As a popular vacation destination, Mexico is known for its warm weather and sun-soaked beaches. But there’s a whole lot more to the country than surf and sand. In fact, Mexico is comprised of mountains, volcanos, and canyons, many of which get some amount of snowfall in the winter.
Does it Snow in Mexico?
Mexico does get some amount of snow each year. It usually only falls in winter (December and January) in the northern states. However, mountains will high elevations might have snow covering the slopes every month of the year. But besides the mountain peaks, snowfall is generally not very heavy. Most areas will only see a few inches the entire winter.
Many people are surprised to find out that it can get cold in Mexico. And when the temperatures dip below freezing, it can also be snowy! Due to the diverse topography and landscapes, you can find a winter wonderland in Mexico if you know where to look. Hint: it’s mostly in high elevation regions!
What is the Weather in Mexico?
Generally speaking, Mexico has four distinct seasons. However, the entire country is divided by the Tropic of Cancer, splitting the country with temperate climates in the north and tropical climates in the south. As such, the weather varies dramatically depending on which region of Mexico you’re in.
The temperate climate in northern Mexico calls for dry, humid summers and cold, freezing winters. Temperatures can reach up to 95°F in August, although this drops to a brisk 45°F in January.
However, the weather can be much colder in the mountains, especially in Sierra de San Carlos, Sierra de Picachos, and Sierra del Tigre. If the temperatures do drop below freezing, you can expect to see some amount of snow in Coahuila, Durango, and Chihuahua.
Central Mexico tends to have warm, temperate weather throughout the year, although nights can be cold. The warmest months are April and May, as the rainy season starts after and lasts throughout the entire summer.
The area around Oaxaca and Chiapas is not drastically different from the climate of central Mexico. There are two main seasons – dry (October to April) and rainy (May to September). Therefore, you can also expect to have clear warm summers and mildly cold winters.
Situated between the Pacific Coast and the Gulf of Cortez, the Baja Peninsula is generally dry and warm. Baja California has a desert climate, with arid summers and chilly winters.
The southern state of Baja California Sur (which includes La Paz and Cabo San Lucas) has hotter year-round temperatures. It might be 90°F in the peak of summer and only 70°F in the middle of winter.
The coastal region of the Mexican Riveria is warm and humid from early summer until mid-fall. This also happens to be the rainy season. Temperatures are more pleasant from December to April, hovering in the low 80s for most of the day.
If you’re looking for warm, year-round beach weather, the Yucatan is the place to go. Cities like Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and Tulúm remain a consistent 75°F to 85°F throughout the year. But in summer, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to soar into the 100s.
Fall brings cooler temperatures and rain (even if showers only last a few hours each day).
The Gulf Coast isn’t just the most humid region of Mexico, it also happens to be the rainiest! Each year, the area gets roughly 60-inches of rain (mainly from June through October). However, temperatures are pleasant, with 85°F in the summer and around 65°F in the winter.
When Does it Snow in Mexico?
If you’re traveling in the northern region of Mexico, you might be able to see snow in winter. This season is really the only time when it snows. But even in these areas, the winter season is relatively short. As such, you’ll only see snow either in December or January.
Where Does it Snow in Mexico?
Mexico is a large country comprised of 32 individual states. Out of those states, 12 of them get some amount of snow throughout the year. While snow is more common in the north, you can also find it in high-elevation areas like mountains and volcanos.
The Northern state of Durango is a great place to see snow in Mexico. Many visitors head to Pueblo Nuevo Natural Park to admire the craggy rock formations covered in a thin blanket of white.
It’s especially magical when the weather dips and freezes the park’s waterfalls. To the west of Durango sits Zacatecas, another state that usually gets snowfall in winter.
Coahuila is one of the snowiest areas in the country. Bosques de Monterreal is covered in snow during the winter, making it a popular destination for skiing. Arteaga also sees a few inches in January and February.
If you’re in Chihuahua, visit the Copper Canyon in December to see a picturesque winter wonderland. Although it’s not heavy snowfall, the canyons will still be white. The nearby Sierra Tarahumara can also see a few inches of snow during this time.
Citlaltépetl, Mexico’s tallest mountain, is covered in snow 12 months of the year. Despite its location in southern Mexico, it still gets snow due to the high elevation. Even if you’re not in Veracruz or Puebla, you’ll still be able to see the tip of the mountain from miles away!
Further north, you’ll also find beautiful snow-capped peaks of the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl volcanos. With over 17,000 feet in elevation, both mountains are almost always topped with snow.
Although Mexico’s capital, Mexico City, is only 2 hours away from Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, it has only seen snow twice in the last century. Therefore, it’s very unlikely it will snow even in the coldest of winters.
Snow is also extremely rare in coastal areas along the Pacific or Caribbean. This includes Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. With a sub-tropical climate, you can almost guarantee that you won’t see snow in these areas.
Where are the Ski Resorts in Mexico?
The amount of snowfall in Mexico is so little that the conditions aren’t ideal for skiing or snowboarding. However, there is a resort in Arteaga, Coahuila, if you’re hoping to hit the slopes.
Bosques de Monterreal is the first and only place to go skiing in Mexico. It’s located in the Sierra de Arteaga, just 45 minutes from Saltillo and 90 minutes from Monterrey. There are only two runs on the mountain – a 650-foot run for intermediate skiers and a 200-foot trail for lessons and beginners.
If you come after a snowy winter, you’ll have the chance to ski on natural snow. Otherwise, the slopes contain artificial snow, which allows them to be open every month of the year.
While many visitors flock to Mexico to visit the cities and beaches, it can be a unique experience to see the country covered in snow.
If you happen to be here in winter, you can head to the mountains or northern states to see Mexico covered in a blanket of white. Now that’s one bucket-list experience that most tourists don’t ever get to see!