Weather

When planning a trip to Mexico most people spend more time wondering whether they’ve packed enough sunscreen than contemplating what the weather forecast in Mexico is going to be like. We count on the entire country always being hot and sunny –and that is generally true if you go during the high tourist season of November through March, and only to certain destinations.

The truth is, Mexico is a big country with quite an amazing and diverse terrain throughout its regions, and a diverse terrain means diverse weather. In its interior, Mexico has tropical rainforests (jungles), low desert plains, even lower coastal plains, elevated plateaus, high snow-capped mountains (really), and deep rocky canyons. Combine that with being nearly surrounded by the great waters of the Sea of Cortez, Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea and we have quite a few factors influencing the climate in Mexico.

Mexico’s Seasons

Mexico doesn’t have the four typical seasons of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall that are found in Canada and the United States. It has two seasons: a dry season and a rainy season.

Throughout most of Mexico, the rainy season occurs between May and September, but it could begin earlier or last longer. It’s the time of year when hurricanes and tropical storms are most likely to hit Mexico. During the dry season, from November to April, there is little or no rain.

This climate system sounds simple enough, but it doesn’t really get to the heart of what the extreme changes in landscape found throughout the country does to the climate of each region. Mexico’s topography varies extremely by region, and even within a region, and its climate is all about latitudes and altitudes.

The dry season might be, well, dry, but the temperature is not the same on Mexico’s coasts as it is in its mountains. In fact, comparing one coast to another it’s not even the same temperature. And the rain might just be the soft, warm kind followed by a refreshing sea breeze in some areas but in other areas it could really be sleet, or even snow.

In the beautiful Copper Canyon located in the northern state of Chihuahua there can be a 30 °F difference between its highlands and lowlands, particularly in the “winter” months.

The canyon bottom is quite hot and arid throughout summer and the tree-topped highlands are much cooler. Winter can sometimes bring freezing temperatures, sleet, and an occasional snowfall to the highlands.

The coastal regions are generally warm and balmy year-round, with a few rainy months and several dry months. There are inland areas like Mexico City that can have some chilly days and colder nights. The central area, with its wonderful colonial cities, such as the city of Cuernavaca in the state of Morelos, has what some call the most perfect weather in the world, with year-round highs in the 70’s. And here’s something you might not expect - some cities have their hottest months in February and March.

So, if you are planning a trip to Mexico, check out the information below to get more specifics on the terrain and weather by region. You may discover a new area to visit, because Mexico has a climate and landscape for everyone!

Mexico’s Weather by Region

The Baja California Peninsula has the Pacific Ocean on its west boundary and the Sea of Cortez on the east. This long peninsula encompasses the Mexican states of Baja California to its north and Baja California Sur to its south. The northern state has weather patterns akin to that of Southern California in the United States, while the southern state has patterns similar to that of Arizona.

The Sierra Mountain range in the middle of the peninsula serves as a barrier against Pacific air masses moving eastward. Many cities on the eastern side of the peninsula boast an average of over 300 days of sunshine each year. But then so does Los Cabos in the south of the peninsula.

Hurricanes have occasionally hit both coasts of the Baja Peninsula, but near-misses aren’t unusual. Within hours a tropical storms can deliver 1 to 2 feet of rain, making average rainfall statistics a bit skewed. The wind from storms raging hundreds of miles from shore generate spectacular ocean waves and bring flocks of surfers to the Baja Peninsula.

Baja California has its rainy season from December to March, which is outside of Mexico’s “normal” rainy season. Storms come in from the North Pacific but are usually not too strong by the time they reach Baja. The rest of the year is mild and fairly dry, with a constant breeze along the Pacific Coast.

More rain occurs in the wine-producing area along the Sierra Mountain range. In the southern part of the state are desert areas, with scorching summer heat and cool winters.

Cities in Baja California
✓ Tijuana
✓ Rosarito
✓ Ensenada
✓ San Felipe
Average Temperatures – Tijuana
Month High °F Low °F
January 68 46
July 78 65
October 69 45

Cities here, like Tijuana, receive about 9 inches of rainfall in an average year.

Baja California Sur has warm winters, hot summers, and refreshing breezes in its southern reaches, with the nearby mountain area being slightly cooler, even developing frost in the winter months. This state gets the majority of its rainfall during Mexico’s traditional rainy season.

The eastern side of the state along the Gulf Coast is typically 10 °F warmer than the western side along the Pacific coast. The Gulf has an average year-round water temperature of 72 °F but it can warm into the 80’s in summer months.

Cities in Baja California Sur
✓ La Paz
✓ Cabo San Lucas (Los Cabos)
✓ San Jose del Cabo
Average Temperatures – Los Cabos
Month High °F Low °F
January 74 54
July 90 78
October 87 74

The tourist area of Los Cabos is mainly arid with an average yearly rainfall of about 10 inches. The average temperature is 78 °F year-round but throughout the high tourist season of October to April, daytime temperatures typically run to 80 °F and during the night cool to the 60's.

The Yucatan Peninsula separates the Gulf of Mexico from the Caribbean Sea and is comprised of the states: Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Campeche. The peninsula is quite close to sea level, so coastal temperatures are very warm throughout the year.

From June to August, the region is swelteringly hot and humid with monsoon-like downpours, however brief they may be, occurring early evening and bringing some relief from the intense heat.

Temperatures inland are somewhat higher than on the coast. Yearly precipitation here varies from around 60 inches along the Mayan Riviera in Quintana Roo, to about 30 inches in Merida, Yucatan, falling primarily between the months of June and September.

Along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula hurricanes are a concern between June and November.

Cities in the Yucatán Peninsula
✓ Merida
✓ Cancun
✓ Campeche
Average Temperatures – Cancún
Month High °F Low °F
January 81 67
July 90 78
October 87 74

The Pacific Coast Region sitting at sea level experiences warm to hot weather, with temperatures being fairly consistent throughout the year. The area’s rainy season occurs between June and October, with rainfall primarily seen in the evening or late afternoon.

Cities along the Pacific Coast
✓ Mazatlan
✓ Puerto Vallarta
✓ Ixtapa
✓ Acapulco
Average Temperatures – Acapulco
Month High °F Low °F
January 88 70
July 90 75
October 90 75

The Gulf Coast Region is among Mexico’s most humid areas, with Veracruz receiving 78 inches of rainfall annually, mainly falling between June and October. Temperatures here generally run between the high 70’s °F and high 80’s year-round.

Cities along the Gulf Coast
✓ Veracruz
✓ Coatzacoalcos
✓ Villahermosa
✓ Poza Rica
Average Temperatures – Veracruz
Month High °F Low °F
January 75 64
July 87 74
October 85 72

Colonial Cities of the North, South, and Central Regions

The majority of Mexico’s interesting colonial towns and principal cities located inland are at altitudes ranging from high plateaus to even higher mountains. For example, Mexico City is more than 7,000 feet above sea level. Most of the other colonial towns and cities throughout Mexico are generally positioned at altitudes of no less than 5,000 feet above sea level.

Areas that lie between 2500 and 7500 feet above sea level in Mexico are considered “Tierra Templada”, meaning that they are temperate lands in terms of temperature and precipitation. This temperate land includes some of Mexico’s most beautiful colonial cities.

The altitude keeps the inland climate quite pleasant, in dramatic contrast to many of the coastal regions, which are hot and drenching with humidity.

Still, in the mountain towns and cities and in open areas during the Fall months the days are pleasantly warm, with nights being cool or chilly. The winter months bring dropping temperatures, often to near-freezing at night.

Northern Mexico in its interior is usually dry, but temperatures vary much throughout the year. Summer months can be extremely hot. It gets cold in the winter; cold enough for an occasional snowfall.

Cities in the Northern Region
✓ Nogales
✓ Monterrey
✓ Durango
✓ Hermosillo
✓ Zacatecas
Average Temperatures – Monterrey
Month High °F Low °F
January 67 48
July 94 74
October 83 64

Central Mexico’s inland areas experience spring-like weather, with pleasantly warm days and cooler nights. Here we have “Tierra Templada” at its finest. The area has some interesting weather as well, with April and May being their warmest months of the year. After that the rains begin and temperatures drop slightly through October, continuing to drop ever so slightly in December and January.

Cities in the Central Region
✓ San Luis Potosi
✓ Guadalajara
✓ Guanajuato
✓ Queretaro
✓ Morelia
✓ Mexico City
✓ Cuernavaca
Average Temperatures – Mexico City
Month High °F Low °F
January 70 43
July 79 53
October 72 50

Southern Region states like Chiapas and Oaxaca have weather similar to the Central Region, with high-altitude cities, like San Cristobal de las Casas, running significantly cooler.

Cities in the South
✓ Oaxaca City
✓ Tuxtla Gutierrez
✓ San Cristobal de las Casas
Average Temperatures – Oaxaca
Month High °F Low °F
January 77 47
July 82 59
October 79 56

There are many exciting destinations to explore in Mexico, besides the coastal resort towns. The colonial cities of South and Central Mexico provide a true taste of Mexico’s culture. The majestic mountains and spectacular canyons found throughout the country are scenic beyond measure. The biospheres found in the North are an environmentalist’s paradise. And for these, you just might want to check the weather forecast.

Spanish version of this page: El Tiempo