An Insider’s View on the Weather in Oaxaca and the Best Time to Visit
On May 4, 2021
Making plans for a memorable trip to Oaxaca de Juarez (Oaxaca) but wondering when might be the best time of year to visit? Fortunately, Oaxaca is blessed with low humidity, moderate temperatures, and an average of 311 days of sunshine per year. Weather-wise finding a good time to visit Oaxaca is exceedingly easy. At 5100 feet above sea level (1550 m.a.s.l.) and surrounded by multiple mountain valleys, Oaxaca’s consistently mild, breezy, and sunny climate is due in large part to its prime location in the “high desert” of the beautiful Sierra Madre Mountains.
Even still, there is some nuance to Oaxaca’s weather throughout the year. Here’s a locals’ perspective on the weather in Oaxaca and the best time to visit one of Mexico’s most beautiful cities.
The Weather in Oaxaca Can Be Divided into Two Distinct Seasons
Oaxaca has a dry season and a wet season. The dry season in Oaxaca usually lasts from October through April while the wet season roughly begins in May and ends in September.
What To Expect During Oaxaca’s Dry Season (October – April)
October to Early January
Like most warm climate vacation spots, October, November and December herald the arrival of retirees and seasonal snowbirds. While the daily temperatures hover in the same vicinity as they have since June (82°F / 28°C), it’s the nights that start getting cooler. A sweater, shawl or light jacket are definitely in order should you visit Oaxaca this time of year. You can expect to see evening temps in November, December and early January to be near 51ºF (10ºC) and occasionally even in the high 40’s.
Insider Tip: Dia de los Muertos or “Day of the Dead” (which is now more like a week-long event) takes place during the last week of October and the first 2 days of November. Fingers crossed it takes place this 2021 as this is truly something to add, ironically, to life’s bucket list!
Late January to Early March
From mid-January through early March expect the most beautiful weather Oaxaca has to offer, as well as large crowds and higher prices. If you’re planning your visit for this period, book early to ensure the greatest selection of accommodations and the best prices on flights.
Insider Tip: Oaxaca’s hiking group – Hoofin’ It in Oaxaca – typically offers weekly hikes from November through March, but COVID-19 has significantly affected their current hike schedule. Visit their website for more information about when they’ll begin hiking again. If you do plan to join them for a hike, book early as their hikes do sell out quickly and pack rain gear for any mountain trekking, as the mountains don’t always mimic the weather in the Oaxaca Valley floor.
Late March to Early May
From late March through early May temperatures are at their highest and hover around 92ºF (33ºC) during the afternoon. While this may not seem extreme for many sun seekers, when combined with the altitude, this heat will likely find you seeking out shade and making time for an afternoon siesta!
Gratefully, evening temps cool down to 62º (17ºC) which makes rooftop terrace dining especially attractive. And, while the mountains that surround the city are parched and brown, the city stuns in colors of pink, fuchsia, yellow and orange from its abundance of flowering trees and bushes. If you choose to visit Oaxaca at this time, consider booking a hotel with a pool or planning a few days at the beach on Oaxaca’s beautiful coast.
Insider Tip: Semana Santa (the weeks before and after Easter) brings crowds of Mexican Nationals to Oaxaca for 2 weeks. Check the date as accommodations might be more difficult to find. The Good Friday Silent Procession is a sight not to be missed.
What To Expect During Oaxaca’s Wet Season (May – September)
May to September
Don’t let the rainy season weather keep you away from Oaxaca in the summer. During this time of year, Oaxaca’s average high temperature is a comfy 82°F (28°C). Temperatures cool down to about 60ºF (16ºC) in the evenings, making for a comfortable sleep under a light-weight blanket.
If you are looking at the weather app on your phone during Oaxaca’s wet season, you’re likely to see the thunderstorm icon for the entire 5-month time frame. Do not worry! It’s not monsoon season. It’s just that the chance of a late afternoon rain shower is always possible.
Oaxaca’s annual rainfall is just under 30 inches (76 centimeters) per year. Serious thunderstorms do occur but are infrequent during this period. However, it’s advisable to keep an umbrella or rain jacket handy nonetheless.
All this means is you’ll have most mornings to explore, take a tour around the valley, and see the archaeological ruins of early civilizations like the Zapotec and Mixtec. In the afternoons, you can explore the indoor markets, museums, and art galleries around the city, or have a relaxed multi-course comida (lunch).
Insider Tip: Guelaguetza – Oaxaca’s premiere event takes place the last two weeks of July. Dance delegations from each of the 8 regions of the state perform each of the last two Mondays at the outdoor Guelaguetza auditorium overlooking the city. Tickets sell out fast. Booking with a travel agency or buying a hotel/show package might be your best bet. Though, it’s likely COVID may affect this event from happening in 2021.
Our Take on the Best Time to Visit Oaxaca Weather-wise
Whether you visit Oaxaca during its wet or dry season, smothering heat and all-day rain and thunderstorms are entirely unlikely no matter what your weather app may show. There truly is no wrong time of year to visit Oaxaca, just your preference on temperature, weather, crowds, and prices. Summer and early fall do bring slightly wetter days, but unlike other summer destinations, this is not the high season so prices are very affordable and crowds are minimal, while winter and spring bring all-day sunshine you can count on and a more lively atmosphere as snowbirds and Mexican Nationals make their way to this corner of Mexico.