In Mexico, there are a plethora of things to do. Get swept up in the excitement of one of its many festivals, soak up the sun on one of its many beaches or discover the country's gastronomic offerings. Whatever you're heading there for, it's good to plan carefully. Here's our guide on the best time to go to Mexico.
When is the best season to visit Mexico?
Both the dry and wet seasons in Mexico come with exciting opportunities for adventure, but it’s good to be aware of the differences in the seasons so that you can plan to get the most out of your visit.
The dry season running from November to April is the best time to visit Mexico for its beaches. This also marks the peak season and therefore resorts might get a little busy. Opt for the beginning of November to avoid the crowds.
During the wet season between June and October, it is best you stay away from the coast. During this period, the region is prone to hurricanes. Our team of travel designers recommend you head inland instead.
To avoid the sticky humid air, many people choose to visit at the beginning of the dry, cooler season which runs from November to April. You’ll find the resorts are at their busiest over that period. However, if you’re planning on spending a lot of your time outdoors hiking, take note temperatures start to drop significantly in the mountains. The ideal time to visit is typically around November, when it’s drier and the peak season rush has yet to start.
In Mexico, the warm and wet summer season runs from June to October, with the amount of rain varying according to where you are. Inland, you can expect short downpours daily, but if you head north it may not rain at all. Venture down south and you’re bound to find yourself dealing with uncomfortably humid weather. From September to mid-October along the coast is considered hurricane season, with the rain and rough seas that go along with tropical storms.
The Top Things to Do in Mexico
Whether you are in search of cutting-edge culture, outdoor adventure, remarkable gastronomic experiences, big city life or an escape from it, Mexico is truly a destination that has it all. Here’s when to visit Mexico to enjoy your favourite activities and events.
Experience Semana Santa
One of the best times to visit Mexico to experience local culture is during Easter week. This is when they celebrate Semana Santa (Easter Week). With a largely Catholic population, the festivities are held across the country, from big cities to small villages.
Not only does it draw many visitors from abroad, but locals also go on holiday over the week, so expect crowds. Among the most popular traditions over this period is the reenactments of Christ’s journey to the cross. Some of the cities that famously observe that tradition are Ixtapalapa, San Cristobal de las Casas and Patzcuaro. While each town celebrates differently there are some traditions that are more widespread, like the breaking of cascarones. Brightly painted, hollow, chicken egg shells filled with confetti or small toys are cracked over the heads of those celebrating.
Go Whale Watching
The best time to visit Mexico for whale wathcing is between December and March. During this time of year, thousands of California grey whales migrate to the Baja California coast looking for warmer waters. Humpback and blue whales venture into the Gulf of California to breed.
See The Day of the Dead
The best time to visit Mexico for iconic festivals such as The Day of the Dead is during the month of November. The Día de Muertos is marked throughout Mexico on the 1st and 2nd November. Over the two days people gather to pray for and remember loved ones.
Mexicans and people with Mexican ancestry will build ofrendas (altars) which they decorate with Aztec marigolds and calaveras (representations of skulls) along with some of the favourite foods and drinks of the person they are remembering. This is done with the intention of supporting them in their spiritual journey.
Spot Sea Turtles Nesting
June to August is the best time to visit Mexico to spot sea turtles. This period marks the nesting season. The country is home to six species of sea turtle. Popular ones include green turtles and loggerhead turtles.
Our Team's Favourite Trips to Mexico
The Best Time to See Festivals in Mexico
For remarkable cultural immersion, we recommend visiting the country during one of its many festivals. In Mexico, festivals take place all year round. This is the best way to experience local traditions as well as interact with Mexicans.
Apart from Christmas and New Year, there are lots of festivities between December and May. From the 1st to 12th December, the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe marks the appearance of Mary to the Mexican peasant Juan Diego in 1531. Across the country, fiestas are held and on the 12th December children dress in traditional costumes and people receive blessings at churches.
If you’re in Oaxaca around the 23rd December you’ll be fortunate enough to witness a fascinating folk art festival – La noche de los rábanos (The Night of the Radishes). This Christmas time festival sees people carve oversized radishes to create a variety of imaginative scenes. Over the years, the event has become so popular that land has been set aside specifically to grow the radishes needed.
The 6th January in Mexico is the height of the Christmas season – El Dia de Reyes (Three Kings Day). It marks the end of the 12 days of Christmas and the visit of the wise men to visit baby Jesus. It’s now that Mexican children receive gifts from the wise men, instead of on Christmas day from Father Christmas like in other parts of the world.
Where to Stay in Mexico
Quinta Real Oaxaca$$$$$Originally the Dominican Santa Catalina convent built in 1576, a beautifully preserved baroque jewel of the past and now a simply stunning heritage hotel positioned in the heart of the city’s historic quarter, Oaxaca Camino Real is one of the most enchanting places to stay in all of Mexico. With 91 comfortable rooms, which is a sizeable hotel both for its position and being a landmark, all have been kept to a simple style of restrained elegance. The hotel itself is a real joy to explore and walk around, with its courtyard gardens, graceful swimming pool, pretty patios and arched terraces. Breakfast, lunch, dinner or a cocktail within these tranquil, cloistered walls is a real treat, as is the traditional Guelaguetza (dance) it holds every Friday night in the chapel with live music, local food and regional art.
Rosewood San Miguel de Allende$$$$$One of the most soulful hotels to stay in in all of Mexico, the quietly elegant Rosewood hotel also has a team of very attentive staff and a rooftop bar to die for. Very much keeping to the Spanish colonial style of the city, the hotel is in the typical urban hacienda style of courtyards, arches, cantera columns and traditional dark wood furniture. However belying its classical character, all of its spacious rooms have been renovated to high modern standards, and there’s an excellent spa, wine cellar, kids club program, as well as a spoiling menu of activities. Being about four blocks from the town’s central plaza, stepping out for a wander or a spot of shopping is easy, and the hotel’s rooftop terrace is one of the world’s best for sundowners and atmospheric dining.
Esencia$$$$$For those that prefer a more intimate and ‘natural’ stay along the Mayan Riviera, than Esencia’s private fifty-acre beachfront boutique hotels offers up a wonderful alternative to the resorts that pepper this coastline. The Escencia channels the luxury of simplicity with palapa-style villas and white-washed rooms adorned with plantation shutters, arched orchids, oriental furniture, all the mod cons, elegant open gardens and beach area, and cultivates a general and genuinely palpable warmth to the entire property.