Mexico is a vast and diverse country, made up of 32 states and seven main climate regions. Depending on where you are visiting, certain times of year can be a better time to visit than others.
In the north, there are arid deserts that see little rainfall, whereas in the southeast there are more tropical climates like within the popular Yucatan Peninsula.
Overall, February is the best month to visit Mexico as it’s in the middle of the dry season. Carnaval also happens around this time and offers a great chance to experience local festivals and unique cultural events around the country.
Whether you’re visiting the temperate highlands or the sun-soaked beaches of the Caribbean, this guide will help you to figure out the best time to visit Mexico.
Mexico as a whole has two main seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. The best time to travel to Mexico is from December to April, this is the dry season and is also the peak tourist season in many areas.
On the Baja Peninsula, swimming with whale sharks is possible from October through April, and conditions are perfect for hiking and seeing nature throughout the north. In the Yucatan Peninsula and Riviera Maya the months of July and August are the best times to spot whale sharks. Guests can attend baby turtle releases in Puerto Vallarta from July until December.
Visit the forests of the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, in the Western Central Highlands, to see one of the most awe-inspiring natural spectacles on earth. Between December and February, Monarch butterflies arrive in Mexico by their thousands, it’s one of the largest migrations in the natural world - some travel up to 3000 miles over the course of two months from Canada and Northern America.
Christmas to New Year is the most expensive time to travel to Mexico, and music festivals in places like Tulum add to prices and reduce availability.
Semana Santa (Easter Week) can get busy too and is an equally costly time to travel. Spring equinox pilgrimages also mean Mayan sites like Chichén Itzá, Teotihuacán, and Guachimontones can get extremely busy in March.
It’s best to avoid the Yucatan and Riviera Maya area in late March/ early April due to price rises for the US Spring Break. Resorts and tourist areas can get overrun with college students, and noise can be an issue.
There are fewer crowds and lower prices during the rainy/off season throughout Mexico from May to October, though domestic tourists often hit the beaches in July and August. The weather is hot and humid in general but the highlands can still get chilly at night.
There is very little rain in the north of the country even in the wet season, and around Mexico City there is usually just one big heavy downpour in the afternoons (with an 80% daily chance of rain from June to September).
Along the eastern beaches, September to October is the peak of the hurricane season; many businesses close and swimming/diving conditions are less than ideal. Tropical storms and mosquitos can also make travel difficult at this time. Chiapas is the wettest state, where flooded roads can cause major travel disruptions.
The best time to visit the Riviera Maya, (Cancun, Tulum, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen) is between the months of November to April with temperatures of around 22–30°C (72–82°F) and sea temperatures of around 26°C (79°F). Sunshine is abundant and rainfall is low.
Cabo and the Baja Peninsula can get uncomfortably hot during the off-season between May–June and Sept–Oct with temperatures of up to 42°C. But rainfall is uncommon in this part of Mexico and swimming temperatures are perfect.
As it’s located at an altitude of 1,240 metres in the centre of the country, Mexico’s capital city sees cooler temperatures than either coast with temperatures varying between 7–27°C (45–81°F) throughout the year.
The Day of the Dead celebrations at the start of November are one of the most popular festivals to visit in Mexico. Two of the best are Dia de Los Muertos in Oaxaca and in Mexico City (usually Nov 1–2).
Intimate ceremonies see locals giving offerings to ancestors’ graves, and cemeteries should be respected by visitors. The next day huge comparsas (or parades) with papier-mâché statues and elaborate costumes fill the streets.
Another popular event across the Spanish-speaking world is Carnaval, held in February or March just before Lent. Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday) is the climax of celebrations when unholy desires are fully embraced in great street parties and local events full of amazing food and drink.
The Carnival in San Martin Tilcajete sees locals doused in motor oil and ghoulish masks in one of the most surreal local festivals.
From Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, Semana Santa (Holy Week) is observed throughout the country. The deeply religious festival celebrates the resurrection of Christ, images of the Virgin Mary are carried through the streets and venerated.
It’s more of a sombre occasion than the other festivals and many businesses and transport links close for the entire week.
Cinco de Mayo (May 5) although a public holiday in Mexico is more commonly celebrated in the US. It commemorates the 1862 Battle of Puebla, and is not Mexican Independence Day (a common misconception).
The best place to celebrate it is in Puebla itself, where there is a lively fiesta every year
Planning a trip to Mexico? Read our travel guides