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.
Climate and seasons in Mexico
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.
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.
When to go for...
One of the biggest celebrations in Mexico is 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.
Head to the Baja California coast between and December and March to catch sight of the thousands of California grey whales who migrate a great distance south from the cold waters of the Bering and Chukchi seas to calves in the warmer. Humpback and blue whales venture into the Gulf of California to breed.
The Day of the Dead
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 who have passed on, with the intention of supporting them in their spiritual journey. 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.
Sea turtles nesting
One of the most special things you can witness at far as Mexico’s wildlife goes, is sea turtles nesting. The country is home to six species of sea turtle, with the most popular in the Riviera Maya area being green turtles and loggerhead turtles. They nest between June and August, so be on the lookout for them, and if you’re lucky enough to there at the right time, don’t interfere. If you think assistance is needed, rather notify the authorities nearby than try to help yourself.
Festive season in Mexico
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.