June to October are the hottest and wettest months across most of Mexico.
When to go
No time is a bad time to visit Mexico, though the coastal and low-lying regions, especially in the southern half of the country, are fairly hot and humid from May to September (these are the months of highest rainfall and highest temperatures almost everywhere). The interior of the country has a more temperate climate than the coasts. In fact, it’s sometimes decidedly chilly in the north and the center from November to February.
July and August are peak holiday months for both Mexicans and foreigners. Other big holiday seasons are mid-December to early January (for foreigners and Mexicans) and a week either side of Easter (for Mexicans). At these times the coastal resorts attract big tourist crowds, room prices go up in popular places, and accommodations and public transportation can be heavily booked, so advance reservations are advisable.
Why not time your travels to Mexico to coincide with a festival or three? Mexico's many fiestas are full-blooded, highly colorful affairs, which often go on for several days and provide the chili in the recipe of Mexican life. In addition to the major national festivals listed here, each town has many local saints' days, regional fairs, arts festivals and so on (see specific destinations for more information). There's also a national public holiday just about every month, often the occasion for yet further partying.
Día de los Reyes Magos (Three Kings' Day or Epiphany;January 6) This is the day when Mexican children traditionallyreceive gifts – rather than at Christmas – although some get two loads of presents!
Día de la Candelaría (Candlemas; February 2) Commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the temple 40 days after his birth; celebrated with processions, bullfights and dancing in many towns.
Carnaval (late February or early March) A big bash preceding the 40-day penance of Lent, Carnaval takes place during the week or so before Ash Wednesday (which falls 46 days before Easter Sunday). It's celebrated most wildly in Mazatlán, Veracruz and La Paz, with parades and masses of music, food, drink, dancing, fireworks and fun.
Semana Santa (Holy Week) Starts on Palm Sunday (Domingo de Ramos). Particularly colorful celebrations are held in San Miguel de Allende, Taxco and Pátzcuaro; most of Mexico seems to be on the move at this time.
Día de la Independencia (Independence Day; September 16) The anniversary of the start of Mexico's 1810 independence war provokes an upsurge of patriotic feeling: on the evening of the15th, the words of Padre Miguel Hidalgo's famous call to rebellion, the Grito de Dolores, are repeated from the balcony of every town hall in the land, usually followed by fireworks. The biggest celebrations are in Mexico City where the Grito is issued by the national president from the Palacio Nacional.
Día de Todos los Santos (All Saints' Day; November 1) and Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead; November 2) Every cemetery in the country comes alive as families visit graveyards to commune with their dead on the night of November 1 and the day of November 2, when the souls of the dead are believed to return to earth. The souls of dead children (angelitos, little angels) are celebrated on November 1, All Saints' Day.
Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe; December 12) A week or more of festivities throughout Mexico leads up to this celebration in honor of the Virgin who appeared to an indigenous Mexican, Juan Diego, in 1531, and has since become Mexico's religious patron. Children are taken to church dressed as little Juan Diegos or indigenous girls. The biggest festivities are at the Basílica de Guadalupe in Mexico City.Día de Navidad (December 25) Christmas is traditionally celebrated with a feast in the early hours of December 25, after midnight Mass.