Travelling to Mexico in November is a great idea across the board, regardless of which specific region you are travelling to. Mexico is a vast country and the climate and weather conditions in November are vastly different from one area to another.
In popular coastal destinations like Puerto Vallarta, Cancun and the Riviera Maya and Baja California Sur, November is essentially “the calm before the storm” from the perspective of crowds as this is the final month of the shoulder season before thousands of tourists and snowbirds head down to Mexico in December to escape the cold in their countries.
In these regions with a humid, tropical climate, the rainy season has finally come to a close, the hurricane risk has dissipated and the temperatures, although still hot, are not as unbearably scorching as they are during the summer months. Other areas that have higher altitudes (like Guanajuato City, CDMX, Queretaro City and San Cristobal de las Casas), things are actually starting to get quite cold.
This article has been written by a British Travel Writer based in Merida, Yucatan. (Me!) I have experienced winter in Mexico several times over and will run through everything you need to know about travelling to Mexico in November, what the weather is like, and where the best places to travel are.
Travelling to Mexico in November 2023
As mentioned, Mexico is an incredibly vast country (the 13th largest in the world in fact) made up of 32 different states with drastically different climate conditions. It would be impossible to provide a “general” view of the climate and the temperature in Mexico at this time of year because, well, there isnt one.
Still, in the coastal areas, it would be fair to say that you can expect daily averages of between 84°F to 88°F in November. (28°C to 31°C). The humidity starts to drop from this month as the rainy season subsides so if you are someone whose hair frizzes up like they’ve been electrocuted at the slightest hint of moisture, you will surely be relieved.
You can expect these kinds of climates in places like Oaxaca, Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita, Los Cabos, Acapulco, Merida and the Yucatan state, Cancun and Tulum.
Occasional rain in these areas is not unheard of, but rainfall is at a minimum at this time. If you are travelling to these regions, you still want to pack your summer wardrobe because chances are November in Mexico is still hotter than or as hot as the height of summer in your country.
Mexico City, Queretaro, Guanajuato and Guadalajara, at higher altitudes see daily averages of around 77°F to 79°F (25°C-26°C) in November. During the evenings, it often drops to as low as 59°F/15°C so it is usually necessary to wear a jacket or a coat.
Jeans, trousers, long sleeves and dresses with stockings are perfect for these cooler city climates. In other words, pack your Fall wardrobe.
Festivals and Events in Mexico in November
From a cultural perspective, November is one of the most important months in the Mexican calendar because Dia de Muertos (the Day of the Dead) takes place on the second of the month. The holiday is not a morbid or macabre affair, nor can it be likened to Mexican Halloween.
Instead, it is a celebration of the lives of loved ones lost. Although the official holiday is on the second, the festive period goes on for much longer with various events, parades, parties and festivals happening across the country in the lead-up to the occasion.
From mid-October, panaderias and stores across Mexico start selling “pan de muertos” (bread of the dead). This is an orange-flavoured sweet bread dusted with sugar.
You will also find stores start stocking Dia de Los Muertos sculptures and decorations, switching out their store mannequins for ones with Catrina makeup, etc. In the Yucatan, a regional version of this holiday is celebrated known as “Hanal Pixan”.
There are many great places to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos in Mexico, although Mexico City and Oaxaca are perhaps two of the most wonderful.
Revolution Day (el Día de la Revolución) takes place on the 20th of November every year. On this date, street parades and processions are held across the country.
The holiday celebrates the end of a 10-year revolution against Dictator José de la Cruz Porfirio Diaz Mori. From mid-November onwards, Mexico starts gearing up towards Christmas.
Best Places to Travel in Mexico in November
If you have established that you want to travel to Mexico in November, you have lots of great destinations to choose from. In fact, with so many options, it can be overwhelming to decide where exactly you want to go.
If you are looking for some winter sun by the sea, consider checking out some of the lesser-known beach towns and beaches in the Yucatan, visiting Bacalar or Mahahual in Quintana Roo, or a popular destination like Puerto Vallarta along the Pacific Coast.
If you want to travel more off the beaten path and discover the customs and cultures of the indigenous groups of Mexico, consider Chiapas or Oaxaca and if you want a city break, consider a four-day weekend trip to Mexico City or Guadalajara.
Best places to visit in Mexico in November 2023
- Off the beaten path parts of the Yucatan
- Merida, Yucatan
- Campeche City
- Chiapas state
- Cancun and the Riviera Maya
- Mahahual, Bacalar and the Costa Maya
- Mexico City
- Isla Holbox
- Puerto Vallarta
Lesser-known Yucatan beach towns
When you think about beach breaks in Mexico, most people automatically think of the popular resort towns of Cancun, Tulum, Los Cabos, or Puerto Vallarta. While those places can be great and can provide just the R&R you are looking for, Mexico is so much more than that.
There are tons of lesser-known seaside towns all over the country that Mexicans keep secret for themselves. Many beaches in the Yucatan are underrated, and gorgeous, and would give the coastal regions of the Mexican Caribbean a run for their money.
They boast the same soft white sand shores and translucent blue waters and yet, they attract a fraction of the tourists. The paradisical village of El Cuyo in the northeastern Yucatan is one such example.
This little settlement is little more than a beautiful stretch of coastline with a few hotels and restaurants scattered here and there along the Malecon. Until recently, there was virtually nothing here!
The gorgeous beach became popular among a group of windsurfers who fell in love with the natural beauty of the area and found the conditions here perfect for their sport. Along with a group of locals, they started developing El Cuyo as an off-the-beaten-path beach tourism destination.
There are some gorgeous luxe hotels here that are located right on the beach. A trip here is more about coming to relax and unwind in peace and seclusion, rather than rushing around trying to see all the sights.
Catching every sunrise and sunset is a must. You can often find that you have the beach here almost entirely to yourself.
Merida and the Yucatan State
The city of Merida is the cultural capital of the Yucatan state and somewhere that has only started to fall on people’s Mexico travel radars in recent years. This is the safest city in Mexico and in 2022, Lonely Planet and Travel and Leisure both recognized it as one of the best global cities to visit.
The city is worthy of a dedicated 2-3 Merida itinerary in itself, but it also makes a great base to take day trips out from and explore the wider Yucatán Peninsula. You can get from Merida to the world-famous Chichen Itza in just an hour and a half, and there are a number of lesser-known (but equally fascinating) Mayan ruins right on the city’s doorstep.
For instance, few international travellers have even heard of the Mayan city of Mayapan unless they are extremely well-read on the ancient civilisations of Mexico. This expansive, and incredibly well-preserved ancient city dates back to around 1000AD and it was here where the Ancient Mayans moved after the downfall of Chichen Itza.
You also have the ancient sites of Dzibilchaltun, Uxmal, and Ruta Puuc right on your doorstep here, as well as several charming Yucatan pueblo magicos, the Homun cenotes and spectacular nature. Merida makes a great stopping point as part of a wider Yucatan itinerary.
The Mexican state of Campeche is the least visited state in the tri-state Yucatan peninsula. While it is a shame that the area is overlooked, travelling here is rewarding as it means escaping the crowds and experiencing authentic Southern Mexico.
Campeche City is the capital of Campeche state and it’s a beautiful capital at that. Its old town is UNESCO protected and it is one of the best-preserved colonial-era settlements in the country.
The port city thrived during the 17th century at which time it dealt predominantly with the exports of dyewood and salt. As a result, Campeche became a major target for pirates and many of its defensive fortresses, walls, and bastions still exist today.
The capital city is worthy of a long weekend break. Stroll along the Malecon and see an unparalleled sunset over the Gulf of Mexico, sample the local cuisine, admire all the old churches and cathedrals, and hang out on the lively Calle 59.
There are some incredible Mayan ruins in the southern part of the state which are seldom ever visited. Most notably, Edzna, and the extremely remote Calakmul, which is situated in the heart of the jungle.
If you are looking for a trip that is rich in culture, and history and provides you with an opportunity to learn about the various indigenous people of Mexico, Chiapas could be the perfect destination.
Tuxtla Gutierrez is the state’s capital, although it is the various Pueblo Magicos (Mexican “magic towns”) that make this part of the country so special. In particular, San Cristobal de las Casas is the raison d’etre that most people choose to travel here in the first place.
The charming mountain town makes a great base for exploring the wider region and taking day trips out to the villages of Zinacantan and Chamula. Chiapas coffee is globally recognized for its exquisite flavour and excellent quality and from here, you will be able to visit some plantations around Ocosingo and the Sierra Madre mountains.
(If your schedule doesn’t allow you the time to venture this far afield, you can also organize a tasting at the Yaxchilan coffee facility on the outskirts of San Cristobal).
Ascend the steps to the churches of Guadalupe and San Cristobalito, try elevated Chiapescan cuisine at Chef Claudia Santiz’s restaurant, and shop for regional deli products such as Chiapas cheese and pox liquor.
San Cristobal is quite cool at this time of year. You can expect daily highs of 69.8°F (21°C) and lows of 46.4°F (8°C) at night so you definitely need to bring layers so that you can wrap up warm in the evenings.
Places such as Comitan de Dominguez and Chiapa de Corzo are also well worth visiting during your time in Chiapas. Since they are at much lower elevations and not nestled in the mountains, they are much warmer.
Cancun and the Riviera Maya
There are some places in Mexico that are always going to be popular and Cancun is one of them. The capital of Quintana Roo is well connected to the United States and the rest of the world via direct flights to Cancun International.
Cancun makes a great base for exploring other places in the Yucatan peninsula, or as a place to spend a couple of weeks relaxing in the sun. There are a plethora of luxury hotels and resorts here if you want to pamper yourself.
Cancun is at the beating heart of the Mexican Caribbean, and its warm waters run adjacent to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. The beaches here provide exactly what you would expect in a gorgeous tropical beach location.
Think soft, powdery white sands and inexplicably bright turquoise waters. You can enjoy some of the best diving and snorkelling in Mexico here, and if you have an interest in art and culture, you can take a glass-bottom boat out to MUSA Cancun.
This new underwater museum is home to spectacular carved states and sculptures that have been placed at the bottom of the water.
Playa Delfine, Costa Mujeres, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Playa Norte, and Playa Chac Mool are among the best beaches in the Riviera Maya and there is so much selection that you could essentially visit a new beach every day. You can rent a sunbed and umbrella for the day for just a couple of pesos.
You will also find a selection of beach clubs in Cancun if you are seeking a more VIP experience.
If you are set on going to Cancun, traveling to Mexico in November is a good choice. Prices start to increase dramatically in December, and the best accommodations often sell out months in advance.
Mahahual and Bacalar, Quintana Roo
Mahahual and Bacalar make a great travel pairing. These two little settlements are located in the southern part of the state of Quintana Roo and can be reached within a couple of hours’ journey from Cancun. (There are 355.7km/4.5 hours between Cancun and Mahahual
However, it is easy to make the journey by bus or by renting a car in Mexico. Both Bacalar and Mahahual are well worth the effort to get to, particularly if you enjoy sleepy, secluded beaches without the crowds.
Until recently, Mahahual was little more than a fishing village and it has only been in the past couple of years that it has started emerging as a tourist destination. A visit here is mostly about the opportunity to switch off, relax and unwind, rather than trying to check off items from a to-do list.
From there, you can travel onwards to Bacalar and visit the seven-colour lagoon. This is a 42km lake that, as the name suggests, gives the appearance of its water being seven different shades of blue. Bacalar is nicknamed “the Maldives of Mexico” on account of its spectacular natural beauty.
November is one of the best times to visit Mexico City. Mexico’s capital is a great year-round travel destination and at this time of year, the temperatures are mild and not too cold or rainy.
Better still, most of the best things to do here, like exploring its museums, restaurants and districts, don’t require certain weather conditions
Each of CDMXs barrios (neighbourhoods) is like a little village in itself and each has its own distinct personality and charm. Coyoacan, Frida Kahlos former neighbourhood is to Mexico City what Greenwich Village is to New York and is characterised by its leafy streets, quirky coffee shops, independent art galleries and the creative, intellectual crowd it attracts.
Caza Azul, Fridas former home, is also found here. Roma Norte, known for its street art, fun bars and craft breweries is a favourite among the Digital Nomad Crowd, and Polanco is an upscale area home to elegant designer stores and boutiques.
Be sure to check out Chapultapec Park – a touch of green in the urban jungle and a metropolitan park that is almost twice the size of New York’s Central Park. There is even a castle in the centre of it which is one of only two in North America, and the only one to ever house European royalty.
Nearby, and also within the complex of the park, you will find the Museo Nacional de Antropología. This is the most visited museum in Mexico and is home to the world’s largest collection of Mexican art, as well as a comprehensive collection of artefacts recovered from across the country.
Even if you are not a museum person, this is a must-visit as it helps you to learn about the fascinating civilisations that once occupied Mexico – from the Mayans and the Aztecs, to the Olmecs.
Isla Holbox (pronounced “Hol-Bosh”) is a favourite travel destination for many who visit Mexico. Holbox, meaning “black hole” in Mayan is a place that makes you feel like you are a million miles away from modern civilisation.
There are no vehicles, paved roads, or streets here, and people mostly get around the island by golf carts.
This is also one of the best places in Latin America to see bioluminescence. This unique phenomenon is caused by plankton that live beneath the shores of the waters here.
The little creatures light up at night, giving the impression that the water is illuminated by hundreds of twinkling fairy lights. November is a great time to catch this.
During the rainy season (late May to October), the rain can make the waters appear darker and murkier, and November is when things just start to clear. You can see this better on days when there isn’t any moonlight.
There are plenty of things to do in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, to warrant dedicating weeks to basing yourself in this part of Central Western Mexico. Puerto Vallarta itself is home to an unparalleled nightlife scene, gorgeous beaches, and a selection of incredible PV restaurants serving everything from traditional Jaliscan fare to international classics.
The city also makes a great base to explore some of the smaller towns and villages in southwestern Jalisco. From here, take day trips out to San Sebastian del Oeste, Mascota, Talpa de Allende, and Real del Alto.
These towns and villages, high in the mountains above Puerto Vallarta, are quite unlike anywhere else you will find in Mexico. From Puerto Vallarta, you can also head to the surf town of Sayulita, in the neighboring state of Nayarit.
If you want to avoid the crowds during this busy month when choosing where to stay in Puerto Vallarta, opt for accommodation in quiet Conchas Chinas or Punta de Mita.
November Travel FAQs
Do you still have any burning questions or concerns about visiting Mexico in November? Hopefully, you will find the answers you are looking for below.
If not, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can.
November is a very good time to travel to Mexico. The weather is still hot and sunny but not overbearingly so. There is little to no seaweed on the beaches and the water temperatures are perfect for swimming.
Coastal destinations in Mexico are very warm in November, but cities at higher altitudes are not. Beach towns like Cancun, Tulum, Los Cabos, and Puerto Vallarta see average daily temperatures between 84°F and 88°F. Meanwhile, Mexico City sees average temperatures of 77°F to 79°F.
November is a very good time to travel to Cancun. This month is far less crowded than the peak months of December through February.
The weather at this time is perfect for swimming, enjoying the beaches, and taking trips around Quintana Roo and further afield. Expect daily averages between 84°F and 88°F at this time.
Mexico gets very little (if any) rain in November. You may get the odd rainy day here and there but showers are usually brief. The rainy season runs from May until late October.
Final thoughts on visiting Mexico in November
November is one of the best times to travel to Mexico because it is the end of the rainy season and the average high temperatures even in the hottest parts of Mexico are never too far above 86°F-89.6°F. So, they are not so hot that walking around becomes difficult or unbearable but they are plenty hot enough to enjoy the beaches, go swimming, snorkelling and whale watching.
Cities with cooler temperatures like Mexico City and Guadalajara offer warm city breaks with a low chance of rain, and can be a welcome change from the cold weather in many US and Canadian cities at this time of year.
On the whole, the months of November through April are considered the best months to travel to most parts of Mexico. Travelling in November also allows you to narrowly escape the crowds that flock here in December for Christmas and New Year.
Have you travelled to Mexico before? From your perspective, what is the best time of year to travel to Mexico?
If you are visiting the country for the first time, you might also enjoy reading these Mexico facts, or this post on things to know before visiting Mexico.
Have a wonderful time traveling here! Buen Viaje! Melissa Xo