When is the best time of year to visit Mexico?
The best time to travel to Mexico is from December to April when the weather is drier and temperatures are cooler. Mexico is made up of seven main climate regions, ranging from arid deserts in the north/central to tropical climates, such as the Yucatan Peninsula in the southeast.
So, it really comes down to what’s on the cards for your ideal Mexico itinerary but we’ll give you the run-down on the most popular destinations, the best times for festivals and how the rainy/dry seasons can impact your trip in our monthly guide below.
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When is the best time to visit Cancun?
The best time to visit Cancun is the months of February to April after the rainy season and before temperatures reach their peak sitting around (22–30°C/72–82°F). The Riviera Maya, the region covering several tourist hotspots including Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen, is also great to visit between November and March. At this time it’s drier, making it a perfect time to find a spot on the iconic white-sand beaches or go diving or surfing in the beautiful warm waters.
Although the months of December to March are technically winter, the Riviera Maya is a tropical area and sees perfect sunshine despite the season with sea temperatures around 26°C (79°F). An important note is that this area is especially popular with college students for their Spring Break from March to April. You may want to book outside this time for a quieter trip.
When is the best time to visit Mexico City?
The best time to visit Mexico City is also during the dry season between November to April. Mexico’s capital city is located on a high plateau in the centre of the country. The city sits at an altitude of 1,240 metres (7,350 ft) and has an 80% daily chance of rain from June to September. While the winter months are cooler with an average temp of 7–27°C (45–81°F), there is more sun and better conditions for outdoor exploring between November and April.
When is the best time to visit Acapulco and the southern coast?
Acapulco’s climate is tropical and the seasons are similar to the rest of Mexico. June to October is rainy, humid and hot, while November to April is similar in temperature (23–32°C/73–90°F) but very, very dry. It’s best to visit through that winter high season.
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When to visit Mexico - a monthly guide
Best for: beach visits, animal sighting expeditions, city exploring, Aguascalientes Regional Corn Fair, Polkeken Festivities, Three Kings Day, International Migratory Birth Festival
Mexican in January is mostly dry and cool so you’ll find it’s a very busy time for international tourism due to the lower rainfall and exciting festivals held this month. This is a great time of year for nature lovers as from November to March there are bird, butterfly and whale migrations across different areas. Sunny weather is seen around the nation during this time however, it’s also the coldest time of year in the canyons and cities like Oaxaca are usually full of visitors.
Best for: beaches and outdoor activities, Carnaval, Anniversary of Guadalajara, Día de la Candelaria
Mexico is in high spirits every February with the annual Carnaval festivities kicking off around the nation. Party in the streets until dawn with some of the country’s best celebrations occurring in Mazatlán, Campeche and Veracruz. Or, for a calmer and quieter tour, check out the whale migration which is best seen this month off the Baja Peninsula. You’ll also have slightly warmer weather which makes it a great time for exploring the best local markets, ancient ruins and hidden treasures amid the cities and villages.
Best for: hiking in the canyons, exploring Mexico City, Vernal Equinox, Carnaval, Semana Santa, Samaritan Woman’s Day, Festival de México
The third month of the year in Mexico can be jam-packed with one-of-a-kind experiences such as the Vernal Equinox for the Chichén Itzá phenomenon and sometimes a Carnaval celebration (or two). While these events bring in many travellers, so too does the spring break holiday for most US college students. You can expect a party atmosphere in the areas well-loved by the spring breakers. If you're looking to visit at this time, you should book your trip months in advance.
Other things to tick off this month include visiting the Copper Canyon, hiking in the southern regions and visiting Mexico City when the weather is at its best.
Best for: diving and snorkelling, whale watching, mountain trekking, San Marcos Fair, Semana Santa
Weather is moving into summer which means wetter and warmer conditions for many parts of Mexico. Now is the perfect time to dive or snorkel the coral reefs, catch a glimpse of the humpback whales or trek through the higher regions. These activities are best around this time as the rainy season makes the waters less visible and the mountains less accessible. One thing to note during this month is the Easter holiday calendar which brings many visitors and closures to the inland cities for the Semana Santa (Holy Week) celebration.
Best for: relaxing days, surfing, exploring inland, Cinco de Mayo, May Cultural Festival, Velas celebrations
May marks the low tourism season across the country. This can mean that it's a perfect time for a more relaxed itinerary. Find quality surfing on the Pacific coast and high temps in many of the major areas, including Oaxaca, Guadalajara and Mexico City. Catch the end of whale shark season on the east coast of the country before they depart again in mid-September. Note that the surfing conditions from the months of May to October are usually more intense as they’re brought on by hurricane season.
Cinco de Mayo (fifth of May), is a celebration of the Mexican victory in 1862 over French forces in the Franco-Mexican war. The location of the battle was Puebla where the day is also referred to as Battle of Puebla Day. The streets are adorned with bright homages to Mexican heritage, military parades, dancing, colourful costumes and fireworks in this city. This celebration is a once-in-a-lifetime event and brings in many visitors from around the world.
Best for: surfing, Puebla's Festival del Mole Poblano
Have your umbrella close by, the rainy season begins in June. Although the wet weather mostly affects the tropical and central regions of Mexico, there's usually more rain across the board. But often the rain comes in a sudden and intense downpour and the sun is out shining soon after, so beach trips aren’t off the table. These mid-year months are also suited to those who are keen to sightsee native marine life and surf the bigger sets (known as the Mexican Pipeline) across the western coast.
Best for: festivals and fun, surfing, La Guelaguetza, The Magdalena Festival
It’s hot, hot, hot in Mexico. Not only is the temperature at its peak but the hurricane and wet seasons are beginning. The mid-year vacation crowds arrive for their summer holidays which can mean competition for beach space and bigger crowds at famous attractions. The rainy season and hot temperatures can deter some travellers and affect outdoor activities but if you don't mind humidity then it's usually a good time for a family holiday.
One of the best activities in July is the La Guelaguetza festival in Oaxaca. Translating to Monday of the Hill, this celebration dates back to pre-Hispanic traditions of thanking the gods for the rain and harvest.
Best for: surfing, The Assumption Fair, International Mariachi Festival
August sits at the shoulder/low season for Mexico. Summer temperatures are high, especially in the arid and northern regions however, rainfall is still strong, especially in central Mexico and surrounding areas. If you’re looking to cool off, the beaches by the Pacific Ocean have lower crowds and great surfing, but there might still be brief rain throughout the day.
Best for: exploring Oaxaca, Mexican Independence Day, Grape and New Wine Festival
Celebrate Mexico’s Independence Day alongside the locals on September 16th on Dia de la Independencia. This month is typically the low season as the weather on the coasts isn’t too suited for beach and water activities. But there’s plenty to do in Oaxaca at this time with fantastic temperatures sitting around 20 degrees (70F) and the departure of the mid-year vacation crowds.
Best for: canyon exploration, Festival de las Calaveras, Morelia International Film Festival, Fiestas de Octubre
Mexico’s hurricane season is usually ebbing in October and tourist numbers are still low. Due to the between-season weather, this is one of the best times to take a trek inland (and upward) to canyon country. Mexico’s Copper Canyons are a sight to behold on their own but add in the scenic El Chepe train, the archaeological sites and the stunning waterfalls, it’s definitely well worth a visit. Food lovers might also enjoy an authentic food tour through Mexico at this time with less intense weather.
Best for: indoor and outdoor adventures, water sports in Baja Peninsula, Dia de los Muertos, Fiesta de Santa Cecilia, Guadalajara International Book Fair
On November 2nd Mexico celebrates Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). The occasion is a time when people honour their deceased loved ones in a beautiful combination of colour and culture. Offerings (ofrendas), feasts, music and dancing light up homes and graves as people welcome back the souls of the deceased.
Aside from the festivities, the extreme weather season is calming, making it a perfect time for a range of both indoor and outdoor activities. November is considered by some to be one of the most ideal months to visit to experience the best of a Mexican getaway.
Best for: beach days, surfing, butterfly and whale migration, Festival of the Historic Center of Campeche, Night of Radishes
The high season gets going in December as rainfall finally ebbs, bringing in many holiday-goers looking for their ideal beach days. The nice weather also invites the Monarch Butterflies to return and several species of whales to the Pacific coasts. If you’re looking for a completely new experience, why not head to Oaxaca for the Night of Radishes?
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