The combination of great beaches and sunshine means that Mexico is a popular holiday destination. Though it’s a great place to catch some sun, the coldest places in Mexico can get very chilly.
Sandwiched between the United States of America to the north and Central America to the south, Mexico has a pretty varied climate. While areas in the south of Mexico typically enjoy high temperatures for much of the year, it often gets a lot colder further north. This is especially true of northern regions located at higher altitudes. With several mountain ranges cutting across the country, temperatures in the coldest places in Mexico are a far cry from those seen in consistently hot tourist areas such as Cancun.
If you’re looking for a break from the heat – or if you’re a sun seeker looking to avoid the chill – here’s our guide to seven of the coldest places in Mexico.
Many of the coldest places in Mexico are to be found in the northern state of Chihuahua, located on the border between Mexico and the United States of America. The state is home to a diverse range of environments, including huge deserts, numerous forests and huge mountain ranges. The northern edge of the Chihuahua backs on to the American states of New Mexico and Texas and shares a very similar terrain and climate.
The mountainous area in the north east of Chihuahua called Los Lamentos can claim to be the coldest place in all of Mexico. Here the record low temperature of -29 °C was set in 1962. Largely a mining district, the mountains of Los Lamentos are incredibly remote, around a two hour drive to the nearest town of Villa Ahumada. The area is famous for the bright orange wulfenite minerals that are mined from the region’s mountains.
Ciudad Juarez is the largest city in the state of Chihuahua and situated right on the border with Texas in the United States. Like much of Chihuahua, Ciudad Juarez has a cold desert climate, meaning that it has four very distinct seasons. Whilst the summers are hot, the winters in Ciudad Juarez are typically very cold.
During the colder months the average daytime temperature in Ciudad Juarez drops down to 5 or 6 °C, with lowest temperatures dipping to around -1 or -2 °C. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Ciudad Juarez is – 23 °C. It’s not uncommon for the city to see snow during the winter too, which lasts from late November to early March. In December 2015, Ciudad Juarez saw 40 centimeters of snowfall in just two days.
The next stop on our tour of the coldest places in Mexico is Chihuahua City, the capital of Chihuahua state. A modern metropolitan city with a long history dating back to Spanish colonial times, Chihuahua also has four very distinct seasons. The summers in Chihuahua City are typically very warm, with temperatures often hitting the mid 30 °Cs around June and July. The winters, though, are much colder, thanks mostly to the city’s high altitude.
At almost 1,500 meters above sea level, winters in Chihuahua City are often incredibly variable. Temperatures as high as 18 °C aren’t unheard of during December and January, though they’re just as likely to plummet much lower. The average low temperature in Chihuahua City is around 2 °C for December and January, but the city regularly experiences much colder temperatures at this time of year too. In 2011, the temperature in Chihuahua City dropped as low as -18 °C.
The city of Toluca is the capital of the state of Mexico, the most densely populated state in the entire country. With a population just short of a million people, Toluca lies sixty miles west of Mexico’s capital, Mexico City. Whilst Toluca rarely sees the kind of extreme cold temperatures that are common in other parts of Mexico, it does have the coolest annual temperature of all of Mexico’s large cities. Again this is mostly due to Toluca’s altitude, being located 2680 meters above sea level.
Both extreme high and low temperatures in Toluca are rare. High temperatures in the summer are usually in the mid 20 °Cs on average. The hottest temperature on record in the city was a pretty manageable 33.5 °C. Winters are also pretty stable in terms of temperature though they are always cold. The lowest daytime temperatures typically hover around 1 °C in December and January. The temperature at night is often a lot colder, and daytime temperatures have been known to go as low as -8 °C.
Madera is another spot in the state of Chihuahua which can claim to be one of the coldest places in Mexico. A town with a population of just over 15,000 people, Madera is located in the east of the state. Flanked by forested mountains, the word madera is Spanish for wood, and the town is known primarily as a logging town. Situated at an altitude of over 2000 meters above sea level, when winter comes to Madera it is time to wrap up warm.
Though snow is rare in Madera the daily average temperatures from December through to February rarely reach higher than 3 °C. The lowest temperatures for each month are usually several degrees lower still, often reaching as low as -6 °C during the coldest parts of winter. The temperature in Madera has been known to drop as low as -25 °C on more than one occasion.
The city of Zacatecas is the capital city of the state of the same name. The state is located in the center of the country, and the city of Zacatecas is sandwiched between various mountain ranges. Sitting at 2440 meters above sea level, the city is known for its relatively cold climate. The annual average temperature in Zacatecas is just 15 °C, and the winters here are known for being particularly chilly.
January and February are the coldest months in Zacatecas when the temperature can often drop below freezing. Snow is also common in Zacatecas too, though usually only in short bursts. Whilst the average daytime low temperatures in winter tend to stay a few degrees above 0, Zacatecas has experienced much colder weather in recent years. In December 2017 the temperature dipped to a new record low of -12 °C.
Apizaco is located in the state of Tlaxcala, which on average is considered to be the coldest state in Mexico. The entire state is landlocked and mostly situated around 2000 meters above sea level. The city of Apizaco sits right in the heart of the state and is most famous for its textiles. Being roughly halfway between Mexico City and the port city of Veracruz, Apizaco has also long been a major city of trade and commerce.
As with most of the places featured on our list, Apizaco enjoys a very diverse climate. Though the average annual temperature is a relatively modest 13.8 °C, summers in Apizaco are warm whilst the winters are very cold. In summer, Apizaco has a very good climate, with average daily temperatures reaching around 25 °C in April and May. Yet come winter the average daily temperatures hover at little more than 0 °C and are often lower still. Though the city doesn’t experience the extreme cold temperatures like those seen in Ciudad Juarez or Madera, temperatures as low as -8 or -9 °C are not unheard of.
Where is it cold in Mexico?
The coldest parts of Mexico are in the north of the country. This area of the country is typically more mountainous with many towns and cities situated at a high altitude. Besides the mountain ranges the north of Mexico also features a very diverse landscape that includes deserts and forests. This gives the region a broad range of different and diverse climates, which includes cold temperatures during the winter months.
What is the coolest state in Mexico?
The coolest state in Mexico is Tlaxcala, though the state of Chihuahua is a very close second. Both states see very cold temperatures in winter, especially in areas at high altitude.
Where in Mexico is it cool in summer?
To find somewhere cool in Mexico in summer you’ll need to head to a high altitude. Whilst you’ll struggle to find anywhere that is cold in Mexico in the summer, cities at higher altitude are likely to be fairly cool. Places at high altitude, such as Toluca or Zacatecas, will certainly be cooler in the summer than many other parts of the country that will be scorching under the sun.