The best time to go
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Aug 19, 2013 4:46 PM Last Post By: enroutesiglo
Aug 18, 2013 8:48 PM
The best time to goI'm coming to Mexico for a month. I've got a bit of an itinerary planned but am having trouble deciding when to go. As I'm retired, I can go any time of year. The biggest issue seems to be San Cristobel - a place where I'd like to spend some time. Trouble is - I feel the cold more than anyone I know (and I live in Australia - not exactly a cold place!). I'm trying to balance out rain, cold etc. I had thought about November, but it looks very cold then - esp. at night. Next I thought about April, but it seems that clashes with Semana Santa and will bring big crowds and possible accommodation/transport difficulties. If you think Nov. is the go, do you know of a hotel in San Cris that has heating? The other places (DF, Puebla, Oaxaca, Palenque, Yucatan) don't seem to have attracted as many "cold" comments on this site. Ideas gratefully received.
Aug 18, 2013 9:36 PM
Aug 18, 2013 9:57 PM
Aug 18, 2013 10:51 PM
3You're fortunate to both have an entire month at your disposal and also to be able to make this trip at pretty much any time of year. You are seeking Goldilocks weather (not too hot, not too cold), everywhere. That may not possible due to altitude variations amongst the places that you've decided to visit.
You may not be giving sufficient consideration to the fact that lowlands such as Palenque and the entire Yucatan Peninsula are never cold, but become extremely hot except for the winter months (roughly early December to mid-March). So winter is ideal for visiting those low places. It's been warm enough to enjoyably swim in the Yucatan when I've gone there in late December and early January.
At that same time of year, late December/early January, when I've vacationed instead in highland Mexican destinations, such as Mexico City, Puebla, and Oaxaca, some nights have been a bit sometimes been cold but most days have been warm and sunny there.
There probably isn't any time of year when you can get Goldilocks temperatures everywhere in Mexico. If I had the flexibility that you do, my personal preference, for the combined locations that you've selected, would be to visit them sometime between early January and early March. I would do that even though I'm 63 and have a medical condition that makes me more sensitive to cold than most other people are. When nights are cold in Mexico I compensate by wearing long underwear to bed, and in some places by also asking hotel people to give me an extra blanket or two. Fortunately, out in the sunshine winter days are warm, even up in Mexico's mountains.
Aug 18, 2013 11:16 PM
4Until I retire, the times when I visit Mexico will be limited to periods that the university where I teach is not in regular session. But, if I had your flexibility I would probably make at least part of my trip in February, timed to include a local fiesta celebrated somewhere. Places where life proceeds slowly at other times come vibrantly to life during community fiestas.
Those events , however, don't necessarily get much attention in guidebooks for several reasons. Many wonderful fiestas take place in small towns of cities that are at least slightly off of standard "tourist trails. So, the books instead mostly promote "sights", while typically mentioning only a few celebrations, especially the largest and most commercial/touristic ones.
If you are in Mexico in February, at carnival time right before the onset of Lent, arrange to be somewhere interesting during one of those celebrations. I've not yet had the opportunity to visit Mexico at that time. When I do, I'll probably go out of my way to visit a carnival in Huejotzingo, near Puebla, or perhaps one elsewhere, maybe near Oaxaca or San Cristobal de las Casas. See:
Aug 19, 2013 5:50 AM
5Carnaval in Chamula is indeed a special time... but having spent one of the best Novembers of my life in San Cris, I can vouch that it's about as 'Goldilocks' as that city gets, winter festivities just starting to gear up, beautiful sunny, rainless days, and only starting to get cold at night (not as bracing as Dec and Jan).
Aug 19, 2013 6:19 AM
6We've found November to be an excellent time to visit Mexico, especially points south like Chiapas or the Yucatan Peninsula. The jungle areas are much cooler, less crowds, no major holidays (except Dias de los Muertos November 1 & 2) and "rainy season" is over.
Yes, it gets somewhat cold at night in San Cristobal in November, but not excessively so (it can occassionally get into the single digits C at night). Later in the year it dips below freezing at night. However, in November the days warm to a pleasant 20 - 25 C. The big trick in San Cristobal is asking if the room has heat before you rent it (some don't as it appears you realize from your post). I'd ask if it has hot water all day and night too.
Palenque is over 1,000 meters lower elevation and in the jungle, so much warmer. But as mentioned above, that's why I like November as the days may get warm and humid, but the nights cool off to a pleasant 20 - 25 C (we even wore a long sleeve shirt at night at Palenque once or twice).
Aug 19, 2013 6:31 AM
7SCSC is cold in the night. It is located high in the mountains. Even in August you will want a very warm bed in the evening. also hot water runs out early so best to basthe in mid afternoon. When I go I take camping sleeping bag heater packs to throw in my bed for the night. They last 12 hours. Some places have a fireplace so you can heat up your room. The mornings are cool but it gets hot from noon on.. Photos on wolfcalls.com
Aug 19, 2013 7:14 AM
Aug 19, 2013 12:00 PM
9The best month for weather to visit San Cristobal is march. November is the end of rainy season. The week ending on Dec 12th is a good week because of the festival of the virgen of Guadelupe. Semana Santa is a good festival, and Festival is a great festival in Chamula.. It doesnt get real cold here but will get down to the 40's F at night and many hotels don't have heat but some do. Even this time of the year you need a light coat at night but it gets hot during the day in the sun. San Cris has many nice hotels, Resturants, and shops all located on 3 streets. Over all San Cristobal is a great place to visit with many things to do. I have lived here for almost 6 years and still find new things to do.
Aug 19, 2013 3:30 PM
10Wow! Many thanks everyone for all this info. This has opened up a whole world of possibilities for us. ChrisODaniel, many thanks for the links. I love researching - almost as much as I love the journey. I'm trying to avoid carrying too much in the way of clothing/sleeping bags as I find travel more fulfilling just carrying a small carry-on-plane type backpack. Nonetheless, it's obvious my down jacket that compacts down to about the size of two mugs (much less than a fleece) and a few bits of thermals might just have to go in that pack - more culling of other things!
I really appreciate these comments. Thank you,
Aug 19, 2013 4:46 PM
11Once you get used to it, you'll find that the chill of San Cris nights adds to its special charm... drinking a hot chocolate listening to marimba at the kiosk, the smell of firewood burning. Plus remember that they've adapted to this, so it's very easy to buy cold-weather clothing (both generic and regional) all throughout the town.
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