When you buy something using links found on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. This content is reviewed & supervised by The Los Angeles Times.

Best Places to Spend Christmas in Mexico this December

  • December is a great time to visit Mexico as there are less international tourists and it is outside of the hurricane season, meaning you can usually get great weather.
  • Our tips for the best places to visit in Mexico in December include Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, resorts on the Yucatan Peninsula, and Los Cabos in Baja California.
  • Mexico comes alive with street processions, live music, fireworks, street food, expansive and elaborate nativity scenes and more during the holiday season.
  • Mexican Christmas traditions are rich with cultural significance and make for a fun and immersive way to spend your holiday season.
  • Regardless of where you go, the weather in Mexico in December is milder than many parts of the U.S. making it an optimal place to escape to while avoiding the harsh northern Winters.
  • We recommend opting for a basic travel insurance plan since Mexico has areas with heightened levels of unrest.

Our top picks for travel insurance

Advertiser Disclosure
Best Overall

Seven Corners

GET A QUOTE via Squaremouth’s secure website
Preferred Plan
Trip Protection Choice
Covers COVID
Medical & Evacuation Limits Per Person
$500,000 / $1,000,000
Best for Trips Within North America

Generali Global Assistance

GET A QUOTE via Squaremouth’s secure website
Preferred Plan
Covers COVID
Medical & Evacuation Limits Per Person
$50,000 / $250,000
Best for "A Bit of Everything"

Tin Leg

GET A QUOTE via Squaremouth’s secure website
Preferred Plan
Covers COVID
Medical & Evacuation Limits Per Person
$500,000 / $500,000

When is Christmas in Mexico?

When does Mexico celebrate Christmas? For the most part, Mexicans celebrate the holiday on the same date as everyone else — December 25th. As a largely Christian nation, Mexicans follow many of the same traditions as Americans when it comes to celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

However, unlike the US and Canada, Mexico’s holiday celebrations tend to stretch out longer, and even more than a month from start to finish. First off, many Mexican families celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe on December 12th each year with Christmas carols, elaborate feasts, and other celebrations Second, Las Posadas is a holiday event that takes place from December 16th to December 24th (nine days) in order to celebrate the nine-day pregnancy of the Virgin Mary.

Many Mexican families also celebrate the 12 days of Christmas, which stretch from December 25th to January 6th. A final Mexican Christmas celebration takes place on February 2nd, exactly 40 days after the holiday itself. Día de la Candelaria (Feast of the Presentation of Jesus Christ or the Feast of the Holy Encounter) is a Catholic holiday that celebrates the day the Virgin Mary brought Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem. You can find the historical context for this holiday in the Book of Luke (chapter 2, verse 22-23) in the New Testament.

Mexican Christmas traditions: How does Mexico celebrate Christmas?

Mexican Christmas traditions are largely centered around religious beliefs, parades, huge feasts, and celebrations of all kinds. Each region and town has its own unique traditions, but in general, there are 2 stand-out cultural points to see in Mexico if you visit in December.

Parades & parties (“Las Posadas”)

Christmas in Mexico is similar to in the U.S. in the sense that it’s a time for gathering with loved ones to celebrate. In Mexico, las Posadas happen from December 16th to 24th. Las Posadas are social gatherings that typically include parades and processions in which people take to the streets to re-enact Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter during their pregnancy with baby Jesus. You typically light candles and sing Christmas songs and carols with neighbors while “asking them for shelter”.

These re-enactments always end with a fiesta filled with holiday foods and alcoholic drinks like Ponche. Festivities and games (including piñatas) mean participating in a posada is fun for the entire family.

The Nativity (“Nacimientos”)

As mentioned, nativity takes center stage as part of Mexican Christmas traditions. Mexico is known for its skilled artisans and craftsmen, and expansive hand-crafted nativity scenes made of various local materials can be found displayed in homes, schools, and other public places to mark the birth of Jesus. They take the nativity several steps further and build entire replica villages (similar to Christmas villages in the U.S.) in the style of traditional nativity scenes. Typically, baby Jesus will be added to the display starting on the 25th, the day of his birth. Needless to say, purchasing a handcrafted nativity scene is a must should you decide to spend Christmas in Mexico.

Christmas food in Mexico

Almost all Christmas traditions in Mexico incorporate lavish meals, street foods, and traditional Mexican dishes Here are some of the most popular foods you’ll find if you plan a Christmas in Mexico:



“Ponche” translates directly to punch. As in America, Christmas punch in Mexico often contains alcohol and in this case, is served warm. Traditional recipes include guava, a Mexican fruit known as “tejocote”, plum, sugar, and cinnamon.

See More See Less


“Pozole” is a classic Mexican dish with the consistency of a soup or stew. It has a base of hominy and meat and contains fresher flavors like lime, radish, lettuce, etc.

See More See Less


“Bacalao” is cod in Spanish and during Christmas in Mexico, it’s typically eaten in a variety of ways.

See More See Less


“Buñuelos” are similar to donut holes in shape with the consistency of a funnel cake. They consist of fried dough with cinnamon and sugar.

See More See Less

Rosca de Reyes:

“Rosca de Reyes” is a dish that references the Three Wise Men, also known as the three kings or “Reyes”. This dish is eaten as dessert or breakfast and is a large donut-shaped cake with dried fruit on top. It’s typically eaten around Three Kings Day on the 6th of January.

See More See Less


“Romeritos” are eaten around Christmas time and are a stewed plant from central Mexico almost resembling collard greens. They are typically served with protein and black mole.

See More See Less

Other notable foods to mention are more closely related to foods in America:

If you’re up for it, enjoying these foods can make your trip especially memorable and festive.

Passport and Plane Ticket

Best places to spend a Mexican Christmas

Christmas vacation in Mexico is without a doubt time well spent. Not only are there fewer tourists but visiting Mexico in December offers a stunning look into a different part of Mexican Culture.

That said, where you stay and the activities you take part in can play a huge role in the type of holiday you have.

For example, you can head to Mexico City or San Miguel de Allende to experience Mexican holiday traditions that have been around for hundreds of years, or you can plan a trip to Cancun or Los Cabos for a Christmas vacation at the beach. There’s no right or wrong way to plan a Mexican Christmas getaway, so get started planning a unique holiday celebration you’ll never forget.

So, what are the best places to visit in Mexico in December?

Below we have compiled some of the most popular destinations to visit in Mexico in December where you can plan a festive Mexican Christmas vacation.

The most popular places to spend Christmas in Mexico are:

1. Central Mexico:

2. Yucatan Peninsula

3. Baja California

Here is a look at these in greater detail and why they make the list of the best places to visit in Mexico in December.

Mexico City, Mexico

The Capital of Mexico, known as Mexico D.F. or Mexico City, has grown in popularity with travelers in recent years. Spending Christmas in Mexico City is a great way to immerse yourself in the heart of Mexican culture and traditions.

It’s a thriving cosmopolitan metropolis with an incredible culinary scene but still holds true to its cultural traditions. With its mild winter weather, convenient transportation options, and welcoming atmosphere, Mexico City is a fantastic destination for a memorable Christmas vacation.

It’s located in central Mexico making it a great hub for short trips to other regions. The Mexico City International Airport also has daily flights to and from many destinations in the U.S.

What to see in Mexico City at Christmas?

From the enchanting Zócalo Square to the lively posadas and festive markets, the city is alive with the spirit of Christmas.

Mexicans travel to Mexico City from all over the country to the Basilica of Guadalupe (a church) in order to pay a visit to la Virgen Morena – the Virgin Mary. This part of Mexican celebrations for the holiday always includes parades, fireworks, and live performances, as well as plenty of traditional Christmas foods. Therefore, Mexico City is one of the top places on our list for visiting Mexico in December.

In Mexico City, Christmas starts with the feast day of the Virgin of Guadalupe on December 12th, which is a day filled with religious celebrations, meals, and family time. As many as 3 million people also visit the Basilica of Guadalupe that day, which makes for an incredible spectacle and party throughout the streets of this famous city.

Mexico City also celebrates Las Posadas until Christmas Day. Other holiday celebrations in Mexico City include family parties and meals, fireworks, and parades.

Mexico City is known for its food scene, which includes amazing street food as well as high-end restaurants. Note that most restaurants and stores will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Eve, then reopen again on December 26th.

How is the weather in Mexico City in December?

Since Mexico City is located in Central Mexico, it has temperate winters.

If you visit Mexico City in December or January, the weather will likely be pleasant but not overly warm. Mexico City highs in December are typically in the low 70’s Fahrenheit, and lows can sometimes drip to the 40’s.

Keep in mind that if you plan to go to any nearby towns or cities, such as San Miguel de Allende, you may be headed into the mountains where altitude can play a role in temperatures.

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is another of our top recommendations for places to visit in Mexico in December. It lies about 4 hours outside of Mexico City and is a UNESCO World Heritage site brimming with cultural influences and incredible traditions all year long.

It boasts charming architecture and a small-town feel, which is even more prominent over the holidays.

What to see in San Miguel de Allende?

Apart from its stunning traditional architecture, the city is known for having some of the most spectacular holiday decorations and Christmas scenes on display, which you can enjoy as you dine and shop during your Mexican Christmas holiday.

The San Miguel de Allende Cathedral and its adjacent square also bring in tourists in droves due to the lavishly decorated (and huge) Christmas tree on display. Many locals dress up in Christmas costumes throughout the holiday season making it feel truly magical. If you are looking for authentic Mexican traditions, San Miguel de Allende is where to go.

How to get there:

The closest airports to San Miguel de Allende are the Guanajuato International Airport in Guanajuato and the Querétaro Intercontinental Airport in Querétaro, yet both make visiting this unique cultural hub a breeze. However, it’s also only around a 4-hour drive from Mexico City if you prefer to stop in both places.

How is the weather in San Miguel de Allende in December?

The weather in San Miguel de Allende over the holidays will be cooler than you’ll find in beach destinations or even in nearby Mexico City. Although average highs in December can be in the mid 70’s Fahrenheit, average lows are often in the 40’s.

San Miguel de Allende is also nestled into the mountains where the higher altitude means it can be colder and breezier than other locales. That said, the weather is temperate and will likely be better than most areas of the U.S. in December and January.

Yucatan Peninsula: Cancun, Cozumel, & more

If you aren’t interested in traditional Mexican culture over the holidays and prefer to kick back with a drink in hand and toes in the sand, the Yucatan peninsula offers Caribbean waters and warmer weather – perfect for escaping the cold North American winters.

What to see in Cozumel & Cancun in December?

In this part of Mexico, the resort towns are all relatively close together making it possible to visit several towns in a short amount of time.

Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, and other cities in this region have festive Mexican Christmas celebrations with parades, fireworks, street parties, and feasts. Many hotels in and around Cancun offer special activities for visitors as well. These can include lavish resort meals and parties, live music, and other festive performances.

Weather in Cancun in December

Thanks to its warm weather and stable climate, the best time to go to Cancun is between November and April – when there are fewer tourists and no risk of hurricanes.

Weather in Cancun in December will still be warm and tropical, and you’ll find many of the country’s best all-inclusive resorts and luxury hotels along the coast of Riviera Maya south of Cancun. Cozumel is also a quick ferry ride off the coast of Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico, and it boasts some of the best snorkeling and diving opportunities throughout the country. Of course, this area of Mexico is also known for its proximity to famous Mayan ruins, including those found in Tulum and Coba.

Getting there:

Cancun International Airport is one of the busiest in the country and is the main gateway for visitors to not only Cancun but also destinations like Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. Cancun International Airport has flights to most major cities in the U.S.

In fact, it brought in the largest number of international visitors to the country of Mexico last year, and it’s easy to see why. This part of Mexico is both safe and fun, and it has some of the best resorts and beaches in the country.

Cabo San Lucas & San Jose del Cabo

Los Cabos or “Cabo” as it’s often called is located in Baja California on the Western coast of Mexico. If you live along the West Coast of the United States, flights to Cabo San Lucas can be both fast and inexpensive. It also has great weather which adds to the allure of visiting this area of Mexico year-round.

Getting there:

Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo are two different destinations in an area collectively known as Los Cabos. Each is conveniently located close to Los Cabos International Airport which has flights to many U.S. cities.

What to do in Cabo in December

Cabo has spectacular hotels and beaches that are perfect for a little rest and relaxation during the holiday season.

If you are looking for an alternative way to spend the holidays, you may want to check out one of the many all-inclusive Cabo San Lucas resorts, luxury hotels, and vacation rentals that dot the coastline in this area.

Cabo in December can include a gamut of Mexican Christmas celebrations from street parties to parades and festivals, live music and events, and incredible holiday decor. The hotel or resort you book may also offer special events with Mexican Christmas traditions on display, so make sure to inquire.

Weather in Cabo in December

Cabo San Lucas’ weather in December will be comfortable and tropical as it stays this way almost all year long. This makes this part of Mexico an ideal destination for a Mexican Christmas vacation – or one at any other time of the year.

Other considerations when traveling to Mexico around Christmas

Visiting Mexico in December comes with many of the same considerations and risks as any other time of the year. Consider these tips to ensure you have a festive and relaxing Christmas in Mexico with minimal hassle and stress.


Driving comes with its share of risks

First, you should know that driving in Mexico can be risky with a rental car or your own car. This is true whether you plan to drive once you get to your Mexican holiday destination, but it’s even more true if you plan to cross the border into Mexico in your own vehicle.

See More See Less

Check the U.S. Government’s website for travel alerts

The U.S. Department of State issues a range of warnings and alerts for all destinations around the world, and they say that some destinations in Mexico are not safe to visit due to the prevalence of kidnappings and other crimes. Check Travel.State.gov for warnings on your Mexican Christmas destination, and exercise caution when traveling within the country.

See More See Less

Travel insurance is never a bad idea

We always recommend getting travel insurance for vacations to Mexico as you never know when it may come in handy, and Mexico has its own unique set of security risks and health risks – including drinking the water. Some of the best travel insurance plans can cost as little as $1 per day, so we recommend purchasing comprehensive coverage. If you need some recommendations, we have a full article on the Best Travel Insurance for Mexico.

See More See Less

Ensure you have medical coverage while abroad

Most health insurance doesn’t cover you while you are outside of the U.S. – including Medicare. For this reason, we also want to highlight the importance of ensuring you have emergency medical coverage in case you need to be treated while away. As mentioned above, most travel insurance will have medical insurance included. It may also include emergency evacuation coverage in case you need to be sent home for treatment, or COVID-19 illness coverage.

See More See Less

Shop around for last-minute deals

Traveling anywhere over the holidays can be expensive, and this is just as true for visiting Mexico in December as it is elsewhere. Look at a range of travel dates and destinations as you compare prices, and consider traveling right before or after Christmas Day to save on your trip. New Years day is also one of the cheapest days to fly.

See More See Less
Passport and Plane Ticket
Holly D. Johnson
Holly D. Johnson Finance Expert

Holly D. Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer who covers topics like insurance, investing, credit and family finance. As a leading voice in the travel and loyalty space, Johnson has traveled with her family to more than 50 countries over the last decade.

The author has also written extensively on the power of household budgeting, and she even co-authored a book on the topic. Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love was originally published in 2017, and it teaches families how to use zero-sum budgeting to reach their financial goals. She is also the co-owner and founder of the family finance and travel website, ClubThrifty.com.

Johnson’s 10+ years of writing have focused on helping families make important financial decisions at each stage of their lives. The author also applies the financial principles she teaches to her own life, and she is currently on track to retire in her late 40’s with her partner. She currently lives in Central Indiana with her husband and children, and she is a regular contributor for Bankrate, CNN, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report Travel and many other notable publications.