Las Posadas to playas: a complete guide to celebrating Christmas in Mexico

Planning to celebrate Christmas in Mexico? We got you! These are the best Christmas destinations in Mexico with budget and travel guide. Plus, an informative history and facts on how Mexicans celebrate Christmas.

Feliz Navidad! This is my 6th year celebrating Christmas in Mexico and this year, it’s extra special because I am having a baby!

Before we proceed, please note that all Christmas vacations, not just in Mexico, are expensive. By now, you should’ve secured accommodations as Mexico usually increases prices from December 24 until January 6th.

Apart from planning a Christmas getaway in Mexico, this article will also give you an idea on how Christmas is celebrated in Mexico including traditions, food, parades, festivals, and more!

Mexico has a deeply-rooted culture when it comes to celebrating Christmas with family so if you are traveling with kids, December in Mexico is the best time to visit!

If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comment box below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Plan your trip to Mexico with us! Get expert travel advice and customized trip-planning itinerary from our local experts on the ground.

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🎄 Is Mexico a good place to go for Christmas?

christmas in mexico

ABSOLUTELY! Mexico has a rich history of Christmas traditions. The holiday season is celebrated with a mix of indigenous and Spanish customs.

The famous “Las Posadas” is a nine-day celebration leading up to Christmas in Mexico, where nightly processions re-enact Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter. Piñatas, caroling, and parties make it a lively affair.

December in Mexico has great weather, perfect for you to escape the winter in your home!

Coastal areas like Cancún, Puerto Vallarta, and Los Cabos offer warm beaches and sunshine, while central regions like Mexico City can be cooler but still comfortable.

There are plenty of options for celebrating Christmas in Mexico. Whether you want a beach holiday, a cultural city break, or a mountain retreat, Mexico has it all.

🎅🏼 Top destinations for Christmas in Mexico

Mexico offers a diverse range of destinations, each with its unique charm and Christmas traditions. Here are the top 10 destinations for spending Christmas in Mexico:

1. Christmas in Mexico City

Christmas in Mexico
Amidst Mexico City’s sprawling expanse, the Zócalo transforms into a winter wonderland! Believe it or not, you can ice skate under the balmy sun with the majestic Metropolitan Cathedral as a backdrop. | Photo: L-BBE

Christmas in Mexico City is beautifully adorned with lights, decorations, and nativity scenes. The Zócalo (main square) is particularly festive.

You can also enjoy seasonal events at places like the Palacio de Bellas Artes and the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The weather is relatively mild with daytime temperatures around 22°C (72°F) and nighttime dropping to around 8°C (46°F).

How much will it cost to celebrate Christmas in Mexico City?

Accommodation:

Food:

  • Budget (street food, local eateries): $5-$15/meal
  • Mid-range (standard restaurants): $15-$40/meal
  • Luxury (fine dining): $40-$100+/meal

Transportation:

  • Subway: $0.25/ride
  • Taxi/Uber: $5-$20 depending on distance

Activities and Entertainment:

  • Museums: $5-$10/entry
  • Concerts/shows: $20-$100+
  • Guided tours: $20-$50

2. Christmas in San Miguel de Allende

Christmas in Mexico
San Miguel’s Parroquia becomes even more enchanting at Christmas, as the city’s festive lights mirror its UNESCO-recognized architecture. Here, traditions and artistic flair unite! | Photo by Jezael Melgoza

A UNESCO World Heritage site, this colonial town offers a magical setting with its cobblestone streets, historic churches, and a vibrant arts scene.

The whole town lights up for Christmas, making it feel like a fairy tale.

Similar to Mexico City, you can expect daytime temperatures of about 21°C (70°F) and nighttime temperatures around 10°C (50°F) during Christmas in San Miguel de Allende.

How much will it cost to celebrate Christmas in San Miguel de Allende?

Accommodation:

Food:

  • Budget: $5-$15/meal
  • Mid-range: $15-$50/meal
  • Luxury: $50-$120/meal

Transportation:

  • Local buses: $1-$2/ride
  • Taxi: $5-$15

Activities and Entertainment:

  • Historical sites: $5-$15/entry
  • Workshops (e.g., art, cooking): $20-$100+
  • Guided tours: $25-$60

3. Christmas in Oaxaca

Christmas in Mexico
Oaxaca’s Noche de Rábanos (Night of Radishes) is surreal! Each December 23rd, artisans carve intricate scenes from… giant radishes! A truly unique festive marvel. | Photo: Alejandro Linares Garcia

Known for its rich traditions and culinary delights, Oaxaca offers a unique blend of indigenous and Spanish Christmas celebrations.

Don’t miss the Night of the Radishes, a unique event where locals carve radishes into intricate scenes.

Daytime temperatures during Christmas in Oaxaca are around 27°C (81°F), while nights can be cooler at about 11°C (52°F).

Costs of Christmas in Oaxaca

Accommodation:

Food:

  • Budget: $4-$14/meal
  • Mid-range: $14-$40/meal
  • Luxury: $40-$110/meal

Transportation:

  • Local buses: $0.50-$1.50/ride
  • Taxi: $5-$15

Activities and Entertainment:

  • Museums: $5-$10/entry
  • Artisan workshops: $20-$60
  • Guided tours: $20-$50

4. Christmas in Puerto Vallarta

Christmas in Mexico
Beach and Christmas? In Puerto Vallarta, sandmen replace snowmen! While enjoying the warm Pacific breeze, don’t miss the vibrant Virgin of Guadalupe Processions that add a cultural touch to the holiday. | Photo: Khayman

If you prefer a beach setting, Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast is both a beach paradise and a lively town with festive parades and events.

Puerto Vallarta seamlessly blends the festive spirit with its sun-kissed beaches, making it a top destination for a tropical Christmas in Mexico.

Streets are adorned with lights and poinsettias, while mariachi tunes fill the air, offering a unique Yuletide celebration.

This beach destination is warm with daytime highs of around 28°C (82°F) and nighttime lows of 18°C (64°F).

Costs of spending Christmas in Puerto Vallarta

Accommodation:

  • Budget: $25-$60/night
  • Mid-range: $70-$200/night
  • Luxury: $200-$600/night

Food:

  • Budget: $6-$16/meal
  • Mid-range: $16-$50/meal
  • Luxury: $50-$130/meal

Transportation:

  • Local buses: $0.75-$2/ride
  • Taxi: $6-$20

Activities and Entertainment:

  • Beach activities (parasailing, jet ski rental): $30-$100+
  • Boat tours: $50-$150
  • Nightclubs/bars: $20-$100+

5. Christmas in Cancún and Riviera Maya

Christmas in Mexico
Where the turquoise Caribbean meets ancient Mayan ruins, Cancun’s festive season is a blend of beach vibes and deep-rooted traditions. Dreaming of a white-sand Christmas? You got it! | Photo by Braden Collum

These Caribbean destinations combine white sandy beaches with festive activities, making it a perfect place for those who want both relaxation and celebration.

While luxury resorts host grand festive events, the essence of the holiday in Cancun is shaped by its Mayan roots.

Traditional rituals merge with contemporary festivities, offering both relaxation on the beach and rich cultural experiences. The fusion of ancient traditions with modern revelries ensures a memorable holiday season.

For Christmas in Cancun weather, expect daytime temperatures of around 28°C (82°F) and nighttime temperatures of around 21°C (70°F).

Costs of spending Christmas in Cancun and Riviera Maya

Accommodation:

Food:

  • Budget: $6-$18/meal
  • Mid-range: $18-$60/meal
  • Luxury: $60-$150/meal

Transportation:

  • Local buses: $1-$3/ride
  • Taxi: $8-$25

Activities and Entertainment:

  • Beach activities: $30-$120+
  • Archaeological sites (e.g., Tulum, Coba): $10-$25/entry
  • Adventure parks (e.g., Xcaret, Xel-Há): $80-$150/day

6. Christmas in Taxco

Christmas in Mexico
Taxco, the “Silver City”, shimmers even brighter during Christmas. Picture this: colonial streets lit by candles in paper lanterns, with the sounds of posada processions echoing through the air. | Photo: Photo by Armands Brants

Step back in time with a Christmas in Taxco, a colonial gem with winding cobblestone streets and silvery facades.

The town’s historical charm is accentuated during the festive season as lanterns illuminate pathways and traditional posadas parade through streets, reenacting biblical tales.

The resonating bells from Santa Prisca Church and local choirs singing carols under starlit skies make Taxco’s celebrations both intimate and profound.

The daytime temperature during Christmas in Taxco is about 23°C (73°F), and at night it cools down to about 13°C (55°F).

Christmas in Taxco budget guide

Accommodation:

Food:

  • Street food and local eateries: $5-$10/meal
  • Mid-range restaurants: $15-$30/meal
  • Fine dining: $40-$70/meal

Transportation:

  • Public buses: $1-$3/ride
  • Taxis: $5-$15 depending on distance

Activities:

  • Silver shop visits: Free – $5 (excluding purchases)
  • Guided town tours: $20-$40
  • Church entry: Free – $5 donation recommended

7. Christmas in Guadalajara

Christmas in Mexico
Mariachi melodies infuse Guadalajara’s Christmas air! In the birthplace of tequila and mariachi, festive tunes and vibrant posadas ensure the holiday spirits (and spirits 😉) are high! | Photo by Roman Lopez

A symphony of tradition and modernity, Guadalajara captures the essence of Christmas in Mexico.

As the birthplace of mariachi, its festive atmosphere is underscored by passionate musical performances echoing through the city’s grand plazas and colonial streets.

The renowned Festival of Lights envelops the city in a magical glow, while artisans showcase their crafts, reflecting Guadalajara’s rich heritage.

Every corner, from the historic churches to bustling markets, buzzes with the jubilant spirit of Navidad.

During Christmas in Guadalajara, expect daytime temperatures hover around 25°C (77°F) with nights around 10°C (50°F).

Christmas in Guadalajara budget guide

Accommodation:

Food:

  • Street food: $4-$8/meal.
  • Mid-range restaurants: $20-$35/meal.
  • Fine dining: $50-$100/meal.

Transportation:

  • Public buses: $1-$2/ride.
  • Taxis: $6-$20 depending on distance.

Activities:

  • Mariachi performances: $10-$50.
  • Tequila tours: $40-$100.
  • Museum entries: $5-$15.

8. Christmas in Merida

Christmas in Mexico
Merida’s colonial charm gets a festive makeover with “Las Posadas de Mérida”. Imagine carolers donned in traditional Yucatecan attire, and streets alive with music, dance, and joy! | Photo: gildardo

In Merida, the capital of the Yucatan Peninsula, Christmas is a harmonious blend of Mayan and Spanish traditions.

The city’s colonial architecture serves as a backdrop to vibrant processions, traditional Yucatecan music, and dance performances.

Merida’s zócalo, or main square, becomes a hive of activity, with artisanal markets, food stalls, and locals celebrating the season.

It’s a place where age-old customs and the joyous spirit of Christmas converge, offering a truly unique holiday experience.

Being in the Yucatan Peninsula, Christmas in Merida is quite warm with daytime highs of 30°C (86°F) and nighttime lows around 18°C (64°F).

Costs of spending Christmas in Merida

Accommodation:

  • Budget: $20-$40/night
  • Mid-range: $50-$90/night
  • Luxury: $100-$180+/night

Food:

  • Street food: $4-$9/meal
  • Mid-range restaurants: $15-$30/meal
  • Fine dining: $45-$85/meal

Transportation:

  • Public buses: $1-$2/ride
  • Taxis: $5-$18 depending on distance

Activities:

9. Christmas in Puebla

Christmas in Mexico
Puebla’s Christmas isn’t just about lights and carols; it’s also a gastronomic delight! Where else could you savor “chiles en nogada” – a dish that looks and tastes like Christmas, with colors of the Mexican flag | Photo: Katie Schumm

Celebrating Christmas in Puebla is like stepping into a living postcard. This UNESCO World Heritage city, known for its exquisite Talavera pottery and culinary delights, is draped in festive decor.

The ornate churches, with their intricate facades, host special masses and nativity scenes.

Traditional posadas meander through cobblestone streets, and the aroma of seasonal treats like ‘buñuelos’ wafts through the air.

Puebla’s Christmas is an immersive journey of sensory delights, making it a destination of timeless charm.

Daytime temperatures for Christmas in Puebla are about 22°C (72°F) and nighttime temperatures are around 8°C (46°F).

Christmas in Puebla travel budget

Accommodation:

  • Budget: $20-$45/night
  • Mid-range: $50-$85/night
  • Luxury: $110-$190+/night

Food:

  • Street food: $3-$8/meal
  • Mid-range restaurants: $15-$30/meal
  • Fine dining: $40-$80/meal

Transportation:

  • Public buses: $1-$2/ride
  • Taxis: $5-$15 depending on distance

Activities:

  • Talavera pottery workshops: $20-$50
  • Guided city tours: $20-$45
  • Church and museum entries: $2-$10

10. Christmas in Cabo San Lucas

where to stay in cabo san lucas

In the sun-drenched lands of Cabo San Lucas, Christmas takes on a radiant glow. This beachside paradise, located at the tip of the Baja California Peninsula, juxtaposes the merriment of the festive season with the allure of the ocean.

Yachts festooned with twinkling lights float in the marina while local venues come alive with festive fare and music.

The iconic El Arco, illuminated by the setting sun, stands as a silent witness to the confluence of traditional Mexican celebrations and beachfront relaxation.

Whether attending a festive fiesta, whale watching, or simply lounging by the beach with a margarita in hand, Cabo ensures a Christmas that’s both luxurious and laid-back.

During Christmas in Cabo, you can expect daytime temperatures around 26°C (79°F) and nighttime temperatures dropping slightly to around 16°C (61°F).

Costs of spending Christmas in Cabo San Lucas:

Accommodation:

  • Budget (hostels, budget hotels): $40-$80/night
  • Mid-range (3-4 star hotels): $100-$300/night
  • Luxury (5-star resorts, boutique hotels): $300-$1000/night or more, depending on the resort and availability.

Food:

  • Budget (taco stands, local eateries): $6-$15/meal
  • Mid-range (standard restaurants): $20-$60/meal

Luxury (fine dining, resort restaurants): $60-$150+/meal

Transportation:

  • Local buses: $1-$3/ride
  • Taxi: $10-$30 depending on distance and location
  • Car Rentals: Starting from $40/day, but prices can fluctuate based on availability and model.

Activities and Entertainment:

  • Beach activities (snorkeling, jet ski rental): $30-$100+
  • Boat tours and fishing trips: $50-$250
  • Golfing: $100-$300+ per round, depending on the course.
  • Nightclubs/bars: $20-$150+ depending on venue and drinks.

💵 Is Mexico expensive at Christmas?

It really depends on where you want to celebrate Christmas in Mexico. Among the listed destinations, Oaxaca City and Puebla are the most affordable, especially when compared to some beach destinations.

The cost of living in these cities is generally lower, and there’s an abundance of budget accommodations and eateries. While they are rich in culture and offer unique experiences, they don’t have the same beach resort markup.

The most expensive destinations to celebrate Christmas in Mexico are Cancun, Riviera Maya and Cabo San Lucas.

Both are expensive during the Christmas holiday season. These areas are popular tourist spots with luxury resorts, and prices can surge due to high demand.

A general breakdown might look like this (all values in USD):

💲 How much does it cost to spend Christmas in Mexico?

A general breakdown for celebrating Christmas in Mexico might look like this (all values in USD):

Budget traveler: $50 – $100/day

  • Accommodation: Hostels, budget hotels ($20-$40/night)
  • Food: Street food, local eateries ($10-$20/day)
  • Transportation: Public transport, occasional taxi ($5-$15/day)
  • Activities: Free or low-cost attractions ($10-$25/day)

Mid-range traveler: $100 – $250/day

  • Accommodation: 3-4 star hotels ($50-$100/night)
  • Food: Standard restaurants ($20-$50/day)
  • Transportation: Taxis, occasional car rental ($20-$50/day)
  • Activities: Tours, entry fees to popular attractions ($30-$50/day)

Luxury traveler: $250 – $1,000+/day

  • Accommodation: 5-star resorts, boutique hotels ($150-$600/night)
  • Food: Fine dining, international cuisine ($50-$150/day)
  • Transportation: Private transfers, car rentals ($50-$150/day)
  • Activities: Luxury experiences, private tours ($100+)

🎉 How do they celebrate Christmas in Mexico?

Streets, homes, and public places are adorned with colorful lights, nativity scenes, and poinsettias, which are native to Mexico.

Traditional Christmas dishes like tamales, bacalao (salted codfish), ponche navideño (a warm fruit punch), buñuelos (fried dough with sugar) and rosca de reyes (a circular sweet bread with hidden figurines, eaten on January 6th) are delicious and unique to the Mexican holiday experience.

Apart from the unique Christmas celebrations, Mexico offers rich cultural experiences, with its historical sites, traditional markets, and diverse art forms.

🪅 Christmas in Mexico traditions

Christmas in Mexico traditions is steeped in rich history and cultural amalgamation, making Christmas in Mexico a vivid and unique experience for travelers.

Here are 25 traditions of Christmas in Mexico that you should know about:

1. Las Posadas

One of Mexico’s most significant Christmas traditions, Las Posadas begins on December 16th and culminates on Christmas Eve.

This nine-day event replicates Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, searching for shelter.

Each evening, participants reenact their quest, visiting homes, singing carols, and seeking refuge, only to be declined—until the final home welcomes them.

2. Nacimientos (Nativity Scenes)

While nativity scenes are common worldwide, in Mexico, they’re particularly elaborate, often encompassing entire rooms.

They feature familiar biblical characters and some unique ones like a rooster, announcing Jesus’ birth. These dioramas evolve, with Baby Jesus added on Christmas Eve and the Three Kings on January 6th.

3. Nochebuena (Christmas Eve)

The most important festive night in Mexico! Families gather for elaborate feasts, fireworks, and celebrations. At midnight, many attend the “Misa de Gallo” or Rooster’s Mass, marking Jesus’ birth.

4. Candelaria (Candlemas)

Celebrated on February 2nd, this tradition marks the end of the Christmas season. People dress up figures of the Christ child in ornate outfits and bring them to churches to be blessed.

5. Rosca de Reyes

On January 6th, Mexicans celebrate the Three Kings’ Day with this oval-shaped sweet bread, adorned with candied fruits.

Hidden inside is a small figure of the Baby Jesus. The one who finds it hosts a party on Candelaria.

6. Piñatas

Essential to Posadas celebrations, traditional piñatas have seven points representing the seven deadly sins. Filled with candies, fruits, and nuts, the act of breaking them signifies overcoming evil, with the treats as blessings.

7. Poinsettias (Nochebuena flowers)

Indigenous to Mexico and named after the night of Christ’s birth, these red star-shaped flowers decorate homes, streets, and churches.

8. Christmas Parades

In various towns, parades feature floats, dancers, and musicians showcasing biblical events, from Adam and Eve to the Nativity.

9. Pastorelas (Shepherd’s Plays)

These comedic plays portray shepherds’ journey to see the Baby Jesus, encountering angels and devils along the way.

10. Día de los Santos Inocentes

Mexico’s version of April Fool’s Day, it commemorates King Herod’s order to kill baby boys in Bethlehem. On December 28th, people play pranks, hoping to trick their friends.

11. Oaxacan Radish Festival

On December 23rd, Oaxaca holds a unique event where artists carve intricate scenes from large radishes, showcasing nativity scenes, daily life, and more.

Christmas in Mexico
Radish festival in Oaxaca during Christmas in Mexico. | Photo: DaNka Valle León

12. Fireworks

In many towns, the night sky dazzles with fireworks during Christmas celebrations, especially on Nochebuena.

13. Las Luces de Navidad

Town squares and homes are illuminated with intricate Christmas light displays, adding a festive glow across cities.

14. Midnight Mass

Attended post-Christmas Eve feasts, it’s a significant event with churches ringing bells and featuring nativity reenactments.

15. Día de los Reyes Magos

January 6th marks the Three Kings’ arrival in Bethlehem. Children receive gifts and write letters to the kings, similar to Santa Claus traditions.

16. Christmas Dances

Regions like Veracruz and Oaxaca host traditional dances, donning elaborate costumes, reflecting a blend of indigenous and Spanish influences.

17. Christmas Markets

Markets brim with festive goods, from decorations to traditional foods. The Coyoacán market in Mexico City is especially renowned.

Photo: spurekar

18. Aginaldos (Exchange gifts)

Gifts exchanged during Las Posadas, ranging from candies to small toys, symbolizing the gifts given to the Baby Jesus.

19. La Rama

In coastal regions, children carry an adorned tree branch, singing carols and asking for aguinaldo (a small gift or money).

20. Pedir Posada

The primary song of Las Posadas, participants split into two groups, ‘innkeepers’ and ‘pilgrims,’ singing verses back and forth, recounting Mary and Joseph’s shelter search.

🎂 Christmas food in Mexico

Christmas in Mexico is not only rich in traditions but also in flavors. Here are the top 10 Christmas dishes that you might come across during the festive season in Mexico:

1. Bacalao a la Vizcaína

This dish features salted cod that is rehydrated and then cooked with tomatoes, olives, capers, red peppers, and a mixture of spices. It has a rich, savory, and slightly tangy flavor.

Bacalao has its roots in Spain but has become a staple for Mexican Christmas feasts.

2. Tamales

pueblos magicos in puebla

Tamales are steamed corn dough (masa) parcels, often filled with various fillings like chicken, pork, chilies, or cheese. They’re wrapped in corn husks before being steamed to perfection.

Tamales are often made for special occasions due to the labor-intensive process. Making tamales is often a family affair, with members coming together in what’s known as a “tamalada.”

3. Ponche Navideño (Christmas Punch)

This warm, spiced punch is made with fruits like tejocotes (a type of hawthorn), apples, pears, citrus fruits, and prunes. It’s simmered with cane sugar and spices like cinnamon and cloves. Some versions also contain rum or brandy.

Ponche Navideño is often enjoyed during Las Posadas, the nine-night Christmas procession, warming participants in the chilly December nights.

4. Romeros

Romeros are tender sprigs of a native plant resembling rosemary, traditionally prepared with butter and chili.

This dish is a reminder of the biblical Bethlehem, with the romeros representing the newborn Jesus’ bed of hay.

5. Chiles en Nogada

mexico foods

This dish features poblano chilies stuffed with a flavorful mixture of ground meat and fruits (like apple, pear, and peach). They’re covered in a creamy walnut-based sauce (nogada) and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, presenting the colors of the Mexican flag.

Though traditionally associated with Mexico’s independence day, Chiles en Nogada is also a festive dish often enjoyed around Christmas time due to its colorful and celebratory presentation.

6. Ensalada de Nochebuena (Christmas Eve Salad)

This vibrant salad combines ingredients like beets, jicama, peanuts, oranges, pomegranate seeds, and lettuce. It’s dressed with a light vinaigrette and sometimes garnished with shredded coconut.

Its colorful presentation is reminiscent of festive lights and decorations, making it a favorite during Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve.

7. Buñuelos

food from oaxaca

Buñuelos are thin, crispy, deep-fried pastries, often sprinkled with sugar or drizzled with a syrup made from piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar) and cinnamon. Some might be filled with sweet fillings or custards.

Typically enjoyed during the festive season, buñuelos symbolize prosperity for the upcoming year.

8. Turrones

Turrones are nougat candies, either hard or soft, made with honey, sugar, egg whites, and nuts, especially almonds.

This sweet treat, originally from Spain, has found its way into Mexican holiday celebrations, showcasing the blend of cultures.

9. Pavo (Roast Turkey)

Marinated with a mixture of achiote, citrus, garlic, and other spices, the turkey is slowly roasted to perfection. It’s sometimes stuffed with ground meat, fruits, and nuts.

Turkey has become central to many family celebrations in Mexico, particularly during Christmas and New Year’s feasts.

10. Sopa de Albondigas

A hearty soup made with meatballs, usually containing a mix of beef and pork, and vegetables like zucchini, carrots, and potatoes. The broth is seasoned with herbs like mint or cilantro.

This warming soup is a comforting dish, often enjoyed during the cooler months and at festive gatherings.

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