Mexico Weather, climate and geography

Weather & climate

Mexico’s land mass touches the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific, with each coastline having its own weather patterns. So, depending on the time of year, it is good to plan ahead to find the weather that suits you best. For decades Mexico’s beaches have attracted tourists looking for a winter getaway from chilly northern climes. The mellow Mexican climate makes it a popular winter and summer destination for tourist sights, city trips or beach breaks.

June to August are the hottest months in the bustling resort of Cancun, while April and May see the highest temperatures in Mexico’s capital Mexico City, where lowest temperatures are usually in January and February. The dry season here is November to May, and this is followed by four months of significant rainfall, with average rainfall of 170mm in July. A careful study of the Mexico climate can help with holiday planning with the average number of wet days here is at its highest in July and August. This urban area receives about 820 millimetres (32.3 in) of annual rainfall, which is concentrated in the summer months. Humidity in Mexico City is highest in September.

Coastal areas and lowlands are hot and steamy with high humidity, while the central plateau is temperate even in winter. Hurricane season begins in June and ends in November with most hurricanes taking place in August and October. Detailed information about hurricanes can be accessed via the US national hurricane centre. For those travelling during hurricane season, check out your travel insurance cover before you leave.

Acapulco on Mexico’s west coast is famous as a glitzy coastal resort, famous for attracting Hollywood stars, particularly back in the 1950s. It is still a popular stop for cruise ships and for beach fans. There is a risk of hurricanes here in the summer, so check ahead on timings. Humidity is highest in Acapulco in November and December, and rainfall highest in the months of June to October.

During October 1999 Mexico suffered severe flooding as part of the Atlantic hurricane season, the worst flood for 40 years.
 

Best time to visit

Mexico is a great destination to visit throughout the year. Temperatures drop, though, from November to February when it's best to pack a sweater or jacket. In general, altitude is a determining factor, with cooler temperatures at higher elevations (Mexico City, Puebla, San Cristóbal de las Casas) and warmer weather as you descend (Guadalajara, Cuernavaca, Oaxaca).

October and November is perhaps the best time to visit, after the rains have ended and everything is still green. Early spring tends to be hotter and dustier.

Along the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, winters are comfortable, summers very hot and humid, though resorts like Cabo San Lucas benefit from a sea breeze. Late summer months bring heavy rains and the occasional hurricane.

Required clothing

This varies from area to area. Natural fibres are best in the heat, but have a sweater on hand as the nights are generally cooler. A sun hat will help to avoid dehydration. In the mountains, heavier clothing will be required.

Geography

Mexico is at the southern extremity of North America and is bordered to the north by the USA, northwest by the Gulf of California, west by the Pacific, south by Guatemala and Belize, and east by the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean.

Mexico's geographical features range from swamp to desert, and from tropical lowland jungle to high alpine vegetation. Over half the country is at an altitude greater than 1,000m (3,300ft). The central land mass is a plateau flanked by ranges of mountains to the east and west that lie roughly parallel to the coast. The northern area of this plateau is arid and thinly populated, and occupies 40% of the total area of Mexico.

Edited by Jane Duru
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