One of the most common misconceptions about Mexico City is the temperature. If you haven’t been to this city, you may think it’s always warm and that an AC or Air Conditioning System is necessary. As such, it can make you wonder why most households around here do not have one.
If you’re wondering whether AC in Mexico City is necessary, it’s not. This city has a steady climate that an AC becomes unnecessary. Thus, only a few buildings have such. Thus, if you’re visiting this city, you may find AC in your hotel rooms, but most residential buildings don’t have it.
In this article, we’ll talk about the use of air conditioning in Mexico’s Capital. This way, regardless of how long you plan to stay, you can understand what to expect. We’ll also cover additional concerns like staying cool if the temperature is too hot.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Do You Need AC in Mexico City?
As mentioned earlier, you don’t need air conditioning in Mexico City since the temperature here is comfortable, or you’ll get used to it.
In general, the city comes with a climate like other subtropical areas. The average temperature is around 64 degrees Fahrenheit, which is bearable for most people. However, the hottest month, May, brings an average high temperature of around 81 degrees Fahrenheit.
It may seem too hot for most people who aren’t living in the city. However, the temperature remains bearable even at the warmest since Mexico City is in a highly-elevated area.
If you’re curious about the coldest time to visit the city, read: Mexico City’s Lowest Temperatures.
Why is AC Unnecessary in Mexico City?
Considering Mexico City’s geographical location, it’s likely that a non-native would assume it’s hot and tropical. However, that needs to be clarified.
As a result, heating and cooling are not necessary for the city, and few public or private buildings have either. Even large public spaces like airports and restaurants rarely have one.
Mexico City can be a significant culture shock for people from other countries, especially the US. For example, almost every house in the US has central heating or air conditioning. However, in Mexico, people rarely complain about the temperature or acknowledge discomfort.
While Mexico City can get cold during the winter, residents adjust. People often add layers when they feel cold; a small space heater often keeps them warm in most properties. In American culture, if people are uncomfortable, they change their environment rather than adapt to it.
Thus, check your weather app first if you plan to travel to Mexico City or relocate there. Then, if you pack appropriately for the weather, you won’t have to shiver at the airport or sweat through dinner.
How Common Is AC in Mexico?
Air conditioning is rare in Mexico. Only around 16% of entire households have such. Of course, you may find one in large industrial buildings like malls, high-end restaurants, and offices. However, when you look at residential houses and buildings, you’ll rarely find air-conditioning around.
Tips to Stay Cool in Mexico City
As mentioned earlier, the temperature in Mexico City is usually bearable all year. However, you’ll still find some months pretty unpleasant because of extreme temperatures. Thus, if you’re wondering how locals stay cool during such months, here are some ways to do so:
Drinking Ice-Cold Drinks
Since locals need a fridge or freezer to make ice, they splurge by purchasing a bag. Locals often drink iced water but sometimes enjoy iced drinks like lemonade. If you also feel hot while visiting the city, an iced drink can help you cool off.
Besides drinks, you can also buy some ice cream or popsicles. You’ll find many vendors along the streets, especially during summer.
Using Ductless ACs and Fans
While typical air conditioning systems aren’t available, locals use other systems like ductless ACs and Fans. So it’s not a problem you’ll need to worry about if you stay at mid-range to high-end hotels.
However, if you’re staying at budget hostels and apartments, fans may be more available than air-conditioning.
Again, this one’s only a concern if you plan to stay in the city for a while. Make passive cooling a part of your house design in Mexico.
For instance, place most of your windows east or west instead of north or south. This way, sunlight will shine into your room, and you’ll likely get a cross-breeze.
The windows can be tinted to keep the blaze out and to allow light in. Then, in the daytime, close the windows and open them at night to keep the house cooler.
You can skip this if you’re only around for a few days. However, if you’re searching for a long-term apartment, it’s wise to look at these types of buildings to know the most suitable option.
It might seem obvious, but you can always cool down from the high temperature by showering with some cold water. Some locals take showers even twice a day for a more relaxing time. However, be mindful and only take quick ones to preserve water.
Use Cold Sheets
This option may sound weird, but it’s doable, especially if you can’t sleep due to the extreme heat. You can always place your sheets in the fridge to cool them. This way, you can take it out when you’re about to sleep. It may feel damp, but it will be as comfortable as ever.
Avoid Wearing Warm Clothes
A cotton jammie and a cotton sheet will keep you cool. More threads mean better quality. As a thermoregulator, silk will also work, but it is more expensive. Bamboo is another ideal option since it wicks moisture and is hypoallergenic and biodegradable. Unfortunately, Mexico only has a little bamboo fabric. Alternatively, you can sleep naked.
It is advisable to use cotton or cotton blends for clothing. Wear lightweight, long sleeves to protect your arms. Also, wearing a large floppy hat during the day will keep you more relaxed and reduce sun exposure.
Sleep like the Locals
It’s common for locals to sleep in hammocks or on straw mats. It’s suitable for hot, steamy conditions, even though they may seem strange. In a hammock, your body is suspended, and the air flows around you. A straw mat is more remarkable than a mattress because it doesn’t retain heat.
Cooking in the kitchen on a hot day isn’t an advisable idea. Cooking raises the whole house’s temperature. Additionally, heavy meals take longer to digest. As a result, your internal core heats up. As a way to cool down, your body produces sweat. Overeating can make you sweat, so don’t overeat!
Find a Cool Place to Chill
Locals stay somewhere cool to beat the heat. In most cases, that would be shopping malls. However, you can always find shaded benches in parks. Mexico City has vast green parks such as Chapultepec Park. You can relax and chill out on a big rock on a breezy hill, in a park, or under a shady mesquite tree.
Adjust Your Schedule
The locals move their activities to the early mornings and evenings during long, hot days. They can then retreat inside for a siesta (a nap time at noon) in the scorching afternoon.
If you’re touring the city, exploring outdoor activities in the early morning or late afternoon is best. If you want to do something when the sun is at its highest, head to indoor spots like museums to avoid direct heat.
The city has hundreds of museums, which means you have plenty of spots to visit if it’s scorching outside. If you want to know the best ones, read our article about the top Museums in Mexico City.
In a nutshell, AC is optional for Mexico City simply because the weather in the city is bearable, and most locals find it challenging to afford the electricity expenses of having such systems. For this reason, if you’re exploring the city as a tourist or a long-term guest, you must expect to live with little to no cooling system. As such, you’ll have to improvise through the abovementioned things to stay cool when the city warms up.
If you’re wondering whether the city is an ideal place to visit on a hot day, read: Is Mexico City a Good Destination for Sun and Fun?