Mexico has long been a part of the Americas that attracts holiday makers throughout the year with its irresistible blend of beaches, history and culture. It’s a brilliant country to visit on your travels for the fact that it’s a destination suitable for all ages and interests, so no matter who you’re travelling with or what you enjoy, you’re sure to find something you love in Mexico.
January is a brilliant time of year to escape to Mexico and enjoy hot and sunny weather across the country, although you may find a lot of other travellers gathering in popular towns and cities to do the same. From road-tripping across the coast to whale watching and sunbathing, here’s our guide to everything you need to know about visiting Mexico in January.
Reasons to visit Mexico in January
- January is part of Mexico’s dry season, which is ideal for those who want to enjoy as much dry and sunny weather as possible during their trip
- There are lots of cultural events taking place in Mexico in January that range from annual religious celebrations to art and music festivals
- Although the winter is usually a busy time for tourism in February, January tends to be quieter than the other months around it which is perfect for anyone who wants to visit the popular parts of the country whilst avoiding the crowds
Weather in Mexico in January
The weather in Mexico in January varies across the country, but because it is the dry season there is a very low chance of rain wherever you visit. In general, the south and centre of Mexico tend to be warmer in January whilst places in the north will have slightly lower temperatures and experience a colder wind throughout the month.
Average temperatures differ across Mexico in January, with places like Cancun experiencing up to 28°C during the day and 21°C at night, whilst in Mexico City, the average high is only 21°C and temperatures can drop to 5°C. In general, if you’re in the south expect things to feel hot and humid, whilst the north of the country will be cool but sunny during the day and chilly at night.
The average sea temperature in Mexico in January changes depending on the part of the coast you are visiting, as some areas of the ocean are affected by cold water currents. In general, expect the sea temperature to move between 20°C and 25°C around the country, which can feel a little chilly depending on the air temperature but is very pleasant once you are in the water.
Clouds and Rainfall
January is part of Mexico’s dry season, but there is an average of around 7 days of rain across the country during the month, with some parts of Mexico being more prone to showers than others. If you do encounter rain on your holiday however, it is very unlikely to last long and should quickly be replaced with sunshine.
There is an average of 8 hours of sunshine a day in Mexico in January, which is brilliant if you’ve come to the country from a part of the world that is experiencing the middle of winter. The sun tends to rise at around 7.15 am and sets between 8 pm and 8.30 pm.
Where to go in Mexico in January
The Riviera Maya is a popular part of Mexico’s Caribbean coast and is an ideal region for those who want to spend their holiday enjoying beautiful beaches and lively towns and cities. A favourite thing to do in this area is hiring a car to road trip up and down the coast, as there is one long road that joins together all of the attractions in the Riviera.
There’s more than just nightlife and sunbathing here however; this Mexican region is also home to several sites of Mayan archaeological ruins that let you learn about the ancient history of the area. You can also visit the Reserva de la Biósfera Sian Ka’an which is home to numerous protected species within the wild, rugged landscape. The Riviera Maya might have a reputation for being nothing but a party destination, but there is far more to discover when you go a little further afield.
Cabo San Lucas
For another coastal experience that is less rugged and more refined, head to the city of Cabo San Lucas in the south of the Baja California Peninsula. Once a quiet fishing village, this elegant destination has become a favourite holiday spot for many travellers wanting to make the most of its brilliant combination of beaches, urban attractions and surrounding landscape.
Cabo San Lucas is particularly well known for its huge marina and deep-sea fishing, which also makes it a fantastic part of Mexico to enjoy deliciously fresh seafood. Watersports are particularly popular in January when the weather is so warm, but there’s also the whole city and all of its shops, restaurants and bars to explore if you’re not so keen on a busy, adventurous holiday.
Things to do in Mexico in January
Go Whale Watching
January is one of the best months for whale watching in Mexico, and you’ll have the best chance of seeing this incredible animal on the Pacific coast, particularly in Puerto Vallarta. Whilst whales can sometimes be spotted from the shore, you’ll have the best chance of spotting whole groups if you take a boat tour out into open water, where mother humpback whales and their calves come to swim and jump out of the water.
Visit the Edward James Castle
The Edward James Castle can be found in San Luis Potosí in central Mexico and is a brilliant place to visit on days when the weather is a little bit cooler. The 80-acre garden that surrounds the castle is home to numerous sculptures and a maze, along with several spectacular natural waterfalls.
Surf in Sayulita
Sayulita is a town on the Pacific coast of Mexico that has been known as one of the best beaches for surfing for quite some time now, and January is a brilliant time of the year to go and catch some of the brilliant waves that crash onto the beach. It’s a very chilled out spot that is ideal for both those who are serious about surfing or those who just want to kick back and watch the waves in the sunshine, and there are several different beaches in the area that mean there is room for everyone.
Crowds & costs
January is one of the best times to visit Mexico because of the warm but dry weather, and is a relatively popular time of year for a lot of travellers to come to the country. However, it’s a lot quieter than both December and February which is ideal if you’re looking for a more relaxing break or hoping to save some money on travel and accommodation.
It’s worth noting that the coast of Mexico tends to be the busiest part of the country at this time of year, as a lot of people from the northern hemisphere come on holiday looking for some sunshine and want to spend time on the beach.
January festivals & events
Día de los Reyes
Three Kings Day is celebrated across Mexico on the 6th of January every year, and is held to commemorate the day when the three Magi from the Christan Christmas story were said to present gifts to the baby Jesus. Children are given presents and friends and families gather to share seasonal food and party.
Feast of San Antonio Abad
The Feast of San Antonio Abad is a Catholic festival that takes place on the 17th January, to honour the religious figure, Saint Antoni. He was said to be a monk who introduced the idea of going into the wilderness to renew your faith and is commemorated with church services that include the blessing of any animals brought to the church that morning.
Fiesta de Enero
Held in the town of Chiapas, this festival is both a folk and religious event that happens every winter to celebrate the culture and history of Mexico. You can expect a lot of traditional dress, dance and music that all come together in a parade through the streets.
Alamos FAOT Music Festival
This arts and music festival has become one of the biggest cultural events in all of Mexico, taking place across one of the last weeks of January. The festival is held in honour of the doctor and singer Alfonso Ortiz Tirado whose birthday was the 24th of January, and brings together international musicians and artists to hold events, workshops and performances throughout the week.
Frequently asked questions about Mexico in January
Where is the hottest place in Mexico in January?
The hottest place in Mexico in January is the desert city of Hermosillo, which can reach up to 25°C during the month. Whilst the hottest place in Mexico on average is Mexicali, with temperatures that pass 40°C in the summer, this city is actually cooler than other places in January.
What’s the safest city in Mexico?
Merída is the safest city in Mexico according to crime statistics, but other places such as Mexico City and San Miguel de Allende are considered very safe and have a large population of expatriates who have settled there to prove it.
You might simply think of the food when Mexico first comes to mind, but there is so much more to this incredibly, colourful country just waiting to be discovered on your next holiday. Lovers of adventure, history, sport and even shopping will all find unforgettable experiences in one of Mexico’s fantastic towns, cities or regions, and January offers the perfect hot and sunny conditions to enjoy everything the country has to offer.