Wondering when you should travel to Mexico? You'll find interesting festivals and fiestas taking place every month of the year. From Carnival time at the beginning of the year to Mexican Independence Day in September, there is always a lot going on.
Check out some of the most important festivals, holidays, and events, and some general weather information around the time of those events. Knowing this can help you decide when it is the best time for you to visit Mexico.
The year kicks off with New Year's festivities, and this month also sees the celebration of Three Kings Day. January (along with December) is one of the months with the lowest temperatures, which can make for pleasant weather in coastal areas, but at the higher elevations it can be decidedly chilly, so check the weather in your destination of choice and pack accordingly. Many travelers looking to escape cold weather visit Mexico in the winter months; this is considered the high season.
In the U.S., February 2 is Groundhog Day, but in Mexico, it is the religious holiday known as Día de la Candelaria (Candlemas in English). Carnival often falls in the month of February (sometimes March), and the first Monday of the month is a public holiday in honor of Constitution Day. February is statistically the driest month of the year and temperatures are warming up. This month is the peak of monarch butterfly season, so it is an ideal time to visit Mexico's monarch butterfly reserves.
The third Monday in March is a public holiday in honor of Benito Juarez' birthday. March 20 or March 21 is the spring equinox, and spring festivals are held. This is also the time that crowds gather in Chichen Itza to witness the appearance of a serpent on the steps of the pyramid of Kukulkan (a play of light and shadow). Spring break often falls in March, so if you want to avoid crowds, you should choose to stay in one of Mexico's less well-known beach destinations.
Throughout most of the country, the weather in April is hot and dry, and Holy Week usually falls during this month, so many Mexicans head to the beach at this time. During Holy Week (officially the week leading up to Easter, but the following week is also a holiday for many) millions of Mexicans take a family vacation, so beaches and tourist attractions are crowded. Make hotel and travel reservations well ahead of time if you will be in Mexico during the Easter break.
May is a very busy month in Mexico with lots of holidays and events. May 1 is Labor Day, a public holiday celebrated like the American holiday. Then comes Cinco de Mayo, though not celebrated with as much exuberance as in the U.S, it is commemorated with parades and civic events. Mother's Day, held in Mexico on May 10 every year, is a major cultural celebration. Restaurants are usually packed with families treating their mothers to a meal out. As for the weather, it may still be quite hot during May, and this month marks the beginning of rainy season throughout much of the country.
In the month of June, you can enjoy festivals such as the Día de Locos, "the Day of the Crazies," in San Miguel de Allende, and the Feria de San Pedro, "St. Peter's Fair" in Tlaquepaque near Guadalajara. The weather in June is warm and it can be humid, with tropical showers in the late afternoons and evenings. June through October is considered the sea turtle season, and if you'd like to participate in a turtle release program, this is a good time to go.
The rainy season begins in May but July is often the wettest month of the year. That should not deter you from visiting, however, as it usually rains in the late afternoon and evening, leaving plenty of time for sightseeing earlier in the day. The summer vacation period lasts from the beginning of July through the end of August, but typically tourist destinations and attractions are not as crowded as they are during the winter months and Holy Week. The Guelaguetza festival is held in Oaxaca for the last half of the month and is a great opportunity to enjoy Mexican culture and folk dances.
Some festivals you can enjoy in August are the Huamantla Fair in Tlaxcala, where the city streets are decorated with flower petals and sawdust; and the Fiestas de la Vendimia, a wine festival held in Ensenada, Baja California. Northern Mexico has hot temperatures in August, whereas the central and southern regions experience warm and rainy weather. Beach destinations tend to be hot and humid in August, but destinations in the interior are cooler. Although hurricane season officially begins in June, most major storms strike between August and October, so if you're thinking of traveling in August, you should take this into consideration.
Fall is an excellent season to visit Mexico. There are usually very good deals to be found. This is generally considered the low season. Temperatures in September are agreeable; the rainy season is coming to an end throughout most of the country, so you can enjoy lush green vegetation without having to contend with much rain. Although, the hurricane season is not over yet, so keep that in the back of your mind. Mexican Independence Day is officially celebrated on September 16, but you will find that festivities stretch out over the whole month.
The Festival Cervantino, held yearly in Guanajuato in the month of October, is one of the country's most celebrated cultural festivals. Other important festivals held in October include the Morelia International Film Festival and the Fiestas del Sol in Mexicali, Baja California. October marks the end of the rainy season, but there's still a chance of tropical storms and hurricanes. In general, the weather is milder than in the summer or winter months. Daylight Saving Time comes to an end in Mexico on the last Sunday in October as everyone starts to gear up for the Day of the Dead celebrations that begin at the end of the month.
There are many good reasons to visit Mexico in November. The Day of the Dead is at the beginning of the month to honor and celebrate deceased loved ones. Puerto Vallarta's Gourmet Festival is held in mid-November, and the third Monday in November is a public holiday in commemoration of the Mexican Revolution. Temperatures are lower in November than in the preceding months, so it's a wonderful time to enjoy Mexico's beaches. The inland parts of the country can get rather chilly in the evenings.
There is a lot happening this month especially with Christmas at the end of the month. The feast day of Mexico's patron saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe falls on December 12, the posadas (caroling processions) begin on December 16 and run through December 24. December and January tend to be the coolest months of the year, so no matter your destination, you'll probably want to bring a sweater just in case. Beach destinations and the colonial cities can get busy and crowded.