Cancun is a beautiful, sandy paradise that draws in tourists from all over the world. But when is the best time to visit this little piece of heaven?
When is the best time to go to Cancun? The best time to go to Cancun is from late November to early December, or from late April to early May. These are the times when the weather is warmest and the crowds are thinnest. However, keep in mind that prices will be higher during these peak periods. If you’re looking for a bargain, try visiting Cancun during the shoulder seasons of March-April or October-November.
Cancun is a city in Mexico that is known for its beaches, numerous resorts and nightlife especially for students during spring break. Here’s everything you need to know about the best times to visit Cancun.
- Travel Seasons For Cancun
- Cancun Weather Month-By-Month
- Most Popular Events in Cancun
- When To Go To Cancun For …
- Booking Hotels and Flights
Travel Seasons For Cancun
This is from December to March. During this time flights and hotel rates are more expensive and you will find many crowds. Christmas, New Year and Spring Break fall in peak season which makes it a very popular time for visiting Cancun. To get cheaper rates, and even a good deal, book your flights and hotel room 3 to 4 months ahead of time.
Have a look at the following hotels if you want to stay out of the busy crowds:
Off-peak is between June and October during Summer. This is when you will find cheap flights and hotel rates. Activities are also cheaper during this time. Not a lot of people on the beaches or in the bars which make if perfect for if you are not looking for big crowds. The only problem during Summer is that the days are very hot but you will also get a lot of rain and it is also known for hurricane season even though it has only happened 2 times in the last 30 years. If you are thinking about going to Cancun during off-peak season, July and end October usually have less rain and more sunny skies.
Travel Season Between Peak and Off-Peak
This is from April to May until November to middle December. During this season most days are sunny, crowds are not too big and not a lot of rain. Flights and hotel room rates are not as high as in peak season but not as cheap as it is in the off-peak season but you might still be able to get a good deal when booking ahead of time or maybe even if you stay at a hotel for a minimum of 5 nights. Just keep in mind that during this season there are 2 weeks that will definitely be busier and that is during Thanksgiving as well as the week leading up to Easter.
Cancun Weather Month-By-Month
Ever wondered what the weather is like in Cancun? Well, now you can stop wondering and let me tell you more.
Really pleasant weather in January. Lovely warm days, lots of sun, little rain and the least humid especially the end of January. Rain showers can be expected every now and again but it doesn’t last long. The average rainfall for January is 46mm with about 7 days of rain throughout the month. The temperature has an average maximum of 28ºC during the day and 20ºC at night time and even though the ocean is a bit colder during this time (average of 27ºC), you can still have a lovely swim without getting too cold. This is also a great time to go snorkeling and diving.
Still much the same as January but just a little warmer with even less rain than in January. The average maximum temperature is 28ºC. It is a bit more humid in February which makes the visibility less but it is still possible to go diving, snorkeling and explore the inland. The average rainfall for February is 44mm with about 5 days of rain throughout the month The ocean temperature has an average of 26ºC which still allows for a lovely swim.
Even though this is also one of the driest months, the weather is still very pleasant. The days are warm with 29ºC as an average maximum temperature but the nights are really lovely. You can expect light rain showers about once weekly. The average rainfall for March is 37mm with about 4 days of rain throughout the month. You can still hike comfortably and explore the inland even though is more humid. As from February the ocean temperature of 26ºC and the visibility are constant.
This is definitely one of the driest seasons of all the months. The average rainfall is 31mm with about 3 days of light rain throughout the month. It is warm the whole day and night with extreme heat during the afternoon. The average maximum temperature is 31ºC. But you can still explore the jungle and the remains of the city. Still lots of sunny days with a lovely breeze at the beach with an average ocean temperature of 27ºC.
With May being the 3rd month in the year that is also very dry, it is also the last of the dry months. It has an average rainfall of 5mm with about 5 days of rain throughout the month. Wanting to visit Chichen Itza or adventure parks? Then it will be best to go early in the morning and even early May as the weather gets warmer at the end of May with an average maximum temperature of 32ºC. It is also more humid during May but if you would like to go to the beach, the breeze will make that don’t even notice the humidity. It is also more cloudy even though most of the day you will still find clear skies with mornings and evenings that are warm and very hot afternoons. Ocean temperature is about 28ºC and now you will see the sharks and the nesting turtles starting to arrive.
Summer has arrived and so has the rain. June has got the most rain of all of the months with an average rainfall of 115mm with about 8 days of rain throughout the month. Even though it is mostly cloudy, it doesn’t rain the whole day long. So you will still be able to go to the beach, where the breeze will cool you down on these hot summer days. The average temperature of the ocean is a lovely 28ºC. Just remember to take enough water and have a swim if you decide to go and explore the inland seeing that the days are quite hot with an average maximum temperature of 32ºC. Keep in mind that summer is also known as hurricane season.
This is the perfect time for marine life as the ocean temperature stays constant at 28ºC. You will now see whale sharks, nesting sea turtles as well as the adorable baby turtles hatching and moving towards the sea. During July there are not so many rainy days but there are heavy storms. The average rainfall is 103mm with about 5-day s of rain throughout the month. Seeing that this is also one of the hottest months and very humid, remember to take water with you if you plan on exploring the island and make sure to cool down in one of the natural pools filled with rainwater. The average maximum temperature in July is 32ºC
This month is very hot and humid but it cools down nearer to the end of the month when the rainy days also increase. When it rains, you will find that it will only rain for 1 to 2 hours a day. August has got a rainfall of 136mm with about 6 days of rain throughout the month. Days are usually partly cloudy, but it is a good idea to spend as much time as possible lying on the lovely beach and even in the natural pools. This will be the last time during the year you will be able to see the sharks, turtles nesting and the baby sea turtles. The temperature of the ocean has an average of 29ºC.
This is definitely the month with the most rain with a rainfall of 185mm with about 10 days of rain throughout the month. Rain showers are very intense but don’t last longer than 3 hours. September and October are known for hurricanes even though it rarely happens. Days are hot and humid with an average maximum temperature of 32ºC but it gets better at the end of September. Again, spending some time at the beach is a wonderful idea with an ocean temperature of 29º but remember to plan some activities for if it rains. During September, the sea turtles continue nesting but the whale sharks are beginning to leave.
More rainy days but less rainfall than September. The average rainfall for October is 157mm with about 11 days of rain throughout the year. Early October is still cloudy and humid as well but it gets better at the end of the month with blue skies, pleasant temperatures and lovely weather at the beach with an ocean temperature of 28ºC. Last month for hurricanes even though storms don’t happen often and it is also the last month for the nesting sea turtles before they leave. The average maximum temperature for October is 31ºC but luckily it gets cooler toward the end of the month.
Days are now getting cooler with an average maximum temperature of 29ºC. Rain is getting less with an average rainfall of 95mm with about 8 days of rain throughout the year while it is mostly raining during the first week or so and it doesn’t rain very long. Closer to the end of November it will be the perfect time for visiting the beach and the lovely parks or even the remains of the city. The temperature of the ocean is 28ºC and the last of the turtles that were nesting is now going back to the sea.
Perfect weather during December which makes this month the best time to be visiting Cancun. Warm, sunny days, cool evenings and clear, blue skies. What can be more wonderful than this?! The average maximum temperature is 28ºC and an ocean temperature of 27ºC which makes swimming in the sea and visiting the beach a wonderful experience. This is also the perfect time to go diving and snorkeling and you will also see the last of the baby sea turtles hatching and moving towards the sea. The average rainfall for December is 70mm over about 7 days of rain throughout the year and this also means that the dry season is beginning. This will begin during the last half of the month and last until March.
But wait…there is more than just talking about the weather…
Most Popular Events in Cancun
New Years Day – This is a nationwide holiday on January 1 in Mexico. Cancun is quiet on this day while everyone is busy resting from the previous night’s parties. Business is also closed but restaurants and tourist attractions are always open for business.
Show of Maya Village – This is a recreation of the ancient Mayan festivities which includes walking through the jungle and the celebration of discovering fire. This takes place at Xcaret Park which is about an hour’s drive from Cancun and lasts throughout the whole month.
El Dia d Los Reyes (King’s Day) – This is another tradition of Mexico where children receive gifts and families eat together. This is on the 6th of January which is known as the 12th day of Christmas. Roscas de Reyes is a bread that is baked with a Jesus figure inside the bread. Whoever then finds the figure gets to host the Tamale Day next year and prepare the tamales which are a mesoamerican dish.
Tamale Day – This is held on the 2nd of February which is forty days from Christmas and it is also a celebration of Jesus who was at the temple. People usually dress the baby figurine who represents Jesus and takes it to church with candles so it can be blessed. After church, they have tamales with all of the family and their friends. Tamale day is a very intimate holiday in Cancun and a big celebration with parades in Veracruz.
Carnaval – This gets celebrated in various parts of Riviera and on various days. It usually takes place the week before Ash Wednesday and it is one of the most popular celebrations which is usually at Cozumel will happen the night before. This intimate carnival is usually taking place downtown which is not close to the tourist area. You will find parades, music, costumes and lots of lovely food and drinks, people dancing and street vendors selling local products.
Music Of Island Time and Fishing – This takes place in a beautiful city and lasts for 6 days. The money that they make out of this event goes to a charity who works with children with special needs. During this event, a fisherman catches sailfish and you will find musical acts from local and international people playing in cozy venues.
Inception Festival Of Music– This is the largest party of Spring Break. It goes for 30 days an nights and it features some of the top acts of music and the best DJs. Punta Cancun’s clubs such as The City, Mandala, Palazzo and Dady’O hosts these events every night. Mandala Beach hosts parties that you will find during the day and high-class parties at Oasis.
Food and Wine Festival – This takes place at Riviera and it is a celebration over 5 days. With lots of lovely wine and food. Well-known chefs and wine waiters are part of this celebration. During this event, there are well-known chef dinners, beach parties, taco competitions and golfing.
Spring Equinox – This event takes place on the 20th of March every year as this is the first day of the beautiful Spring. A representation
of Kukulkan (a serpent god that is feathered) is shown as the light shines on the temple of the pyramid and it seems as if this figure is climbing off of the temple on the side. This event happens in the autumn and the spring equinoxes. During this time the crowds are big but it is a lot of wonderful fun. Don’t want to be part of the big crowd, then you can still experience this either before or after the equinox.
Show of Laser Sailing – At this event, which happens in the last few weeks in March, you will find various sizes sailing boat roaming the coastline for about 2 weeks.
Discovering Cancun Anniversary – This celebration lasts a whole month and is being held at various places Downtown. It consists of a big crowd, live music, lovely exhibitions and even a parade going down Tulum Avenue.
Week of Holiness – This gets celebrated between the 25th of March to the 1st of April. Everything is open during this time for tourists as it is a very busy time for Cancun. So you need to book a flight and hotel way in advance if you would like to be part of this festival. You can also join Easter services that are being held at various churches. It is mostly Catholic.
El Dia del Nino (known as Children’s Day) – This event takes place on the 30th of April. It is not a public holiday but kid’s don’t have to attend school on this day. Instead, they can have lots of fun, receive gifts and do wonderful activities. You can also get a discount at the zoo and amusement park and travelers can join by giving out toys and sweets to the kids on the street.
Celebration of French defeating the Pueblo’s Battle – The 5th of May is a national holiday to celebrate how the country defeated the French during Pueblo’s Battle in 1862. The people of Cancun doesn’t celebrate much. The bars will usually have some specials on drinks and there will be small parties at some resorts. This is really only for tourists. Puebla is the only place around Mexico that actually celebrates this day.
Culture Celebration – This is a Maya, Carribean and Mexican culture celebration with live music, delicious food, dances, films and literature and takes place over 8 days at various venues that host international as well as local performances.
Adult Spring Break – This is a music festival but only for adults, with DJs and wonderful live acts held over 4 days. This also includes beach parties, a day at the water park, overnight after-parties and lingerie parties to keep you well entertained.
Regata del Sol a Sol – A yacht race over 456 miles that begins in the beautiful setting of Saint Petersburg, Florida in April and ends in Isla Mujeres beginning of May. This also includes a race sail that finds a place after the yacht race and which goes around the island and a basketball tournament as well.
Travesia Sagrada – 300 women and men that row canoes over the ocean. They begin early in the morning and return the following morning at dawn. At the beginning and end of this event is lots of music, dancing, and rituals. In Cozumel, there is a lovely feast for the rowers and then there is a big celebration in Xcaret as soon as they return.
Mexico’s Navy Day – This event is usually celebrated on the 1st of June in all of the towns along the coast including Cancun. This is to pay respect to the marine servicewomen and men and it included parades and beautiful fireworks.
ExpHotel – Held between the 12th and 14th of June and is an event for the hospitality industry. It is used to view new service and products and they also host a lot of seminars and wonderful workshops. There is also a competition between the chefs and it is also known as a Cheese, Wine and Bread Festival.
Festival of the Ocean – This is a fun event that encourages conservation of the ocean and is being held from middle May until middle June. Concerts, cleanup of the beach, drawing competition for the kids and cooking competitions are all part of this event. So it is a lot of fun and most events don’t cost you anything but with some you need to register in advance.
Cancun Celebration – Small celebration held in Cancun over a weekend. This includes wonderful sunset cruises, Downtown, and beach parties as well as events of the city remains and lovely evenings at clubs.
A day out of Time – This is held on the 26th of July seeing that the 26th of July is believed to be the 1st day of the new year. While the biggest celebration takes place on 25 July where the people reflect back over the last few years as well as the lessons they learned. The big festival is in Tulum while a lot of smaller festivities are all over Riviera Maya. This festivity lasts about 5 days.
Festival of the Shark – This lasts a week while celebrating the shark which includes family activities, such as sand art and pinata competition at the lovely fair as well as parades, tasty food contests, and music. There are also various water activities such as swimming with whale sharks, fishing competition as well as snorkel and diving tours.
Summer Urban Oasis – With events that include hookah parties, bikini competitions, booze cruise, lots of dancing and beach parties, this is a 5-day festival not to be missed.
Music Festival – 10 days of music and dancing on the beach as well as the jungle. It starts with various teacher workshops which are followed by lots and lots of dancing to music with a fast rhythm.
Virgin Mary Assumption – This is celebrated in the middle of August throughout the whole country. Unlike some cities, Cancun doesn’t host parades.
Day of Independence – This is held on the 15th of September and begins during the afternoon in Downtown close to the City Hall. It includes music, lots of dancing and wonderful food such as nogada and chiles and much more. The 2 most famous drinks are Mezcal and Tequila. Bells ringing and beautiful fireworks are used as the independence cry and this is done at night and then they have a big party. For travelers, there are parties at nightclubs and in the bars. On the 16th of September, there is a parade going through downtown that attracts a lot of visitors.
Salsa Dance Celebration – This salsa dance celebration stretches over 4 days with lots of music, workshops, and parties. Dance classes include the salsa, Rumba and Casino wheel.
Equinox during Autumn– This takes place on the 22nd of September which is the 1st beautiful day of fall, during the afternoon. When the light shines on the pyramid, you can see Kukulkan, a serpent god that is feathered. This also happens in Spring but due to the rain in September, the clouds can prevent you from seeing Kukulkan. Before planning a trip for this event, see what the weather will be and what the park’s opening hours are even though they stay open late for this event in some cases.
Travel Association Celebration – This event is being held by the Agent Association of Cancun Travel and Association of the hotels in Cancun in middle October to give information out about food, services around this area and hotels.
Festival of Jazz – This musical festival is all-inclusive and lasts 4 days at one of the hotels in Riviera. Before the big event, there are a few concerts taking place in the days leading to the big event.
Columbus Day – This is a holiday on the 12th of October to celebrate the joining of the Mexicans and the Spanish. Parades are usually in various places throughout the country.
Halloween- This is where people will take flowers as well as candles to their loved one’s graves on the night of the 31st of October. In Cancun, they celebrate it with kids who dress up and go out to see tricks and collect treats and even adults dress up and go to clubs. For one of the best parties, Dady’O is the place to go. But bring along one of your favorite Halloween costumes.
All Hallow’s Day – This takes place from the 1st of November to the 2nd of November and consists of 2 holidays. On All Hallow’s Day, the Mexicans honor the children who died by giving offerings on altars in the cemeteries such as toys and sweets. Dia de Los Muertos is when Mexicans honor adults who died. They decorate the altars at their home or at the cemetery while some will even leave offers such as drinks or cigarettes. They also make a pathway of petals and candles from the altar for the spirit to return. If you would like to experience something more traditional you can go to some of the parks downtown. On the 31st of October to the 2nd of November, you will find a parade which consists of lovely food and performances. On the 2nd of November, there is an event that consists of decorating altars, a Maya dinner and a ceremony that is performed at a natural pool by a traditional healer.
Golf Tour– This is a PGA tour in Mayakoba with hundreds of golfers who are competing for big prizes. This is divided into 4 courses that continue over one full week. They also donate the money that they make to charities in the area.
Culture of Carribean Festival– These events are held in Quintana Roo as well as Cancun and last over 6 days. It is very popular for music that features the top salsa groups as well as poetry and dancing.
Marathon of Cancun – It begins in Downtown and also ends there. It mostly follows Boulevard Kukulkan and goes past the beach as well as the lagoon.
Parade of Boats – This is a free, yearly family-friendly event At sunset lit-up boats begin a parade with music, people selling crafts and tasty food.
Christmas Week – This is from the 16th of December until the 25th of December. Children will ask for donations when they sing from in front of the houses and knocking on the doors. 24 December, also known as Nochebuenga, is a very important night where families will get together for a traditional dinner at midnight.
Mexican’s April Fools Day– This day is held on the 28th of December. This day was to celebrate the young children’s death (the children who were slaughtered to try and kill baby Jesus. On this day people also borrow things which they never return.
New Year’s Eve – This gets celebrated on the 31st of December with lots of beautiful fireworks and wild parties. The best destination is Playa del Carmen. But there are also various parties in Cancun with beautiful fireworks being shot that you can see from all of the hotels and the resorts.
When To Go To Cancun For …
If you are looking for perfect weather, I suggest you go in April or December. If you would like to see the wildlife such as the whale sharks and even the sea turtles who are starting to nest, May will be the perfect time to go. Small crowds and cheap flights can be found in November but just keep in mind that Cancun’s rainy season is also in November.
Cancun really does have lovely weather and the wonderful thing about this is that it is lovely almost throughout the year. End December to April it has got good weather but wait until January till March…then the weather is absolutely fantastic. During these months you will find the bluest skies, pleasant weather and not too much rain. It is also not too humid. The weather is also so lovely that it allows you almost every day to go for a walk on the beautiful beach, swim in the clean blue ocean where the temperature of the water is pleasant enough for a swim even though it is cooler during summer. The weather also allows you lovely sunny days to just explore this exquisite city.
Just remember to pack in a sweater for the cool mornings and evenings from December to February.
Want to catch a bargain, then why not go in summer?! This is from July to October. Cancun’s rainy season is during the summer months but most of the days are very hot with high humidity even though this is nothing to worry about if you can handle the warm weather. Also if you don’t mind rain showers every now and again. The rates of the hotel are much cheaper as well as the flights which make it one of the reasons to travel during this time…you can save a lot of money. One concern is that during summer it is possible to have hurricanes but during the last 30 years, it only happened twice so it really isn’t anything to worry about.
Families with kids
Thinking of traveling with kids? Then the best time for you visiting Cancun will be from April to June as well as in November. You will find cheaper flights, hotels and even activities will be cheaper during this time. Keep in mind that the week of Thanksgiving and the week leading to Easter are very busy. So it might be a good idea to plan your visit around these 2 holidays. You will have a much better experience then because there is not a lot of people on the beaches and as a bonus, the weather is warm and pleasant. This is even a fantastic opportunity to visit the Maya ruins as well as the adventure parks.
Don’t like crowds? Then I suggest you go between June and October. Even though this time is known for hurricanes, storms don’t happen that easily in Cancun. You will also find beaches are almost empty and even the tours are not busy at all. Just remember that because this is a quiet time for Cancun, most of the tour operators take time off meaning you might not be able to do everything you wanted to. If you want to do a lot of activities, I suggest you rather go during peak season.
Who doesn’t love sightseeing and especially in such a beautiful place like Cancun and especially with everything it has to offer. The best time for sightseeing will be between December till April. Especially if you are planning on visiting a place such as the Chichen Itza or even the jungle. You will have lots of beautiful sunny days, not so much rain, pleasant weather, and low humidity. The only thing to consider is that the peak season is January to March. So you will find lots of crowds everywhere.
Swimming, Snorkeling, and Diving
This really depends on what you would like to do and see. For swimming, July and August will be perfect. The water is really cold from February until March. After that, it gets warmer from July to October. From September until October you will find that it rains a lot.
If you would like to dive, the best time will be from November to May especially March to May. This is when you can see more due to these months that are drier. Punta Nizuc is one of the best places for diving and snorkeling because of the clear water and you will be able to see lots of sea life. Cancun is not really ideal for diving because the water is rough which reduces the visibility
In late May, the water is warmer and you will be able to see the sea life very clear as well as the whale sharks. This means that May is the perfect time for snorkeling.
Sharks and Turtles
Who wouldn’t love to see whale sharks and sea turtles seeing that they are endangered? In Cancun, you will most definitely be able to see them. The whale sharks will usually arrive early May. By June there will be a lot of them and you will be able to find them very easily.
During May, the sea turtles start to nest and stop laying their eggs in October. In July the eggs hatch and the baby turtles start to move towards the sea.
This means that from July to August you will definitely see the sharks, turtles that are nesting and the baby sea turtles. Wouldn’t that just be such a wonderful thing to see?
Getting married? Why not book a trip to Cancun and spoil your loved one with the lovely beach and perfect weather between December and May. If you are looking for cheaper hotel rates and flights, smaller crowds and pleasant weather, December and April to May will be the best choice. If you don’t mind going in peak season then from January to March you will have great sunny weather and it will be the perfect time of the year to spend quality time on the beach.
Cancun is known for the busy nightlife. Always parties continuing at all the famous clubs and the bars especially near the Hotel Zone like Punta Cancun. In March as well as June to July, which is their Spring Break, you will find lots of crazy parties that go on the whole day and through the night. At these parties, you will find some of the very best DJs as well as bikini contests.
If you would rather like to be part of the grown-up parties, then you can plan your visit anytime between December and February. The clubs will still be busy but the average age of the crowd is 25 years and older.
Loud crowds and parties the whole day and night might let you think to avoid Cancun, especially during March. But you can still enjoy peace and quiet by not going into the main party area and staying out of the clubs at night.
So if you would like to go to a party, you will most definitely find one or if you would like some peace and quiet, you will find that too.
Booking Hotels and Flights
To get cheaper flights, book about 3 to 4 months in advance. Don’t book to close to the time or more than 4 months ahead as this will be more expensive.
You can book a hotel room way in advance to ensure that you get a cheaper rate before it is all booked and you then have to book a more expensive room. So the best will be to book your room when you have your flight booked. This way a cheaper hotel rate will be guaranteed.
I really hope that this article will help you in making a decision about what the best time will be for you to visit Cancun.
Happy planning and travel safe!