You are probably planning on visiting Mérida soon. Preparing for the weather in Mérida will help you better understand the different environmental conditions of the Yucatan Peninsula. Living in Mérida has allowed me to understand so much about this amazing city, including the weather. So I wrote this article all about Mérida weather to help you plan for an awesome trip.
- 1 The Ultimate Guide to Mérida Weather
- 2 Mérida is hot with moderate to high humidity
- 3 May is the hottest month in Mérida
- 4 January is the coolest month in Mérida
- 5 September is the rainiest month in Mérida
- 5.1 May through September are the most humid months in Mérida
- 5.2 Coolest months in Mérida are in high-season
- 5.3 Warmest months in Mérida are in low-season
- 5.4 Preparing for Mérida weather
- 5.5 What exactly are las cabañuelas?
- 5.6 Even flora and fauna make an impact in las cabañuelas
- 5.7 What’s the origin of the weather-predicting system?
- 6 Final thoughts on weather in Mérida Mexico
The Ultimate Guide to Mérida Weather
Visiting this sophisticated city is the perfect break from the beachy feel of the tourist destinations of Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Imagine what it would be like to see beautiful architecture combined with Mayan culture and Colonial history resulting in a unique Mexican city.
Nicknamed “The “White City” because of its signature limestone buildings, you will find urban action coupled with palms and heat. The best time of the year to visit depends on what you’re looking for. You can expect warm weather year-round with moderate to high humidity.
This guide gives you the following information:
- Heat in Mérida
- Cold in Mérida
- Rain in Mérida
- Humidity in Mérida
Mérida is hot with moderate to high humidity
Since Mérida is inland and has low elevation, it is typically a few degrees hotter than in neighboring coastal areas. Located in the northwest corner of the Yucatan Peninsula, you can expect to use your air conditioner for most of the year.
The temperature normally ranges between 63 F and 97 F; rarely dropping below the mid-50s or soaring above 103F.
It’s important to note the most rain falls in September with an average total accumulation of 7.3 inches. Between June and October rainfall accounts for about 80 percent of the city’s 40 inches of annual precipitation.
Humidity is high during the rainy season but generally does not rise above 76%. The least rain falls around March with an average total accumulation of 0.7 inches.
It turns out due to its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, Mérida experiences hurricanes. Hurricane season is June through October. The last two hurricanes to hit the state capital were Isidore in 2002 and Wilma in 2005.
May is the hottest month in Mérida
May is the city’s hottest month with an average high of 97F and a low of 71F. Now that I live here, I’ve met many locals that tell me the weather in Mérida is mucho calor meaning very hot. And, it’s true.
Here’s the reason –
The heat is due to the humidity index. While the average high of 97F may not seem that bad, the humidity level can be as great as 76%.
Combine the temperature of 97F with 76% humidity and it’s a scorcher 🔥.
The good news?
There is a constant breeze in Mérida and most establishments have air conditioning.
What I’ve done to cool off is either step inside one of my favorite establishments, purchased a sandalwood fan, made use of umbrellas even on sunny days, and hopped in an Uber to combat the heat in May.
January is the coolest month in Mérida
From experience, the coolest month is January; however, December and February have cooler temperatures as well.
The range is quite vast from 62F to 87F with most days hovering around 82F. It will feel cooler because the humidity index is lower.
Not surprisingly, the city can be quite crowded as January is high-season. Most visitors arrive for the massive free events, celebrations, and cooler weather.
Moreover, if you decide to visit Mérida in January, expect higher priced airfare and accommodations.
A big draw for January is the annual Mérida Fest that starts with celebrating Mérida’s birthday on January 5th. This is the biggest celebration to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of the city.
Musicians, folk groups, and international artists combine to present events in over 30 venues and more than 165 shows.
Approximately 600 people in the disciplines of dancing, literature, visual arts, theater, and music participate in this three-week event which is free and open to the public. Make restaurant reservations and expect more crowded streets, venues, and other establishments.
If you decide to attend the festival, the majority of the streets around Plaza Grande are closed and sectioned off. Traffic will also be backed up with long waits.
To attend, ensure you leave with plenty of time to navigate or walk to Plaza Grande to avoid delays.
September is the rainiest month in Mérida
With an average total accumulation of 7.3 inches, you’ll find September has the most rain followed by July with an average of 6.3 inches.
A best-kept secret is traveling to Mérida in September.
Because you’ll experience:
- End of the summer season
- Kids are back in school
- Most establishments are less crowded
- Still hot but not unbearably so
- Consistent breeze along with the rain helps everything cool off quite a bit
Accommodations are typically less expensive as this is still considered low-season.
The point is September experiences more vacancies and better pricing with fewer people in the city.
During three weeks in the fall months (dates are different every year), you can experience Otoño Cultural: The Autumn Arts Festival. This festival brings more than 1,000 multidisciplinary artists to the city through over 100 dance, theater, visual arts, and music events.
May through September are the most humid months in Mérida
Like most of Mexico, summer is the rainy season in Mérida. The rainy season also means increased humidity in tropical climates such as Mérida.
From June to September, the heat intensifies, and even the evenings do not cool down much.
The average monthly rainfall during the summer is between 5 and 6 inches but can be more during tropical storms.
Fortunately, you will find many things to help ease the heat. Ice cream shops, air conditioning, umbrellas, fans, and swimming pools are all necessities in the summer.
But know this –
You won’t find many cultural events or festivals during these hotter months.
However, you still have the opportunity to take advantage of the numerous free events that take place throughout the city on a regular basis.
You also have many beaches within a short drive:
- Progresso (40 minutes)
- Chelem (50 minutes)
- Telchac (1 hour)
- Sisal (1 hour, 15 minutes)
- Celestun (1 hour, 30 minutes)
My point is this, you will find many of the locals go to the beaches during the summer to escape the heat and humidity of the city.
Coolest months in Mérida are in high-season
Not surprisingly, high-season is mid-November to mid-April. This is the time of year when the snowbirds arrive to escape the cold temperatures of their permanent homes.
Without a doubt, you will see mostly Canadians and Americans at this time.
The majority of Europeans including French, Italian, and Spanish visit during their national holidays; January through April.
Average temperatures range from 92F as the high to 66F as the low. The average rainfall during high-season is about 2.5 days.
Warmest months in Mérida are in low-season
Most locals, especially ones that live in the northern part of the city, will escape the heat of the summer and head to the beach. You will find many snowbirds still in Mérida as the heat is a welcome change from the cold they normally experience.
There are some great things about visiting Mérida during low-season.
The constant sea breeze is beneficial to decrease the heat and suffocating feeling of the heat and humidity. Accommodations are a bit less along with restaurants being less crowded.
But here’s something really interesting –
You’ll find more Mexican nationals come to Mérida in the summer to savor incredible and delightful Yucatecan food.
Preparing for Mérida weather
The majority of people read information about the weather in Mérida before they travel.
But first a warning: it’s imperative to prepare for the sun, heat, humidity, mosquitos, and rain.
Families traveling with children and/or elderly can plan their itineraries accordingly to accommodate the weather. Even though there are a vast number of outdoor activities, those might be best left for evenings.
Take advantage of indoor activities such as museums and tours during the day. The air-conditioning will help keep you cool and refreshed.
Trust me, it is better to have it with you than to experience the frustration of trying to find it after your arrival.
No matter what time of year you visit Mérida, bring these essential items with you:
- Sunscreen (preferably waterproof with high SPF)
- Small Umbrella
- Rain Poncho
- Mosquito Repellent (year-round must have)
- Nausea Meds (Emetrol, Pepto Bismol, Tums, etc.)
- Pain Meds (Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, aspirin, etc.)
- Saline Nasal Spray
- Diarrhea (Immodium, etc.)
- Sunburn Relief
- Antibiotic Ointment (Neosporin)
- Cold Remedy (Alka Seltzer, Dayquil, etc.)
- Swimmer’s Ear Drops (ear drops to minimize infection)
- Sunhat, Ballcap or other headgear
One of the ancient rituals still practiced today is las cabañuelas. For the Mayas, las cabañuelas not only keep track of what happens to the weather during the first month of the year but also take into account the behavior of animals and plants.
What exactly are las cabañuelas?
Interestingly, las cabañuelas define the cultivation cycle according to Mayan indigenous people. They record the rains during January and observe the behavior of animals and plants.
Did you know both Mayas and peasant farmers called Campesinos to believe the weather during the month of January serves as the forecast for the entire year?
The answer is by using the syncretism of Mayan wisdom contained in the cabañuelas they could determine the cultivation cycles and proper use of seeds.
The first twelve days of January, known as las cabañuelas a derechas, predict the weather for the year based on the 12 days of January.
- First day predicts the weather in January
- Second day predicts the weather in February
- Third day predicts the weather in March
- Fourth day predicts the weather in April
- Fifth day predicts the weather in May
- Sixth day predicts the weather in June
- Seventh day predicts the weather in July
- Eighth day predicts the weather in August
- Ninth day predicts the weather in September
- Tenth day predicts the weather in October
- Eleventh day predicts the weather in November
- Twelfth day predicts the weather in December
Want to see how it works?
With the above example, use January 6 which corresponds to June. For the entire day, observe the sky, the wind, and the temperature.
Over the course of the day, the weather is sunny, windless and hot. With this data, the prediction is June will be the same; sunny, windless, and hot.
Days 13 – 24 are familiar as las cabañuelas a rataculas, the next set of weather forecasting.
But here’s the interesting thing, on days 5 – 30, the day is split into 2 parts: 1) dawn to noon and then 2) afternoon to midnight. Each part represents each month.
Finally, for day 31 starting at dawn, each month is assigned two hours. Each set of predictions forecast something differently.
As you can see, the system is quite complicated with intricate details.
Even flora and fauna make an impact in las cabañuelas
Not only did the Maya take the months into account, but they also observed the activity of the plants, animals, and insects. (This is my favorite part!)
The Orchard Oriole or Yuya is a specimen entirely endemic to the Yucatán region. The Yuya makes nests between the end of March and April to May. Depending upon the materials the Yuya makes their nest with determines the humidity, drought, and moisture levels.
The Jabín is a tree that blooms between February and March. Late seasonal moisture is indicated by a green flower embedded between the leaves.
Another bird, the Chachalacas, are forecasters of rains based on their singing. Typically, they sing between 6:00 am and 9:00 am. Singing between 2:00 am and 4:00 am indicates there will be heavy rains.
Surprisingly the walk of the ants tells rainfall as well. It turns out if the ants are advancing by taking their children from low to high places, you can anticipate intense rain in less than 48 hours.
What’s the origin of the weather-predicting system?
One popular theory is that las cabañuelas originated from Zamuk, a festival or feast of luck and predictions during the Babylonian New Year. The ceremony during this ancient Mesopotamian festival which lasted 12 days, predicts the weather for the next 12 months.
For the Maya, the most important day was the 16th called “caban”. Caban is believed to be the origin of the world and the root of the word Cabañuelas.
It is thought by long and patient observation of weather patterns, they also amassed evidence of cyclical weather phenomena. The Maya called these practices chac-chac.
Chac is the Maya rain god. By practicing chac-chac, the Maya was “searching for the rain god” to bless their fields, crops, and life-giving earth.
As we know, the Maya had undertaken sophisticated astronomical observations. Developing advanced mathematical and calendric systems, they even progressed to the point of being able to predict the arrival of some comets.
Here’s the thing –
Perhaps some of this sophisticated knowledge was also used to help the Maya predict their weather patterns.
Another viewpoint published by Graciela Minaya La Nación, a Mexico City daily in 1945 gives her opinion, ” Las cabañuelas is an example of the common heritage of the ancient indigenous peoples of Mexico, Central America, and the larger Caribbean islands, that was passed down from one generation to the next. This would explain the variability in details from one country to another.”
Román Pané, a monk who accompanied Columbus on his second voyage, lends credence to the idea that las cabañuelas originated in the New World.
Pané recorded “these Indians know by consulting their gods and observing the first days of the year which days will be good, which will be bad, which will be rainy and which dry.”
Note: this is loosely translated from what is the earliest purely ethnographic treatise on American Indians.
Final thoughts on weather in Mérida Mexico
So what does all this mean? Once you have the ultimate guide to weather in Mérida, you’ll be prepared for anything.
My best advice, make sure you have everything you need to be prepared for spur of the moment weather changes. One minute, it can be sunny and the next minute it can be pouring rain during rainy season.
Be sure to carry a light sweater or wrap with you at all times. The dramatic temperature differential from humid and hot outside to cold air-conditioned inside can cause a cold any time of the year.
I’d love to hear your experience or personal tips you have when dealing with the tropical climate of Mérida in our private community, come on over.