Climate and Environment

Hot Coasts, Cool Colonial Cities

Advice about short-listing locations in Mexico that offer a climate you'll feel comfortable with

A colorful colonial house in Mexico

When you’re scouting for a place to live or retire to in Mexico, or even if you only plan to be here for a short while, it’s wise to short-list locations which offer climate types you know you feel comfortable living in.

There’s a significant difference between going somewhere very hot for a short vacation, and living in a hot climate all year-round.  Some places that are warm in the summer can get quite cool or cold in the winter. Mexico’s varied landscape offers you choice in climates, and whether you envision yourself living in a hot and humid place, or somewhere more temperate at higher altitude with fresh mountain air, Mexico has options for you.

Most of Mexico’s principal towns and cities away from the coasts are situated at elevation: Mexico City is situated at over 7,000 feet above sea level, and many of the places in Mexico’s colonial heartland are situated at altitudes of at least 5,000 feet above the sea.  The altitude keeps the local climate in these areas quite temperate, in stark contrast to most of Mexico’s sea-level towns and cities which are hot and, for at least a few months of the year, very humid, too.

Colonial cities situated in elevated mountain areas can get chilly or even cold during some winter months, especially overnight; although it’s very rare for temperatures to plummet and, in any event, fireplaces and electric or gas-fired heaters can take away any cold-edges you may experience.  Homes in colonial cities don’t tend to have air conditioners installed as they are simply not needed here: on hotter summer days, opening a window or using a small fan provides enough ventilation to stay comfortable.

Coastal areas south of the Tropic of Cancer, and the low-lying areas of the Yucatán peninsula, tend to have warm and comfortable climates between November and March, which many people find agreeable and thus attract a considerable number of ‘snowbirds’ from the northern reaches of the continent.  However, from April onward, temperatures in these places rise steeply and the humidity levels pick-up, too.  Most people living in these areas during the summer months need to use air conditioning to keep cool during and as these consume a lot of energy, you can expect your summer electricity bills to be higher if you make extensive use of them to stay comfortable.  Some people in hot regions use their swimming pool as means to cool down and save on cooling costs.

The type of climate you choose to live will influence your lifestyle situations, so it’s worth taking this into careful consideration when you’re scouting potential places to live in Mexico. By taking some time to consider the climate zones you naturally feel comfortable living in, you’ll be able to short list places which match those and thus help you to settle more easily when you move here.

To get better acquainted with the different climates throughout the year in Mexico see our guide to climates and weather in Mexico, and read our article Land of Three Lands to get further insights.

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