The rain is upon us now. The wet season in Mexico usually starts around mid-June, so I guess it’s a little bit early this year, but it will now last until early to mid-October.
The days vary. Sometimes it can be hot and sunny with temperatures reaching 85 degrees F (29C) and then around 3 or 4pm, the clouds roll in and you get a torrential downpour for about an hour.
Other days, you wake up to cloud, it spits a little bit in the morning, the cloud stays, it feels like it’s about 65 degrees F (18C) and you don’t see the sun for a week.
I’m really selling it to you now!
But actually, visiting Mexico during the wet season has a lot of perks (unless you’re looking to have a beach holiday where you do nothing but dip your toes in the sea, then, well, I don’t recommend visiting at this time of year).
The wet season is the perfect time to visit places like Mexico City, Puebla, San Miguel de Allende, Oaxaca, and other cities. The rain means you can spend all day inside a museum, the cloud cover means you don’t get sunburned as you explore Aztec and Mayan ruins, and best of all, the rain also means that everything is crazy green. In fact, in many parts of the country, they don’t call it the wet season at all, they call it the green season.
What to Pack for Mexico During the Wet Season
This is my number one piece of advice for visiting Mexico during the wet season. Drainage around the country is sub-par, especially in big cities like Mexico City. The last thing you want to do is head out to explore for the day and get caught in a downpour that leaves you with sopping wet feet for the rest of the day (trust me, this has happened to me more times than I can count).
Even if you manage to avoid getting your feet wet when the downpour happens, there will no doubt be huge puddles around for the remainder of the day.
I absolutely love these waterproof ankle boots from Sam Edelman. They are stylish, incredibly comfortable to walk in, and they keep my feet dry during the miserable wet season (as well as in rainy England whenever I’m back to visit).
Any other type of classic leather boot or waterproof shoe will be fine, just make sure you pack a pair!
Another must is a lightweight rain jacket. It’s still going to be hot, so a rain jacket with a thick lining will make you sweaty and uncomfortable. Thanks to all the rain, it can also get pretty humid during this time of year (especially if you’re traveling along the coast – yowza is it humid there!).
Look for the most lightweight rain jacket you can find that still keeps you dry. We’re talking about tropical-storm style rain here, so a windbreaking isn’t going to cut it.
I love my Columbia rain jacket. It wasn’t super cheap, but it keeps me dry, it’s kind of cute (if bright pink waterproofs are cute?), it fits well and it doesn’t make me sweat a ton. I use it throughout the wet season here in Mexico, I loved it when I visited the wet season in Costa Rica, and with layers, it’s great for rainy days in the U.K.
Quick Drying Pants
If you’re going to be out for the day exploring and you get caught in a downpour, you’re going to want to be wearing clothes that dry quickly. For me, that usually means lightweight cotton trousers which keep me cool during the sunny hours but also are great for when the temperature drops post rain.
Consider the length of the pants when you’re shopping, too. While those long pants might look super cute, they’re likely going to get soaking wet at the bottom if you wear them after a downpour.
These are some of my favorites available right now:
The temperatures are all over the place during the wet season. You’ll want to be prepared for hot and humid as well as cool and breezy. It can be sunny and warm one minute and the next minute a gust of wind blows through and you’ll want another layer or two in your day bag.
During the wet season I usually wear a pair of lightweight pants, a t-shirt or tank top and then in my bag I’ll have my rain jacket and, depending on what the weather app on my phone says about the temperatures later in the day, perhaps a lightweight cardigan too (long time followers will know JCrew sweaters are the only ones for me).
Bug Spray is a must for wet season in Mexico, especially when the sun goes down. With all of the moisture and humidity around, mosquitos are everywhere. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the mountains or at the beach, you’ll need to cover up with bug spray during the wet season here.
You can definitely purchase bug spray once you get here, but if you’re going to really touristy areas like the Yucatan or Puerto Vallarta, then you’ll likely pay a lot more than you would at home.
While it’s most likely going to rain during this time of year while you’re traveling around Mexico, it will also be incredibly hot when the sun comes out. Last year I visited Oaxaca during the wet season and while it was amazing to see all of the ruins surrounded by bright green grass and lush hills in the distance, I also almost suffered from sunstroke (dark hair, strong sun, and no hat is a terrible combination).
I highly recommend packing a hat and if you forget one, be sure to pick one up when you arrive. If you’re going to be exploring ruins like Palenque, Mitla, Chichen Itza, or Teotihuacan, you’re going to need a hat – that goes for both guys and gals. There is little to no shade at these places and when it’s not raining the sun can be ferocious.
What NOT to Wear in Mexico During Wet Season
There are a few things that I would avoid wearing on those days when you know it’s going to rain. That’s not to say you shouldn’t pack them at all. If you’re going to be traveling around the country or visiting big cities, you can probably still get away with most of these things on days when the rain is nowhere in sight.
I love jeans, especially here in Mexico City. They’re versatile, they help you look put together even if you don’t feel particularly put together (who feels put together when they’ve just traveled for 8 hours?). The trouble with jeans during the wet season in Mexico is that they don’t dry very quickly. If you get caught in a downpour then they’re going to be wet for pretty much the rest of the day.
The other problem with jeans is that when it’s humid they literally feel like they have become part of your legs. Humidity and denim and human skin are just not meant to be friends. I suggest that if you do pack jeans, that they are very lightweight and avoid skinny jeans if possible.
Lightweight Dresses or Skirts
While these are usually my go-to when I travel during the summer, I end up being so annoyed that I’ve worn these during the wet season. The number one reason is because of wind. There is never a day without wind during the wet season – even if it’s just a light breeze, lightweight dresses fly away. I hate walking down the street and holding down my dress when I walk.
Of course, if you pack lightweight maxi dresses or longer midi-dresses, then you can probably get with it, but just be prepared for what feels like constant wind.
Okay, obviously you don’y wear an umbrella, but you’ll probably considering packing one (and you should). Just make sure it’s not a terrible dollar store purchase. Don’t get me wrong, I love a cheap umbrellas as much as the next person, but it will be totally useless here in Mexico during the wet season.
Make sure you have a sturdy umbrella that fits in your purse or day bag. You probably won’t use it every day, but when that rain comes, you’ll be glad you packed it. I love this umbrella and have been successfully using it during Mexico’s wet season for two years running now.
If you’re by the beach, by all means pack your favorite flip flops. However, if you’re headed to any of the cities around Mexico, I really recommend leaving your flip flops at home. They may dry quickly, but your feet will be filthy at the end of every day. Between the rain, the wind, the puddles, and the residual muck that gets left behind when the water recedes, you will most likely want to keep your feet covered up.
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Thursday 4th of July 2019
I've just read your article and great tips! I am going to México for the first time in August (one week in Riviera Maya and one week in México City, DF). I wasn't planning on bringing my 'rainy days' wardrobe, but now I'm rethinking it! Thanks!
Thursday 4th of July 2019
You probably won't need much wet-weather gear for the Riviera Maya (but it will be SUPER hot), but you'll definitely want at least a light rain jacket if you have one for Mexico City. Enjoy your trip!