When is the best time to visit Mexico? Well, it really depends on where you’re going, and what you plan to do in this massive country. There’s a reason to travel to Mexico in each season.

The landscape of Mexico is very diverse. While it’s famous for its stunning beaches, the country also boasts deserts, mountains, jungles, and more. Deciding on the best time to visit Mexico largely depends on exactly where you want to go in this fascinating country.

As far as weather goes, it’s generally dry across most of Mexico in the winter and spring. The rainy season typically goes through summer and autumn in most places. 

A majority of the 40 million people who visit Mexico each year do so during the winter months. The beach towns are warm and dry, luring in planeloads of travellers escaping winter up north. 

I’ve spent a majority of the last 3 years crisscrossing Mexico. In that time, I’ve experienced every month in the country. There have been days with perfect weather, and others with the exact opposite. I’m here to help you figure out the best time to go to Mexico. 

Let’s do it! This is the ultimate guide to the best time to visit Mexico.

Peak Season

  • December-January, March-April, July-August

Not surprisingly, the most popular time to travel to Mexico is during the winter. This is when many snowbirds from the USA and Canada flock south of the border to escape the brutal winters of the north.

It gets especially busy at the end of the year with people travelling for Christmas and New Year’s. This time is often referred to as peak season, especially in coastal destinations like Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen. 

While it may be the best time to travel to Mexico weather-wise, this is when you’ll find the largest crowds and highest prices. Be sure to lock down your accommodation early if you plan to spend the holidays in Mexico.

During the months of March and April, there’s a whole other peak season in Mexico. This is mostly true in beach towns such as Cancun during American Spring Break as well as Semana Santa (Holy Week/Easter). 

best time to visit mexico cancun

One sees popular destinations flooded with binge-drinking American students, while the other sees an influx of domestic tourists and travellers from other parts of the region. Outside of the big holidays, the high season in Mexico is a very pleasant time to visit the beach towns. 

There is yet another peak season in Mexico during the summer months. After all, this is when children have a long holiday from school. Beach towns and popular archaeological sites are swarmed on the weekends in July and August. 

The hot, humid, and rainy weather of the summer keeps most tourists away, so this peak season is mostly with domestic tourists. Travelling during the week in the summer usually means small crowds and low prices.

Don’t miss our Ultimate Guide to Travelling Mexico! It has all you need to know about the costs, cuisine, culture, beaches, cities, pros & cons, safety and much more.

Shoulder Season

  • March-May, October-November

In my humble opinion, the best time to visit Mexico just might be the shoulder seasons. Come March in Mexico, the crowds start to thin as snowbirds head home. This is also prime whale-watching time on the Pacific coast in places like Cabo San Lucas or La Paz.

With the exception of Semana Santa, April in Mexico is also a really nice time to visit. I recommend skipping out on Easter week unless you enjoy huge crowds and inflated prices. 

As far as the weather goes, the shoulder seasons mark the beginning or end of the rainy season. There isn’t much rain yet in May and it starts to taper off towards the end of October.

Another reason the shoulder season is the best time to go to Mexico is the Day of the Dead. This traditional holiday honouring the deceased takes place from November 1-2 and is a fascinating festival to experience. 

list of puerto vallarta tours

Off-Season

The low season for tourism in Mexico happens over the summer months. When I say low season, I mean for international visitors. There are far less people travelling to the coasts of Mexico at this time due to intense heat and heavy rains.

However, as I mentioned above, the summer months are still a busy time for domestic travel. This is mostly true on the weekends, so try to time your visit during the week for smaller crowds and better deals.

Having spent the last three summers living in Puerto Vallarta, I feel like the low season really isn’t that bad. It typically rains at night, so you can still enjoy the beach during the day.

There are also quite a few interesting holidays throughout these months. Oaxaca hosts the Guelaguetza festival of dance and music, while the country celebrates its Independence Day in September.  

puerto vallarta best time to visit mexico

Best Time To Visit Mexico for Beaches

If you’re headed to Mexico for some sun and sand, the winter months are your best bet.

The weather is nice and warm, the sun is shining, and there’s hardly any rain to speak of. With freezing temperatures in many parts of the world, it’s no wonder people flock to Mexico at this time.

Actually, you may want to consider beating the winter crowd by visiting in November or March. These months may be the best time to go to Mexico to enjoy la playa without hordes of tourists.

As far as beach destinations go, you are spoiled for choices. Mexico has an astounding 9,330 kilometres of coastline. A majority of it is on the Pacific Coast, where you can visit places like Sayulita, Manzanillo, Zihuatanejo, Mazatlan and Puerto Escondido. 

On the other side, you’ve still got plenty of options. Along the coast with the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, you’ll find some of Mexico’s most popular beach destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, and Tulum.

when to visit playa del carmen

Best Time to Visit Mexico for Festivals

Mexico loves a good fiesta, and there always seems to be one going on. If you’re wondering when to go to Mexico to enjoy local festivals, you can honestly choose any month of the year.

Which month you decide to visit for festivals depends on your interests. There are festivals for just about everything in Mexico — food, music, cinema, film, art, literature, and so much more. 

In my opinion, the best time to visit Mexico for festivals is in the fall. In October, there’s the Cervantino Festival in Guanajuato, a film festival in Morelia, and the Fiestas de Octubre in Guadalajara. That’s right, the party lasts all month!

It’s worth it to stick around until November to celebrate Day of the Dead. There’s really no bad place to experience this important festival, but some of the best places include Patzcuaro, Oaxaca, and Mexico City. This segues perfectly into the next section.

Guelaguetza Dance Festival what to do in mexico

Best Time to Go to Mexico for Cities

Thanks in large part to Day of the Dead festivities, I feel like November is the perfect time to visit Mexico’s cities. I recently spent a whole week in Mexico City to experience the holiday and the weather was perfect.

From there, I headed to Puebla and Oaxaca and had equally amazing weather. Wherever you go for Day of the Dead, just be sure to book well in advance as places fill up quickly. 

If you can’t make it to the cities in November, then the spring months are also quite nice. Visiting in April or May means nice weather and fewer tourists, with the exception of Semana Santa when the entire country is busy (in particular, San Miguel de Allende, and Mexico City).

visiting the zocalo is one of the top things to do in mexico city

Best Time to Visit Mexico for Ruins

One of the highlights of travelling to Mexico is visiting the country’s many incredible ruins. Places like Teotihuacan, Palenque, and Chichen Itza are are-inspiring, to say the least. They’re even better when you can enjoy them without massive crowds!

Once again, my vote goes to the shoulder seasons.

While you might have perfect weather at the Tulum ruins in December, you’ll be sharing them with busloads of selfie-stick waving tourists. Come early on a weekday in May and it will be a far more enjoyable experience.

I should mention that it’s always a good idea to visit the ruins early during the day, and during the week rather than weekends. Tour buses usually show up around 9 AM and school field trips in the afternoon. Most ruins are free for Mexicans on Sundays, leading to huge crowds.

when to visit mexico for the ruins

Best Time to Visit Mexico for Whale Watching

Every year, whales travel to the Pacific Coast of Mexico during the winter months. There are many different types of whales that make the journey, but the easiest to spot are humpbacks as they’re not afraid of people.

From Baja California all the way down to Oaxaca, there are many opportunities for whale watching. Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta are all popular places to spot these majestic creatures.

The best time to visit Mexico for whale watching is between December and March, when they escape the freezing waters further north to mate and bear their calves. 

Best Time to Go to Mexico for Cheap Prices

If you’re trying to figure out the cheapest time to go to Mexico, your best bet is to plan a trip during the week in the summer. Sure you might have to deal with some rain and heat, but you’ll do so for a bargain price!

I can’t stress enough that the best deals are found during the week.

In my home away from home of Puerto Vallarta, for example, many hotels are still packed on the weekends with domestic tourists and therefore don’t offer any deals.

Travelling on a random weekday in the summer means you can find hotels and tours for super cheap prices. Many restaurants and bars also offer enticing deals to get people in the door during these slow times. This is definitely the cheapest time to go to Mexico.

Read more about bars and restaurants in Puerto Vallarta: A Guide to Drinking and Dancing in Puerto Vallarta and A Guide to the Top Places to Eat in PV.

puerto vallarta mexico when to go for food

Mexico in January

After celebrating New Year’s Eve, there are plenty of reasons to stick around Mexico in January. Actually, there are millions of reasons! I’m talking about the magnificent migration of the monarch butterflies to Mexico’s central region.

This is a very popular time to travel to Mexico, as people from colder climates seek to escape the harsh winter. If you want to ditch the snow for sand, Mexico in January is hard to beat!

Festivals in Mexico in January

  • New Year’s Day
  • Three Kings Day

Weather in Mexico in January

The weather is quite nice in Mexico in January, especially in coastal destinations. This is prime time for visiting the beach towns the country is famous for. 

It can get quite chilly at higher elevations, though. Places like Mexico City and San Cristobal de las Casas will require some warm clothing at this time of year. If it is warmth you seek, you may want to skip these kinds of places, but overall, Mexico is one of the top places to travel to in January.

when to go to mexico for beaches

Mexico in February

February is a great time to be in Mexico for many reasons. The busiest travel time of the year has died down but the weather remains very pleasant across the country.

The good times keep rolling in February, as several cities across Mexico host Carnival celebrations. There are actually several different holidays and festivals throughout the month, making this month a very fun time to visit.

Festivals in Mexico in February

  • Candlemas
  • Carnival
  • San Pancho Music Festival

Weather in Mexico in February

February is a wonderful time to visit Mexico weather-wise. For the most part, you’ll enjoy warm and sunny days with very little rain. It’s the perfect month for a beach vacation without the holiday crowds that are present in December and January.

Our first year in Puerto Vallarta, I remember February being one of the most pleasant months. It can get a tad bit chilly in the evenings even in beach towns like PV, so pack a light sweater and pants.

Mexico in March

March marks the end of the peak season in Mexico. Snowbirds are still hanging out south of the border waiting for the snow to melt up north and there are still plenty of tourists coming in and out for short trips.

If you’re hoping to soak up the sun on a relaxing beach holiday, be sure to check the calendar for American Spring Break. It usually falls in March. As a result, Mexico in March means crowds of hard-partying American kids in places like Cancun.

things to do in isla mujeres punta sur

Festivals in Mexico in March

  • Festival de Mexico
  • Guadalajara International Film Festival
  • Spring Equinox

Weather in Mexico in March

Overall, the weather in March is still quite nice. It starts to get a bit warmer than the other winter months but doesn’t get uncomfortably hot. There still isn’t much rain in March, either.

With the arrival of spring, this is a good time to travel to places at a higher altitude. Mexico City is great this time of year, with nice weather for exploring the city during the day.

Mexico in April

Mexico in April is a very busy time. There’s another peak season when Semana Santa (Holy Week) rolls around. This time, it’s mostly people from across Mexico and Latin America at large who crowd the beaches. 

While crowds are big during that week, they start to thin out the rest of the month. April is shoulder season, meaning it’s easier to find deals. There’s definitely a case to be made for April being the best time to visit Mexico.

Festivals in Mexico in April

  • Jalisco Talentland
  • Beyond Wonderland Monterrey

Weather in Mexico in April

April really is a fantastic time to travel to Mexico weather-wise. It’s the driest month of the year in the Yucatan and also one of the warmest months in the central part of the country.

If you’re trying to decide when to go to Mexico to enjoy nice weather without huge crowds, April is a good choice. Just be sure to check when Semana Santa (Easter) is and schedule your trip for after it finishes!

Mexico in May

If you’re trying to decide the best time to go to Mexico without big crowds and high prices, May is a solid choice. The high season is long gone and the summer travel season for locals hasn’t started yet.

Festivals in Mexico in May

  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Puerto Vallarta Festivals (Down Vallarta, Restaurant Week, Pride)

Weather in Mexico in May

Things are definitely starting to heat up in Mexico in May, especially on the coast and in the lowlands. That being said, it’s not too hot to ruin your trip and there isn’t too much rain yet.

May is a great month for a beach vacation. It’s generally dry and hot, and the crowds are much smaller than the first few months of the year. It’s also a good time to hit some cultural sites like the ruins before the intense summer heat and rain arrives. 

best tours in puerto vallarta the free walking tour

Mexico in June

When June rolls around, it’s officially low season in Mexico. Heat and rain tend to scare away many international visitors, while domestic tourists are waiting for their kids to go on summer holiday.

Due to the change in weather, June may be the best time to visit Mexico if you’re hoping to do so on a budget. With smaller crowds comes better deals, and you’ll have your pick of accommodation without needing to book super far in advance.

Festivals in Mexico in June

  • Dia de los Locos (Day of the Crazy People)
  • Los Cabos Open of Surf

Weather in Mexico in June

For much of Mexico, June marks the beginning of the rainy season. If you’re hoping to escape the rain, Baja California is your best bet as it is still quite dry there.

Having lived through a few rainy seasons in Mexico, I can speak from plenty of experience that June really isn’t that bad. It might rain for an hour or so during the afternoon but you still have plenty of time to enjoy a day on the beach or exploring the city.

when to go to mexico

Mexico in July

Mexico in July isn’t much different from June. It’s just a bit hotter and wetter! The heat and rain are enough to scare off most tourists, meaning you’ll find some incredible bargains.

This also begins the busy summer holiday period for Mexicans to travel, but it only gets really busy on weekends. Consider planning a visit during the week to take advantage of low prices and small crowds.

Festivals in Mexico in July

  • Guelaguetza Festival
  • Whale Shark Festival

Weather in Mexico in July

If you’re visiting Mexico in July, be sure to pack your umbrella! Rainy season is in full swing across most of the country. It’s also hurricane season over on the east coast, so you may want to take that into consideration before booking a trip there.

It’s not as if it rains all day, every day. Sure, you might get a little wet here and there, but if you get up early you can usually fit plenty in before the rain comes.

Mexico in August

There really isn’t a whole lot to say about Mexico in August to differentiate it from the other summer months. At this point in the summer, things start to get a bit extreme with the heat and rain. There’s a reason you won’t find that many tourists here at this time of year!

That being said, August is still a fine time to travel to Mexico. This is especially true if you’re a music lover. Just take a look at some of the festivals going on this month.

Festivals in Mexico in August

  • Chamber Music Festival
  • International Mariachi Festival

Weather in Mexico in August

If I could describe the weather in Mexico in August in one word, it could be caliente! This is the hottest month of the year in the Yucatan and in Baja. Head to higher altitudes if you don’t want to spend your trip dripping sweat.

August is also a very wet month in most places. Be sure to plan some indoor activities during this time.

when to visit mexico for mariachi festival

Mexico in September

In Puerto Vallarta, locals refer to September as “Sept-hambre,” or “the hungry month.” Mexican kids are back in school and the tourists are staying away to avoid the heat and rain, so it’s a super slow time of year tourism-wise.

If you’re wondering what the best time to visit Mexico on a budget is, you’re looking at it! The best deals can be found in Mexico in September, and it’s also quite a festive time to be in the country.

Festivals in Mexico in September

  • Independence Day
  • Feria Nacional Zacatecas

Weather in Mexico in September

Keep an eye on the weather forecast if you hope to visit the Yucatan, as this is the peak of hurricane season. It’s also the wettest month of the year on the other coast in Baja, so you can expect to get drenched if travelling there in September.

Temperatures are also quite high across the country. If you head to Mexico in September, you may want to look inland and head to higher elevations to stay cool.

Mexico in October

The low season begins to transition back into the shoulder season in Mexico in October. With temperatures finally falling a bit and the rain easing up, tourists slowly begin to trickle back in.

This is a great time to travel to Mexico as crowds are quite small and it’s still possible to find some excellent deals. If you hope to spend several months here, October is the perfect time to lock down long-term accommodation at a reasonable rate.

Festivals in Mexico in October

  • Fiestas de Octubre
  • Cervantino Festival

Weather in Mexico in October

After a long, hot, wet summer, things finally start to cool down a bit in Mexico in October. Actually, it gets downright chilly in the interior of Mexico during the evenings. 

The rainy season is coming to an end in October, but it’s still quite wet on both coasts. This is the time of year when (if you live here) you really get fed up with all the rain after several months of it!

playa chen beach best things to do in cozumel

Mexico in November

As I’ve already mentioned, November just might be the best time to visit Mexico. The weather is nice and the high season crowds haven’t fully arrived yet. 

Perhaps the best part about travelling to Mexico in November is the wealth of festivals going on throughout the country. There’s enough going on here to keep you busy all month, starting with one of the most important Mexican holidays.

Festivals in Mexico in November

  • Day of the Dead
  • Revolution Day
  • Corona Capital

Weather in Mexico in November

Mexico in November is a great time to hit the beach. The water is still nice and warm for swimming, the heavy rains are all but gone, and temperatures are pleasant.

This is also a good month to get out there and enjoy the great outdoors. If you want to visit the ruins and other cultural sites without huge crowds and sweltering heat, do it in November.

seeing the day of the dead is one of the top things to do in oaxaca

Mexico in December

High season is back in full swing in December. With the arrival of bitter cold temperatures up north, the snowbirds once again flock south of the border. Tourists from all corners of the globe head to Mexico to soak up the sun with margaritas and tacos.

With the increase in crowds comes the inevitable increase in price. You’ll definitely want to seek out your accommodation in advance when you travel to Mexico in December. This is especially true for the week of Christmas and New Year’s

Festivals in Mexico in December

  • Feast of the Virgin Guadalupe
  • Christmas

Weather in Mexico in December

The weather in Mexico in December is quite nice, especially if you’re travelling from up north! It’s warm and sunny on both coasts and the rain is a thing of the past, making for perfect beach days.

Further inland, this is actually the coldest month of the year in places like Mexico City. Be sure to pack some warm clothing if you’re headed there. If you forget, there’s always tequila to warm you up.

when to go to mexico

The Best Time to Visit Mexico Overall

So, when really is the best time to visit Mexico? I wish I could give you a definitive answer, but it really depends on what you’re interested in experiencing! Allow me to explain with a few different scenarios:

December – March

If you’re travelling to Mexico for the sole purpose of a nice beach vacation (you don’t want any rain), and you don’t mind splurging on a nice place to stay, you’ll want to visit between December and March. 

Christmas and New Year’s

If you’re the type who can plan far in advance and doesn’t mind crowds, the week of Christmas and New Year’s is an amazing time to visit Mexico.

October or November

If your main goal is to soak up the local culture, I’d recommend you visit Mexico in October or November for all the wonderful festivals that go on at that time. 

April

Perhaps you’re the type who enjoys the great outdoors more than cities and beaches. If you want to do some hiking in Mexico and visit the ruins without the crowds, then you may want to time your visit in April right after Semana Santa.

when to visit mexico for ruins

Now You Know When to Visit Mexico!

That’s the great thing about planning a trip to Mexico — there really is no bad time to go! The best time to visit Mexico can be any month depending on your interests and your budget. 

That being said, based on years of travelling around the country, I’ll cast my vote for November.

While it might not be the cheapest time to go to Mexico, it’s still affordable as it’s not the high season yet. Being able to experience Day of the Dead is reason enough to make this the best time to travel to Mexico. 

Once the big holiday wraps up, November makes for an excellent month to travel around Mexico. The weather is nice and the winter crowds haven’t arrived yet. In all of my Mexico travels, I feel like I’ve enjoyed November the most.

However, one thing is for sure, no matter which month you choose to visit, you’re going to have a great time in Mexico. Happy travels! 

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Nicole Lee

Journalist in Mark Funhouser blog!