While Mexican beaches are the preferred destinations during the December vacation break for most Mexicans and foreigners, there are alternatives for anyone wishing to celebrate a white Christmas.
Where to look? Try the states of Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, Tlaxcala and México. They are historically the coldest in the country and offer some chances of encountering snow.
One good place to look is the northern state of Chihuahua, particularly in the Rarámuri (Tarahumara) Sierra, in a corridor that runs from the towns of Guachochi to Casas Grandes, and encompasses the archaeological site of Paquimé.
A zone known for its sweeping canyons, visitors can find three and four-star hotels and cabins.
Last winter, the average temperature in the state was 2.8 degrees C, but for those looking for an even more chilling experience, a 2,545-meter-long zipline — reportedly the longest in the world — awaits thrill seekers at the Parque de Aventura Barrancas del Cobre, in the Copper Canyon region.
The mountainous landscape of the neighboring state of Durango also gets snow every year, particularly during December and January.
According to the state Tourism Secretariat, cabins can be found in the Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range for a cozy white Christmas. The most popular destinations are Mexiquillo, Puentecillas and Cocomate, which have around 40 cabins in total.
The opening of a highway in 2012 has helped to maintain a constant flow of tourists to the region.
The state of Zacatecas is located on a highland plateau where the Sierra Madre Occidental and Oriental mountain ranges converge. With an average elevation over sea level of 2,100 meters, this is one of the coldest states of Mexico.
While snow isn’t a seasonal constant, locations like the Pueblo Mágico (or Magical Town) of Sombrerete, near the Sierra de Órganos, have reported snowfall in recent years.
The state tourism authority says there are mountain cabins and alternative tourism activities available at both.
The small state of Tlaxcala, in central Mexico, is also one of the coldest. The 2010-2011 winter season was the coldest in recent years, with temperatures dropping below 0 C.
Wintry weather can be found throughout the state but truly snowy landscapes can only be experienced in the vicinity of the Malintzin volcano. At 4,461 meters, it is the sixth highest summit in Mexico.
The Malintzin Vacation Center is located well below that, at 3,300 meters, and while snow isn’t guaranteed every year, visitors can find ecotourism options, lodging and camping areas (should winter camping appeal).
Traveling north again, the state of Aguascalientes is one of the coldest on average. Regrettably as far as this list is concerned, it hasn’t seen snow since 1997.
Still, winter temperatures reign throughout the season if you’re not fussy about the lack of snow. Visitors to the Sierra Fría will find cabins and ecotourism activities all year.
Finally, the State of México has a place that, as its name indicates, guarantees a snowy Christmas: the Nevado de Toluca (or snowy volcano of Toluca).
The extinct volcano’s height of 4,680 meters makes it a favored destination for mountaineering enthusiasts.
While the nearby city of Toluca hasn’t recorded snow for the last 50 years the volcano itself and the national park that surrounds it see significant yearly snowfall.
There are no hotels or cabins available in the park proper, only Alpine lodges and camping areas, although the destination is said to be ideal for a day trip.
Another national park in the State of México that offers a wintry experience is located at the foot of the Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl volcanoes. The municipality of Amecameca is a good option to stay close to the impressive peaks.
Source: El Heraldo de Chihuahua (sp)