Winter is the most popular time to visit Mexico and there are many good reasons to visit this time of year as opposed to during other seasons. If you choose to travel in the spring, summer or fall, you may find better deals and fewer crowds, but there are some very good reasons why winter is generally the busiest time of year.
Also read: When to go to Mexico
Winter Weather: Escape the Cold
Folks from northern climes seek out the sun and warmer weather Mexico has to offer during the winter months.
Mexico's weather is not uniformly hot, however, and wintertime can see some chilly temperatures in some areas. Beach destinations will generally be warm unless you catch the occasional cold front. Destinations at higher altitudes like Mexico City, and San Cristobal de las Casas can get quite cold in winter, especially at night and in the mornings; afternoons are still generally sunny and warm. Check our Mexico weather guide and forecasts before your departure, and pack a sweater just in case.
Holidays and Festivals
This is a great time of year to visit Mexico if you would like to experience some traditional Mexican festivals. From the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12 to el dia de Reyes on January 6, there's hardly a dull moment. You can experience some of Mexico's varied Christmas traditions, taste some special Christmas foods and otherwise join in the fun, and even after that marathon of festivities has passed, there are still celebrations going on.
Check out our monthly events lists for more details:
Encounters with Wildlife
It's not just people who head south of the border for warmth and sun. There are many migratory animal species that make the trip for similar reasons, making winter a great time for wildlife observation.
Monarch butterflies are in their wintering grounds in the butterfly reserves of Michoacan and Estado de Mexico from November through February, so if you've dreamed of being surrounded by millions of fluttering orange winged monarchs, this is the time to go.
Whale watching excursions are offered in Los Cabos from December 15 to March 15. These giant marine mammals can put on quite a spectacle. It's well worth seeing, so if you're traveling during the whale watching season, do schedule an excursion.
Birds: Although Mexico offers wonderful opportunities for birding year-round, the winter months offer the best chance to see both migratory and endemic species.
High Season Travel
Since it's the busiest time of year, it's best to plan your winter getaway in advance and make air and hotel reservations a few months ahead of your trip. It's still possible to plan a last-minute getaway in the winter, but not as easy as the shoulder seasons, and you'll probably pay more. Depending on the specific dates, you may find tourist sites and attractions somewhat crowded. See our list of Mexican national holidays to get an idea of when will be the most transited times and plan your trip accordingly: long weekends and school holidays are the most popular travel times.