Travel to Mexico in January: Trip ideas and recommendations

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Travel to Mexico in January: Trip ideas and recommendations

January is one of the favorite months for tourists to choose Mexico as their travel destination due to warm weather, pleasuring-giving beach time, and the opportunity to participate in grand festivals happening in January. Be it gaining pleasure from whale watching on the Pacific Coast, exploring the jungle to reach Edward James Castle in San Luis Potosi, or simply going surfing in the vibrant town of Sayulita, all these enthralling experiences and adventurous opportunities make the traveling conditions ideal for explorers, adventure travelers, cultural lovers, and even families. 

Moreover, if you are a history enthusiast, or even not, get a chance to explore the rich and knowledgeable history of the Mayan people in Merida and marvel at the ancient Mayan pyramids and temples while walking through the scenic settings. 

 

Pros of visiting Mexico in January

January is a well-suited time for those travelers or tourists who want to enjoy dry and sunny weather as January is a part of Mexico’s dry season. In contrast, the period between May and October is marked by the wet season in the south of Mexico. This period includes heavy rainfall and clears the increased humidity before it builds up again. The hurricane season from June to November can also affect the Caribbean coast, thus making weather not so suitable for tourists. 

Other than the benefit of favorable weather in January, one can also be a part of numerous cultural events that take place in January. These events range from annual religious celebrations to art and music festivals. Although winter is usually a busy time for tourism as compared with summers, January is still often found to be quiet as compared with February and other months. Thus it is the best time for those people to visit Mexico who want to explore the famous areas of the country, yet avoid the crowds.

Events in January

One of the primary reasons to choose Mexico for tourism is the opportunity to entice yourself with the action-packed events that happen throughout the month. Below, we would be discussing renowned events that you must wish to explore in Mexico!

Three Kings Day

Also called Epiphany and locally known as Día de Los Reyes, this event happens in early January – 6th January. It’s a mega-event that is celebrated widely by Mexico. It commemorates after the Christmas season and is one of the most significant events across the country. This event happens in remembrance of three Magi from the Christian Christmas story, who were said to present gifts to Jesus, who was still a baby at that time. Thus, in this event, children are offered gifts while friends and relatives gather to celebrate the event by sharing food and having a party.

Feast of San Antonio Abad

The feast of San Antonio Abad takes place on 17th January. It is a Catholic event, organized in the honor of the religious figure, Saint Antoni. Saint Antoni is believed to be a monk who initiated the idea of going into exile or away from worldly belongings to renew your faith. This event is observed with church services that include the blessing of any animals brought to the church during the morning.

Mayan Village Show at the Xcaret Park, Cancún

This event includes Mayan festivals that include a celebration of the discovery of fire and a jungle walk.

Sayulita Film Festival

At the end of January: The event takes place in the town of Sayulita on Riviera Nayarit, usually during the last two days of January. It lasts for around lasts for five days. This festival attracts film, music, food, tequila, and surf lovers in particular. People also enjoy things like tequila and food pairings, live music, private film screenings, and much more during the event.

 

International Art Festival Merida

Also known as Merida Fest, this event happens from 5th January to 27th January. This event coincides with the founding of the city on January 6, 1542, and people from all over Merida come together to celebrate the event. There are several entertaining events like concerts, cultural events, art exhibits, food tastings, and theatrical presentations. 

Festival Alfonso Ortiz Tirado

Also known as Alamos FAOT Music Festival, it happens on the third Friday of January. This festival is considered one of the main cultural events in Mexico and usually happens for a week. Often, over 100,000 people are seen to be engaged in diverse music performances and exhibitions of art. Opera singing chamber music is one of the most liked activities of the event, which attracts people from across countries. Another primary event is where honor is given to Alfonso Ortiz Tirado, who was a doctor, singer, and philanthropist from Alamos. 

Fiesta de Enero

This festival is organized in Chiapas from January 8 to 23. This mega event is a folk and religious festival, showcasing the esteemed history and robust culture of the country. In this event, beautiful processions and dancing throughout the Chiapa de Corzo state take place where one can witness participants wearing colorful clothes and masks. Moreover, The Dance of the Parachicos is also a part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.

Butterfly migration

This is also an important event to watch where millions of beautiful monarch butterflies that reside in Mexico begin their journey to the north of Canada. Watching butterflies flying together is an aesthetic view for anyone who loves wildlife.

 

 

What to do in Mexico in January? 

January is a well-suited month for water-based activities including boat tours. We will be discussing a range of activities that you can do during your travel to Mexico.

Go Whale Watching

The weather conditions make January one of the best months for whale watching in Mexico, as there is a huge chance during this month you can see this incredible animal on the Pacific coast, mainly in Puerto Vallarta. Although many people spot whales from the shore, there is an opportunity for you to spot whole groups of whales by taking a boat tour out into the sea, where mother humpback whales and their calves come to swim and display a phenomenal view while jumping above the water. You can also witness whale babies that are born in this area. And remember to the flea markets of Old Vallarta, which is in the neighborhood. 

 

Moreover, in the Baja California Peninsula, you can also find numerous whales in January as this is the time when they are arriving there. At this spot, tourists often spot gray whales that are renowned for their friendly nature which is why they are called “friendlies.” These whales are believed to be curious about humans and often move close to the boat in which people are moving to see people. Other types of whales that are frequently found here include the minke whale, the blue, long-finned pilot, and sperm whales. 

Visit the Edward James Castle

As mentioned before, The Edward James Castle is located in central Mexico in San Luis Potosí. It is often recommended to visit this wonderful place when the weather is relatively cooler. The castle is encompassed by an 80-acre garden and possesses several sculptures and a maze, along with numerous notable and aesthetic natural waterfalls. 

Surf in Sayulita

On the Pacific coast of Mexico is located Sayulita, which is a town that has long been known as one of the best beaches for water activities like surfing.  January is specifically a great time of the year to visit Sayulita and witness some of the brilliant waves that land on the beach. Different types of people can be found here; those who are very professional at surfing and those who just want to sit and witness the amazing view of waves in the sunshine, thus making it a very relaxed place.  Moreover, there are plenty of beaches which means this place is not affected by crowds and everyone can get an opportunity or room to either surf or just sit back and enjoy the view.

Monarch Butterfly Biosphere

Another popular and must-to-go place is the Reserve in Michoacán state, which is only 208 miles or 129 km from Mexico City. Every year from around November to February, millions of Monarch butterflies migrate here from Canada, making this month a great time to visit. Not only the views, but you can also enjoy the pleasant weather. This site is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and considered to be worth experiencing in travels to Mexico. 

Other than these places, you can go sightseeing in Mexico City where quality beach time can be enjoyed, especially if you just need to relax. If you move north, particularly Copper Canyon, you can also experience great hiking adventures and can even plan a skiing trip if you are interested.

 

Where to travel in Mexico in January?

There are dozens of places to go in Mexico as a tourist. Below we would be discussing some of the most appealing places which you must incorporate in your travel itinerary.

The east coast and the Pacific Coast attract a number of tourists and are some of the best places to visit in Mexico in January. If you want to enjoy warm weather, cities such as Cancún, Merida, and Yucatán are well-suited for you. Also, several festivals and events are happening on the east and Pacific coasts. Speaking of Merida, it is the largest city on the Yucatán Peninsula. A primary attraction there is a three-week-long festival which happens in January. This event celebrates the foundation of the peninsula with happening events like musical concerts, fireworks, and theatre exhibitions.

Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya is one the biggest tourist attractions on Mexico’s Caribbean coast and attracts tourists who want to spend their holiday relishing stunning beaches and dynamic towns. A strongly suggested activity to do in this part of Mexico is to hire a car for a road trip up and down the coast. This idea is loved by tourists due to the long road in the route that joins together all of the attractions in the Riviera.

Other than the views of beautiful beaches and lively nightlife, this region is also popular for containing several sites of Mayan archaeological ruins that provide vast knowledge to tourists on the ancient history of the region. Other places to visit are the Reserva de la Biósfera Sian Ka’an which contains plentiful endangered species within the wild, rugged landscape.  Although the center of The Riviera Maya is known as a party destination, you can explore much more if you embark a little further than the center.

 

Cabo San Lucas

If you love visiting coastal sites, another coastal experience that is less rugged and more refined can be found in the great city of Cabo San Lucas which is located in the south of the Baja California Peninsula. This place once used to be a quiet fishing village, where only a few locals used to reside. However, due to its immense beauty, over the years this place has attracted a number of tourists and become an elegant destination for a holiday spot who wish to enjoy their vacation enjoying the serenity of beaches. Several urban attractions and surrounding landscapes can also be found in this area

Cabo San Lucas is also famous with tourists for its gigantic marina and deep-sea fishing. Here, you can find delicious fresh seafood to taste. When the weather is warm in January, watersports are also particularly prevalent. Other than this, you can explore the whole city comprising of several shops, bars, restaurants but such places are usually crowded.

 

 

Here, you will also find the famous Land’s End – a group of rock formations that extend into the ocean. These massive rocks have been engraved by years of water and wind corrosion and contain Roca Pelicanos, Los Frailes, and El Arco. There is also plentiful marine life here in January such as mako sharks, sea turtles, and dolphins.

 San Luis Potosí

As briefly mentioned before, here you will find an exciting castle maze—the Edward James castle, which is surrounded by a jungle. This castle attracts tourists as it is home to around 35 sculptures with an 80-acre garden. Sir Edward James, a popular historical figure in Mexico, is said to be building this castle for 40 years when he died. It is one of the most exhilarating places to visit in Mexico, you can stay here

Mexico City

The main city is also a brilliant place to visit in January. Given that the weather is warm and pleasing, there is a lot to see and do during the month in Mexico City for sightseeing. Soumaya Museum is one of the main attractions which contain around 66,000 pieces of Central American and European art. It attracts tourists who wish to explore different cultures. If you move to Biblioteca Vasconcelos which is a huge library, you can witness one of the world’s biggest libraries, surrounded by lush gardens. The library encompasses almost an area of over 410,000 square feet. 

If you have an adventure-seeking soul, you should go to Chiapas and must visit the archeological site, Chiapa de Corzo. Located in southern Mexico, Chiapas comprises mountainous highlands and dense rainforests. You can also explore Mayan archeological sites and Spanish colonial towns in the surroundings.

 

Mexico’s January weather per region

Mexico experiences a dry season in January which is why January is known as one of the best months to visit this destination. Rainfall is almost absent in this period and temperatures varies in different regions. On average, temperature ranges between 75-85 °F. In the southern and central parts, the daily mean temperature is about 75-80 °F. The south and center of Mexico are incline to be warmer in January whereas areas in the north tend to have slightly lower temperatures and witness a colder wind all over the month. 

North- Copper Canyon

This is an attractive and well-known winter destination, known mostly for hiking in the mountain valleys, and the opportunity to go on a ski trip. In the north, the temperature usually gets chillier, especially in Copper Canyon. The northern area often experiences colder winds, with temperatures plummeting to 45-60 °F in some areas. However, the climate variation is high in this region, so it is recommended that one should check out the latest weather forecast for the specific destination they intend to visit.

Central Mexico

In central Mexico including the main Mexico City, a temperature of around 75 °F can be expected during the day, while a temperature of 60-65 °F can be expected during the nights. 

Cancun 

Cancun is usually warm in January with temperatures on average between 77-82 °F, and on the Pacific Coast, it is around 80-90 °F.  

The renowned cities Yucatán and Ixtapa experience approximately 85-90°F, while Acapulco is a bit chillier. In Baja California, the temperatures are around 70-80 °F. 

Sea Temperature

The mean sea temperature in Mexico in January varies depending upon the region one is visiting.  Coldwater currents impact some parts of the ocean which leads to low temperature. In general, the sea temperature is expected to move between 20°C and 25°C throughout the country in January. This might feel a little chilly but the temperature is very enjoyable once you are in the water.

Clouds and Rainfall

Although January is part of Mexico’s dry season in which little to no rainfall is experienced, there is an average of around 7 days of rain across the country during January, with some areas of Mexico being more disposed to rainfall than others. However, even if rainfall happens during your vacation, it is very unlikely to last long and sunshine would soon be back.

Sunshine Hours

In January, there is average sunshine of 8 hours a day in Mexico, which specifically appeals to the tourists who visit the country from a part of the world that experiences winters at that time. The usual sunrise time is around 7.15 am while sunsets happen between 8 pm and 8.30 pm.

 

Un río de México

 

So, should you travel to Mexico in January?

Favorable conditions like warm weather and a number of cultural events happening in Mexico makes January one of the best, yet popular months to visit for travelers across the globe. Despite this, Mexico is still not as busy in January as it is in December and February. Thus January is a great time to travel. Moreover, it is easy to find budget-friendly deals on accommodation and flights during this month.

Areas like Cancún and Yucatán might be a bit more expensive as compared with Mexico City,  but still not as expensive as they are in December and February. Yucatán, Acapulco, and Cancún also get crowded as a lot of people from the Northern Hemisphere countries prefer going to these places on the Pacific Coast to escape the cold weather of their countries.

Mexico is widely known for its food. But the reality is that there is much more to explore in this amazingly, lively country. If you are seeking adventure or if you possess an interest in history or sports, or even if you are a keen shopper, Mexico’s bizarre towns, cities and regions will provide you with an unforgettable experience. Lastly, do remember that January makes the perfect combination with all other features of Mexico due to the perfect hot and sunny conditions that can make you enjoy everything the country has to offer at an even higher capacity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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July, 2021
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We had an amazing honeymoon thanks to Rutopia & Jorge. Initially I had just contacted them to get some ideas about my trip, but I ended up booking our trip to Mexico with Rutopia, after a lot of back-and-forth planning with Jorge. We wanted to visit and see both cultural/historical/gastronomical/vacation places in Mexico and our trip made that happen. Our hotels were excellent. Our drivers and guides were always on time. The activities were fun and informative. Couldn't ask for more. We did not encounter any problems, we did not have to pay any extra money for an activity either. Everything went perfectly well. Special thanks to Angel who was our guide in Merida and Chichen Itza.
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Enero, 2020
Perfect trip for a woman in Mexico
The Mexican Eco company Rutopia is excellent. As a solo female traveller, I was very pleased with the custom itinerary planned for me by Sibila. All of my requests were fulfilled, from urban tours and decent, clean hotels in CDMX to horseback riding, hikes and cooking lessons in beautiful Guanajuato. All drivers and guides were professional , knowledgable and arrived on time. I was very reassured by Melina from Rutopia, a warm and and very diligent person who checked in with me every step of the way both before my trip and during my days in Colonial Mexico. I heartily recommend this company as a reliable source for trip planning in Mexico.
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Diciembre-Enero, 2020
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Jorge and Melina did a great job and I was very happy with my trip. On very short notice during the high season, Jorge put together a perfect itinerary. I hate to plan and Jorge took all the work out of it. He put together a good balance of the big, can’t miss sites and activities that were a little more off the beaten track. Jorge helpfully worked with me to adjust the itinerary to meet my interests, and in hindsight, I only wish I had gotten more involved. Every tour they arranged was fun and worthwhile with knowledgeable and professional guides and comfortable transportation. During my travels, Melina kept close tabs on me to make sure things were going smoothly. The few times I sent her a message, she quickly responded and she would check in on me every couple days when I hadn’t been in touch.
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My husband and I had the best vacation of our lives while visiting Oaxaca, Mérida, Valladolid and Puerto Morelos in México. Vanessa helped us tailor the trip and then Marisol coordinated the final details. Anita, from Rutopía, was always responsive to our questions and concerns while we were in México. In Oaxaca, Alex, our guide from Etnoturismo, made sure we fell in love with that city. And we did indeed. The colors, the food, the people are just amazing and have a special place in our hearts. The guide we got for Chichén Itzá, Juan, was very knowledgable and took great photos of us. The hotels chosen by our local specialists were breathtaking. We wouldn't have been able to plan such a wonderful vacation without their help. Muchas gracias!
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Rutopia did an outstanding job with the arrangement and execution of a 9 day tour of Mayan sites in the Yucatan peninsula. We provided Rutopia with the general parameters of the trip we wanted and they suggested an itinerary. After our approval, they set up the hotels, transportation within Mexico, and site tours. The hotels were good quality, and all of the drivers and tour guides showed up on time. We were very impressed with the quality of the tour guides and learned a lot on the trip. Jorge handled setting up the itinerary, and Melina handled the execution of the trip and was readily available via WhatsApp throughout the trip for any questions or issues. Melina was particularly helpful in changing our transportation arrangements to the airport at the last minute per our request. I would recommend Rutopia and would use them again for future trips.
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July, 2021
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My wife and I had a fantastic holiday in Mexico thanks to Marisol, Ana, Teresa and their colleagues & partners. The entire itinerary and arrangements were put together in less than 4 days. What we really liked about Marisol & her team was that they were only a message or a phone call away for any query/suggestion, etc. The trip was bespoke to the extent that Rutopia had kept in mind about our interests, food habits & executed bookings, tours. They were also very flexible in catering to last minute changes/requests. The team took upon them to ensure that our entire trip was comfortable & safe by taking care of even small stuff that one normally finds out post getting to a place. We would definitely like to use their services again!!
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July, 2021
Journey to Mexico City, Cholula and Cuetzalan
We had a wonderful time. We started out in Mexico City with a 2 day tour filled with museums, food, and beautiful sights. We then went on to Cholula to experience the culture in a smaller town, see a local market, and eat traditional food. We finished the tour in a small town called Cuetzalan, where most people speak an indigenous language. All of our guides were great. Thank you for a memorable vacation!
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Septiembre, 2020
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I have traveled twice with Rutopía (family trips) and both have been wonderful experiences. Places of enormous beauty and biocultural richness, impossible to get to know in conventional tourism. Best of all: the hosts! Lovely people who know and love their cultures and territories and know how to transmit it with affection, pride and a great sense of hospitality. Undoubtedly, we will travel with them many more times!
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I traveled to Chiapas for an ecotourism experience with Rutopia and I liked it very much, the team responds very quickly to all questions and accompany the traveler throughout the experience, I missed my flight and they were very flexible to accommodate the entire itinerary, My destination was the lakes of Tziscao, where I was received by Neri with his family in very nice cabins next to a lake with incredible views and a magnificent tranquility, with them you make experiences of beekeeping and coffee and tours to nearby lakes, Montebello is a must! 100% recommended.
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Alexhcros1500

Marzo, 2021
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We have worked with Rutopia for several tours in Mexico in the Yucatán and Chiapas and we have never been disappointed. Authentic experiences, with locals, in magical places and off the beaten tourist track. Our contact Marisol was always super available and responsive, understanding and anticipating our desires. And she speaks very good French. I highly recommend Rutopia!
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Mikel D

Abril, 2021
The best moment lived in Mexico
We were traveling as a group of friends with nothing organized. We like to improvise and be able to find alternative plans to the conventional tourist routes. We arrived in Puerto Escondido - Mexico's paradise - and started looking for options. A Mexican friend recommended us to contact Rutopia and we did. We explained our way of traveling - which they quickly understood - and in a few hours they came to us with a perfect selection of activities. We chose one of them and the next day we found ourselves galloping through beautiful hills, crossing a small lagoon in canoes, bathing on an unspoiled beach at sunset and sipping freshly picked coconuts with some mezcal. We had dinner in the only hut on the beach, eating fish that had been caught that day from the lagoon. Then we went to see the luminescence of the placton with paddle canoes until we were surprised by one of the biggest and reddest moons I have ever seen in my life. We ended up sleeping in bamboo huts a few meters from the waves. There were no more than 5 huts on the miles of beach that we could see. And at ALL times with an exquisite treatment - sympathy, kindness and attention. This is just one of the plans we booked with Rutopia, which definitely changed the course of our trip. Without a doubt, I would repeat this experience in any place I would like to visit in Mexico. Viva Mexico!
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Claudia A

Septiembre, 2020
Super organization, great accommodations and nice team
The trip was perfectly organized, we were always exclusive or in very small groups and had freedom to do our own activities. All accommodations were fantastic and sustainable, the food almost always local and very good, we could always fill our Rutopia water bottles and travel as plastic free as possible. We were met at the airport and had assistance getting a rental car. After that, we traveled independently but had our fixed dates and reservations with Rutopia. It was the perfect mix!
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pascalrichard0304

Marzo, 2020
Circuit in Yucatan
Discovering wonderful and surprising sites, Mayan communities with an unforgettable welcome, breathtaking landscapes, a very pleasant climate in the middle of March...and smiling people! A big thank you to Rutopia and his team for the elaboration of this ideal circuit, alternating nature, city life, simplicity and comfort. Thanks to Mélina for the follow-up during our trip. We don't speak Spanish well enough, and we appreciated having a French-speaking contact person who could be reached if necessary. We still have a lot to discover and hope to come back very soon, and with Rutopia without hesitation!
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Sabrina N

Marzo, 2020
Perfect
For those who don't like to manage logistics like hotels, rental cars, activities. And above all, to have someone who speaks fluent French that we can reach at any time for the unexpected... You are in the right place! Thank you to Chloe for the preparation of our trip, to Melina our Ariadne's thread and Teresa for her welcome and help at the arrival and departure. A big thank you to Enrique and Blanca from Nuevo-Durango for their welcome, their smiles, their family, a lot of emotions at the time to leave you. Thanks to Mémo for your teaching of Mexican customs (Sian Ka'an) The Yucatan is a magnificent region. And the population is very pleasant. Only downside Holbox... Too much dust, too much smell of fuel oil, too much tourist. I will keep in memory these wonderful moments!
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