Oaxaca doesn’t have traditional high, shoulder, and low seasons like many other Mexican vacation destinations. For one thing, it’s not a resort area. But the main reason is because it sits in a valley at 5,000 feet elevation, which brings mild weather almost all year, with days comfortably warm and evenings so pleasantly cool that all you might need is a light sweater or jacket.
That said, peak season runs from October through March, when those from more northerly climes flee their cold winters for warm sun. Average temps linger in the high 70s. April and May are the hottest and driest months, while July, August, and September are considered the rainy months. But even during this rainy period, you won't find long, gloomy days: Mornings are typically sunny, followed by afternoon clouds and showers, with some rain at night and occasional thunderstorms.
Oaxaca’s many festivals reflect deep-rooted traditions that often blend indigenous and Roman Catholic practices. The annual Guelaguetza folk dance festival, which falls on two Mondays in late July, draws delegations of Indian tribes to Oaxaca. They perform traditional dances in native costumes at venues spread throughout the city. Expect hotels to fill quickly during this time.
Another peak visitor period is during Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which draws thousands for one of Mexico’s most colorful religious holidays. Beginning on October 31, residents decorate home altars for deceased family members and later visit local cemeteries with flowers, candles, food, and drink.
The Christmas season starts December 16, the first of nine nights of neighborhood processions called posadas. Locals walk from house to house, singing hymns and re-creating the journey of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. On Christmas Eve, they carry big baskets of flowers from church to church to honor the Virgin Mary.