Are you wondering when the best time to go to Cancun is? Well, you’re not alone.
It can be hard to determine the best time to visit Cancun as it’s an area with so much going on. From the holiday crowds to Spring Breakers and everyone in between, it’s no wonder so many people make a beeline for this beachy paradise whenever they have free time.
That being said, there are distinct times of year that make for a more pleasant vacation in Cancun with thinner tourist crowds, sunny days, and plenty going on in the area.
In this article, I walk you through the best times to go, and which months to avoid. Keep on reading to learn the best time to go to Cancun, no matter what kind of vacation you’re looking for.
- 1 Quick Answer: What’s the Best Time to Go to Cancun, Mexico?
- 2 What are Cancun’s Travel Seasons?
- 3 A Month-by-Month Guide to Visiting Cancun
- 4 Cancun Transportation
- 5 Where to Stay in Cancun
Quick Answer: What’s the Best Time to Go to Cancun, Mexico?
- The best time to go to Cancun is the shoulder months of April, May, November, and the beginning of December.
- The best weather in Cancun is between December and April.
- Rainy season in Cancun runs from May to October, which is the best time to visit Cancun on a budget.
- The best time to see wildlife in Cancun (like sea turtles and whale sharks) is May through October.
- Peak season in Cancun is late December and March when there are heavy tourist crowds.
What are Cancun’s Travel Seasons?
There are three distinct travel seasons for Cancun: high season, low season, and shoulder season. All of them have their perks and downfalls, so it’s up to you to decide the best time to visit Cancun based on what kind of holiday you’re after.
Cancun High Season
Cancun high season typically stretches from mid-December until the end of March. December brings the holiday crowds, seeking warmer weather for Christmas and New Years’. Come March, you have the rowdy spring breaker tearing across the beaches and partying in the resorts.
Tourist crowds are large, no matter where you go, so you’ll have to book far in advance if you plan on visiting during peak season.
Prices during these months tend to skyrocket, especially around Christmas and Spring Break. Airfare is through the roof, as are the costs of hotels.
Cancun Low Season
Cancun’s low season runs from June through October as it’s the main rainy season in Mexico. Days are super hot, heavy and sticky, with frequent downpours and pretty unpredictable weather.
Despite the rainy season, it’s not pouring all the time. Rain typically comes in short bursts during these months, followed by sunny skies.
Most people avoid Cancun during this time, so if you plan on visiting you’ll have crowd-free beaches and hotels. Plus, there’ll be lower prices than the rest of the year, making this the best time to visit Cancun on a budget.
That being said, be prepared to get sweaty as it’s going to be hot, hot, hot (and don’t forget your raincoat!).
Also note that during this time, the shoreline of Mexico gets a ton of seaweed (sargasso) which can often make the sea unswimmable. While this can’t be avoided, most resorts do a great job of sweeping and cleaning their beach front area.
Cancun Shoulder Season
If you’re looking for the best time to visit Cancun, the safest bet is during shoulder season! During the months of April, May, November, and the beginning of December, Cancun sees sparse crowds, pleasant weather, and reasonable rates.
While it won’t be as inexpensive as low season, shoulder season is the best time to travel to Cancun if you don’t want to take a gamble with the rain.
There will also be plenty of places to stay (though it’s still recommended to book in advance) and you’re likely to find a decent deal on flights.
If you want to enjoy the beach in relative peace and go out to eat without an hour’s wait, do yourself a favor and book your trip to Cancun during one of these months.
A Month-by-Month Guide to Visiting Cancun
If you’re thinking about visiting Cancun during a specific month, check out this complete breakdown that covers the weather, festivals, and highlights for each.
Cancun in January
Average Temperature: 68° – 83° F
Highlights: Nice weather | Traditional holidays | El Dia de Los Reyes
Cancun in January is warm and sunny, with little to no rain. Days are normally a balmy 80°+, making it prime time to hit the beach. The water is nice and cool so whenever you need to refresh yourself, just take a quick dive into the ocean.
You’ll probably be amongst the Christmas Break tourists who are soaking up the last bit of sunshine before returning back home. You can still expect crowds as it’s high season, with steep prices and crowded attractions.
The biggest festival in Cancun in January is El Dia de Los Reyes, or King’s Day, which is celebrated on January 6th and marks the 12th day of Christmas. This is when Mexican families traditionally exchange presents and eat sweet bread… the one who gets the slice with a little baby Jesus baked into it will host the next holiday!
Cancun in February
Average Temperature: 67° – 82° F
Highlights: Sunny days | Carnaval
Cancun in February is a glorious time to visit, in between the Christmas and Spring Break crowds. The weather is positively lovely, with bright sunny days and cooler evenings.
It’s still pretty humid, but the water is nice and refreshing during February so you can hop in after a long day on the sand. The water is also quite clear, with optimal conditions for snorkeling and diving.
As this is one of the best times to go to Cancun, there are still quite a lot of tourists. Make sure to book activities ahead of time and arrive at the beach early for the best spot!
February in Cancun also brings Carnaval, a week-long celebration leading up to Ash Wednesday. You’ll find some Carnaval festivities in downtown Cancun with live music, delectable treats, parades, and of course plenty of tequila.
Cancun in March
Average Temperature: 69° – 83° F
Highlights: Spring Break | Tons of parties | Inception Music Festival | Wine and Food Festival
March is the best time to visit Cancun if you’re a Spring Breaker. Not only is it when Spring Break is typically held, but Cancun is home to some of the largest parties in the world during this time.
Resorts are absolutely brimming with college kids drinking their hearts out, and there are huge parties in town and lining the beach pretty much 24/7. Unless you want to be 20 again, I’d recommend avoiding Cancun during March.
However, if you do find yourself in the area, check out the Inception Music Festival, the largest Spring Break party in the world (it lasts an entire month!).
For a more sophisticated experience, you may prefer the Wine and Food Festival, a five-day feast full of world-class chefs, winemakers, celebrities, and beach parties.
Cancun in April
Average Temperature: 71° – 87° F
Highlights: Fewer crowds | Great weather | Cancun’s Anniversary
April marks the beginning of shoulder season and is when crowds start to thin out. The place won’t be completely empty, but it’s way less packed than it was in March. This is also about the time prices start going down, so you can secure a reasonable rate on accommodations.
Cancun in April also brings some of the best weather, with hot days and rare showers. It’s the best time of the year in Cancun to hit the beach, and the water is super warm and pleasant. You’ll also find this is the optimal time to visit attractions as there won’t be long waits and very little risk of rain.
Cancun’s Anniversary falls in April and is celebrated throughout the entire month with parades, exhibits, music, and other festivities. There’s also El Dia del Nino, or Children’s Day, on April 30th when kids are off school and there are special discounts at many attractions.
Cancun in May
Average Temperature: 71° – 86° F
Highlights: Nesting sea turtles | Whale shark migration | Cancun Jumpoff
May is a magical time in Cancun and the best time to visit for a unique experience. Not only is the weather near perfect, but this is the top time to spot wildlife in the area.
At the end of May, nesting sea turtles begin to appear on the beach and whale sharks start to migrate to this area as well. Set off on a snorkeling or diving excursion to experience these stunning animals in their natural habitat… it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity best experienced during this month!
While you might think Cinco de Mayo is the star of the show in May, celebrations in Cancun are null. You’ll find the occasional bar deal or resort party, but it’s not much to write home about.
Instead, enjoy Cancun Jumpoff, which is a fun-filled four-day festival with music, beach parties, and non-stop partying.
Cancun in June
Average Temperature: 72° – 87° F
Highlights: Fewer tourists | Tons of whale sharks | Dia de la Marina
With the arrival of June comes the start of hurricane season in Cancun, marking a low period for tourism. While the weather is still decent, there are increased chances of showers (especially in the second half of the month) and climbing temperatures as summer approaches.
June is also when whale shark numbers are at their highest, so check the water visibility and take a dive to see these majestic creatures in full force.
Since it’s the end of the school year, you’ll find a good number of partying teenagers celebrating the completion of academics. June is also Dia de la Marina, Mexico’s Navy Day, which is celebrated with fireworks and parades on June 1st.
Cancun in July
Average Temperature: 72° – 88° F
Highlights: Baby sea turtles return to ocean | Reasonable prices | Destination X The Urban Summer Oasis
July is a special time to visit Cancun if you’re a wildlife lover, as this is the month when baby sea turtles set off for the ocean. It’s an incredible sight to see the little creatures wandering towards the water for the first time. There are a handful of volunteer opportunities if you want to get up close and personal but otherwise, you’ll be able to watch from a distance on the beach.
There is also still an abundance of whale sharks in the area during July, so be sure to catch sight of them, too!
In July, you’ll probably be able to score a pretty good deal on flights and accommodation as it’s the low season but be prepared for sporadic rain and scorchingly humid days. The water is at its warmest during this month, ideal for splashing around in the ocean.
Cancun in July is great fun with Destination X The Urban Summer Oasis, a five-day festival with DJs, bikini contests, beach parties, and lots of wild times.
Cancun in August
Average Temperature: 72° – 89° F
Highlights: Whale shark pods | Sea turtles | Fewer crowds
Cancun in August continues to be enchanting when it comes to wildlife. The warm water brings whale sharks in pods, sea turtles nesting, and turtle babies continuing to make their way to the ocean.
It tends to be pretty stormy and unbelievably humid in Cancun during this month which is why crowds are sparse and there’s plenty of room at resorts, restaurants, and attractions. Since it’s low season, prices will be reasonable but it’s a good idea to confirm that any tours you’re interested in are still running.
If you find yourself in Cancun in August, it’s worth a wander over to Playa del Carmen for ZoukMX, a 10-day dance festival split between the beach and the jungle.
Cancun in September
Average Temperature: 72° – 87° F
Highlights: Cooler weather | Good prices | Mexico’s Independence Day
After a long and hot summer, Cancun in September is when things begin to cool off. This is the last chance to catch whale sharks as they’ll be completely gone by the end of the month, but you’re still likely to see some sea turtles wandering around.
The best deals on hotels and tours start popping up during September as it’s the rainiest month of the year, but if you’d like to visit Cancun without the crowds, this is the prime time to take advantage of good deals.
September brings around Mexican Independence Day, with festivities beginning on September 15th downtown. Expect mariachi bands, incredible food, and tequila in full force while locals celebrate until 11.00pm. At this time, you’ll experience El Grito, or the call for independence, followed by fireworks and intense partying.
Independence Day is actually on the 16th and is commemorated with a massive parade downtown.
Cancun in October
Average Temperature: 71° – 85° F
Highlights: Budget prices | Halloween | Cancun Jazz Festival
A continuation of the rainy season with great deals, Cancun in October is a budget traveler’s dream with few tourists, inexpensive accommodations, and cooler weather.
While it’s still warm enough to hit the beach, October has plenty of intermittent showers that thin out towards the end of the month. However, since there are so few tourists, you’ll be able to enjoy the ruins, sandy stretches, and tours in a mostly private setting.
Want some tips on the best Mayan Ruins to visit? Check out our full guide!
If you do plan on visiting Cancun in October, be sure to pack a Halloween costume (cat ears will do) as there are plenty of festivities to celebrate the holiday but few places to actually purchase something to wear.
October is also home to the Cancun Jazz Festival which runs for four days at the Hard Rock Hotel and has plenty of live concerts that you can attend.
Cancun in November
Average Temperature: 70° – 81° F
Highlights: Great weather for the beach, trekking | Dia de Los Muertos
November picks back up with shoulder season as it’s way less rainy and sees more tourists than the previous few months. Sunny days return but crowds are still rather thin before the holidays pick up.
Late November is ideal beach time, and also makes for an awesome opportunity to visit the ruins and other Cancun attractions as it’s not suffocatingly hot and showers are sparse.
Snorkeling is great during November too as water visibility is quite clear.
The real draw to Cancun in November is Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebrated on the 1st and 2nd of November. This unique holiday is when Mexicans pay their respects to those who have passed away.
It’s celebrated with sugar skulls, offerings, and decorating family altars to guide spirits home, with traditional experiences put on in different parks around town. Of course, it’s followed by plenty of parties in the Hotel Zone in typical Cancun fashion.
Cancun in December
Average Temperature: 69° – 80° F
Highlights: Christmas at the beach | Christmas & New Years’ Eve | Cancun Marathon
Welcome back to Cancun’s high season! While the beginning of December is pretty chilled out in Cancun, hoards of tourists make their way back in the middle of the month for the holidays.
If you’re dreaming of Christmas on the beach in Cancun, be sure to book your flights and accommodation way in advance, as there are thousands of others who have the same idea.
Expect crowded beaches, restaurants, and resorts, as well as much warmer weather if you’re coming from up north.
Aside from Christmas and wild New Years’ Eve celebrations, December is also when the Cancun Marathon is held, also known as the Most Beautiful Marathon in the World. It runs along the beach and finishes downtown with plenty of festivities to celebrate the runners.
If you’re wondering what the best ways to get around Cancun is, we’ve put together as super comprehensive list of different ways to get around. If you’re interested, check out the articles below:
Where to Stay in Cancun
There are loads of accommodation options in Cancun, and the Hotel Zone in Cancun is particularly popular with travelers.
If you prefer a more independent stay, we suggest checking out Airbnb options in Cancun. There are some great, stylish options that offer great value for money.
Cancun can make for an unforgettable vacation destination, so long as you choose the best time to visit.
While there’s no truly perfect time of year, you’ll be able to determine when the best time to go to Cancun is based on the type of weather you’re hoping for, the number of tourists, and the prices in the area.
Check out Mexico Travel Tips for more on traveling Mexico!
Check out these articles for more on Mexico!
- 20 Amazing Things to Do in Riviera Maya, Mexico
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