Discover Mexico's Perfect Blend of Sunshine and Savings: When to Go for the Best Weather and Prices
Mexico is a destination that has gained a reputation for being one of the world's most-visited countries. Deciding on the best time to visit depends entirely on individual preferences: Mexico is a vast country with a diverse topography and microclimates ranging from golden beaches to rugged canyons, sultry cities to high-altitude colonial towns. It's possible to bask on a jungle-backed beach during the day and cozy up to a fireplace in the mountains at night.
Whether travelers are looking for balmy beaches, cheap flights and hotels, stunning wildlife, or colorful fiestas, there are perfect times to visit Mexico for every type of getaway. These times include the high season, which runs from December to April, when the country experiences its driest weather. Shoulder seasons, which are in July and August, are also great times to visit. However, the low season, between May and June and September to early November, offers a chance to save significantly on travel costs.
While the rainy season dominates the low season, Central Mexico experiences the most rainfall. Nevertheless, the beach areas are less crowded than the winter peak, and rain usually comes in short afternoon storms, followed by sunshine. This weather pattern could offer a welcome relief from the heat and humidity, providing an excellent opportunity to take a siesta. August, September, and October are the wettest months, with airfare and hotel prices reflecting that.
The dry-season, which runs between November and March, offers the nicest, balmiest weather, but prices for airfare and accommodation tend to be higher during this time, and crowds are more intense. However, dry, warm November could be the most ideal month to visit, offering a sweet spot between the heavy fall rains and the beginning of the high season. The high season month of January is equally attractive, with great deals to be found after the New Year holiday.
There are opportunities to see migrating whales at different points throughout the year. From December to March, travelers to Baja or elsewhere on the Pacific could spot humpback, gray, and even enigmatic blue whales on their epic ocean journeys. Humpbacks prefer the sheltered Bahía de Banderas off Puerto Vallarta, with the best viewing times being January and February. Between November and April, visitors can snorkel with whale sharks off Espíritu Santo or dive the protected waters of Cabo Pulmo, which is the only coral reef on the west coast of North America.
On the opposite coast, the whale-shark season operates from mid-May to mid-September. Boat tours depart from Cancun for Isla Holbox and Isla Contoy, where visitors can swim with whale sharks, manta rays, turtles, and dolphins. June and July are the best months for this activity.
Mexico's Pacific coastline has excellent surf spots with fantastic swells all year round, suitable for novice to experienced surfers. More experienced surfers will find the biggest, most consistent waves from May to October, which coincides with hurricane season, especially between June and August.
Mexico's Baja Peninsula is a not-to-be-missed location for surfing enthusiasts, but the cold waters in winter may prove to be a challenge. On the other hand, southern locations, such as Nayarit, Barra de Nexpa, Troncones, and Puerto Escondido, boasting the mighty Pacific's barreling surf, offer warm waters all year round.
January is the month to witness the majestic sight of migratory birds settling in the Pacific coastline's lush landscapes, including jungles, lagoons, mangroves, wetlands, and mountain ranges. For a unique experience, attend the International Migratory Bird Festival held in San Blas from January to early February.
Every year, the region of Michoacán hosts millions of monarch butterflies that migrate from far and wide to the pine and fir trees. The breathtaking sight of golden-orange butterflies adorning the green mountain forest under the clear blue winter sky is a must-see. Plan your visit between November and March and explore the vast array of sanctuaries within the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve by hiking, horseback riding, or biking. Some sanctuaries even offer the thrill of zip-lining down the mountain. Schedule your visit during the warmer afternoon hours when the butterflies dance amidst the trees.
Northwest Mexico's Copper Canyon is the ultimate awe-inspiring sight for nature aficionados, and rightfully so. As one of the largest canyons in the world, and even bigger than the Grand Canyon, it is quite a challenge to explore. However, the mild temperature and gushing rivers and waterfalls between March and November make it the best time to embark on this adventure. Secure your seats in advance aboard the Ferrocarril Chihuahua al Pacífico.
Mexico is well-known for its vibrant celebrations, and there is always an event to suit every preference. The Candlemas festival in San Juan de los Lagos and Tlacotalpan, the Carnaval in various locations, Semana Santa, the Festival del Mole Poblano in Puebla, the Guelaguetza festival in Oaxaca City, and the Fiestas de Octubre in Guadalajara are just some of the many fantastic events you can plan your trip around. Day of the Dead, held from November 1-2, is a standout feature of Mexican culture that showcases picnics, graveyard vigils, papier-mâché skeletons, and intricate dress and makeup across the central and southern regions, especially in Pátzcuaro.
For those planning a trip to Mexico City, timing is crucial. The months of March, April, and May offer the perfect window between the colder winter and rainier summer months, with pleasant temperatures hovering in the 70s on average. Expect crowds during this peak travel season, but great hotel rates are still available.
For an enchanting escape to the southern city of Oaxaca, spring and fall are the prime seasons to visit. Ideal weather with average temperatures in the low 70s and high 60s until September, coupled with fewer crowds, make April to May and September to October the best times to go. Avoid the busiest periods for tourists by skipping June through August and the Christmas/New Year holiday season. However, if you happen to be in the city during these times, you can immerse yourself in the Guelaguetza festival, celebrating folk music and dance in late July, or witness Oaxaca City's annual Noche de los Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) during Christmastime, where the city plays host to a radish-carving competition."
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