When is the best time to visit Mexico

Mexicans know how to ‘fest’. Christmas and the Day of the Dead are rich in ritual, while Cinco de Mayo in Puebla is a riot of colour.
The best time to visit Mexico is between December and March. The weather on the coasts is glorious: dry, hot and sunny, with whales to be seen in abundance off Baja. You’re also missing the rainy season, and the hurricane season is dying down. From around March the cruise crowds and hedonistic spring breakers can make it advisable to give some parts of the coast a miss, especially Cancun, and move further inland for Mayan ruins and Monarch butterflies. Mexico is mammoth though, with four time zones, four deserts, two oceans and mountains at every turn, meaning the climate is as convoluted as a Cancun cocktail menu.

Month by month guide on when to go to Mexico

January in Mexico

    Snow in the mountains Bird watching Whale watching off Baja California
January is a wonderful month for wildlife aficionados to visit Mexico. You’re midway through the short whale watching season off Baja California, migratory bird species are in abundance, and the forests of central Mexico are thick with Monarch butterflies wintering down south. The weather is gorgeous, dry and sunny, but in mountainous regions there is snow, which makes for an interesting contrast.

January is great for a small group beach and culture holiday

February in Mexico

    Sea kayaking Culture and Mayan history in Oaxaca Beaching it
February in Mexico is mid-winter across much of the country, but you’ll still experience warm weather, so this could be the best time to visit Mexico’s beaches, before the spring break crowds arrive. If you’re stretched out on a sunlounger, cocktail in hand, you’ll see energetic sea kayakers paddling off the Baja California coastline and boats carrying whale watchers in hope of spotting humpbacks and blue whales. February is pleasant for cultural tours inland, exploring ancient ruins such as Chichen Itza before the temperatures start to rise.

February is great for an adventure cruise in Baja and the Sea of Cortez

March in Mexico

    Warmer weather Catch whales and butterflies before they leave Cruise season begins in earnest
March is a hectic time in coastal resorts along the Riviera Maya, with cruise crowds combining with hordes of inebriated spring breakers to soak up the sunny weather as temperatures begin to increase. Head inland instead to roam Mayan ruins or the Piedra Herrada sanctuary where you can admire forests awash with orange as Monarch butterflies mate before their return migration to North America and Canada. March in Mexico also marks the end of whale watching season, toward the end of the month.

March is great for a tour of Mexico’s cultural heartlands

April in Mexico

    Yucatan Peninsula and Tulum Cooler temperatures in highlands and mountains Steer clear of spring break and cruise crowds
Temperatures are on the up, making it a popular time to visit before rainy season begins. April in Mexico also means that cruise season is in full swing, massive ships disgorging thousands of day-trippers, so plan well if you want to be on the coast. By mid-April, spring break is over, affording some relief. Our partners are well aware of the coastal crowds, their small group and tailor made tours staying clear of busy spots in favour of less-visited locations such as tribal villages in the highlands.

May in Mexico

    Rainy season begins Northern Mexico and Pacific Coast Cinco de Mayo
Rainy season starts in May, with rising temperatures and humidity. Short, sharp showers start mainly in the south and move further north over the next few months. May in Mexico is a 'shoulder month', so the Pacific Coast is significantly quieter than it was in March and April, and it’s a good time to visit sites such as Tulum, Chichen Itza and Palenque, fewer crowds making for a more enjoyable experience. Puebla in Central Mexico celebrates Cinco de Mayo and a hard-fought victory over the French.

June in Mexico

    Hurricane season starts City culture and Mayan ruins Good deals on flights
June in Mexico tends to be hot and sticky, with rain showers likely in the afternoons, but still very sunny otherwise. This is the start of hurricane season when local people on the coasts prepare to batten down the hatches if necessary, although the worst of it comes later in the year. June sees Mexico entering its low season, and so locations such as Mexico City and Cancun are decidedly quieter. June is also the best time to travel to Mexico if you want to explore its jungle-clad Mayan ruins, with fewer coach groups around.
Spring is an amazing time to go, around March and April. The weather’s lovely, warm enough for sunscreen, and flights are well priced.
– Vicky Rodford from our partner, Intrepid Travel

July in Mexico

    Mayan Riviera Whale sharks Sizzling temperatures and showers
Not many people choose to visit in July, this being the height of rainy season. Despite that, Mexico in July is not such a bad option. Showers occur mainly in the afternoons and are rarely heavy enough to inhibit tours, while the heat makes it lovely to swim on the Mayan Riviera, with many Mexican people on holiday themselves. Whale sharks are seen in large numbers off the Yucatan Peninsula from July through to September. Water temperatures are ideal for swimming with them.

July is great for spot of sea kayaking in Baja

August in Mexico

    Head inland to the cooler highlands Great deals on small group adventures Overland tours through Central America
August in Mexico is low season, with heavy monsoons on the Pacific Coast, increased likelihood of hurricanes, and temperatures that get unpleasantly high – though it’s cooler inland. Bargain hunters unfazed by the weather relish lower flight prices and deals on small group tours tracing Mexico’s cultural heritage. There are plenty of overland tours through Central America for intrepid travellers taking in countries such as Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica.

September in Mexico

    Peak hurricane season Mexican Independence Day Mexico City, Oaxaca and Palenque
September is low season, but if you’re staying inland and avoiding the coast (this being peak hurricane season) it can be a good month to visit. September in Mexico usually means that the rains are drying up, there are plenty of cheaper flights, and popular destinations such as Oaxaca, Mexico City, Tulum and Palenque are quiet. Independence Day (Día de la Independencia) is celebrated on 16 September, with most parties taking place on the evening of the 15th and going on through the night.

September is great for a family self drive holiday in Mexico

October in Mexico

    Hurricane season winding down Warmest weather in the north Sea swimming later in October
There is still a substantial risk of hurricanes and monsoons, so that beaches are often closed off, and October in Mexico is not much fun - on the coast at least. Later in the month, the rains ease – as do the sweltering temperatures – and the seas are no longer too turbulent to swim. In northern parts of the country such as Guadalajara it’s still pretty warm, although you’ll need a light jacket for the mornings and evenings.

November in Mexico

    Day of the Dead Baja California Sea kayaking
November is one of the best times of year to visit Mexico – it’s dry and sunny on the coast and cooler inland and in the cities. November in Mexico means it's time for the Day of the Dead Festival (Día de los Muertos), when Mexican people come together to pay their respects to those who have passed, set against a backdrop of carnivals and outrageous costumes. Later in the month it gets busier as peak season approaches.

November is great for a multi country Mayan marvel tour

December in Mexico

    Start of whale watching season Christmas and New Year Las Posadas
Cool, dry and sunny, December is a pleasant time to be on the Mexican coast – something that grey whales know very well, as they start appearing in large numbers later in the month, marking the start of whale watching season off Baja California. December in Mexico means temperatures ranging from 15°C to a balmy 30°C. Christmas retains much of its religious connotations in Mexico, the most important date being 24 December, when families gather for midnight dinners.

Oaxaca Weather Chart

 
MIN °C
MAX °C
RAIN (mm)
JAN
7
26
4
FEB
8
27
5
MAR
10
29
11
APR
12
30
31
MAY
13
30
77
JUN
13
27
140
JUL
13
26
92
AUG
13
27
103
SEP
13
25
125
OCT
11
26
51
NOV
9
26
10
DEC
7
26
5
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Mexico or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best times to visit Mexico for festivals & events

Monarch butterfly migration (January to March)

One of the planet’s great wildlife spectacles takes place between November and March every year, when vast numbers of Monarch butterflies make their way south from north-east USA and Canada to winter in Central Mexico. January, February and March are the best months to visit Mexico to witness fir forests in the highlands ablaze with orange, tree branches sagging beneath the weight of the butterflies. You can hike into a sanctuary such as Piedra Herrada to witness this impressive natural phenomenon first-hand.

Spring break (mostly week before Easter)

Spring break takes place between late February and mid-April, but it is generally pegged to the week before Easter. It sees hordes of young Americans flock ‘south of the border’ to let loose in a flurry of hedonism. In Cancun it can be difficult to find a free patch of sand in the daytime, and by night the bars and clubs are abuzz with drinking sessions. Many other coastal destinations also get busy, including Los Cabos, Acapulco and Mazatlán, but Cancun definitely bears the brunt of it.

Cinco de Mayo (5 May)

Not to be confused with Independence Day, Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, a short-lived morale booster before France overtook Mexico in an equally short-lived conquest. Cinco de Mayo is actually more widely recognised in the USA, where it has become commercialised. In Mexico, celebrations focus on the city of Puebla, with military parades and re-enactments of the battle accompanied by mariachi bands and fireworks.

Independence Day (15-16 September)

Viva Mexico! Prompting huge crowds and festivities across the country, this public holiday celebrates Mexico’s independence from Spain. The president starts proceedings by echoing the Cry of Dolores from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City. The speech was first given by Father Hidalgo, a Catholic priest considered the Father of the Nation for his leading role in the independence movement.

Day of the Dead (1-2 November)

Day of the Dead, or Día de los Muertos, is always a good time to go to Mexico. This festival happens all over the country at the end of October to remember the dead and celebrate life. Family and friends will gather around home alters decorated with the favourite foods and drinks of the deceased, share gifts, and make offerings at graves. It is a time to see Mexico, ironically, very much alive and kicking.

Las Posadas (December)

Taking place between December 16 and 24, Las Posadas are nine-day-long street processions that commemorate the nine months of Mary’s pregnancy and her journey with Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The re-enactment often culminates in a festive house party and feast (with obligatory piñatas) as the pilgrims finally reach their host family.

Our travellers also ask...

When is peak season in Mexico?

Peak season in Mexico is between November and March, when it’s dry and sunny on the coasts. February to mid-April is boom time for the cruise crowd and whale watchers, and also when American teens pile into resorts for spring break.

Since it’s such a huge country, the weather in Mexico can vary significantly between different regions, and between coast and inland. November to April is usually the best time of year to be on the coast, when it’s sunny and hurricane season is over. May to October is a great time to be inland, with much less busy Mayan ruins and green scenery.

When is the best time to visit Tulum?

The beach town of Tulum is the site of one of Mexico’s most impressive Mayan ruins – an ancient port city with well-preserved walls and temples. You can also swim in some of the cenotes (limestone sinkholes) nearby.

The best time to visit Tulum is usually between November and December. It’s after the rains and the hurricane season, so there is a wonderful freshness to the air and it’s dry but not oppressively hot. Plus, peak season hasn’t fully got going yet, so the ruins aren’t likely to be busy and you may find prices are a little cheaper.

When is hurricane season in Mexico?

Hurricane season in Mexico is from June to November and they are usually strongest in September and October. After the season has waned in November and December, Mexico has a lovely feel to it with fresh breezes.

It’s cheaper to travel during hurricane season but have good insurance and be aware of safety procedures – it’s unusual for a hurricane to approach without warning. In fact, it’s rare for hurricanes to make landfall at all in Mexico, however climate change has caused their behaviour and intensity to become more unpredictable.

Inland areas may see substantial rain, but hurricanes mainly affect the Pacific coast, particularly Baja California, and they have also been known to make landfall on the Caribbean coast.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: ryan harvey] [Intro: Rama] [Vicky Rodford quote: Anna Sullivan] [Monarch butterfly migration: Hagerty Ryan]