Are you looking for a place to spend Christmas this year? If you're thinking of Mexico, be sure to check out our recommendation for the best place in Mexico for Christmas. We highlight our ten favorite cities to spend a Christmas in Mexico vacation that’s geared just for families.
With something for everyone, from beautiful beaches to lively and festive cities, you're sure to find the perfect spot for your Christmas trip to Mexico. So get ready to celebrate Christmas, Mexican style!
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As you’re researching the best place in Mexico for Christmas, take some time to learn about the country’s Christmas traditions too. Many of the Christmas traditions stem from Catholicism, like the celebration of Las Posadas, between December 16-24, when Mexicans reenact Joseph and Mary’s journey to find an inn to birth the baby Jesus.
Gift giving in Mexico typically falls on Christmas Eve, when families typically gather together to celebrate. Kids will have seven-pointed piñatas filled with candies, which some say represents the star of Bethlehem.
Mexico traditionally doesn’t celebrate Santa. But in many parts of Mexico, families will celebrate Three Kings Day on January 6. On this day, kids receive little gifts in their shoes. This day commemorates the arrival of the three wise men to baby Jesus.
In terms of food, families traditionally serve tamales during Christmas meals. And in certain parts of Mexico, you’ll find a holiday punch called ponche navideño and a sweet fried pastry called buñuelos. To get a taste of these holiday specialties before you go to Mexico, try these recipes for ponche navideño and buñuelos.
Mexico is the perfect country to spend a Christmas vacation. While you likely won't see much snow in Mexico (except in some states in the north), there are still plenty of ways to have a festive Christmas vacation in Mexico. Plus, it’s a more affordable vacation option than other countries in Central America, like Costa Rica.
With its strong Catholic traditions, you’ll certainly find Christmas celebrations happening all throughout the month of December. But you’ll also find unique local variations as well.
This list offers ideas for where to spend Christmas in Mexico. Use it to choose the best place in Mexico for Christmas for your family.
One top rated option for the best place in Mexico for Christmas is Mexico City. This city is a great destination for families, both during the Christmas holidays and any other time of the year. Iconic spots to visit include the Frida Kahlo House, Xochomilco, or Teotihuacan. But also make sure your Mexico City itinerary includes at least one visit to a unique museum, like the Chocolate Museum or Soumaya Museum.
Weather in Mexico City during December reaches a daily high of 71 degrees Fahrenheit and a daily low of 44 degrees Fahrenheit. While it rarely gets below freezing, do pack warm layers to ensure you’re prepared for the Mexican winter weather.
During your Mexico City Christmas vacation, you’ll see Las Posadas processions, parades, and fireworks in local plazas and at the Zocalo (Mexico City’s historic center). Also be sure to catch the church events happening at the Grand Cathedral of Mexico City. It’s one of the best places to visit for Christmas!
Oaxaca is another option for the best place in Mexico for Christmas. It is the capital of the Mexican state Oaxaca. It’s also a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its many colonial-era structures and important archeological sites from continuing native Zapotec and Mixtec cultures.
There are many things for families to do in Oaxaca, including visiting Monte Alban, strolling through local markets, exploring museums, or taking a bike ride through the city. Oaxaca is located in the southern Sierra Madre mountain range. So while temperatures in Oaxaca during December are in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit during the day, they drop down to the 40s and 50s Fahrenheit at night.
Oaxaca celebrates Christmas with traditional Las Posadas processions. A tradition that’s unique to Oaxaca is La Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes), where artists display sculptures made from radishes. Another Oaxaca tradition is the breaking of bowls, involving eating sweet desserts called buñuelos accompanied by a sweet syrup in a bowl, and then smashing the bowl as you make a wish for the new year.
San Miguel de Allende is a beautiful city in the central state of Guanajuato that's perfect for families. It has a rich history, fantastic food, and beautiful landscapes, and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. If you’re a fan of cultural learning, San Miguel de Allende is the best place in Mexico for Christmas.
Families visiting will have plenty of activities to include in their San Miguel de Allende itinerary, including taking a trolley tour of the city, shopping at an artisan market, taking a stroll through Jardin Allende, taking a food tour, or appreciating art at Centro Cultural. When you come in December, bring warm clothing, as the weather can get to almost freezing temperature in San Miguel de Allende this time of year. If you’re staying at a vacation rental, keep in mind that most Mexican homes rely on propane-powered space heaters to heat their homes.
For a Christmas trip to San Miguel de Allende, you’ll find Las Posadas reenactments, as well as fireworks, pinatas, live music, and plenty of nativity scenes. Additionally you’ll be able to find Christmas events happening throughout the month.
Guanajuato, located in Guanajuato state is an underrated gem. And it’s a great place to visit for families with kids of all ages. This designated UNESCO World Heritage Site has a rich history and culture.
There are plenty of Guanajuato tours that families can take, from trolley tours to horseback riding tours. Not to be missed are the many museums of Guanajuato, as well as its tunnels. You should also take a stroll through the city’s Centro Historico. Weather in Guanajuato can get rainy and cold, but rarely gets colder than 45 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s located in the central Mexico highlands, in the southern tip of the Sierra Madre mountain range, so temperatures are cooler than other parts of Mexico.
During Christmas, the city of Guanajuato comes alive with colorful decorations and lights. Don’t miss a Las Posadas procession, or dance performances on the streets in front of the Basílica Colegiata de Nuestra Señora de Guanajuato. Also try the tasty drink, ponche navideño, made from mulled fruit, cinnamon, and cane sugar. For families wanting a city that offers a cozy holiday feel and opportunities to learn about another culture, then Guanajuato is the best place in Mexico for Christmas.
If, instead, you’re looking for the quintessential beach getaway, then Cancun is the best place in Mexico for Christmas. The city of Cancun, located in the state of Quintana Roo, is a great vacation destination for families with plenty of activities to choose from. The best time to visit Cancun is between December and April when the weather is more mild. Temperatures average a high of 83 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 68 degrees Fahrenheit, so there’s no need to pack a heavy winter coat. You’ll be living in your beach clothes during your Cancun Mexico Christmas vacation!
Families looking for things to do in Cancun can enjoy adventure tours like zip lining or horseback riding, water activities like snorkeling or swimming with whale sharks, or land-based activities like food tours and visiting ancient Mayan ruins.
Since Cancun is primarily a tourist destination, you might not find as many local holiday traditions in Mexico like in other non-tourist oriented cities in Mexico. However, you’ll find many of the resorts in Cancun will be decorated with holiday decorations. Note that Christmas Eve is more heavily celebrated in Mexico than Christmas day, so restaurants may close early that day.
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Another beach-focused best place in Mexico for Christmas is Playa del Carmen. This resort city is located in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It’s a popular tourist destination, as it’s close to Cancun and other destinations in the Riviera Maya. The area around Playa del Carmen is known for its white sand beaches, blue turquoise waters, coral reefs, and surrounding rainforests.
The downtown area revolves around Quinta Avenida, which is lined with many shops, clubs, and restaurants. Things to do in Playa del Carmen include shopping along Avenida Quinta Norte, sampling the local restaurants, hanging out at the beach clubs, spending an afternoon at Playa Esmeralda, or taking in the sea views at Parque Los Fundadores.
Much like Cancun, Playa del Carmen is primarily a tourist destination. So you’ll find many of the resorts festively decorated. December weather in Playa del Carmen sees an average high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit and an average low of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. So don’t forget to pack those shorts and short sleeved tops!
If you live on the western coast of North America and are looking for the best place in Mexico for Christmas that’s only a few hours flight, then Los Cabos is your choice. Located in the southern tip of Baja California peninsula, Los Cabos is actually a municipality consisting of the city of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo. It’s considered one of the safest places in Mexico for families.
Los Cabos offers families beaches, snorkeling, and nature! In December, you’ll be able to see whale sharks in nearby La Paz and in the waters surrounding the Baja Peninsula. The weather in December averages a high of 80°F and a low of 62°F. Bring a light sweater or jacket to anticipate cool days.
If you’re planning to do a Cabo Christmas vacation you might be able to catch a Las Posadas procession. Christmas Eve is also filled with festivities. You’ll likely find some Christmas activities happening at the Puerto Paraisa shopping mall near the downtown marina.
Another option for the best place in Mexico for Christmas on Mexico’s Pacific Coast is Puerto Vallarta. It’s a vibrant city in the state of Jalisco that offers plenty of activities for families with kids. The city has a rich maritime history and was once part of the Manila Galleon trade route connecting Acapulco, Mexico with Manila, Philippines.
Boat excursions, cooking classes, snorkeling adventures, and beach exploration are some of the many things to do in Puerto Vallarta with kids. Some other ideas for family-friendly activities in Puerto Vallarta include taking a dolphin excursion, horseback riding, paddle boarding, whale watching, and taking a sailing cruise.
Weather in Puerto Vallarta during December is warm, with an average high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit and an average low of 64 degrees Fahrenheit. While you won’t need to pack a winter coat for your Puerto Vallarta Christmas vacation, it might be a good idea to pack a light sweater.
Christmas traditions in Puerto Vallarta include the Festival of Guadalupe, a 12-day festival that includes a procession honoring Mexico’s patron saint. You’ll also see a Las Posadas procession. During this time of year, the malecon, Puerto Vallarta’s main boardwalk, will be decorated for the holidays.
For families looking for an off the beaten path beach destination, head to Puerto Escondido. This is a small coastal town in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. Not only is it the best place in Mexico for Christmas, it’s also perfect for visiting all year round. Weather in Puerto Escondido in December ranges between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. So even during Christmas, it’s a great time to visit Puerto Escondido and enjoy the beach.
There are plenty of fun things to do in Puerto Escondido including snorkeling, fishing, dolphin watching, bird watching, sea turtle release, bioluminescence tours, horseback riding and more. Dozens of tour companies exist to help families to take advantage of all the Puerto Escondido activities with kids.
If you happen to be in Puerto Escondido during the middle of December, you might catch the Fiesta of the Virgen de la Soledad. It’s a celebration in honor of the patron saint of the fishermen of Puerto Escondido.
A final option for the best place in Mexico for Christmas is Merida. The city of Mérida in Yucatán state was built on an ancient Mayan city called T'hó. Today, Mérida is a popular spot for Mexican and international tourism due to its historic colonial buildings, its vibrant Mayan culture, and close proximity to archaeological and natural sites.
Things to do in Mérida with kids include the Gran Museo del Mundo Mayo (Yucatan’s Mayan museum) and the Catedral de San Ildefonso, or Mérida Cathedral (one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas).
During Christmas time, you’ll find nativity scenes and Christmas trees in places around the city, including the Plaza Grande. Another activity you’ll see is La Rama, where children go door to door singing songs and asking for gifts of coins. December weather in Merida sees an average high of 87 degrees Fahrenheit and an average low of 63 degrees Fahrenheit.
Located in the state of Chiapas, the city of San Cristobal is an off the beaten path destination for most tourists. But it’s well worth a visit during Christmas, and is a great unexpected option for the best place in Mexico for Christmas.
Chiapas holds on to its indigenous traditions much more than most other states in Mexico. And in San Cristobal de las Casas, you’ll find nativity scenes heavily influenced by indigenous elements like corn, as well as other indigenous crops and items. Other points of interest to visit are the Mirador de La Escuela Solmaya (a viewpoint at the top of a set of steps), Plaza de La Paz, and the Mayan Textile Museum.
The weather in San Cristobal de las Casas is slightly cool, due to its location on the Chiapas highlands. During December, San Cristobal de las Casas experiences an average high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and an average low of 43 degrees Fahrenheit. Pack a warm jacket to prepare for cold days.
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As you’re picking your family’s best place in Mexico for Christmas, remember that Christmas in Mexico is celebrated differently than in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom. If you’re coming from any of these countries, note that you likely won’t see Santa Claus, except at the malls or heavily touristy areas. However, you will find plenty of nativity scenes and figurines of the baby Jesus.
Mexican families typically celebrate the Christmas holiday on Christmas Eve, so many restaurants will close early that day. Some businesses might also be closed on Christmas Eve day, as well as Christmas day, but in general most businesses will remain open throughout the month.
Doing a Christmas in Mexico vacation is a great way to instill cross-cultural awareness in your kids. You can supplement this experience by reading some books about Mexico with your kids before your vacation! So take advantage of your it and dive into all the local holiday traditions in Mexico.
Depending on where you go, you might need to bring a light sweater or jacket if you’re planning to spend a Christmas vacation in Mexico. Destinations in central Mexico will be colder, so also pack a warm coat.
Many Mexican cities have cobblestone streets, so having comfortable and durable shoes is helpful. A travel first aid kit and a water bottle with a purifier will be helpful to keep you healthy during your vacation.
Also, don’t forget to pack a camera to take pictures of the festivities during your Christmas in Mexico vacation. If your phone accepts SIM cards, you’ll be able to purchase a local SIM card at any of the OXXO convenience stores in Mexico.
Packing the right supplies for your Christmas vacation in Mexico will help make your experience in these best places to spend Christmas in Mexico even better.
Mexico is a great place to spend Christmas vacation with your family. With so many unique traditions and amazing beach destinations, you're sure to find the perfect spot to spend the holidays. This list of the best places to visit in Mexico for Christmas is just the starting point!
Use this list as a starting point to find the best place in Mexico for Christmas for you. And if you have more time to spend in Mexico, be sure to check out our 10 day Mexico itinerary ideas for families.
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