If you are thinking about traveling to Mexico in January, you have made a pretty good choice. This is one of the best and most popular times of the year to travel to most parts of the country
In coastal areas like Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Tulum, and Baja California Sur, you can expect daily temperatures between around 82.4°F and 91°F. It is plenty hot enough that you can enjoy going to the beach and doing outside sightseeing activities without being unbearably hot.
There are also some great city breaks that you can do at this time. Mexico City, Santiago de Queretaro, Guadalajara, and Guanajuato, among others, make great cultural destinations all year round.
Although they are at higher altitudes than most Mexican beach towns and are far from hot, they may offer milder winter climes than what you usually have in your own country. The only downside to traveling at this time is the crowds and “snowbirds” that some areas attract.
You are in good hands here because I have lived in Mexico for several years. (I am based in the Yucatan capital of Merida)
In this post, I will run through everything you need to know about traveling to Mexico in January, what the weather is like, what’s going on, and where the best places to travel are.
Visiting Mexico in January 2025
When thinking about what the weather is going to be like in Mexico in January, or wondering if Mexico is cold or not, it is important to consider the sheer size and vastness of this country. Mexico is a huge place.
Climates and temperatures vary significantly from one region to another. Southeastern Mexico and the Yucatan peninsula has a very humid tropical climate, as does Puerto Vallarta, Nayarit, and the Pacific Coast.
Regions of Northern and inland Mexico vary from arid, temperate climes to places that get very cold during the winter. In the mountainous Chiapas town of San Cristobal de las Casas or the Jalisco pueblo magico of San Sebastian del Oeste, for example, it is often so cold in the evenings that you can see your own breath!
If you decide to take the Copper Canyon train from Los Mochis to Creel, Chihuahua, you are sometimes fortunate enough to see snow. (Yes, snow in Mexico!)
Where you are going will dictate what type of things you need to pack for Mexico. Winters in Mexican beach towns are hotter than summers in most places.
You won’t even need a light cardigan for the evenings because it seldom drops below around 86°F/30°C. On the other hand, if you are heading somewhere like Mexico City or Guadalajara, you should be prepared to layer up like an onion and pack jeans/trousers, t-shirts and a sweater, and a coat or two.
Mexico in January Sunshine Hours
You can expect an average of 11 hours of sunlight in Mexico in January. Sunrise tends to happen at around 7.15 a.m. and sunset at around 6.20 p.m.
This is pretty good for a sightseeing schedule. Most Mayan ruins, museums and historical sites in Mexico open their doors at 8 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. The last admission tends to be around 4 p.m.
Festivities and Events in Mexico in January 2025
There are lots of fun events and festivities virtually every month of the year in Mexico and January is no different. Although Christmas is over, you will note that a lot of places keep their decorations up until well into the middle of the month.
New Year’s Day in Mexico (Año Nuevo)
The turn of the New Year is as much of a big thing for Mexicans as it is for people in countless countries around the globe.
However, while a lot of parties happen on New Year’s Eve, January 1st can see a lot of towns and villages become something of a ghost town as people close up their businesses and spend the day with their families.
In the Yucatán Peninsula, there is an interesting (if somewhat violent!) tradition of burning a piñata of an old man, to represent the end of the old year and the old self. People often set off fireworks around Merida, Valladolid, Cancun, etc in parallel.
There are also a couple of interesting Mexican superstitions that surround New Year’s in Mexico. For example, it is said that if you drag your suitcase around the neighborhood, you will have lots of travel in the near future. (So maybe it’s worth having a go and seeing what happens!)
Three King’s Day in Mexico
January 6th Marks El Dia de Los Reyes or “Kings Day” in Mexico and is named in honor of the Three Kings that visited Jesus shortly after he was born in Bethlehem, bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Some Mexicans open their Christmas presents on this day instead of on the 25th of December. Although this is more of a day to spend with family than a day that means any large events, in the lead-up to January 6th, you will find panaderias and patisseries around the country selling a traditional cake known as “Rosca de Reyes”.
This delicious, circular donut-style cake is essentially a sweet bread and is decorated with candied fruit and icing sugar. There is usually a small plastic figure inside the cake and whoever finds it has to do the cooking at the next family gathering!
Even if you aren’t invited into someone’s home to celebrate Three Kings Day with them, it is worth stopping by a bakery and buying yourself a cake to try.
Merida Fest, Yucatan
Merida Fest is a celebration that takes place every year in the Yucatan cultural capital of Merida. It celebrates the city’s history and heritage and 2025 will mark 483 years since Merida was founded.
Throughout the festival, hundreds of musical, theatrical, and dance performances are hosted in more than 30 venues across the city. Most are free to attend and as you meander around the old town, you will often pass makeshift stages filled with dancers or folk singers.
Dance of the Parachicos, Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas
There are several cultural festivals that take place in different parts of Mexico throughout the year. One of the most famous and elaborate is the Fiesta Grande de Chiapa de Corzo in the little pueblo magico of Chiapa de Corzo.
It runs between the 4th and the 23rd of January every year. Parachico dancers wear traditional clothing and painted wooden masks as they dance and follow a procession route throughout the town.
They pass and stop at several churches along the route and the entire celebration is hosted in honor of three Catholic Saints. Namely, Saint Anthony Abbot, Our Lord of Esquipulas, and Saint Sebastian. The festival was recognized by UNESCO in 2010 as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Ortiz Tirado Music Festival, Sonora
The Ortiz Tirado music festival takes place in late January every year in Alamos, Sonora, Northern Mexico. It sees classic musicians from across the world come together to perform on stages across the city in honor of the memory of Opera singer Alfonso Ortiz Tirado.
The 2025 program has not yet been announced, but the festival is likely to kick off from around the 22nd of January.
Best Places to Travel to in Mexico in January
Visiting Mexico in January is a good time to travel to pretty much any part of the country. However, it all depends on what you are looking for – whether you are traveling to Mexico in search of some summer sun, or whether you don’t really care about the weather and you are just looking for some culture.
Best places to visit in Mexico in January
- Cancun and the Riviera Maya
- Merida and the Yucatan state
- The Copper Canyon train route from Los Mochis to Creel
- Campeche state
- Mexico City
- Chiapas state
- Puerto Vallarta and the Pacific Coast
- Cabo San Lucas
Cancun in January
January is a perfect time to visit Cancun and the wider state of Quintana Roo. If you dream of relaxing on paradisiacal Caribbean beaches, you can use Cancun as a starting point.
From there, you can venture onwards to Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Isla Holbox, and Isla Mujeres. You can also consider heading southwards from Cancun to Tulum.
If your schedule allows you time to head further south to Costa Maya, the gorgeous “seven-colour lagoon” of Lake Bacalar and the quaint fishing village of Mahahual are not to be missed.
The average daily temperatures in Cancun in January are between 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit and things get warmer towards the end of the month. The water is plenty warm enough to go swimming and enjoy water sports.
Arguably the only downside to traveling at this time is that this is the height of the peak season in Quintana Roo and many beaches and tourist sites are at their most crowded, with thousands of snowbirds and tourists that flock to Mexico to escape the cold weather in their countries.
Flight, car rental, and accommodation prices are often at their highest at this time and it is not unheard of for popular places to sell out completely. If you want to visit Cancun in January, you need to book everything in advance.
The El Chepe train through Copper Canyon
A great alternative thing to do in Mexico in January is to take the El Chepe train along the Copper Canyon railway route in Northern Mexico. (Actually, it is not that alternative as this is very popular among Mexicans in the winter, although the railway is lesser known on an international scale.)
The train starts in the city of Los Mochis in the Ahome region of Sinaloa which is worth spending a few days in in itself. Los Mochis is no great beauty, but it is home to an interesting street food culture, some cute parks, plazas, and shopping streets, and makes a great jump-off point for exploring the nearby coastal town of Topolobampo and the beaches of El Maviri.
There are several different classes available on this scenic train and the most high-end classes (executive and first class) boast an old-fashioned dining car and two plush bars with floor-to-ceiling windows and unparalleled views.
The train stops in the Sinaloa pueblo magico of El Fuerte, the fictional home of Zorro, before continuing to Creel Chihuahua. Be sure to book your train tickets in advance, particularly if you are traveling right after Christmas and they often sell out completely.
It is a nice idea to plan your trip so that you can disembark at each stop and spend a few days in each. Spend a day in El Fuerte and perhaps 2-3 in a cute cabin in Creel, enjoying the area’s nature and hiking trails before heading back to Mochis.
Los Mochis is crisp and cool in January, seeing daily averages between 55°F and 73°F. In Creel Chihuahua, you need to wrap up warm and bring your winter coat, scarf, and gloves.
Expect temperatures of between 31°F and 59°F.
Merida and the Yucatan in January
January is a great time to embark on a Yucatan itinerary. The state capital of Merida is a gorgeous city characterized by its colorful colonial houses and buildings, many of which have been converted into quaint, adorable coffee shops, bars, and restaurants.
The Paseo Montejo is the city’s main promenade, named, quite controversially, after Francisco de Montejo, the Spanish Conquistador who founded the city back in 1542. Here, you will find an impressive, towering sculpture of an indigenous man known as the “Monument a la Patria”.
On Sundays, this road is closed and dozens of little bike stores pop up around the area so that you can rent bikes, scooters, and rollerskates and enjoy cycling along the street.
Visiting Chichen Itza, one of the new seven wonders of the world, is not to be missed. If you have an interest in history and ancient civilizations, you don’t want to overlook some of the lesser-known archaeological sites in this area either.
In particular, add Uxmal, Dzibilchaltun, and Mayapan. If you are comfortable enough to rent a car in Merida, you can also drive along the Ruta Puuc – a 30km Mayan archeological route that leads you to the cities of Uxmal, Kabah, Sayil, and Labna.
Campeche in January
Campeche state is the least visited of the three states that make up the Yucatan peninsula. While this is a shame as Campeche is a safe and enjoyable place to explore, it isnt a bad thing since, at least for now, Campeche is ungentrified and unchanged by tourism.
Campeche City is the capital of Campeche State. It is a gorgeous port city perched on the Gulf of Mexico known for its cobblestone streets and colorful colonial houses painted in virtually every color of the rainbow.
The old town is a photographer’s dream and a UNESCO world heritage site with vibrant streets reminiscent of Cartagena, Colombia.
It is also very easy to get from Merida to Campeche City making it possible to visit the two cities as part of a wider trip around Southeastern Mexico.
Admire the well-preserved baroque colonial architecture. Then, head up to the hilltop fortresses of San José and San Miguel to get a bird’s eye view of the city and check out the museums within.
From Campeche, you can take a day trip out to the Mayan ruins of Edzna and the remote city of Calakmul. Public transport options in Campeche are limited and the tourism infrastructure here isnt great yet so getting around is much easier if you are willing to rent a car.
Campeche State, the Yucatan, and Quintana Roo are all relatively close to each other and situated in the same part of Mexico. So, expect varying temperatures but similar weather conditions in these areas when visiting Mexico in January.
Mexico City in January
There is arguably no such thing as a bad time to plan a Mexico City itinerary and January is as good a time as any. However, don’t expect hot, summery climates when visiting the Mexican capital in winter.
Mexico City sits at a high altitude and has an elevation of 2,240 m. So while winters here may be warmer than what you are used to at home, they are cooler than elsewhere in Mexico (e.g. the Yucatan, coastal Quintana Roo, and Oaxaca).
You can expect average daytime temperatures of between 55 and 70°F at this time of year be sure to layer up and bring a jacket or a coat. If you will be visiting multiple parts of Mexico during your trip, this essentially means having to pack for two different seasons.
You could easily spend as much as a week (or more) in Mexico City and feel as though you have barely scratched the surface. The different barrios here are like little towns in themselves, each with their own personalities.
Head to Coyoacan for leafy, creative vibes, independent art galleries, cute coffee shops, thrift stores, and of course, Casa Azul – Frida Kahlo’s former home. Roma Norte, Roma Sur, and Anzures are popular among a Digital Nomad crowd and boast excellent bars, craft breweries, international eateries, and street art.
The Zocalo, Mexico City’s main square is where the original Aztec city, Tenochtitlan was once located, and at Temple Mayor, you can still see the remnants of this ancient site.
Here, you will also see the impressive structures of the Palacio Nacional (presidential palace) and the Metropolitan Cathedral. The Pyramids of Teotihuacán north of the city centre are one of the best day trips from Mexico City.
Chiapas in January
Visiting Chiapas state in Southern Mexico makes for a rewarding cultural experience. The mountain town of San Cristobal de Las Casas is most people’s raison d’être for visiting but there are plenty of other charming towns and natural wonders here too.
Over 28% of Chiapas’ population belongs to different indigenous groups (of which there are 68 in Mexico) and much of the region is autonomous. In the villages of Zinacantan and Chamula, you can learn about the Tseltal and Tsotsil people, their traditions, and their beliefs.
Tuxtla Gutierrez is the Chiapas capital and home to the state’s only international airport (TGZ). However, it is no beauty and should be nothing more than a starting point to head onwards to Chiapa de Corzo, a pueblo magico and the first city founded by the Spanish in the 16th century.
From there, you can take a scenic river cruise along the Grijalva River and towards Sumidero Canon.
The canyon boasts spectacular waterfalls, dramatic rock formations, and ancient caves, along with the possibility of spotting the occasional river crocodile.
In San Cristobal, you can take a free walking tour and then enjoy taking the time to get lost among the narrow cobbled streets.
Dozens of picturesque churches are scattered throughout the town and you can appreciate their beauty whether you are religious or not. In particular, look out for Templo Santo Domingo, a former convent that dates back to the 1700s and is unmissable with its pink facade.
Iglesia de Guadalupe and Iglesia de San Cristóbal are two charming hilltop churches. Take the hike up to them to be rewarded with incredible panoramas and photo opportunities over the town.
Weather in Chiapas in January
The climate in Chiapas actually varies significantly from one part of the state to another. San Cristobal de las Casas and the Chiapas coffee plantations in Ocosingo and the Sierra Madre mountains are at higher altitudes and get very cold at night,
Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapa de Corzo, and the southern town of Comitan de Dominguez are all at lower altitudes and see significantly warmer dry temperatures. They are still cooler in January than during other parts of the year but they are warm at this time of year by most people’s standards.
Expect temperatures between 77 and 87 degrees Fahrenheit in these areas in January.
Oaxaca in January
Oaxaca has been the Mexican travel destination on everyone’s bucket list over the last few years and for good reason. The state is unofficially known as the “foodie capital of Mexico” and although the food is good all over Mexico, there are some unique delicacies that you can sample in Oaxaca that are likely unlike anything you have tried before.
Take a stroll through the labyrinth-like network of stalls at Mercado de Abastos and sample whatever takes your fancy. Memelitas, fried quesadillas, atole, barbacoa, tlayudas, tostadas, pulque, mezcal, nieves and regional sweets are among the foodie highlights here.
If you want to learn more and discover places that you would never find independently, you may also want to consider doing a Oaxaca food tour. Since Oaxaca is also famous for its mezcal (over 90% of Mexicos mezcal is produced here), organizing a tasting is a must.
For the best experience, tour a selection of independent producers and mezcalerias. A lot of producers in Santiago de Matatlá will explain the process of making mezcal in-depth, and show you firsthand how the drink is made.
January is the coldest month of the year to visit Oaxaca. However, it is still plenty warm enough to enjoy doing cultural activities in Oaxaca City and spending a day or two by the sea in Puerto Escondido.
At this time, you can expect temperatures of between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Puerto Vallarta in January
Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular travel destinations in the country and is a perfect place to escape for some winter sun. While the beaches of Southern Jalisco may not have the same aquamarine waters of the Mexican Caribbean, they are still gorgeous and many are tucked away inside hidden natural coves, or surrounded by unique rock formations.
Playa Las Camarones is a gorgeous beach to hang out at in the center of town and it tends to attract mostly locals. Conchas Chinas is the most upscale district of Vallarta, home to a lovely small pebbled beach that is seldom crowded.
If you want to head somewhere secluded and have your own slice of tropical paradise, consider spending a day at Colomitos Beach. (It is a bit of a trek to get to because you need to first get to Boca de Tomatlan and then take a fishing boat but well worth it). Yelapa is a nice alternative and it sits within a small cove in a fishing village of the same name, backed by trees and greenery.
The cerulean waters here are crystal-clear and perfect for swimming in, and the beach is made up of soft, powdery white sand.
While a trip to Puerto Vallarta is mostly about relaxing and enjoying the beaches, there is plenty of culture to be experienced here too. The waterfront Malecon is lined with some excellent restaurants, bars, and street food stands and there are interesting sculptures and contemporary art pieces every few paces along the promenade.
If you want to pair your trip to Vallarta with a cosmopolitan city break, you can fly to Guadalajara in just 45 minutes or rent a car and head out to the nearby mountain villages of San Sebastian del Oeste and Mascota.
Cabo San Lucas in January
Cabo San Lucas is a resort city on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. It is one of the most popular travel destinations in the country and arguably rivals Cancun or Tulum as being the favorite destination of most travelers that visit the country.
Cabo is characterized by its jaw-dropping natural scenery, pristine beaches, and overall luxury travel vibe. You will find some of the chicest and most sophisticated hotels, resorts, restaurants, and spas in Mexico here.
Countless A-list Hollywood celebrities choose to spend their vacations in Cabo and when you arrive, you see that it is not difficult to understand why. Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo are the two cities that make up the “Los Cabos” area. Both are well worth visiting.
This is one of the best places to go whale-watching in Mexico in January. Every year between November and April, thousands of whales of different species (but mainly the grey humpback whales) migrate from the Arctic to mate and give birth in the warm waters of Baja California.
It is well worth booking a whale-watching tour. Because the whales are so abundant in this part of Mexico in January, you are almost guaranteed to see a few. You can also go snorkeling and take glass bottom boat tours around the area to better observe the sea life in the area if you are interested.
Sayulita in January
Sayulita is a picturesque coastal pueblo magico in the western Mexican state of Nayarit. Its proximity to Puerto Vallarta makes it convenient to pair the two destinations together. (Tons of buses run frequently between the two beach towns)
Sayulita is perhaps best known for being one of Mexico´s premier surf destinations. The wind conditions here are perfect for riding the waves and learning to surf.
Colorful Sayulita is somewhat reminiscent of a hippy commune. Many of the cafes, restaurants, and boutiques here have a bohemian air about them that reflects the clientele they attract.
If you want to try your hand at surfing and you are a complete newbie, you can get surf lessons here for as little as $50-70. Meanwhile, surfboard rentals tend to cost around $20 a day.
Check out Patricia’s Surf School Sayulita Surf School and WildMex Surf and Adventure. It’s worth reading past reviews and obtaining a few quotes to find a surf teacher that you are comfortable with, especially if you have never surfed before! Besides the main Sayulita beach, San Pancho, North Beach, La Lancha, and Playa Escondida are worth checking out.
Keep in mind that January in Mexico is the high season and this can make Sayulita very crowded, as it is already a popular destination for travelers and Digital Nomads. If you prefer things a little more peaceful, consider traveling in April or May.
Tulum in January
Tulum doesn’t really need an introduction. The small coastal town just south of Cancun is one of the most desirable destinations in Latin America.
10-15 years ago, Tulum was little more than a sleepy beach town. However, word has really gotten out about it in recent years and Tulum has quickly expanded into becoming one of the most popular destinations in the country. January is a particularly crowded month here.
In many ways, Tulum has been a victim of over-tourism, and the vibe here isn’t for everyone. Since Tulum is located on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, the beaches here are stunning.
There are many fancy beach clubs here but there are also plenty of pretty public beaches that are completely free. Playa Paraiso, Playa Ruinas (right below the Tulum ruins), Las Palmas, and Sian Ka’an Nature Reserve beach should all be on your Tulum to-do list.
The town doesn’t currently have its own airport so you need to fly into Cancun International and then make the journey from Cancun to Tulum.
Tulum is a very safe travel destination. It is so popular that it is easy to meet other people traveling here, even if you are traveling solo.
Mexico in January FAQs
Do you have any burning questions or concerns about traveling to Mexico in January 2025? The answers to some frequently asked questions are detailed below.
Hopefully, you will find the information that you are looking for there. If not, please do not hesitate to reach out to me and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can.
Does it rain in Mexico in January?
The rainy season in Mexico runs between the summer months of May and early October every year. Rain in January is virtually nonexistent in most parts of the country but the occasional downpour can never be ruled out completely.
It is worth packing an umbrella and/or a light rain mac just in case.
On average, Cabo San Lucas sees just 0.5 inches of rain in January. Meanwhile, Mexico City sees 0.4 inches and Tulum sees 2.5. San Cristobal sees just 0.1 inches of rain.
Is it hot in Mexico in January?
January is the dry season in Mexico and much of the country is hot during this time, with the exception of some cities and towns that sit at high altitudes. Because the country is so vast, it is important to check the specific temperatures in the specific area where you are traveling to.
Are there hurricanes in Mexico in January?
Hurricane season in Mexico runs from June to November. There are no hurricanes in January.
Is it busy in Mexico in January?
January is one of the busiest times to travel to Mexico. The peak season here runs between November and March/April and many people head to places like Cancun, Tulum, and Isla Mujeres in late December/January to avoid the cold weather in their countries and enjoy the holidays in sunnier climes.
As such, everywhere is both more crowded and expensive. Hotel, tour, car rental, and flight prices are at their highest of the year.
It is important to book your accommodation and excursions in advance to secure your place and find somewhere that you like as it is not unheard of for places to sell out. If you are trying to travel on a budget, you may want to consider postponing your trip for a month or two.
You will be surprised by how much prices differ between January and April. Try and book as far in advance as you can. Prices will often increase the closer you get to your departure date.
Is January a good time to travel to Mexico?
January can be a good time to travel to Mexico as long as you are aware of all of the pros and cons that come with traveling during the busy season. You will quickly note that most travelers tend to stick to the same places so if you are willing to venture somewhat off the beaten path you can avoid the crowds and enjoy a lower-cost trip. (I.e. if you choose Campeche over Cancun).
Mexico is a very safe place for tourists for the most part. Although it does not have the best reputation globally, as a tourist, you are never going to accidentally wander somewhere that is dangerous. If you don’t go looking for trouble in Mexico, trouble won’t come looking for you.
Don’t hesitate to travel to lesser-known areas. Most places are safe with the correct common sense, research, and planning. You don’t have to think that you need to confine yourself to your resort.
Final thoughts on visiting Mexico in January
The months of January and February are great times to visit Mexico. Although it is the peak season in some places, it isnt difficult to escape the crowds in this vast country with a bit of creative thinking.
At this time of year, the coastal areas are warm and sunny and the humidity has subsided. (Great news if like me you look like you have been electrocuted at the slightest hint of moisture!) In the cities, it is mild enough to walk around outdoors for extended periods without being either too hot or too cold.
If you are planning a trip to Mexico for the first time and you are feeling a little apprehensive about it, you may also enjoy reading these Mexico travel tips. I hope that you have a wonderful time traveling here!
Buen Viaje! Melissa xo