Weather in Oaxaca: Climate, Seasons, and Average Monthly Temperature

Oaxaca, Scenic old city streets and colorful colonial buildings in historic city center
Elijah-Lovkoff / Getty Images

The city of Oaxaca, the capital of the state of the same name, is located in southern Mexico in a valley in the Sierra Madre mountain range. It has a sub-tropical climate that is generally pleasant year-round. Summers are rainy, and it’s mostly dry the rest of the year. The spring months tend to be hot and dry and winters can be chilly, especially at night (you’ll feel it since there’s no heating and most buildings in Oaxaca are drafty).

Fast Climate Facts: 

  • Hottest Months: April, May (74 degrees F / 23 degrees C) 
  • Coldest Month: January (64 degrees F / 17 degrees C)
  • Wettest Month: June (average rainfall: 6.3 inches / 160 mm) 

Rainy Season in Oaxaca

Oaxaca receives the vast majority of its rainfall during the months of June, July, August, and September. During these months, it usually rains in the afternoons or evenings. Days are mostly warm with clear, sunny skies, then the clouds roll in during the afternoon and there may be strong storms with high winds, thunder, and lightning. Temperatures may drop 10 to 15 degrees rapidly when the rain starts. The accumulated rainfall throughout the year is just under 30 inches (676 mm). During the summer months, the fields and hillsides around Oaxaca turn lush and green, so it is picturesque compared to the dry, brown landscapes seen the rest of the year.

The coast of Oaxaca state can be affected by hurricanes that develop off Mexico’s southwestern coast, but the capital city’s inland location surrounded by mountains shields it from direct exposure. However, when there’s a tropical storm on the coast, Oaxaca city may experience full days that are overcast and rainy, rather than just the rains late in the day that are typical of the rainy season. Learn more about the hurricane season in Mexico with our complete guide.

Spring in Oaxaca

Springtime sees the hottest weather of the year in Oaxaca, with average highs in the low 90s F. Temperatures may dip in the evening going down to the low 60s F, so plan more strenuous activities for the morning or evening hours. It’s usually very dry in March and April, though the first rains usually fall during these months. When you venture outside the city, you may hear the loud buzzing of cicadas (cigarras or chicharras in Spanish). If you’re looking for a break from the heat, take a day trip to the Sierra Norte region where it’s several degrees cooler.

What to Pack: Even when the weather is warm, people in Oaxaca City tend to dress quite modestly. Although norms are starting to change, it’s still rare to see locals wearing shorts or tank tops, so to not stand out too much, your best bet is to pack light pants and short-sleeved shirts, and skirts or sundresses are a good option for women. For outdoor activities, be sure to bring a hat with a wide brim to protect you from the sun, and sunscreen.

Average Temperatures by Month 

  • March: 85 F / 54 F (29 C / 12 C)
  • April: 87 F / 58 F (31 C / 14 C)
  • May: 85 F / 60 F (29 C / 16 C)

Summer in Oaxaca

Summertime is rainy season in Oaxaca, and the weather is substantially cooler than in the spring months. It’s often warm during the day and may on occasion feel a bit muggy, but in the late afternoon the clouds roll in and it rains (or pours!) for an hour or two, and the whole city feels a catharsis. It rains more in the mountains surrounding the valley, so this is a great time to go mushroom foraging, or at least to try the local mushrooms. 

What to Pack: Be sure to pack a rain jacket or poncho. An umbrella can come in handy, but sometimes the rains are accompanied by strong winds that can make it ineffective. Pack lightweight clothing that will cover you from the sun and dry quickly if you get caught in a sudden storm, and an extra pair of shoes to wear while the others are drying.

Average Temperatures by Month 

  • June: 81 F / 61 F (27 C /16 C)
  • July: 79 F / 60 F (26 C / 16 C)
  • August: 79 F / 60 F (26 C / 16 C)

Fall in Oaxaca

The fall months are very pleasant weather-wise. Temperatures are warm but not hot during the day, with highs in the low to mid-80s F and cooling off to 50s in the evening. You may still see a lot of rain in September, but this usually tapers off toward the end of the month. 

What to Pack: It’s a good idea to dress in layers, so you can strip down to a T-shirt during the heat of the day, and have a sweater or fleece for the cool evenings. 

Average Temperatures by Month 

  • September: 78 F / 60 F (26 C / 16 C)
  • October: 79 F / 56 F (26 C / 13 C)
  • November: 79 F / 51 F (26 C / 11 C)

Winter in Oaxaca

Winter in Oaxaca is generally mild, although when a cold front comes through, temperatures can drop down to 40 degrees F during the night and in the early morning, but even in these cases, during the day it generally remains in the high 60s F. Days are clear and sunny and it’s extremely unlikely to rain.

What to Pack: Layers are essential. Be sure to have a warm jacket, and you may even want a hat or scarf for warmth in the evenings.

Average Temperatures by Month 

  • December: 78 F / 49 F (26 C / 9 C)
  • January: 79 F / 48 F (26 C / 9 C)
  • February: 81 F / 50 F (27 C / 10 C)

Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Daylight Hours

  Avg. Temp. Rainfall Daylight Hours
January 63 F / 17 C 0.1 inches 11 hours
February 66 F / 19 C 0.1 inches 11 hours
March 70 F / 21 C 0.5 inches 12 hours
April 74 F / 23 C 1.5 inches 12 hours
May 74 F / 23 C 2.8 inches 13 hours
June 72 F / 22 C 6.3 inches 13 hours
July 70 F / 21 C 4.3 inches 13 hours
August 70 F / 21 C 4.2 inches 13 hours
September 70 F / 21 C 5 inches 12 hours
October 68 F / 20 C 1.6 inches 12 hours
November 65 F / 18 C 0.35 inches 11 hours
December 64 F / 18 C 0.1 inches 11 hours
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