January in Mexico is part of the dry season with great weather and one of the best months to visit the country. There is almost no rain during this time, and different regions have various temperatures, but overall, you can expect temperatures between 75-85 °F.
In the southern and central parts, the daily average is approximately 75-80 °F. In the north, it can get more chilly, especially in Copper Canyon—a popular winter destination. There are often colder winds in the northern area, with temperatures dropping to 45-60 °F in some places. However, the climate varies a lot here, so make sure to check out the weather forecast for your exact destination.
Copper Canyon is a beautiful and famous place, where you can hike in the mountain valleys, as well as go on a ski trip. In central Mexico, including Mexico City, you can expect around 75 °F during the day and 60-65 °F during the nights. The humidity tends to be pretty high in January, as it is in the southern cities, such as Cancún and the Pacific Coast.
In Cancún, January is warm with 77-82 °F, and on the Pacific Coast, it is around 80-90 °F. The famous cities Yucatán and Ixtapa have approximately 85-90°F, and Acapulco has just a couple of degrees less. In Baja Califonia, the temperatures are around 70-80 °F.
Crowds & Costs
January is one of the best months to visit Mexico and a popular destination for many travelers around the world. However, it is not as busy as December and February, which makes it a great time to travel. You can find good deals on your accommodation and flight to particularly Mexico City, during this month.
Other places, such as Cancún and Yucatán, can be a bit more expensive but usually not as expensive as December and February. Since a lot of people from the Northern Hemisphere countries want to escape the cold, it can get somewhat crowded, especially on the Pacific Coast, Yucatán, Acapulco, and Cancún.
Where to Go
The east coast and the Pacific Coast are some of the best places in Mexico to visit in January, such as Riviera Maya. Cities such as Cancún, Merída, and Yucatán have warm weather and several festivals and events, with stunning beaches. In Merída—the largest city of the Yucatán Peninsula, there is a three-week-long festival happening in January. It is the celebration of the peninsula's foundation with concerts, fireworks, theatre exhibitions, and a lot more.
On the Pacific Coast, you will also find Puerto Vallarta, where you can experience some of the best whale watching activities in Mexico. Take boat tours and see humpback whales and their babies swimming and jumping up from the waters. Twenty-six miles (42 km), there is a beautiful fishing village called Sayulita. It has been a popular place for surfing since the 70s and wasn't discovered by tourists until recently. The village has a unique charm with colorful houses, flowers, and practically different colors on every corner. There are some delicious street tacos to be enjoyed here as well.
In San Luis Potosí, you will find an exciting castle maze—the Edward James castle, right in the middle of the jungle. It is home to 35 sculptures with an 80-acre garden, holding beautiful natural waterfalls and amazing sights. Sir Edward James was building the castle for 40 years until the day he passed, and it is one of the most exciting places in Mexico.
Mexico City is another excellent place to visit in February. With the weather being just right for sightseeing, there is a lot to see and do during the month. Visit the Soumaya Museum with 66,000 pieces of Central American and European art. Continue to the intriguing Biblioteca Vasconcelos—the Mega library, and experience one of the world's largest libraries, situated among lush gardens and covering an area of over 410,000 square feet (38,000 square m).
Have an adventurous experience in Chiapas and visit the archeological site, Chiapa de Corzo. Chiapas is located in southern Mexico and holds mountainous highlands and dense rainforest, with Mayan archeological sites and Spanish colonial towns. Spend at least one full day here, but if you can, make it a several-day trip.
In Baja California Peninsula, you will find Cabo San Lucas with beautiful beaches, mega-yachts, vibrant nightlife, and deep-sea fishing. Here, you will find the famous Land's End, which is a group of rock formations that extend into the ocean. The massive rocks have been carved by years of water and wind erosion and consist of Roca Pelicanos, Los Frailes, and El Arco. There is abundant marine life here in January with mako sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, humpback whales, and many more.
Mazatlán exudes colonial charisma and a lively atmosphere, with the famous 13-mile (21 km) boardwalk, and 19th-century buildings in Old Matazlán—the historic center. The modern part of the city invites you to great nightlife, especially in the district of Zona Dorada.
What to Do
January is perfect for water-based activities and boat tours. Enjoy surfing in Sayulita—one of the best surf spots in Mexico, try local tacos, and stroll around in the colorful village. Hop on a panga (skiff), try paddleboarding, and kayaking.
In the Baja Peninsula, many whales arrive as well, at this time of the year, mainly gray whales, which are known to be friendly and are called “friendlies." These are curious about humans and often get close to the boat to take a look at the people. You might also see the minke whale, the blue, long-finned pilot, and sperm whales.
Go sightseeing in Mexico City and enjoy quality beach time in perfect relaxations. In the north, particularly Copper Canyon, you can enjoy great hiking adventures and even go on a skiing trip. January brings a lot of variety, which makes it a month for every type of traveler.
Whale watching is one of the big highlights in January, and you have the best chance of spotting these beautiful animals along the Pacific Coast. Head to Puerto Vallarta—one of the best whale-watching spots, and witness humpback whales as you take a boat trip on the ocean waters. You will most likely also see whale babies that are born in this area. Make sure to visit the flea markets of Old Vallarta, while you are here.
Another fantastic site is the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Michoacán state, with El Rosario being the largest sanctuary. Millions of Monarch butterflies migrate here from Canada and gather between November and February, making this month a great time to visit, due to pleasant weather as well. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and something well worth experiencing on your travels to Mexico. It is only 208 miles (129 km) from Mexico City.
Events in January
Three Kings Day (also called Epiphany), in early January, is a big celebration in Mexico. This event closes out the Christmas season and represents the Three Wise Men. It is one of the most significant events throughout the country.
Mayan Village Show at the Xcaret Park, Cancún. During this event, there are recreations Mayan festivals, including a celebration of the discovery of fire and a jungle walk.
International Art Festival Merída (Merída Fest), January 5-27. Mérida comes alive in January with celebrations that coincide with the founding of the city on January 6, 1542. You will find several concerts, cultural events, art exhibits, food tastings, and theatrical presentations over several weeks.
Fiesta de Enero (January Festival) in Chiapas, January 8-23. This fantastic event is a folk and religious festival, reflecting the history and culture of Mexico. There are beautiful processions and dancing throughout the Chiapa de Corzo state, where you will see people wearing colorful outfits and masks. The Dance of the Parachicos is part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Sayulita Film Festival, at the end of January. In the town of Sayulita on Riviera Nayarit. The event takes place during the last two days of January and lasts for five days. This festival is perfect for film, music, food, tequila, and surf lovers. You will find tequila and food pairings, live music, private film screenings, and much more.
Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado (Alamos FAOT Music Festival), third Friday of January. This festival has become one of the main cultural events in Mexico and lasts for approximately a week. More than 100,000 people engage in music performances and art. Two of the highlights are the opera singing chamber music, and the event takes place to honor Alfonso Ortiz Tirado, who was a doctor, singer, and philanthropist from Alamos.
Traveling to Mexico in January? Check out these great itineraries.
Mexico City and Riviera Maya - 10 Days. On this 10-day tour, you will go on an amazing cultural and historical adventure. On this off-the-beaten-track trip, you will learn Mexico City's pre-Colombian history and visit mysterious temples built by the Aztecs and Mayans. You will continue to the Riviera Maya, where you will stroll around the colonial streets of Valladolid and Mérida, dine on fresh cuisine, and relax on the Caribbean Sea.
Highlights of Southern Mexico: Chiapas & Yucatán - 12 Days. On this family-friendly itinerary of southern Mexico, you can expect plenty of cultural activities and natural exploration. You will explore the Chiapas' Sumidero Canyon, El Chiflón and Misol-Ha waterfalls, and the impressive ruins of Palenque. You will then head to the colonial-era Campeche and tour the Yucatán by car. Modern Mayan communities, ancient ruins, refreshing cenotes, and white sands of Holbox Island await you.