Time Zones and Daylight Saving Time in Mexico

Mexico's Horario de Verano

Clocks
••• DST can cause confusion for travelers. Anthony Harvie / Getty Images

Experts insist that Daylight Saving Time helps to conserve energy as people resort less to electric lighting by adjusting their clocks to the natural daylight at different times of the year. However, adjusting to a time change twice a year can be a source of stress, and for travelers, it can cause an extra layer of complexity when trying to determine what time it is in your destination. The dates for the observation of Daylight Saving Time are different in Mexico than for the rest of North America, which adds to the difficulty in adapting to the time change, and can cause mix-ups.

Here's what you should know about how Daylight Saving Time is observed in Mexico:

Is Daylight Saving Time Observed in Mexico?

In Mexico, Daylight Saving Time is known as the horario de verano (summer schedule). It has been observed since 1996 throughout most of the country. Take note that the state of Quintana Roo and Sonora, as well as some remote villages, do not observe Daylight Saving Time and do not change their clocks.

When is Daylight Saving Time in Mexico?

Throughout most of Mexico, the dates of Daylight Saving Time are different from in the United States and Canada, which can be a source of confusion. In Mexico, Daylight Saving Time begins the first Sunday in April and ends the last Sunday in October. So, on the first Sunday in April Mexicans change their clock forward one hour at 2 a.m. and on the last Sunday in October, they change their clocks back one hour at 2 a.m.

Time Zones in Mexico

There are four time zones in Mexico:

  • The Northwest Zone (Zona Noroeste) is exclusively for the state of Baja California, and is equivalent to the Pacific Time Zone in the United States (UTC -8). The Northwest Zone is pictured on the map in light blue.
  • The Pacific Zone (Zona Pacífico) applies in the states of Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Sinaloa, and Sonora, and is equivalent to the Mountain Time Zone (UTC -7). The Pacific Zone is pictured on the map in beige.
  • The Central Zone (Zona Centro) covers over three fourths of the country - covering all of central and eastern Mexico, including the capital, Mexico City, and stretching all the way to Cancun in the Yucatan Peninsula. The Central Zone is equivalent to the Central Time Zone in the U.S. and Canada (UTC -6). The Central Zone is pictured on the map in dark blue.
  • The Southeastern Zone (Zona Sureste) The state of Quintana Roo, which is home to Cancun and the Riviera Maya is on Southeastern time  as of February 1, 2015. The state had previously been on Central time.

Exceptions

As of 2010, Daylight Saving Time was extended in some municipalities along the border in order to coincide with the observation of Daylight Saving Time in the United States. The following locations are included in this provision: Tijuana and Mexicali in the state of Baja California, Ciudad Juarez and Ojinaga in Chihuahua state, Acuña and Piedras Negras in Coahuila, Anahuac in Nuevo Leon, and Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa and Matamoros in Tamaulipas. In these locations Daylight Saving Time begins on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.
(Comision Nacional para el Uso Eficiente de la Energia)