Tropical dry forests (TDF) are one of the most widely distributed tropical land‐cover types in Mexico, but their regional‐to‐global contribution to the carbon and water cycles is still highly uncertain. We measured CO2 and water vapor fluxes between the ecosystem and atmosphere using the eddy covariance technique from 2016 to 2018 in an old‐growth TDF in northwestern Mexico. First, we investigated the magnitude and seasonality of evapotranspiration (ET), net ecosystem production (NEP) and its contributing fluxes, gross ecosystem production (GEP), and ecosystem respiration (Reco). Second, we explored the main environmental factors controlling carbon and water fluxes as well as tested if this ecosystem acted as a net carbon source or sink. During the study period, all precipitation entering the ecosystem went back to the atmosphere through ET (738.9 ±58.26 mm y−1). Ecosystem respiration (2203.16 ±244.2 g C m−2 y−1) was consistently larger than GEP (1975.32 ±295.52 g C m−2 y−1), determining an annual NEP (−227.6 ±59.4 g C m−2 y−1) that resulted in net annual carbon losses. This forest maintained its water use efficiency (WUE; GEP/ET) across years (2.53–3.24), but water availability constrained light use and maximum carbon assimilation rates. Our results render relevance to the feedback between soil water content and net radiation as the main environmental variables controlling ecosystem fluxes in this old‐growth TDF.