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Clothing for Oaxaca’s State Capital: Cold, Hot and Rainy Seasons
The weather in the City of Oaxaca is not as consistent throughout the year as many first-time tourists to the region might believe. There are dramatic seasonal variations in both temperature and rainfall, suggesting that the attire one packs should be geared to the month of travel, of course taking into consideration Oaxaca’s cultural norms regarding attire.
While there is no simple answer to the clothing conundrum, and less so given that weather patterns vary significantly from one year to the next, one can in fact make one’s suitcase packing decisions based on three broad seasonal variations: late February through May (temperature increase), June through September (the rainy season) and October through January (a tendency towards cool nights).
Clothing for Oaxaca from Late February through May
Oaxaca’s hot, dry season begins towards the end of February; the rains have usually ceased some three or four months earlier, and the cool nights have begun to moderate. April and May tend to be the hottest and driest months of the year, not without the odd thundershower approaching the end of the dry season. Clothes for a Oaxacan vacation at this time of year, in particular April and May should include light weight cotton and linen. One should definitely avoid traveling with a suitcase full of clothing made of synthetic material. Footwear may include leather sandals.
Oaxacan Attire for June through September
While the rainy season often begins with infrequent showers in April or May, by June one is often faced with regular rains and thundershowers, reaching maximum frequency and duration by September, concluding in October. September can be very rainy, and often grey.
One hopes that the oft-encountered pattern of late afternoon commencement of showers, dissipating throughout the night, will hold true while vacationing in Oaxaca towards the end of summer and into autumn. But some years there are two or three weeks in a row with all-day showers, so there are no guarantees.
Bring a light plastic raincoat or poncho, or simply an umbrella. Once again, clothing with natural fibers is the optimum packing decision. Those who have water resistant footwear should include it.
Clothing to Bring to Oaxaca for an October through January Vacation
During October there are usually dramatic changes in the weather, from rainy and warm in September, leading into a drier and cooler October. However during Day of The Dead (Dia de los Muertos) at the end of October, some years there are showers at night. Evenings can also be cool at this time of year. Daytime temperatures are almost always moderate, in the 70s, but the evenings from mid-December through mid-January are often quite cold, especially outside of downtown Oaxaca. If Oaxacans are going to use space heaters and fireplaces, it will be during December and January, in the evenings.
During the daytime, short sleeves are advisable, but one is cautioned that the mornings, and of course night-time, can be quite cool. Accordingly, for those vacationing in Oaxaca at this time of year, it’s strongly recommended that a sweater or jacket be packed in the suitcase.
The Alternative to Careful Packing for a Vacation in Oaxaca
Those who are concerned about covering all the bases when getting ready for a trip to Oaxaca, or prefer to use that second suitcase to bring used clothing for needy Oaxacans, should consider:
- Rainwear is readily available in Oaxaca, and as soon as a shower begins, the vendors are out on the streets with inexpensive raincoats and ponchos.
- Oaxaca does boast both cotton and wool textile industries, so if one is so inclined, one can wait and make clothing purchases in the city or central valley craft villages, on an as needed basis.
- But remember, as in other parts of the world, in Oaxaca the climate has changed dramatically over the past decade, and it continues to vary at times significantly from year to year. Accordingly, the wisest of clothes packing decisions can just fly out the window.
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