If you ask me, any time is a good time to visit Mexico! I have been to this gorgeous country three times already (and counting), each time in a different season / month, and I honestly could not straightforwardly say what the best time to visit Mexico is.
You see, Mexico is a huge country, with many different landscapes and climates. Visit in December and places like Mexico City and San Cristobal de las Casas will definitely be cold at night; but the beaches of the Riviera Maya will be nice and balmy. Go to Mexico in July and August and temperatures will be higher, but there also will be higher chances of hurricanes and thunderstorms.
All in all, the best time to go to Mexico really depends on where you want to go in the country, and what things you want to do. Continue reading for an overview of the country at different times of year and to decide when to go!
The Best Time To Visit Mexico
Overview of the Weather in Mexico
Mexico is (in part) a tropical paradise where the weather year-round is optimal for many tourist activities. When you choose to visit this glorious country really depends on what your plans are during your trip. When you plan your visit, you can decide how you want to spend your time in Mexico.
How can you determine the best time for your activity preferences in Mexico? If you prefer to spend your holiday lounging on the beach, then generally winter is the best time. The spring or fall may be more appropriate for hiking at a destination inland.
Many have the misconception that the weather in Mexico is hot throughout the year. In fact, the weather can vary depending on the time of year visited and the region. It can be sunny and balmy along the coast most of the year. However, if visiting the center-north inland and mountain regions, it can get quite cold at times in the winter months. This is due to the ‘Norte’, a cold wind that originates in the United States that causes temperatures to drop.
Mexico has two main seasons: the rainy season (May to October) and the dry season (mid-October to April). The rainy season is also the time when the weather is the most hot and humid. The dry season is best for the beach and other outdoor activities, as the weather is warm and dry. However, a visit to an inland area such as Mexico City can be quite pleasant starting in September, when the overall temperature is milder.
Travel Seasons in Mexico
Mexico in the Peak Season
Generally, the peak tourist season in Mexico is just before Christmas through Easter week. This is due to many travelers that wish to escape the cold weather of the northern hemisphere. All the main tourist areas tend to become very crowded at this time due to schools on holiday break and many people taking a Christmas and/or New Year’s vacation.
The weather in Mexico during this time is obviously a draw, as this is really the best for taking a dip in the ocean, strolling through a Spanish colonial village or exploring ancient Mayan ruins. However, the costs for lodging, many tourist activities and dining rise accordingly as with any destination in peak tourist season.
Shoulder Season in Mexico
In Mexico the shoulder seasons vary between cities and regions. For instance, November seems to be the best time overall for Mexico City and coastal areas such as Veracruz, Cancun and Cozumel due to smaller crowds, mild weather and lower prices.
January and February are the shoulder season for Oaxaca, as holiday festivals have concluded and most tourists have departed. For a popular destination like Puerto Vallarta, October is the best shoulder season time since hurricane season has ended and there is a lull before the holiday travelers arrive.
Low Season in Mexico
In general, what is considered the low tourist season in Mexico is immediately after Easter until the middle of December. During this period, prices can drop up to 50 percent.
July and August are the hottest and most humid months throughout the majority of Mexico.
Even in the coastal areas like in the Yucatan Peninsula, the temperatures can get as high as into the 90s (30°C and above). The hurricane season usually happens during this time as well which makes it not the most desirable time to visit. Besides lower prices on lodging, another advantage of the low season is reduced crowds at many known tourist destinations.
The Best Time to Visit Mexico for Beach Hopping
Northern hemisphere winter is without a doubt the best time to go to Mexico for the beaches, specifically the month of January. You can escape the harsh winter weather at home, relax on the beach in a cabana while listening to the waves crashing nearby.
This time period is the desirable dry season in the country, so rainfall is minimal. You just need to keep in mind that weather here is perfect for a winter getaway, so you will have plenty of company on those beaches.
The Best Time to Visit Mexico for Whale Watching
If one of your favorite activities is whale watching, the best time to go to Mexico is from December to March. The best place to see these beautiful creatures is the Baja California region, in places such as Cabo San Lucas. This is where you have the greatest opportunity to spot a great variety of whale breeds including humpbacks, blue whales, finbacks and grays.
The whales prefer these subtropical waters in the wintertime and give birth in the shallow lagoons here. They often get very close to the boats for great viewing and the calves can be very playful and entertaining in the water. Your best bet to view whales is to take an organized boat tour that has a skipper that knows exactly where the whales like to swim.
The Best Time to Visit Mexico for Festivals
One thing Mexicans know how to do is throw a party. There are festivals year-round celebrating holidays and cultural events. While the weather varies from region to region and seasons, you will not have to look too hard to find a celebration anywhere in the country: Mexico has festivals and cultural events in every season.
Popular Festivals in Mexico by Season
Mexicans celebrate the year-end holiday season with Christmas and New Year’s festivities.
In January, you can witness the arrival of the magi during the Three King’s Day celebration.
The colorful Carnival celebration usually occurs in February with the grandest festivities occurring in Veracruz and Mazatlán. This celebration is a chance to let loose, party all night and indulge in food and drink in preparation of the Lent season.
In Spring, there are many festivals throughout the country. In March festivals occur to honor the spring equinox. There are many religious events occurring throughout the Easter season for Holy Week.
In May, of course, is the famous Cinco de Mayo, where there are many parades and celebrations. Mother’s Day is held on May 10th annually in Mexico. This is a major cultural event where nearly every restaurant will be packed while families treat mother to a meal on her special day.
If you can stand to party with the Mexicans in the heat of summer, you are in luck. In June you can let your hair down and go wild in San Miguel de Allende at Dia de Locos, or ‘Day of the Crazies’.
The main festival in July is the Guelaguetza Festival in Oaxaca. This festival is held in the second half of the month. Here you can watch many traditional Mexican folk dances and soak up the culture all around including the food and mingle with the local people.
In the fall there is the Festival Cervantino held every year in during the month of October in Guanajuato.
The Day of the Dead festival is known throughout the world. Beginning in late October, Mexicans take time to honor their deceased relatives and friends. The citizens create specially decorated altars in their homes to welcome the spirits of these past loved ones. While people here visit cemeteries and decorate tombstones of the deceased, it is definitely not a morbid or sad occasion, but a time where the lives of dearly departed loved ones are celebrated.
The Best Time to Visit Mexico for Sightseeing Cities and Exploring Archeological Sites
September is a great time to visit Mexico for many reasons. All of the summer holiday tourists have gone home and back to school and work.
There are many tourist sites in Mexico where the weather is cooler in September than in the sweltering summer months. This makes it a better time for exploring and learning the history of many of the spectacular archeological sites. This time is also great for wandering around a city to view the stunning architecture, or just enjoy some down time and people watching at the city’s zocalo (main square).
However, if you are interested in seeing the phenomenon of the serpent on the pyramid at Chichen Itza, it is suggested to visit this archeological site during the spring equinox in March. Just be aware that the spring equinox draws many tourists in from all over the world to witness it. If you don’t mind the crowds, this annual occurrence is an amazing experience.
The Best Time to Visit Mexico on the Cheap
The cheapest months to visit Mexico are April, May, October and November. An advantage for these months is that they are just before and after the rainy seasons. Although there are many deals and lower rates in April and May, it is also prime time for the spring breakers. This time period will have many destinations crowded with partying students. The best bet for a cheaper, less crowded and peaceful trip would be in May when the students have left and things settle down.
The months of October and November are great for a visit as well. The hurricane season is over and temperatures are considerably cooler than in the summer months.
The Worst Time to Visit Mexico
During spring break time in March and April is when cities like Cancun host high school and college students. When this influx of party-going youth invade the region, it is not the best time for a romantic couple’s trip or family vacation.
The beaches and other tourist destinations can get quite crowded during the day. At night it can be very loud and rowdy as many of these students indulge in the nightlife. This is probably the worst time to visit the country if you want a relaxing, peaceful beach vacation.
Make sure to read my other posts about Mexico:
- The Best Mexico Itinerary
- The Best National Parks In Mexico
- The Best Tips For Mexico
- The Best Itinerary For Mexico City
- How To Visit Teotihuacan From Mexico City
- The Best Beaches In Mexico
- The Best Things To Do In Yucatan
- What To Eat In Mexico
- The Best Things To Do In Chiapas