Climate and Environment, Mexico Essentials

Mexico’s Long Daylight Hours and its Extraordinary Light

Mexico offers plenty of year-round daylight—regardless of the clock changes in the spring and fall—and the light here is also outstanding

Sunrise over Mexican mountains

Día de los Muertos marks one of Mexico’s most important religious festivals, and the weeks around it also herald the change of clock-time in Mexico when most of the country moves its clocks back by one hour and the ‘light evenings’ of spring and summer get exchanged for ‘lighter mornings,’ instead.

Mexico’s experience with clock changes

It was in 1996 that Mexico started to move its clocks forward by one hour in the spring and back again by one hour in the fall; and although some Mexican states don’t observe ‘Daylight Savings Time,’ most do, and complaints and efforts to overturn it have mostly died out, with many people now enjoying the ‘lighter evenings’ that the spring clock change ushers in.

Mexico enjoys long daylight throughout the year

Notwithstanding the clock changes, Mexico’s geographical location gives the country a privileged mix of daylight and dark, regardless of the season.  This is in contrast to countries situated further away from the equator, where daylight hours can be substantially curtailed during the winter months.

One of the reasons why so many people enjoy overwintering in Mexico is because the country offers pleasantly warm or temperate climates, and also because the daylight here remains fairly constant —thus by living here during the winter you can avoid the ‘long nights’ —and enjoy plenty of sunshine, too.

How Mexico’s daylight hours vary during the year

A helpful way to illustrate Mexico’s privileged daylight hours is by way of an example.

The table below shows the hours for sunrise and sunset on the longest and shortest days of the year —and the total daylight hours on those days— for three locations in Mexico: Tijuana (situated on the northern border with the US), Mexico City (on a similar latitude to Mérida, in the Yucatán), and Tapachula (Mexico’s southernmost city on the border with Guatemala).

Location Winter Low Summer High
Tijuana Sunrise: 6:46 a.m.
Sunset: 4:47 p.m.
Daylight hours: 10h 01m
Sunrise: 5:41 a.m.
Sunset: 7:59 p.m.
Daylight hours: 14h 18m
Mexico City Sunrise: 7:06 a.m.
Sunset: 6:04 p.m.
Daylight hours: 10h 58m
Sunrise: 6:59 a.m.
Sunset: 8:18 p.m.
Daylight hours: 13h 19m
Tapachula Sunrise: 6:30 a.m.
Sunset: 5:45 p.m.
Daylight hours: 11h 15m
Sunrise: 6:41 a.m.
Sunset: 7:41 p.m.
Daylight hours: 13h 0m

Enjoying long daylight on the shortest day of the year

The hours recorded in the table above for the ‘winter low’ are for December 21—the shortest day of the year in Mexico.  In the northern-most areas of Mexico, even the shortest days of the year offer more than 10 hours of daylight; and in the southern-most areas (nearer to the equator) you can enjoy over eleven-and-a-quarter hours of daylight on the shortest day of the year.  Mexico City (and Mérida) enjoy virtually eleven hours of daylight, even on the year’s shortest day.

A good balance on the longest days of the year

On June 21 —the longest day of the year in Mexico— you’ll enjoy between 13 and 14 hours of daylight in the peak of summer, regardless of where you’re situated in the country.

Mexico’s geographical location in relation to the equator offers an equitable  balance of night and day all year long, with each month and season offering plenty of daylight every day of the year—which can be supportive to one’s moods, general health, and well-being.

Mexico’s light is also extraordinary

As well as offering an equitable balance of daylight and dark, when you pause to consider the quality of the light here, you come to realize that Mexico’s light is truly extraordinary.  Its quality is especially noticeable in the mountain highlands, although it’s exceptional even at lower elevations, and along the coasts.

Mexico is said to be one of the most ‘colorful countries in the world’ and the quality of the light undoubtably contributes to the sparkling tapestry of colors to appreciate here. Writers describing Mexico often remark, for example, on the sharp and crisp ‘azure blue’ skies to be found here, especially in the central highlands. They’ve noticed how the subtleties and hues of the light in Mexico are quite special.

The exceptional light is complemented by sensational fragrances during the rainy season as the groundwater swells and the flora blossom and bloom; and when the ground becomes parched in the dry season, dust particles rise high up into the atmosphere and contribute to the composition of the most magnificent sunsets you’ll experience anywhere.

Mexico for living and leisure

Mexico is one of the most visited countries in the world, offering beautiful beach locations, picturesque colonial mountain towns, fascinating archaeology, and an abundance of wild, natural habitats to traverse and enjoy. It also offers opportunities for living and lifestyle, that you can also discover and explore here on Mexperience.

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