With white sand beaches, lush tropical jungles, mountainous desert landscapes, and vibrantly colorful cities, Mexico has something to offer for every time of the year. And year after year, traveler after traveler falls in love with the innumerable marvels and unforgettable cultural experiences that have endeared Mexico to the world. So, when is the perfect time to visit to discover the best of what Mexico has to offer? The answer is it depends, and mostly on which part of the country you’re looking to explore. So, from the sun-kissed coasts to the soaring mountains, read on for the full lowdown on when to go and what to see and do in each season.
Table of Contents
- The Weather in Mexico
- Mexico’s Most Popular Annual Events
- The Best Spots in Mexico (And When to Visit Them)
- Know the Best Time to Go
- Mexico Public Holidays and Occasions
The Weather in Mexico
Mexico is a vast nation with varying microclimates, from the deserts of the north to the lush jungles of the Yucatán Peninsula. With such wildly different climates, it may seem like you need a 10-page guide to the weather in Mexico. But generally speaking, there are just two main seasons: rainy and dry.
Rainy Season (May to October)
Showers and heat characterize the rainy season. Temperatures rise as high as 90 degrees during summer in spots like Cancun and Puerto Vallarta. Though the afternoon showers can take the edge off, the overall result is a sticky, oppressive heat that hangs over many of the hottest destinations in the Yucatán Peninsula, the Gulf Coast, and the Pacific Coast. Starting in mid-May, hurricanes also become an ever-present possibility. However, the likelihood of one is generally low during the rainy season. The biggest threat comes in September and October.
Despite the deluge, hopeful travelers shouldn’t avoid visiting Mexico during the rainy season. In fact, the rain brings Mexico’s landscapes to life, with lush greenery, flowing waterfalls, and still plenty of sunshine to while away the hours under clear skies. Additionally, the northern regions of Mexico see very little rainfall throughout the rainy season, remaining relatively dry. This makes it an excellent time to score travel deals and beat some of the high-season crowds.
Best Time to Visit Mexico for Deals ✈️
Dry Season (November to April)
With the arrival of the dry season, the air cools, the rain lessens, and the skies clear up, making this an excellent time to visit Mexico’s beaches. Despite the time of year largely being dominated by the winter season, Mexico remains relatively dry and warm compared to its northern neighbor. Average temperatures in coastal areas sit around 83°F, making it the best time to visit for outdoor adventures and sightseeing.
Of course, with the temperate weather found all over the country, it’s no surprise Mexico is a winter getaway for travelers near and far to escape the cold. Crowds flock to the beaches to soak up the sun and the cities to explore ancient sites. The dry season is also when many of Mexico’s biggest celebrations occur. So, if you want to avoid the crowds associated with Christmas and Day of the Dead celebrations or the influx of college students during spring break, these are definitive times to watch out for.
Best Time to Visit Mexico for Beaches 🏖️
Mexico’s Most Popular Annual Events
The best time to book your trip to Mexico isn’t always about the weather. Vibrant festivals and fiestas steeped in traditions and history make Mexico’s colorful streets shine even brighter. Check out these unmissable cultural events that could help determine your future travel plans.
This is one of the year’s biggest events and rounds out the winter season with a bang! Celebrations take place all over the country, from Baja California to the Yucatán Peninsula, but the biggest of all these is the party in Veracruz on the Gulf Coast. The event lasts for nine days. It begins with the burning of an effigy for a disliked famous person to dispel any bad mood before the coronation of a Carnaval Queen and her court takes place. Then, the fun begins, with parades of colorful floats filling the streets, parties, dancing, and live music performances by famous Spanish singers.
Guelaguetza Festival (July)
This festival is known by a few names: Guelaguetza (offering) or Los lunes del cerro (Mondays on the hill). Both convey a crucial indigenous cultural festival in Oaxaca every year on the last two Mondays of July. Initially a ritual to honor the gods, this 3,000-year-old festival now celebrates Oaxaca’s many communities and richly diverse traditions and cultures. The members don traditional clothes and perform folk dances in the street, after which they toss items from their home region into the crowd. It’s an important celebration and sharing of cultures that keeps them alive for generations to come.
Mexican Independence Day (September)
Mexico’s Independence Day is one of the biggest fiestas of the year and celebrates the country’s liberation from Spain. The month of September is marked by patriotic pride, with the Mexican flag proudly displayed in homes and buildings nationwide. The major celebrations take place on September 16th, but the event truly begins on the night of September 15th, with a “Cry of Independence” to commemorate the cry of Miguel Hidalgo that initially sparked the fire of rebellion. Citizens all over Mexico reenact this cry, and fireworks light up the night sky. Then on the 16th, legions of colorful floats, dancers, and musicians parade through the streets of Mexico’s cities. Revelers come out in droves, and it’s one of the most fun celebrations in Mexico.
Day of the Dead (November)
Despite the chilling name and its proximity to Halloween, Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is not a spooky holiday. In fact, it’s a festive event honoring the dead and celebrating loved ones. La Calavera Catrina (the Lady of the Dead) is a central icon of the festivities, with Mexicans painting their faces to resemble her and offering sugary skull treats to friends and family. Beautiful orange marigolds (cempasúchil) decorate home altars called ofrendas, filled with the deceased’s favorite food and drinks. Families also visit the graves of loved ones, carrying everything from toys to photos and, of course, more marigolds. There’s also face painting, beautiful costumes, and colorful parades. Celebrations in the central and southern regions take center stage, with spots like Oaxaca, Pátzcuaro, Janitzio, and Mexico City promising unforgettable experiences of this important holiday.
Our Lady of Guadalupe (December)
The Day of the Virgin Guadalupe draws millions of Catholics from across Mexico to its capital to pay their respects to the image of Mary held in the Basilica of Guadalupe. The legend goes that the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego in the spot where the church now stands, and it’s now the most visited Catholic site in the entire world. People come to the church to pray, and children are dressed in traditional costumes and blessed. All over the country, mass is held on the morning of December 12th, followed by feasts, dancing, parades, and even fireworks later in the evening.
The Best Spots in Mexico (And When to Visit Them)
From north to south and coast to coast, Mexico is a diverse country filled with glittering seas, stunning architecture, and endless adventures. If you’re trying to decide where to have your getaway, don’t overlook these incredible destinations in Mexico or when is the best time to visit them.
Cancun & Riviera Maya
This beautiful stretch of coastline on the Gulf of Mexico is home to some of the country’s best resort destinations, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. Waterfront hotels take center stage with white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters, hiding rich barrier reefs and beautiful sea life. Year-round rays keep visitors glued to the shore, but the Riviera Maya is full of endless adventures, from shopping in the boutiques of Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue to getting lost in the Mayan ruins of Coba and Chichén Itzá. And for those seeking the hidden gems, escaping into the jungles of the Yucatán Peninsula reveals thousands of glittering cenotes of all shapes and sizes sprinkled around the Mexican Caribbean.
Next Vacay Travel Tip: Visit in April and May for warm weather, plenty of sun, and fewer crowds.
Travel back in time along the Mexican Riviera. Bordering the Pacific Coast and stretching from Ensenada in Baja, California, to Oaxaca in southern Mexico, the Mexican Riviera is another crown jewel of Mexican beach destinations. Crystal-clear waters and sun-kissed shores promise everything from relaxation to adventure. Snorkel in the rich blue waters of Cabo San Lucas, stroll along the scenic boardwalk of Puerto Vallarta, and take a step back in time wandering the 19th-century historical center of Old Mazatlán.
Next Vacay Travel Tip: Head to Cabo between December and April for whale-watching.
There are no beaches to speak of here, but a plethora of history and culture await. Central Mexico is filled with colonial towns, world-renowned heritage sites, and mouthwatering culinary delights. Discover Mexico’s rich Aztec history in the beating heart of Mexico City, stroll the charming cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende in its soaring highlands, and enjoy eternal spring in the lush gardens and vibrant streets of colorful Cuernavaca. Central Mexico is a tapestry of stunning landscapes and tradition-rich cities ripe for exploration.
Next Vacay Travel Tip: Plan your visit during any of Mexico’s vibrant holidays to experience the rich traditions of its diverse cities.
Know the Best Time to Go
Want to relax on uncrowded beaches, enjoy a budget Mexican getaway, or experience a magical migration? Anytime is the right time to go to Mexico, but for that unbeatable experience, you’ll want to grab out your calendar and mark down these specific dates for your next unforgettable adventure.
The Best Time to Visit Mexico for Good Weather
Mexico’s dry season is arguably the best time to visit for the most pleasant and versatile weather, whether your interests lie in adventures on land or sea. The season sports virtually no rain throughout Mexico and plenty of sunshine without the muggy heat of summer. This is the best time to visit Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and the Pacific Coast. However, it is worth noting that these spots see scores of people visiting for the same reasons. You can avoid some of these crowds by visiting the mountains and lowland jungles instead, which are also best to visit during the dry season. But for the mountains, be aware you’re trading more time outside for slightly colder temperatures.
Overall, the best month to visit Mexico, no matter the destination, is November, on the cusp of the dry season. By this time, the rain has cleared up, but the crowds of tourists have yet to fully descend upon Mexico’s most popular destinations.
The Best Time to Visit Mexico to Avoid Crowds
Want to avoid the crowds? Skip wintertime in Mexico. While a beachy escape during winter sounds like bliss, that’s precisely why Mexico sees a surge of travelers from late fall to early spring. Thus, the best time to avoid the crowds in Mexico is to visit during the low season, AKA Mexico’s rainy season. But, despite how it may sound, travel during this time isn’t all that bad. Most rain comes as afternoon storms and showers that clear up within a few hours, leaving the mornings and late afternoons clear to head outside and explore. If you plan your itinerary right, you can slip in some fun museum visits during this time or even take a quick siesta before jumping back into adventure.
The Best Time to Visit Mexico for Cheap Prices
Prices follow the flow of travel in Mexico, which means the high season sees high prices. Consequently, if you want to score cheap deals on airfare and accommodations, plan your visit to Mexico for the low season.
August, September, and October are the height of the rain and hurricane seasons. But if you’re on the hunt for the best deals and not scared of a little rain, this is when you can score the best prices and bring your travel costs way down.
If you intend to visit Mexico during the dry season, the best time to score deals is in November, before the holiday rush, or January, between the New Year holiday and the spring breakers.
The Best Time to Visit Mexico for the Butterfly Migration
Every year, millions of monarch butterflies migrate to Mexico, turning the trees and blue winter sky a breathtaking orange that you have to see to believe. So, if you want to see this fairytale phenomenon in action, the best time of year to visit Mexico is from November to March. Starting on the first days of November, scours of monarch butterflies arrive in the protected forests of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where visitors can view them in designated spots open to the public in Michoacán and Estado de Mexico.
The Best Time to Visit Mexico for Whale Watching
Whales of all kinds love the warm waters found off Mexico’s coasts, from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. But with varied waters come varying times to see these stunning creatures in action.
Off the Pacific Coast, in places like Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta, the best time to visit Mexico for whale watching is December through March, with January and February being the best months to see these majestic creatures. You can spy humpback whales, even baby calves, in Banderas Bay and Cabo San Lucas and swim with whale sharks in La Paz. On the opposite coast, whale sharks are among the biggest attention grabbers, especially between July and August near the islands of Quintana Roo, like Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres.
The Best Time to Visit Mexico for Surfing
If you’re looking for the best time to surf the waves, the Pacific Coast offers year-round swells that don’t disappoint. But for experienced surfers looking for big waves and a sure conquest, May to October delivers. This is peak surf season in Mexico and peak hurricane season from September to October, but that only lends to the power of the waves crashing the shore. In May, head to Baja California for warmer water and south swells, while during the summer months, visitors should head south to Puerto Escondido for consistent surf and eight-foot-plus waves. In the winter, surf the ever-reliable swells of Nayarit and Colima.
Mexico Public Holidays and Occasions
Generally speaking, Christmas, Easter, President’s Week, and Spring Break are the busiest public holiday periods. As a result, many of Mexico’s resort destinations, including Cancun and the Los Cabos Tourist Corridor, get booked up quickly. So, the best time to visit Mexico is outside these holidays if you’d rather skip the crowds and price hikes.
In contrast, the most expensive time of the year to travel is around Christmas. Between December 20th and January 6th, many of Mexico’s traditional Christmas processions occur, and roads in and out of major cities become congested. So, if you want to avoid crowds and get a great flight deal, this would be the worst time to visit Mexico. But if you don’t mind immersing yourself in the festivities with hordes of locals and tourists, the atmosphere is definitely worth it.
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