Seasons & Regions in Mexico
Mexico has two distinct high and low travel seasons. High season starts in December, when the weather is dry and cool, and goes through mid-spring, with the winter rush slowing around Easter. During high season, you can expect mild temperatures, minimal rain, and bigger crowds. Low season starts in May and goes through November, and the weather is often hot, with rain and humidity in the fall months.
While the two main seasons in Mexico are often simplified to “dry” or “rainy,” temperatures can actually be a bit more diverse than that. If you’re spending time in the western regions of Baja, you’ll get mostly dry weather regardless of season, while northern Mexico can be very hot in the summer, with temperatures upwards of 90°F, to below freezing in winter.
Areas in central Mexico, such as Mexico City, experience warm temperatures during the day with much cooler weather at night, and during December and January it can get down to the 40’s. If you head to Mexico’s southern regions or over to the Pacific Coast, often called the Mexican Riviera, you’ll experience highs in the 90’s and afternoon rains during the months of June – October.
When planning your trip, check out this 14-day tour that starts in Mexico City and takes you to the Xochimilco canals and Frida Kahlo’s house, as well as to the cities of Cancún, Uxmal and Merida. And if you’re interested in exploring Mexican cuisine, this Southern Mexico Foodie Tour includes a gastronomy tour of Mexico City’s San Juan Market, cooking classes in Puebla City and an exploration of Oaxaca’s historic food culture.
Mexico in Spring (March-May)
Springtime in Mexico usually starts in mid-March. Temperatures get warmer, with averages ranging from 65-85°F. This is the precursor to the rainy season and while it can be fairly busy tourist-wise, it also offers mild weather and minimal rain.
Those mild temperatures make it a great time to explore Mexico’s beach towns, such as Baja’s Cabo San Lucas or the coastal regions of Puerto Vallarta. Baja tends to be drier than other parts of Mexico, while Puerto Vallarta is more tropical, with lush jungles and higher humidity. Keep in mind that you’re likely to have an influx of spring breakers in most of the major cities during the months of March and April, which means potentially crowded beaches and plenty of revelries.
Spring Equinox (March) The Spring Equinox falls on March 20 or 21. Many regions have festivals, with parades and music, and archaeological sites such as Chichen Itza and Teotihuacan host visitors who perform rituals intended to receive the energy of the equinox.
Semana Santa/Pascua (April) Mexico honors Holy Week and Easter by way of a two-week holiday that includes public re-enactments of the Crucifixion of Jesus, religious processionals, and giant effigies of Judas that are blown up with fireworks. Most local residents have time off from work, and travel to the coast or to major cities to participate in various events.
Mexico in Summer (June-October)
Summer means the start of the rainy season, which can last into October. Depending on the region you visit, you might only get a few showers in the afternoons, or you could get real storms and even hurricanes. With the rain comes humidity, which can sometimes feel stifling when the temperatures get up into the 100’s. The upside of this is you’ll find that the air quality in some of the bigger cities is actually better, as the rains help keep down any smog or pollution.
If you want to avoid those tropical downpours and hot weather, head inland to regions with higher altitudes and milder temperatures. San Cristobal de las Casas, located in Chiapas, tends to stay in the mid-60’s throughout summer, and is home to historic Spanish architecture and sights such as the Amber Museum and the Grutas de Rancho Nuevo nature preserve.
Guelaguetza (July) Held in the city of Oaxaca during the last two Mondays of July, Guelaguetza is a major indigenous cultural event in which participants commemorate Mexico’s history with traditional music, dance, fireworks and regional cuisine.
Wine Harvest Festival (July - August) Held in Valle de Guadalupe, located near Ensenada and Mexico’s premier wine region, the Wine Harvest Festival starts at the end of July and goes through mid-August. Events include parties, dinners and galas at private wineries, as well as the Muestra del Vino wine tasting and a Paella contest.
Mexico in Fall (September-November)
As September moves into October, rains abate in most areas, tapering off to nothing by the end of October. The heat and humidity start to abate as well, and temperatures drop to the mid-60’s to mid-80’s. This is considered one of the more perfect times of year to visit Mexico, despite there still being some chance of hurricanes through November.
Overall, autumn is mild and the winter rush hasn’t started, so you’ll experience less-crowded beaches and activities. Cities such as San Miguel de Allende, a 500-year old colonial town located in the Sierra Madres, or Puebla, which is southeast of Mexico City and is known for its unique pottery, can both be excellent choices for a fall vacation.
Dia de la Independencia (September) Taking place on September 16, Mexico’s Independence Day is a national holiday that honors their revolt and subsequent freedom from the Spaniards. Revelries include parties, fireworks, dancing, parades and traditional music.
Dia de los Muertos (November) An annual event in remembrance of lost loved ones, Dia de los Muertos is celebrated on November 2 throughout Mexico. Families visit cemeteries and bring offerings for the dead, as well as preparing special food and performing traditional music and dances.
Mexico in Winter (December-February)
Mexico’s winter goes from December – February and is considered the height of tourist season. The overall winter climate is dry and mild, with daytime temperatures in the 70’s and nighttime temperatures dropping as low as the 40’s. In some of the more inland regions, you might even get overnight freezes or snow.
While popular destinations like Cozumel, Cabo San Lucas or Acapulco are likely to be quite busy, you can escape some of the crowds by visiting less touristy regions such as Manzanillo, where you’ll find pristine beaches, fishing and both active and inactive volcanos. The beach town of Yelapa is another good winter choice. Located just 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta in the Bay of Banderas, it has minimal amenities but plenty of quiet relaxation.
Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (December) A religious holiday that commemorates Mexico’s patron saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe, celebrations take place on December 12. Thousands of people make a pilgrimage to Mexico City, the site of a huge yearly fiesta. Activities include a public Catholic mass, traditional music, dancing, and food.