Get updates & free travel guides – Subscribe here
by Santorini Dave • Updated: November 15, 2018
When is the Best Time to Visit Tulum?
The best months to visit Tulum are early December, March, and April. These months offer the optimal mix of gorgeous weather, good room rates, and fewer tourists. April has the best visibility for snorkeling and diving, while May benefits from the presence of wildlife, namely sea turtles and whale sharks. However, avoid Holy Week, the week leading up to Easter; this is peak time for local, Mexican family vacations, which means crowded hotels, beaches, and roads.
- The Best Time for Good Weather: Late November through April has the sunniest weather with the least amount of rain, along with warm daytime temperatures with comfortable, occasionally cool nights. Expect some rain for visits from May until October, with June, September, and October being the wettest months. Even during the rainy seasons, storms usually last only an hour or two, then the sunny skies return – it’s rare to have two or three days of continual rain without any sun. May and August are the hottest months, with August feeling especially hot due to high humidity. Ocean temperatures are comfortable for swimming all year long, but are warmest from July through October. Hurricanes are not common, but if they’re going to hit, it will most likely happen in September and October.
- The Best Time for Great Deals: Room rates will be at their lowest in the off-season, from June through October, especially during September and October, Tulum’s two rainiest months. Though humidity is high every day and rain is likely on half of the days, storms typically only last an hour or two, then it’s back to sun and warmth. October typically sees the biggest lull in tourism, so be advised that many shops and tour operators take advantage of this break and close for a few weeks during this time. April through June, post high-season and pre-hurricane season, also sees occasional good deals, though prices tend to vary more widely.
- The Best Time for Families and Kids: The best time for family travel is in April and May, after the peak travel seasons of winter and spring break are over and before the rainy season hits. Weather is amazing for all activities, especially in April and early May, with warm days, comfortable nights, clear skies, and relatively low humidity; this is a great time to get in a good mix of activities, from ruins to jungles to beaches. Water temperatures are warm in the ocean and comfortable in the cenotes, especially in May. Room rates are not at their absolute lowest, but many hotels will be running deals at this time. High season is over and spring breakers are gone, so crowds have begun to thin out, but there is still enough activity that attractions and restaurants are all open.
- The Best Time for Avoiding Crowds: Crowds are at their smallest in late summer/early fall, especially during September and October, when rain, heat, and humidity are at their peaks. June through August sees gradually thinning crowds, while October is the least crowded month, especially earlier in the first half. Though fewer tourists means less crowded attractions, this also means that many smaller tour operators and restaurants close for their own vacations. The major attractions will still be open, though, and the beaches will be quieter. Plan accordingly, and you can have a great, relaxing time.
- The Best Time for Sightseeing (Ruins and Jungles): November to April are the best months to explore the area’s wonderful historical, cultural, and natural attractions. These months tend to be dry and warm, but not too hot in the day. Humidity and heat are highest during the rainy season from May to October, with May and August being the hottest months, and June through September the most humid. This isn’t a problem when you’re on the beach and refreshed by ocean breezes, but inland sightseeing at Coba, Chichen Itza, and Sian Ka’an can feel overwhelming in the sticky heat. If you visit during the summer months, bring plenty of water and plan an afternoon cenote swim to cool off.
- The Best Time for Swimming, Snorkeling & Diving: Oceans, reefs, and cenotes are truly wonderful all year round, though there are some fluctuations in conditions. Water temperatures are at their lowest in January and February and at their highest from July through October. September and October tend to have more rainy days, though, so July and August are the better of these four months for swimming. For diving and snorkeling, visibility is not great in the warmer, rainier months but rather during the drier months from November through May, especially during the months of January through March. For snorkeling with whale sharks in particular, visit in late May; the water is warm, visibility is good, and the first whale sharks have arrived.
- The Best Time for Whale Sharks and Sea Turtles: Tulum is one of the most reliable spots for seeing these two endangered animals. Whale sharks begin to arrive in May and are plentiful by June. From June through August, whale shark tours have almost 100% chance of locating these gentle giants, usually several at a time in one location. Whale sharks begin to leave the area in September, and are almost all gone by the end of the month. Adult sea turtles begin nesting on the beaches in May, especially toward the end of the month, and finish laying in October. The babies sea turtles begin hatching and heading seaward in July, continuing their nightly treks through December. The best time to see all three groups (whale sharks, nesting turtles, and baby turtles) is in July and August, when all are fully present and active.
- The Best Time for Honeymoons: Tulum is most beautiful from November through May, with ideal beach conditions and clear skies throughout these drier months, the perfect honeymoon mix. Early November and May offer the best mix of good weather, low-ish crowds, and good room rates for honeymooners celebrating on a bit of a budget. January through March has the best weather, with the most number of sunny days, and near perfect beach conditions, but rates are higher and crowds are thicker.
- The Best Time for Nightlife: December and January land in the peak travel season and are the best months for nightlife. Bars and clubs are all hopping, some open as late as 4:00 a.m. Dancers and partiers are in a celebratory mood, but without the craziness that spring break brings in March.
Tulum Travel Seasons
- High Season (late-December, January, February, March): The weather is phenomenal in the winter months, attracting travelers escaping the cold weather up north. Expect balmy weather every day, clear skies, and warm ocean waters. Crowds are at their heaviest now, especially in the weeks near Christmas and New Years’. If traveling during those couple of weeks, book your hotel months in advance. Expect full capacity at the most popular attractions, including Coba, Chichen Itza, Sian Ka’an, and the adventure parks, and schedule these in advance, too, especially if your time is limited. Spring Break and Holy Week can add to the crowd crush but not nearly to the same effect as in nearby Cancun.
- Shoulder Season (April, May, November, early December): A busy period but not as crazy as high season. I still recommend booking your hotel as far in advance as possible. Rates don’t change much between high and shoulder season but it is easier to find a room. Expect great weather now, especially in November, early December, and April. May can get uncomfortably hot if traveling inland, but remains pleasant near the beach. July and August see more European travelers than other times of the year.
- Low Season (June, July, August, September, October): A great time to save money in Tulum, where visitors are noticeably fewer than in the peak months. Be prepared for some rain during these months, especially in June, September and October. Rain showers tend to pass quickly, leaving plenty of sunny hours almost every day. July and August are both hot and sticky, though considerably less rainy than the other summer months. The sea breeze does an excellent job of cooling things down, though, and there are several cenotes that stay refreshingly cold year round.
Tulum Weather by Month
- Tulum Weather in January: Weather in January is overall mild and dry, with temperatures averaging 23°C, mostly clear skies, and infrequent rainy spells. Tulum sits on the edge of a tropical jungle, and though it is often humid here, January is one of the least humid months, averaging around 59%. On a breezy beach day, it’s not even noticeable. Nights can get a little chilly, so it’s a good idea to bring a light sweater. Its near-perfect weather makes this the best month for exploring inland attractions, like the Coba or Chichen Itza ruins. Ocean temperatures are cooler than average, but still very comfortable for swimming and snorkeling. (Average Max Temperature: 28°C, Average Rainfall: 55 mm. Days with Rain: 7, Water Temperature: 27°C.)
- Tulum Weather in February: Even drier than January with lots of sun, clear skies, and warm temperatures. This is the least humid month of the year, but just barely at 58%. Night temps typically cool down to about 19°C, so it’s good to have some long sleeves if you plan on going out. The sea temperature is at its coolest in February but still remains quite warm for all water activities. (Average Max Temperature: 27°C. Average Rainfall: 46 mm. Days with Rain: 6, Water Temperature: 26°C.)
- Tulum Weather in March: The driest month of the year. Expect sunny, warm days and great beach weather. Humidity is on the rise, especially toward the end of the month. Night temperatures hover around 20°C, so plan accordingly if you plan on dining out or hitting the bars late. Ocean temperatures are beginning to warm back up again. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C. Average Rainfall: 35 mm, Days with Rain: 4, Water Temperature: 27°C.)
- Tulum Weather in April: The tail end of the dry season, with clear skies and the fewest number of rainy days. April has the most hours of sunshine of any month, making for excellent beach days. Days begin to get very warm, especially in the late afternoons and even more so toward the end of the month. Night temperatures are comfortable, and ocean temperatures are very warm, perfect for snorkeling and diving. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C, Average Rainfall: 43mm, Days with Rain: 3, Water Temperature: 28°C.)
- Tulum Weather in May: The end of this month marks the beginning of Tulum’s wet season, though the majority of days are dry and partly sunny. Temperature-wise, May is surprisingly hot, averaging 28°C and occasionally hitting 34°C, competing with August for hottest month on the year. Humidity is on the rise, and most days are very muggy. If you plan on visiting the ruins, make sure to bring a bottle of water with you, as the humidity is more noticeable as you move inland. Water temps are very warm, actually matching the heat of the day. The first few sea turtle should be arriving to make their nests on the beaches, with whale sharks coming later in the month. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C, Average Rainfall: 97 mm, Days with Rain: 8, Water Temperature: 28°C.)
- Tulum Weather in June: June is the first really rainy month in Tulum, but most storms only last an hour or two, leaving most of the day free. And while June officially marks the beginning of hurricane season, big storms are more likely to happen later in the year. Humidity is off the charts beginning in June and for the next few months, with most days at or near 100%. Temperatures are hot, though a shade cooler than in May. Water temperatures remain very warm. Weather is great for hitting the beach but a little much for exploring inland. Whale sharks and nesting turtles should be in full swing now. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C. Average Rainfall: 160 mm, Days with Rain: 12, Water Temperature: 28°C.)
- Tulum Weather in July: Summer continues with hot, humid weather, though with noticeably less rain and briefer showers than in June. Though it’s technically the rainy season, travelers will find lots of sunny weather for hitting the beach. Sea breezes keep it pleasant on the coast, but you’ll feel the humidity when you move inland, so be sure to find a cenote to cool off. Ocean temperatures are rising, great for long days of swimming, snorkeling, or diving. The first few baby sea turtles should be hatching now and making their nightly marches to the sea. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C, Average Rainfall: 121mm, Days with Rain: 11, Water Temperature: 29°C.)
- Tulum Weather in August: August is generally the hottest month of the year, with highs averaging 32° and regularly reaching 34°C. Humidity is at 100% most days, so the perceived temperature is even hotter. Rainy days occur with the same frequency as in the two previous months, but the rain is slightly heavier. There are still plenty of sunny hours on days that rain, and the majority of days are still dry. Ocean temperatures are very warm, but most of the cenotes remain refreshingly cool all summer long. This is the best month for interacting with marine life, as whale sharks are here, adult sea turtles are mating and nesting, and thousands of baby sea turtles are hatching, all at the same time! (Average Max Temperature: 32°C. Average Rainfall: 145mm, Days with Rain: 12, Water Temperature: 29°C.)
- Tulum Weather in September: The rainiest and most humid month of the year. It rains about half of the days in September, but showers are usually brief, and then the sun returns. Daytime temperatures are still hot, but cooling down compared with August. The sea temperature is at its warmest in now, but many cenotes remain cool. September is the last month for whale sharks, with most of them gone by the second half of the month. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C, Average Rainfall: 188mm, Days with Rain: 15, Water Temperature: 29°C.)
- Tulum Weather in October: October is the second rainiest month, but you’ll still have beautiful weather for the beach on a good amount of days. Most of the rainy days fall in the first half of the month. Average temperatures cool throughout the month, and humidity begins to decrease, though days are still generally pretty muggy. Sea temperatures remain constant. This is the last month of turtle nesting for the year, though babies continue to hatch. (Average Max Temperature: 30°C. Average Rainfall: 170 mm. Days with Rain: 14, Water temperature: 29°C.)
- Tulum Weather in November: Weather is improving in November, with falling temperatures, reduced humidity, and the return of the dry season. Temperatures average 25°C, with clear or partly sunny days a majority of the month. Nighttime temperatures remain comfortable, as do ocean temps. Late November, especially, can be a ideal time to visit Tulum – expect lots of perfect beach days and great days for hiking the jungle or visiting the ruins. (Average Max Temperature: 28°C. Average Rainfall: 91 mm. Days with Rain: 8, Water Temperature: 28°C.)
- Tulum Weather in December: One of the best months in Tulum, December sees clear skies, lots of sun, and warm days throughout the month. Daily temperatures average a balmy 23°C, humidity drops to a slightly muggy but still comfortable level. The sunniest days fall toward the end of the month. Ocean temperatures dip but are still great for swimming. Temperatures are a little cool in the wee hours of the night, just after last call at the bars. This is an ideal month for exploring the jungle, ruins, or the beach. The last few baby turtles of the season hatch and head seaward now. (Average Max Temperature: 27°C. Average Rainfall: 78 mm. Days with Rain: 8, Water Temperature: 27°C.)
Tulum Festivals and Events
The Best Recurring Parties in Tulum:
- Tuesdays and Wednesdays • Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar: Relaxed but trendy bar, serving their famous mojitos made with fresh, pressed sugarcane from a converted VW Beetle. Live music most nights. Located in Downtown in the main bar and restaurant strip, walking distance to plenty more nightlife.
- Thursdays • Casa Jaguar: Intimate, contemporary, Mexican bar and restaurant, featuring a Jungle Party with live DJs every Thursday night in the garden backyard.
- Fridays • Gitano: Upscale mezcal bar and restaurant in a jungle beach setting with a DJ and live music several nights a week. Popular on Thursday nights for getting a jump start on the weekend, though most of their official events are on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Saturdays • Papaya Playa Project: This is the biggest, most stylish party of the week every Saturday, but their Full Moon Parties are totally over the top, held monthly on the Saturday closest to the full moon. Vibe is chic and beach-cool with top-name DJs and dancing until 3:00am or later.
Tulum in January
- Sound Tulum Music Event: From late December through mid-January, this EDM music festival is actually a loose collection of different DJ sets every couple of nights, with a different lineup and venue each night. Tickets are sold individually for each set.
- 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 Tulum 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.
- Comunité Festival: Daylong music festival with an eco, Mexican, and world-cultural focus, at a jungle ranch with three cenotes and three stages. Live bands and DJs share the bill, with a special focus on acoustic styles and folkloric traditions. A portion of ticket sales go to benefit social and environmental efforts.
- El Día de los Reyes (Kings’ Day): January 6 is the twelfth day of Christmas, which is the traditional gift-giving day in Mexico. Children receive their presents, and the family eats together, especially a wreath-shaped, sweet bread called Rosca de Reyes. A baby Jesus figure is baked into the bread, and whoever finds it in their slice will host El Día de Candelaria, the upcoming holiday, and make the tamales for the celebration.
- Arena Festival Internacional: Weeklong LGBT dance music festival, with local and international DJs spinning at twelve different parties in various locations in Playa del Carmen and Tulum, including the cenote Dos Ojos. Dancing goes from 1:00pm until 5:00am. Attendees receive bracelets covering the admission for the duration of the event. Parties are biggest in the smaller pueblos.
Tulum in February
- El Día de Candelaria/Tamale Day: Candlemas falls 40 days after Christmas, on February 2nd, and is a celebration of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. It is also the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. On this day, people dress up figurines of the baby Jesus and take them to the church to be blessed, along with candles. This is followed by a meal of tamales, hence its other name, with family and friends. Celebrations in Veracruz and huge, with parades and more, but in Tulum, this is a more intimate holiday.
- Carnaval: Exact dates vary, but celebrations take place the whole week before Ash Wednesday, with the biggest parties the night before. Carnaval is celebrated in different parts of the Riviera Maya on different days, with the biggest celebration on Cozumel and usually the final party in Tulum. Expect parades, live music, wild costumes, lots of food and booze, and dancing in the streets.
Tulum in March
- Alborada Maya: A fusion of Maya and Catholic celebrations unique to Tulum. Events mostly take place at the Mayan Ceremonial Center as well as the Church of Tulum. Maya priests perform ceremonies of thanksgiving for harvests, while pilgrimages, prayers, ceremonies, and music all blend in honor of the saints.
- Tres Cruces: March 7-14. This holiday is unique to the Cruzo’ob, the Cult of the Talking Cross, a small faction of indigenous Maya from Quintana Roo, who practice a religion that blends Maya and Catholic faiths and is rooted in the Caste War of the mid-1800s. The ceremonial center is near the Tulum Ruins, and its saints and entry are protected by a guard, who permits visitors to enter barefoot, with bare heads, in silence, and by candlelight. This holiday is in honor of the three original talking crosses, crosses being both pre-Hispanic and Catholic imagery, who spoke words of encouragement to the Maya people in their uprising against the Spanish.
- Wine and Food Festival, Cancun-Riviera Maya: Five-day celebration of food and wine, with renowned chefs and sommeliers from Mexico and the U.S. Events include dinners, taco competitions, beach parties, golfing, and more.
- Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza: Occurring annually on March 20, the first day of spring, when the afternoon light hits the pyramid temple of El Castillo just right, it reveals a representation of Kukulkan. The feathered serpent god seems to appear and climb down the side. This amazing event happens twice yearly at the spring and autumn equinoxes, amazing visitors with the astronomical and mathematical prowess of the ancient Maya peoples. It is usually very crowded on the equinoxes and tons of fun. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, you may still see the effect two days before or after the actual equinox.
Tulum in April
- El Día del Niño (Children’s Day): A holiday filled with fun, gifts, and special activities just for kids. Though not an official holiday, many schools don’t hold classes this day. Zoos, amusement parks, and attractions often offer special discounts on April 30. Travelers can also participate by handing out toys or candy to street kids.
Tulum in May
- Festival de Cultura del Caribe: Celebration of Maya, Mexican, and Caribbean culture through food, music, dance, literature, film, and more. The eight-day celebration takes place in a variety of venues throughout the city and features a variety of local and international acts.
- Cinco de Mayo: Not actually a holiday here and only really celebrated in Puebla. Many bars will run drink specials, though!
- Sacred Mayan Journey/Travesia Sagrada: Annual recreation of a thousand-year-old pilgrimage from Xcaret to Cozumel in worship of the fertility goddess Ixchel. Roughly 300 men and women row canoes across the ocean beginning at dawn and making their return journey the following dawn. Rituals, music, and dance begin and end the event. A feast awaits the rowers in Cozumel, but the biggest celebration is in Xcaret upon their return.
Tulum in June
- La Fete de la Musique: French-based music festival taking place in 100 countries at once. Taking place in Playa del Carmen, this event celebrates the first day of summer, June 21, with food, dance, cultural activities, and more. Proceeds benefit a local charity.
Tulum in July
- Festival del Triciclo/Tricycle Festival: Playa del Carmen’s celebration of the tricycle, the crucially important vehicle traditionally used by fishermen to haul their catch, by street vendors to carry their wares, and by travelers transporting their luggage. The festival begins with a parade of wildly decorated tricycles down 5th Avenue to Parque Fundadores. Once at the park, prizes will be awarded to the best-decorated trikes, followed by live music and bites from food trucks and restaurants alike.
Tulum in August
- ZoukMX: Ten-day music and dance festival in Playa del Carmen on the beach and in the jungle. This event begins with several teacher workshops, followed by days and nights on end of dancing to zouk, a fast tempo, Caribbean dance music.
- 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.
Tulum in September
- El Grito and Independence Day: Celebrations begin in the afternoon on September 15 in the main square downtown with mariachi music, dancing, and carnival rides. Street vendors and restaurants serve all kinds of goodies, especially pozole and mole. Tequila and mezcal are the major drinks here. At 11p, the grito, or cry for independence, is called with bells ringing and fireworks. The country’s biggest party begins immediately after and goes well into the night.
- Autumn Equinox at Chichen Itza: Occurring annually on September 22, the first day of fall, when the late afternoon light hits the pyramid temple of El Castillo just right, it reveals a shadow image of the feathered serpent god Kukulkan, just as it does in spring. However, September is the rainiest month of the year, and sometimes the cloud coverage prevents Kukulkan from making an appearance. Additionally, with daylight savings time, the event occurs after the park is closed for the evening. Some years, the park stays open late to accommodate the event, but other times, they close at the usual schedule. Check the weather and check the park’s officially posted hours before planning a trip out. It’s a long drive!
Tulum in October
- Turtle Festival/Festival de la Tortuga Marina: A free, three-day event celebrating the sea turtle, with various events taking place in Tulum, Akumal, and Xcacel. The family-friendly festival centers on educating and encouraging sea turtle conservation. Activities include a turtle hatchling release, Maya ceremony, cookout, sandcastle competition, music, carnival, and more.
- Día de las Brujas (Halloween): Though not traditionally celebrated in Mexico, Halloween has been catching on in the past few years. Smaller parties take place in Tulum and Puerto Morelos on October 31st, but Playa del Carmen has the biggest celebration, especially along 5th Avenue with costumes and trick or treating.
Tulum in November
- Day of the Dead: November 1-2. Known as Hanal Pixan in Yucatan Maya. This is actually two holidays rolled into one, Día de Todos Santos (All Saints Day) and Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, All Souls Day). On All Saints Day, Mexicans honor deceased children, leaving offerings to them on custom-designed altars in cemeteries or in their homes, with sugar skulls, toys, and treats. Day of the Dead is similar but for the souls of deceased adults. People decorate altars in their homes or in cemeteries, some keeping vigils and others leaving offerings, usually tequila, cigarettes, and the deceased’s favorite foods. Candles and trails of marigold petals are led from the altars to light the way for the spirit’s return. Unlike Oaxaca, Mexico City, and the tourist zone of Cancun, celebrations in Tulum are more low-key, without the big parades and fanfare. Though travelers can visit the cemeteries to see the altars, those are usually smaller and more intimate for families. The competition altars in Downtown are more elaborately designed, free to visit, and are usually more festive in the evening. For more of a family-friendly celebration, visit Xcaret Eco Park from October 30-November 2 for their special event with food, dancing, music, and performances.
- Riviera Maya Jazz Festival: Free, three-day music festival, attracting major acts and anywhere from 9,000 to 15,000 attendees a night. The stage sets up on the beach near Mamita’s, with music beginning in the afternoon until late in the evening. Arrive early if you plan on sitting down; the area near the stage allows attendees to bring beach blankets and chairs. The back of the crowd is standing room only.
- Tulum Food, Spirits, and Wine Festival: Four-day event featuring highly awarded local and international chefs and mixologists as they fuse their knowledge and talent with local spices, produce, and gastronomical traditions. Events range from street food to elegant dinner parties, along with tequila, wine, and mezcal tastings. Proceeds benefit a local charity.
- OHL Golf Classic: An official, PGA tour with over 100 pro-golfers competing for a huge prize in four rounds over the course of one week. The event takes place in Mayakoba at the El Camaleón golf course just north of Playa del Carmen. Some of the proceeds benefit local charities.
Tulum in December
- Antorchas Guadalupanas and Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe: One of the most important Mexican Catholic holiday, December 12 celebrates the appearance of the Virgin Mary to an indigenous convert, Juan Diego. The holiday begins its celebration with a series of relay race pilgrimages, the Antorchas Guadalupanas, where runners take turns carrying a torch. The runners reach their destination in Downtown Tulum on December 12, and the main festival begins, with mass, food, music, dancing, and flowers. Though celebrated throughout the Riviera Maya, Tulum has the largest celebration.
- Dos Equis Winter Beach: Three-day music, fashion, and entertainment festival, featuring internationally renowned DJs, beachfront catwalks debuting swimsuit and beachwear collections, and dance parties at Papaya Playa.
- Christmas: Christmas Eve sees family and friends celebrating throughout town, often with a late night mass, followed by a midnight feast with mole, ham, and more. Christmas Day is much quieter, with most families celebrating at home.
- Día de los Santos Inocentes/Day of the Sainted Innocents: December 28. This is basically a Mexican April Fool’s Day. Originally meant to commemorate the deaths of the Holy Innocents, the children slaughtered by King Herod in an attempt to kill the baby Jesus, the holiday has evolved into a day of pranks. Once someone is fooled, it is customary to say to them, “Innocent little dove that you let yourself be deceived.” This is also a day where people are known to borrow items and never return them.
- Sound Tulum Music Event: From late December through mid-January, this EDM music festival is actually a loose collection of different DJ sets every couple of nights, with a different lineup and venue each night. Tickets are sold individually for each set.