Updated: November 16, 2017
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When is the Best Time to Visit Cancun?
- Best Time to Book Flights and Hotels: Who doesn’t want to nab the cheapest airfare when booking a flight to Cancun? While it’s not down to a science, there are tricks to help you get the best price. Generally, the sooner the better; however, buying too far in advance can sometimes get you a worse deal than if you’d waited a bit. Prices are highest if you wait too long. The sweet spot tends to be around three to four months in advance, with the best airfares typically found for low season trips taken between late spring and early to mid-fall. When it comes to hotels, the earlier you book the better deal you’ll find, as there are only a certain number of rooms available at the lowest rates – when they’re booked, prices increase. Reserve your room as soon as you’ve booked your flight if possible.
- Best Time to Visit for Great Deals: If you’re searching for the very best deals, the best time to visit Cancun is in the heart of the hurricane season, in the months of September and October. Although this is the peak period for hurricanes, do keep in mind that only two have hit in the past 30 years, one in September 1988 and the other in October 2005. During this time, everything from hotels and airfare to excursions will be at their cheapest prices of the year and you can potentially save hundreds of dollars, possibly even a thousand or more, on your trip.
- Best Time to Avoid Crowds: The best time to avoid crowds in Cancun, is also the best time to save – during the peak of the hurricane season, and particularly from September through mid-November. Crowded beaches will be non-existent despite the hot temperatures, and in between the rain, there is plenty of time to enjoy them practically all to yourself.
- Best Time For the Most Sunshine and Least Rain: March and April are the sunniest and driest months of the year in Cancun, though March brings more visitors with spring break in session, which means the beaches are likely to be crowded. Go in April, and you’ll enjoy endless sunshine in Cancun’s driest month of all, with just 27mm of rain falling over three days – and, without bumping elbows with hundreds of other tourists.
- Best Time to Party: While there’s almost always a party to be found in Cancun, if partying is your main goal, there are better times of the year than others. Spring break, which falls during the month of March, is notorious for hard core partying that can be enjoyed in many of the Cancun clubs. Head to the Oasis Cancun, the No. 1 party resort and you’ll enjoy nonstop parties that are hosted to thousands of spring breakers each year, including events like MTV Spring Break. This is also the time when big-name DJs are frequently featured at places like The City, which hosts some of the world’s best, and Dady’O, which is renowned for its pole-dancing platforms as well as bikini contests and theme parties that are held throughout the year, and especially during Spring Break. June is the next best time to come to Cancun to party, when many high school graduates arrive, and parties will continue to be at their peak through July.
- A Note About Spring Break: While Cancun was once infamous for its huge, noisy crowds of spring breakers and a destination to avoid during the month of March, by staying outside of the main drag, not venturing into the clubs late at night and simply avoiding hotels that cater to that group, you’ll enjoy a relatively peaceful environment. Those who want to find a party can easily do so, while those who prefer a more subdued atmosphere can find that as well.
Cancun Travel Seasons
- High Season (mid-December through March): During this period, crowds are at their peak, while room rates and airfares are typically higher than they are the rest of the year – and all of that increases even more during the month of March when spring breakers descend onto Cancun’s shores. At the same time, prices here tend to be much cheaper than many other popular winter destinations, and by staying outside of the main drag, you may be able to find a few bargains, along with a relatively peaceful atmosphere. The high season not surprisingly falls during the months Cancun experiences the very best weather, with lots of sunshine, little rain and highs of up to 28°C and lows at a mild 21°C.
- Shoulder Season (November through early December, April): The month of April is typically a very pleasant time to visit Cancun, with fewer crowds (outside of Holy Week) and comfortable weather with relatively little rain. While you may not get the very best deals of the year, you can still find some discounts on peak season rates unless you plan to go during Holy Week which typically falls in early to mid-April. The same can be said for the mid- to late-autumn months, though this period falls in hurricane season, which means you’ll have some risk for being caught in a storm (though the risk isn’t as high as it is in September and October) and you may find deeper discounts as well.
- Low Season (June through October): Low season is hurricane season, with its peak in September and October. When rain falls in Cancun during the hurricane season, it’s generally very intense and is over as quickly as it begun, which means you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy soaking up the sunshine on the beach. This is the best time to go to save money, as there are fewer visitors, and the hotels and resorts are eager to fill up empty rooms.
Cancun Weather by Month
- Cancun Weather in January: Cancun enjoys a tropical climate and warm weather with fairly consistent temperatures year round, though rainfall can vary dramatically depending on the season. January is one of the coolest, driest months of the year, experiencing plenty of sunshine and just 43mm on average of rainfall over seven days. The high temperature averages 28°C, while lows are a mild 21°C. While you’ll still need to slather on the sunscreen, you’ll avoid the hottest temperatures of the year. When it comes to packing, shorts, dresses, skirts, tank tops and short-sleeved t-shirts are ideal year-round, and in the month of January you may want to toss in a light sweater or long-sleeved shirt and a pair of long pants for cooler evenings. (Average Max Temperature: 28°C. Average Precipitation: 43mm.)
- Cancun Weather in February: There is very little change in the weather between January and February, with average temperatures remaining a pleasant 23°C, with the high temperature rising only a degree to 29°C during the warmest part of the day. Rainfall is only negligibly increased to 46mm across the month, which means you’ll enjoy plenty of sunshine and blue skies in addition to warm, calm water with the seas typically an average of a pleasant 26°C. Pack as you would for January, including some clothing for cooler temperatures in the evenings, and you’ll be well-prepared. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Precipitation: 46mm.)
- Cancun Weather in March: In March, the temperature begins to creep up a bit, with the average increasing two degrees to 25°C, and afternoon highs rising a degree to 30°C. This month is actually drier than February, with just 40mm falling over four days, and it continues to follow a downward trend for the next couple of months. Not surprisingly, this is Cancun’s most popular month, when locations in the U.S., Europe and elsewhere are still experiencing mostly cool temperatures, and students enjoy their spring break. With average sea temperatures still at 26°C, you can enjoy spending your days participating in all types of water sports too. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 40mm.)
- Cancun Weather in April: April is the driest month in Cancun, with just 27mm of rainfall over three days. The crowds begin to thin as well, and many travelers feel this is month to be in Cancun, enjoying endless sunshine and hot temperatures, with afternoons reaching a high of 32°C. With overnight lows of 25°C, you’re unlikely to need much in the way of warmer clothing, though you will need plenty of sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat to avoid burning, especially if you’re fair-skinned. (Average Max Temperature: 32°C. Average Precipitation: 27mm.)
- Cancun Weather in May: This region of the world continues to enjoy pleasant weather in May, which marks the end of the dry season in Cancun, making it a popular time to visit. This is another hot, dry month, with 28mm of rainfall on average, and an abundance of sunshine with the average temperature reaching as high as 33°C in the afternoon. The evenings are warm, with low temperatures at 24°C, so you’re unlikely to get much relief from the heat at night or have a need for a sweater, and with the high humidity you might appreciate having some lightweight clothing that’s made with dry-wicking material. (Average Max Temperature: 33°C. Average Precipitation: 28mm.)
- Cancun Weather in June: June marks the start of the hurricane season. Rainfall increases to 109mm that comes down over eight days, although you’ll still enjoy plenty of sunshine. Hurricanes are rare in June, with most likely to hit in September or October, so this month is still considered a safe time to visit. Although the rainfall is heavy, it tends to fall in short bursts and usually clears up just as soon as it arrives. Humidity can be intense this month, reaching as high as 96% and sometimes even as high as 100%, so be prepared to feel hot and sticky. (Average Max Temperature: 33°C. Average Precipitation: 109mm.)
- Cancun Weather in July: July in Cancun is very hot. Although it falls within hurricane season, hurricanes are most likely to hit the resort in September or October which makes July a relatively safe month as well as one of the more inexpensive times to visit. During this month the temperatures are about the same as June, with highs reaching 33°C in the afternoon, though with average lows of 25°C during the coolest time of the night, you’ll be much more comfortable in an air-conditioned room. There is slightly more rainfall in July, with 115mm over five days, but as it usually comes in short bursts, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities in the sun. (Average Max Temperature: 33°C. Average Precipitation: 115mm.)
- Cancun Weather in August: August is typically the hottest month of the year in Cancun, with average highs of 34°C occurring in mid-afternoon. While it does fall in hurricane season, considering that just two have hit over the last three decades, one in September 1988 and the other in October 2005, your odds of getting caught in one is slim. You will have to endure intense heat, that when combined with the high humidity will make it feel much hotter than what the number on the thermometer reads. Rainfall increases too, with an average of 181mm over six days. While it can be heavy, it’s usually sporadic and those six days of rainfall rarely occur on consecutive days or last all day long. Plan to spend lots of time in your beach wear, and bring lightweight clothing made with dry-wicking material. (Average Max Temperature: 34°C. Average Precipitation: 181mm.)
- Cancun Weather in September: September is the wettest month in Cancun, bringing 270mm of rainfall over 10 days, though the hottest days of summer are now behind and things start to cool off, if only just a little. Temperatures still reach an average of 33°C in the afternoon, just a degree cooler than last month and the humidity remains excessive. As this month, as well as the month of October, falls during the peak hurricane season, it’s important to keep an eye on the forecast. The good news is that crowds are generally non-existent, hotel rates are usually at their lowest, and you can even enjoy swimming alongside whale sharks, who will leave the area at the end of this month, not returning until May. Despite all the rain, there’s no need for a rain jacket as it’s far too hot, and the rain usually comes in intense bursts that leaves soon after it comes – allow it to cool you off, or take the time to enjoy an afternoon siesta while it falls. (Average Max Temperature: 33°C. Average Precipitation: 270mm.)
- Cancun Weather in October: In October, temperatures begin to noticeably cool with the average high dipping two degrees to 31°C. This is the second wettest month of the year, just behind September with an average of 177mm of rainfall, coming down over 11 days. The more the month progresses, however, the less rain there will be, so if you hope to avoid it, plan to come during the second half of October. Either way, in between the rain, you’ll enjoy plenty of sunshine. As the monsoon season can still influence beach conditions, many may close due to dangerous surfing and swimming conditions. Rates at hotels remain low, as do the number of tourists, making October a relatively peaceful time to be in Cancun. You will have to keep in mind, however, that this is still the peak of hurricane season, which means keeping an eye on the weather forecast is a must. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 177mm.)
- Cancun Weather in November: The weather continues to cool down this month, and November also officially marks the end of the hurricane season, and though it isn’t unheard of for storms to form, it is quite rare. The rainfall is beginning to taper off, with the average precipitation at 104mm, and with kids in school and others getting ready for the holidays, tourism is generally low until Thanksgiving. While high temperatures have dipped to 30°C, the sea maintains it’s warm 28°C, so sometimes the water may feel warmer than it does being on land. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Precipitation: 104mm.)
- Cancun Weather in December: The first half of December can be a great time to be in Cancun for those that want to avoid sweltering heat, but still want to enjoy sunshine, beautiful beaches and warm waters without the crowds. The average high temperature is at its lowest of the year at 28°C, while rainfall has now decreased to just 87mm. Hurricane season officially ended a month ago, and there is no chance for a hurricane to hit as sea temperatures cool off enough to make their formation impossible – though at a temperature of 27°C, a dip in the water is still quite comfortable. As Christmas gets closer, the crowds thicken and the prices increase. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Precipitation: 60mm.)
Cancun Events and Festivals
Cancun in January
- New Year’s Day – Año Nuevo, or New Year’s Day, is a national holiday in Mexico. January 1 tends to be very quiet in Cancun and throughout the country, with everyone resting and recovering from festivities the night before. While most businesses are closed, restaurants and other places that cater to tourists are usually open.
- Mayan Village Show – At Xcaret Park, located about an hour from Cancun, recreations of ancient Mayan festivals, including a jungle walk and celebration of the discovery of fire, take place throughout the month of January.
- Epiphany – During the first week in January, most local restaurants serve a cake known as “Rosca de Reyes, which is baked with a little doll inside. The recipient must then invite everyone at the table to hot chocolate and tamales that are served during Candlemas in February.
Cancun in February
- Candlemas – Celebrated nationwide during the first week of February, this day includes dances, music, processions, lots of food and other festivities that culminate in a blessing of seed and candles in a ceremony mixing pre-Hispanic and European traditions to mark the end of winter. Those who attended Epiphany, reunite to share the hot chocolate and tamales at a party hosted by the recipient of the doll found in the Rosca.
- Carnival – Beginning the weekend before Lent, generally in early February, Carnaval is celebrated exuberantly throughout Mexico, with parades, floats, costumes, music and dancing in the streets. While the biggest festivities tend to rival even New Orleans’ Mardi Gras in places like Cozumel, Mazatlan and Veracruz, it’s worth attending the smaller celebration in Cancun too. Aimed more for the local community, it offers the chance for more of an authentic experience that includes floats, marchers and dancers.
Cancun in March
- Riviera Maya Wine and Food Festival – This festival, held alternatively in both Cancun and Riviera Maya venues in mid-March, celebrates star chefs and Mexican gastronomy. It includes winemaker and celebrity chef dinners; wine and spirit tastings with offerings from Mexico as well as Chile, Argentina, Spain and the U.S.; cooking demonstrations, a luxury catamaran cruise and after-dark cocktail parties.
- Lasser Sailing Show – During the second half of March, this event attracts sailboat enthusiasts and merchants from around the world. The waters around Cancun are filled with sailing vessels of all types, big and small, that roam the coastline for two weeks.
- Inception Music Festival – This month-long event for spring breakers features nonstop partying with 30 days and 30 nights of headlining talent hosted at some of Cancun’s top clubs and resorts.
Cancun in April
- Holy Week – Holy Week is celebrated nationwide, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, which typically falls in early to mid-April, April 9 – April 15 in 2017. In Cancun, just about everything stays open during this period to cater to tourists, and it’s usually very busy. If you plan to travel to Cancun during Holy Week, make your reservations as early as you can as flights in and out of Mexico are typically filled months in advance. Easter services are held at churches of various dominations, though mostly Catholic.
- Anniversary of the Founding of Cancun – Cancun was founded on April 20, 1970, and the anniversary of its founding is celebrated throughout the month of April. Events take place mainly in the downtown area and feature parades, street parties, music and more.
Cancun in May
- Cinco de Mayo – Cinco de Mayo, or May 5, is a national holiday that commemorates the country’s defeat of the French in the Battle of Pueblo on May 5, 1862. While you might expect to find a major party, this day is actually celebrated more in the U.S. than it is in Mexico, and in Cancun, it’s really just like any other day.
- International Gay Festival – Held in mid-May, Cancun hosts this festival by welcoming gay and lesbian visitors from around the world in a celebration of peace and freedom, which includes a mariachi party, Caribbean cruise, beach BBQs and bar-hopping.
Cancun in June
- Dia de la Marina – Mexico’s Navy Day is celebrated on June 1 in all coastal towns, including Cancun, to acknowledge the country’s maritime service men and women. It’s commemorated with military parades and fireworks.
- ExpHotel – The most recognized event in Mexico for the hospitality industry, held June 14-16 in 2016, is an international affair open to the public showing the latest products and services as well as hosting seminars and workshops by leading experts, competitions among prestigious chefs and the Festival of Cheese, Bread and Wine.
Cancun in August
- Assumption of the Virgin Mary – Celebrated nationwide in mid-August, there are special masses held throughout the country, including Cancun. Though some cities will host processions, Cancun typically does not.
Cancun in September
- Independence Day – On September 16, Cancun residents celebrate the liberation of Mexico. Known as El Grito, or the “Shout” Day, festivities are held in downtown Cancun and the Isla de Mujeres areas. A famous historic speech known as the grito (shout) that was given by Independence leader Padre Miguel Hidalgo, is reenacted across the country. Residents gather at midnight to ring the bell of freedom and shout “Viva Mexico” over and over. A dance and other festivities follow late into the night and early morning hours of the next day.
Cancun in October
- Cancun Travel Mart – In mid-October, October 17-19 in 2016, the Cancun Travel Agent Association and the Cancun Hotel Association hold this annual convention, part of which is open to the public, showcasing food, hotels and other services offered in the area.
- Día de la Raza (Columbus Day) – This holiday celebrated nationwide on October 12 commemorates the fusion of the Spanish and Mexican peoples. In Cancun and many other places throughout the country, colorful parades are often held.
- Día de las Brujas (Halloween) – Traditionally on this day, residents bring flowers and candles to the graves of loved ones on the evening of October 31; however, in Cancun and many other popular tourist destinations, it’s celebrated similar to how it is in the U.S., with kids dressing up and trick-or-treating, and costume-wearing adults heading to bars and clubs.
Cancun in November
- Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) – Day of the Dead is a time when families traditionally enjoy a picnic at graves of loved ones and take party in a variety of festivities held on November 1 and 2. Sometimes the grave dinners turn into an all-night fiesta. Shops sell skull pastries and candies that are meant to be enjoyed at the picnics.
- International Caribbean Cultural Festival – Held in mid-November, this lively event is filled with song, dance, poetry and food. Performers come from across the Caribbean to participate, with the highlight being the great variety of salsa music. Every major salsa group in the Caribbean comes to this festival to perform.
Cancun in December
- Cancun Fair – The Cancun Fair is held throughout the month of December. The fiesta features rides, entertainment, food and booths selling a variety of items from across the country.
- Sunset Boat Parade – Held on December 20, this parade of boats and yachts that are lit up with Christmas lights and decorations in the Nichupte Lagoon kicks off the holiday season.
- Christmas Week – Christmas Week (December 16-25) is celebrated with processions and mass, and children go door-to-door singing Christmas songs in exchange for donations. The most important day isn’t December 25, however, it’s Holy Night, known as Nochebuena on December 24, a time when families gather to eat a traditional midnight dinner.
- New Year’s Eve – On December 31, Cancun celebrates New Year’s Eve similar to much of the rest of the world, with big parties and fireworks. Playa del Carmen, about an hour south of downtown Cancun, is typically the place to be, where the party starting at dawn and lasts well into the New Year. There are plenty of parties to be found in Cancun as well, and fireworks are shot over the lagoon, visible from all hotels and resorts with rooms that face it, as well as from walkways.