Wondering when you should travel to Mexico? You'll find interesting festivals and fiestas taking place every month of the year. This monthly guide to Mexico highlights the most important festivals, holidays, and events, as well as offering information about high and low season and weather conditions, to help you decide when to travel to Mexico.
See also: When is the best time to visit Mexico?
The year kicks off with New Year's festivities, and this month also sees the celebration of Kings Day. January (along with December) is one of the months of the year with the lowest temperatures, which can make for very pleasant weather in coastal areas, but at 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, so this is considered high season.
Carnival often falls in the month of February (dates vary), and the first Monday of the month is a public holiday in honor of Constitution Day. This is statistically the driest month of the year and temperatures are warming up. February marks the peak for Monarch butterfly season, so it's an ideal time of year to visit Mexico's monarch butterfly reserves.
The third Monday in March is a public holiday in honor of Benito Juarez' birthday. March 20th or 21st is the spring equinox, and spring festivals are held, and this is also the date 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 the month of 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'll be in Mexico during the Easter break.
May is a very busy month in Mexico, with lots of holidays and events. May 1st is a public holiday, Labor Day. Then it's 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 10th every year, is a major cultural celebration, and restaurants are 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 through much of the country.
In the month of June you can enjoy festivals such as the Día de Locos in San Miguel de Allende, and the Feria de San Pedro 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 "sea turtle season" and if you'd like to participate in a turtle release program, this is a good time to do so.
Rainy season begins in May but July is often the wettest month of the year. That shouldn't 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 aren't as crowded as during the winter months and Holy Week. The Guelaguetza festival is held in Oaxaca from mid- to end of July, 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 during which 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 at this time, 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 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, as this is generally considered low season. Temperatures in September are agreeable and 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 (though hurricane season isn't over yet, so take the appropriate precautions). Mexican Independence Day is celebrated in the month of September, and although the 16th is the official date, you'll find 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 important cultural festivals. Other important festivals held in October include the Morelia's International Film Festival and the Fiestas del Sol in Mexicali, Baja California. Day of the Dead celebrations begin at the end of the month. October marks the end of the rainy season; there's still a chance of tropical storms and hurricanes, but 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.
There are many good reasons to visit Mexico in November. Day of the Dead is an important Mexican celebration that takes place this month (festivities begin at the end of October) honoring and celebrating 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. Inland it can get rather chilly in the evenings.
There's lots happening this month: the feast day of Mexico's patron saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe falls on the 12th, the posadas begin on the 16th and run through the 24th, and then of course there are other Christmas celebrations. 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. Both beach destinations and popular colonial cities can be busy and crowded at this time.