Winter in Mexico: Top 9 Destinations

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From lazing on the beach to skiing on the slopes, winter in Mexico is a slot machine of activities that just keeps on giving. The mild temperature means there is a high influx of visitors and higher rates, but it is all worth it. Besides the sun, sand, and snow — something not many countries can promise to offer in a single season — Mexico during its winter months also throws several celebratory festivals that are a must-watch. We bet a winter vacation in Mexico will be a hit.

Mexico in Winter

Mexico temperatures during winter range from cold to hot depending on where you visit. Winter lasts from mid-December to mid-March in the country and most of the country receives an average of 10 hours of daylight. The daytime temperatures range between 20°C and 25°C — meaning you won’t have to bury yourself in layers. Some destinations at higher altitudes or towards the northern hemisphere, like Mexico City, will see chillier mornings and nights, but toasty afternoons. That being said, Mexico also offers winter activities like skiing in destinations such as Monterreal that sees regular snowfall in December and January.

Top 9 go-to destinations in Mexico during winter

Now that you’re sold on going to Mexico in winter, the next thing to do is to start plotting out an airtight itinerary. If that’s the stage you’re at, and you want to make sure that your trip goes off without a hitch, here are some awesome go-to spots for winter in Mexico.

1. Ajijic in winter

Sunset at Lake Chapala in Mexico
Lake Chapala is a beautiful tropical lake and offers stunning sunsets and sunrises on any day
San Andres Church in Ajijic, Mexico
 Be here for the 9-day Fiestas de San Andrés when the town celebrates its patron saint, St. Andrew

Situated on the northern shores of Lake Chapala, Ajijic is a charming, idyllic town known for its natural surroundings and art. Bordered by the Sierra Madre Mountains, the town during winter has mild weather with day temperatures hovering around 25°C. It is a great place to be at if your holiday plans entail relaxing, unwinding and rejuvenating. 

Recommended activities:

  • Stroll along the narrow, cobbled streets of the lakeside town
  • Pay a visit to the historic San Andres Church
  • Join thousands of Mexicans at the National Chili Cook-off, hosted in Ajijic in February
  • Enjoy relaxing soaks in thermal baths located a few miles west of the town

2. Ensenada in winter

A glass of wine against the vineyards in Ensenada, Mexico
Pick Ensenada as a jump-off point for wine tasting in Baja, California 
The town of Ensenada is a wonderful place to visit during winter in Mexico
Go to Guadalupe Island in Ensenada to see white sharks

Set on the Pacific Coast, Ensenada is a great place to spend the winter season in Mexico. Less than two hours from San Diego, the big town features long, cool winter days. As Mexico’s biggest wine producer, it is a haven for wine lovers; and as a coastal city, it meets every requirement for a beach bum. 

Recommended activities:

  • Enjoy mouthwatering seafood at one of the local joints near the city’s fish market
  • Visit Hussong’s Cantina — one of the oldest bars in Ensenada, that many say is the birthplace of the margarita
  • Take a stroll on the boardwalk at the Malecon at sunset or sunrise, although you’ll need a light jacket to beat the light chill in the air
  • Marvel at La Bufadora, a marine geyser; legend has it that it is a whale wedged within the rocks

3. Oaxaca in winter

Oaxaca is a city laced with colorful streets and archeological sites. Famous for its cuisine, art, culture and tradition, visiting Oaxaca in winter means fewer tourists, cheaper hotels and getting to explore this cool destination without the boiling heat of summer. 

Recommended activities:

  • Discover cultural hotspots around the historic center of the city
  • Learn about Oaxaca’s history at Museo de las Culturas (perfect on a chilly winter’s morning in Mexico)
  • Step next-door, inside the 400-year-old Templo de Santo Domingo
  • Feast your eyes — and stomach — on one of the city’s food markets, like Benito Juarez Market

4. San Miguel de Allende in winter

A well lit cathedral and the town at dusk in Mexico
Jardin Allende is a highlight of the enticing town of San Miguel de Allende
The colorful, cobbled street of San Miguel de Allende in Mexico
San Miguel de Allende has architecture and cobble-stone streets to admire

San Miguel de Allende has a thriving art scene, colonial-era Baroque architecture to admire, cobbled streets to wander — all comfortably explored in a city known for its year-round “eternal spring”. Clear days at this time of year make the town very popular for Mexico winter vacations.

Recommended activities:

  • Enjoy the street artists and local musicians in the heart of the city at El Jardin
  • Go shopping for Mexican handicrafts at Mercado de Artesanias
  • Visit the archeological site of Cañada de la Virgen for pre-colonial wonders
  • Go and catch a show or movie at La Biblioteca — the town’s public library

5. Tlaxcala City in winter

With its pretty colonial-era center, the high-altitude city of Tlaxcala is located in central Mexico. Visitors can expect decidedly cool temperatures, with mild daytime highs and some rain or snow; warm-weather travelers should pack accordingly.

Recommended activities:

  • Hit the slopes for skiing and snowboarding at La Malinche National Park — a must for a Mexico winter holiday!
  • See where the Spanish founded the town in the compact Centro Historico, complete with some of the oldest churches in Mexico
  • Check out the beautiful murals inside the Government Palace
  • Admire a collection of early Frida Kahlo paintings at the Museo de Arte de Tlaxcala

6. Zihuatanejo in winter

Colorful houses next to a pond in Zihuatanejo in Mexico
The coastal village of Zihuatanejo is known for beautiful beaches and easy-going, friendly people

Mexico’s fourth-biggest city is a Pacific paradise — a former fishing village that grew up into a resort town in the 1970s. Winter means affordable accommodation, wandering cobbled streets without the heat, and generally enjoying the place without crowds.

Recommended activities:

  • Go see the fishermen selling their catch of the day at Paseo del Pescador
  • Wander along the waterfront boulevard and soak up the atmosphere
  • While away the hours at the Archaeological Museum of Costa Grande
  • Watch a sunset from Playa Larga Zihuatanejo
  • Take a day trip from Zihuatenejo to explore Ixtapa Island 

7. Tulum in winter

Mexico's Tulum beach is the best beach destination in Mexico
Tulum beach in Mexico is a true Caribbean getaway

A very popular Yucatan Peninsula destination for tourists and backpackers alike, visiting Tulum in winter means getting to learn about Mayan civilization and chilling on the beach. Temperatures hover around 28°C with less rain than in summer — some of the best weather in Mexico in winter.

Recommended activities:

  • Swim in a cenote (natural swimming hole) like Gran Cenote
  • See the Mayan ruins at Coba, some 30 miles out of town
  • Explore the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
  • Tuck into delicious food at local eateries
  • Bar-hop around the town, enjoying live music as you go — there are plenty of options!

8. Tequila Country in winter

Rows of agave plant against a hill in the backdrop in Mexico
You visit Tequila Country without stopping in at any of the many tequila distilleries

Famous for being the home of tequila itself, and located at the base of Tequila Volcano, this UNESCO-recognized town is surrounded by fields of blue agave — the main ingredient for tequila. It’s warm and comfortable in winter (around 27°C), making it fine weather for getting to grips with the local liquor — and sights, of course.

Recommended activities:

  • Ride the Jose Cuervo Express, which involves a tour of the titular distillery
  • Visit La Parroquia Santiago Apostol: the town’s 17th-century Baroque style church
  • Trace the origins of the tipple at the Museo Nacional de Tequila
  • Enjoy a nightcap or toast your day at La Capilla (“The Chapel”) which is the oldest cantina in Tequila

9. Cozumel in winter

Girl in snorkeling mask dive underwater with coral reef fishes in Cozumel
Snorkel in the tropical waters of Cozumel island

Famous for its scuba diving, this island in the Caribbean Sea is a great place to visit during Mexico in winter. With year-round warm weather and plenty of places to swim and laze around on the white sand beaches, it’s a perfect place to catch some winter sun.

Recommended activities:

  • Swim among the marine life of the Meso-American Reef
  • Travel back in time at the centuries-old San Gervasio ruins
  • Get involved in local culture at the bustling Mercado Municipal
  • Marvel at the Castillo Real — an amazingly well-preserved Mayan ruin
  • Simply hit the beach and relax!

Spending winter in Mexico is undoubtedly a good idea. There’s lots of daylight throughout the season, there’s less humidity and many places are warm and pleasant. Soak up the culture, enjoy the sun and sand, or go skiing on the slopes, there is something to do for everyone in Mexico during winter.

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