If you want to plan a trip to the beautiful and diverse state of Oaxaca and to its capital of Oaxaca de Juárez (Oaxaca City), then it might help to know when is the best time to visit in terms of the weather, festival calendar, crowds, prices, and more—all of which I will detail in this guide!
Starting with the vibrant and historic capital city, the best time to visit Oaxaca City will vary depending on your primary travel objectives.
For example, if you want to simply go when Oaxaca has pleasant weather with sun-soaked days and little to no chance of rain, then you will want to visit during the springtime which falls during Oaxaca’s dry season.
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But, on the other hand, if you are a festival fanatic and wish to visit Oaxaca to soak in its rich indigenous cultures and colors, then you’d want to visit in mid-July for the annual Guelaguetza Festival, which falls during Oaxaca’s hot and wet season.
As you see, knowing when to plan your vacation to Oaxaca can be a little tricky, and depends on what you are looking forward to experiencing most!
Whether it’s to bask in the sunshine in laid-back coastal towns or delight in its world-renown gastronomy, there are many reasons to visit Oaxaca year-round.
☀️ Read more below to discover when is the best time to visit Oaxaca City (and the state of Oaxaca) month-by-month depending on the weather, festival calendar, and more!
The Best Times to Visit Oaxaca, Mexico
Best Season to Visit Oaxaca for Weather (By Month)
In the chart below, you can get a quick idea of Oaxaca’s average highs and lows in Celcius for each month, as well as the average number of rainy days in each given month.
Below, I will break down what this means for planning a trip to Oaxaca month by month—what to expect, pack, do, and more.
January to April/May (Dry Season)
Ok so technically, the dry season starts sooner than January but let’s keep it in this order to correspond with the calendar.
Here are the reasons why you might want to plan your visit to Oaxaca to fall within the dry months of January, February, March, or April (and sometimes into May).
The main argument for visiting in late winter and early spring is because the weather at this time in Oaxaca is very pleasant; in the city, but also across the state of Oaxaca too.
In general, you can expect plenty of sunshine. Think warm (even hot), sunny days but cool evenings—the perfect combo for a good night’s sleep, in my opinion!
Our two-month-long stay as digital nomads in Oaxaca City aligned with this, and I will add that the weather felt perfect. 🌸
This time of year is simply lovely in Oaxaca, both on the coast and in the city.
Also, crowds at this time are coming and going. It’s not technically crowded, but it’s not dull and lifeless either.
But crowds do increase, especially during Easter weekend and even for two weeks before and after. So you should consider that when mapping out your ultimate Oaxaca City itinerary (4-5 days).
There is a lot going on at this time, including festivals (which I’ll talk about down below), and a lot to look forward to.
👉 In sum, planning a trip to Oaxaca between January to April is ideal for beach vacations on the Oaxacan coast but also for food and culture-focused trips to Oaxaca City.
May to September (Wet Season)
And then we have the wet season, which fluctuates, but typically falls within, the months of May, June, July, August, and September (and sometimes, even into October).
During the summer months in Oaxaca, you can expect to fry and get wet. In other words, it gets quite hot and rainy.
While the average temperatures may not be that much more than in the spring, the humidity increases over the wet season so it makes the heat much less pleasant.
Nightly average temperatures don’t drop as low, either. So you’d better rent an apartment that comes with air conditioning!
Keep in mind as well that Oaxaca City sits at an altitude of 5,100 ft (1, 555 m) so the city tends to be less humid than on the Pacific coast.
The con of visiting Oaxaca during these months of the wet season is therefore the rainfall.
However, the pros might outweigh the cons.
During the summer months—Oaxaca’s off-season—prices typically are more affordable without as many crowds.
Also, Oaxaca celebrates its most important ethnic festival during mid-July—La Guelaguetza—which thousands of people journey to Oaxaca during this time to witness.
October to December (Dry Season)
Finally, we arrive at the end of the year which is—depending on how you perceive the flow of time—considered the start of the dry season.
However, I wanted to leave this part of the dry season toward the end because, although it may be the dry season, it’s a different type of weather than the spring.
Particularly, October and November are more like transitional months.
The wet season sometimes lasts longer than expected, so planning a trip during these months can be a hit or miss.
But mostly, it’s a hit!
One of the best times to visit Oaxaca is actually at the end of October/beginning of November for its exuberant and wonderful Día de Muertos celebrations.
Día de Muertos is not Halloween, but in big cities across Mexico, the holiday tends to blend into the official start of Day of the Dead which is on November 1st and 2nd each year.
I had the marvelous opportunity so far to experience the Day of the Dead in Sayulita, but also in Tulum and La Paz.
I haven’t yet experienced it in Oaxaca but there is a reason why Oaxaca is so famous for it. One word: Magical.
💀 So, if you get the chance to visit Oaxaca during Día de Muertos in November, you won’t regret it!
That said, you might get a few rainy days here and there, but nothing like in the wet season so your trip shouldn’t be spoiled.
Likewise, the Oaxacan coast at this time of the year is also popular, but less crowded than it is following December’s holidays which might be the perfect reason to visit (again, the off-season in Mexico tends to = cheaper prices and fewer crowds).
Best Month to Visit Oaxaca for Festivals & Events
So, you might’ve already gathered that Oaxaca is pretty great to visit year-round.
But if you’re particularly interested in its festivals and events, then you might want to plan your trip primarily according to that versus worrying about what the weather is doing.
Below is a quick list of touristic events and major festivals that take place in Oaxaca by month.
- Diablo Carnaval Oaxaca (February)
- Día de la Samaritana (March)
- Holy Week / Easter (April)
- Cocineras Tradicionales de Oaxaca (April)
- Feria de la Nieve y Mezcal (April)
- La Gran Fiesta del Mezcal (July)
- La Guelaguetza (July)
- Oaxaca Film Festival (October)
- Día de Muertos (November)
- Noche de los Rábanos (December)
- Fiesta de la Virgen de Guadalupe & La Virgin de la Soledad (December)
- Christmas (December)
👉 Make sure to make your Oaxaca hotel reservations at least 2-3 months out if you plan your vacation around these holidays and festivals.
Reserve your hotel now on Booking.com or read through my round-up list of the best boutique hotels in Oaxaca City or the best backpacker hostels in Oaxaca.
What to Pack for Oaxaca By Season
Whether you’re strolling the streets of Oaxaca City or basking on the beaches of Puerto Escondido, here is a quick and handy list of what to pack when visiting Oaxaca!
- 1x Light jacket
- 1x Cardigan
- 1-2x Sweaters
- 2x Linen pants or capris
- 1-2x Jeans
- 1-2x Shorts
- 1x Skirt (I prefer light long ones)
- Flip flops or sandals
- Walking shoes that are good for travel such as Allbirds
- Sun umbrella, optional (saw many locals with one for visiting Monte Albán)
- Beach gear (i.e. towel, sunscreen, swimsuit, sarong)
- Rain jacket
- 2x Jeans
- Sandals that can get wet (like my Teva Sandals)
- Shorts and long skirts
- Cotton shirts and tanks
- Shoes + wool socks
- Assortment of layers
- Beach clothes, if needed
- Mosquito repellent
👉 The rule of thumb for packing for Oaxaca is to plan outfits for warm days and cool nights. Be comfortable in your shoes, too, as there are a lot of amazing things to do in Oaxaca City that require you to roam on foot!
Final Tips for When to Visit Oaxaca
✈️ Book in advance to secure the best deals on hotels, flights, and car rentals.
As for flights, I check on KAYAK first and then go on Google Flights to confirm/cross-reference prices.
And if you know you will be in need of a rental car, make sure to reserve it now for your trip dates even if you pay online or in person later. Car rentals tend to be the first service that goes when the busy high season kicks off.
I use Discover Cars to snag cheap rates (and I’ve always had a good experience — aka no “surprise” costs at the counter).
🎄 Avoid crowds by visiting before/after major holidays (e.g. Christmas, Easter).
Christmas, Easter (Semana Santa), and New Year’s tend to be the busiest times to visit Oaxaca because both national and international tourists flock to Oaxaca City and the coastal towns for vacation.
In short, this means prices skyrocket across the board for hotels, car rentals, tours, etc., and the pickings are slim.
To make your experience the best possible, it’s wise to visit Oaxaca in the fall or spring, when costs are lower and hotels and tours aren’t at max capacity.
Finally, if you have any lingering questions about visiting Oaxaca, please reach out! In the meantime, feel free to browse through my other Oaxaca guides!
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