malaysia a tropical monsoon climate. It's one of the wettest countries in the world. The city of Kuala Terengganu is tucked in the northwest corner of the country and has a population of around 285,000. This city is especially rainy, with an average annual rainfall of 115 inches.
Most of the rain comes between November and January, but the weather is muggy and humid all year long. The city is based at the foot of the Terengganu River, which experienced devastating flooding in 2014. The former sleepy fishing village is now an industrial city with oil as a major export.
We usually think of Hawaii as all sunshine and beaches, but its location makes it particularly rainy. Some spots in Hawaii get unimaginable amounts of rainfall. For instance, Mt. Wai'ale'ale on Kauai gets a shocking 450 inches of rain every year and is pretty much always covered by clouds.
Hilo, in comparison, only gets 126.7 inches of rain on average per year. The city gets rain 272 days of the year. The worst month for rain is November, which sees an average of 16 inches. If you want to avoid rain, visit Hilo on the Big Island in June, when the monthly rainfall is only seven inches. No matter when you visit, make sure to pack an umbrella and be prepared to spend part of your days inside.
Compared to other cities in India, Mangalore is relatively small. It has a population of only 400,000. What it does have a lot of, though, is rain. Sitting along the Arabian Sea on the western coast of India, Mangalore is near the connection point of two rivers, the Netravathi and the Gurupur. It gets 137 inches of rain per year on average.
July is especially wet, with the monthly rainfall totaling 45 inches. (Compare that to Houston, Texas, which is the 8th rainiest city in the U.S. and averages 49 inches of rain for the year.) If you want to avoid the rain completely, visit Mangalore in January when it rarely rains at all. December, February, and March are all relatively dry, with monthly rain totals falling under an inch.
Cayenne, French Guiana
French Guiana is unique because it's the only French-speaking country in South America. You can get a taste of France but in a tropical setting, which makes the country appealing to tourists. The city of Cayenne is its capital, and it sits just north of the equator. Its location gives Cayenne its tropical coastal climate, which causes lots of rain throughout the year.
The city gets an average of 147 inches of water throughout the year, and the city sees 212 days of rain annually. The city has two rainy seasons. The first is December and January, and the second is April through July. If you visit Cayenne during any of these months, you can pretty much expect it to rain every day of your trip.
Are you surprised to see an African city on this list? Coastal countries like Liberia are hit by the African monsoon and have a tropical climate because of their location near the equator. Monrovia, Liberia, is located on the west coast of Africa and sees an average of 200 inches of rain a year. The rainiest months are June and July, when up to 40 inches of rain can fall each month. The driest months are December through March. But even during the dry months, the sky is pretty dreary. The most hours of sunshine you can expect to see in Monrovia is six hours during February, March, and April.
You might be sensing a trend of South American cities having excessive rainfall throughout the year. Buenaventura, Colombia, sits along the Pacific Ocean and is home to the country's largest port. This city doesn't get a lot of tourists, but it does get an average of 287 inches of rainfall every year.
The city of 300,000 residents is relatively dry from January through April. During the rainy season, especially September and October, Buenaventura gets more rain in a single month than most cities in the United States see all year. Even the driest month, February, gets 12 inches of rainfall. That seems like a lot until you consider that in October, Buenaventura gets around 35 inches of rain.
Unlike the rest of the cities on our list, the city of Quibdó, Colombia, doesn't really have a dry season. It rains 304 days out of the year, creating a total rainfall average of 288 inches per year. The closest you'll get to a dry season is in December when there's more drizzle than rain. In April, you'll get rain in the form of thunderstorms.