If Cancún is on your traveling wish list, you might be wondering when the best time to visit is.
Depending on what you want to get out of your trip and your individual travel needs, the best time to visit might vary.
Why the time matters
Whenever you visit a new destination, the time of year can make or break your trip.
Imagine not doing adequate research and heading to India during the monsoon season or booking skiing in the Alps when there’s not enough snow.
Cancún’s location and climate
Cancún is situated in the southeast of Mexico in the state of Quintana Roo.
It’s one of the easternmost places in Mexico and is on the Caribbean Sea.
It has a tropical wet and dry climate and there is little variation in year-round temperatures.
The average daytime temperature is 80.8 °F (27.1 °C).
From December to April is the dry season due to northeast trade winds bringing breezes and low humidity.
The sea temperature reaches around 84 °F (29 °C) in the summer but is still a warm 79° F (26 °C) in winter.
Cancún’s tropical storms
If you go to Cancún between May and December, you might come across a tropical storm.
Here are some important points to note:
- January does still get rain but generally no large storms.
- The rainiest month, and the peak of the rainy season, is October when you get around 16 rainy days on average producing over 10 inches of rain.
- Though large hurricanes aren’t common, there have been some. The largest hurricane to reach Cancún was in October 2005 when Hurricane Wilma hit. This was a Category 4 hurricane with winds reaching speeds of 150mph or more.
The travel seasons in Cancún
Cancún has three travel seasons: low season, shoulder season, and high season.
They all have their benefits – it depends on what you’re going to Cancun for.
Cancún High Season
The high season in Cancún starts in mid-December and lasts through March.
In December you’ve got the usual holiday crowds of people coming for warmer weather for the holiday season.
By March, you’ve got the spring breakers arriving to party.
Here are some things to note about the high season:
- No matter where you go in high season, you’ll see crowds.
- It is the most expensive time to visit in terms of airfares and hotels.
- Spring Break and Christmas are the busiest times of year.
Cancún Low Season
The low season starts in June and runs to the end of October, which is when most of the wet weather happens.
In the low season, you can expect:
- The days will be extremely hot and humid.
- The weather is unpredictable in terms of its downpours – that said, it doesn’t rain 24/7 and the downpours are pretty short and are swiftly followed by sunshine again.
- Cancún’s shoreline will get a lot of sargasso (seaweed) at this time of year. This makes swimming difficult but many of the resorts will sweep their beaches.
Lots of people avoid coming here during these months, which means you’ll be able to enjoy the hotels and beaches without the crowds.
You’ll also benefit from cheaper prices too!
The shoulder season in Cancún
Cancún’s shoulder season is classed as April and May as well as November and the start of December.
During this time, you’ll have fewer crowds, reasonable prices, and pleasant weather.
Though it’s not as cheap as low season, it is reasonably priced, and you’ll usually find good deals for hotels and flights.
Visiting Cancún month by month
If you’re still unsure when is best to visit Cancún, here is what to expect month by month.
January in Cancún
Expect the weather to be between 68 °F and 83 °F and pleasant.
If you go at the start of the month, you’ll get to experience El Día de Los Reyes (Three Kings Day) on January 6th.
This is a big holiday in Mexico and celebrates the day when the three Wise Men arrived bearing gifts to Jesus.
The holiday was introduced by Catholic friars in colonial times. It is this day when children receive their Christmas gifts, which are brought by los Reyes Magos (the three wise men or the three kings).
Some children will also receive gifts off Santa in December too, but this is seen as a custom that’s been imported and not traditionally Mexican.
February in Cancún
In February, you’ll have temperatures between 67 °F and 82 °F. The days are bright and sunny and the evenings cooler, though the humidity is quite high.
In terms of activities, you’ve got Carnaval, which is a week of celebration with parades, live music, treats and tequila!
March in Cancún
In March, temperatures are similar to January, and you’ll find lots of parties aimed at Spring Breakers.
The resorts are awash with college students partying 24/7. Unless you’re one of them – or want to relive your youth – you might want to avoid visiting Cancún at this time.
April in Cancún
Things start to get warmer in April with temperatures ranging from 71 °F and 87 °F.
April marks the beginning of Cancún’s shoulder season and so you’ve got smaller crowds than in March and prices start to come down.
April brings about the anniversary of Cancún and so you’ll find parades, music, and exhibits throughout the month.
May in Cancún
May is the time of whale shark migration and sea turtle nesting. So if you’re into your wildlife, coming to Cancún in May is perfect for you.
There’s also Cinco de Mayo festivities and the Cancún Jumpoff, which is a four-day fun-filled festival full of beach parties and music 24/7.
June in Cancún
In June, you’ll see loads of whale sharks and have a quieter time with fewer tourists.
This is the start of the hurricane season, but you’ll still get decent weather, especially in the first half of the month.
June is also the start of the school summer holidays in Mexico, so you’ll encounter many kids and teens celebrating the summer.
If you happen to be around on the 1st of June, you’ll get to experience Navy Day or Día de la Marina, which comes with parades and fireworks.
July in Cancún
If you didn’t witness the sea turtle nesting in May, July is the time when the baby sea turtles hatch and head to the sea!
You can even volunteer to help the turtles. It’s an incredible experience being able to see them hit the water for the first time, but you’ll usually only be able to watch at a distance.
July is full-on low season now, so you’ll find cheaper flights and hotels. The days are hot and humid, and you’ll likely experience showers.
August in Cancún
You can still see sea turtles and whale sharks in August though this month tends to be stormier than July. As such, you’ll have reasonable prices and find plenty of room at restaurants.
If you do go to Cancún in August, why not try an excursion to Playa del Carmen to enjoy the dance festival ZoukMX.
September in Cancún
After the heat of summer, things start to cool down in September and this month is the last time you’ll see whale sharks. There’ll still be turtles hanging around too.
In September, it’s Mexican Independence Day on the 15th, which means festivals with food, tequila, and mariachi bands.
October in Cancún
October is the rainiest season as previously mentioned but this means you can get a great deal.
November in Cancún
When November arrives, so does the next shoulder season.
It’s a great time of year for trekking and beach days as the rain dies down and sunnier days return.
If you go at the start of the month, there’s Día de los Muertos to celebrate, which is amazing. With decorated altars, offerings to the dead and sugar skulls, the day is truly spectacular.
December in Cancún
December means Cancún’s high season is back, and tourists start to head there in their hoards.
Many choose to spend Christmas in Cancún but to do so, you’ll need to book early.
Christmas and New Year are a great time to see Cancún. And there’s also the Cancún Marathon, which is known worldwide as the Most Beautiful Marathon in the World.
Final thoughts on when is the best time to go to Cancún?
As we’ve seen, each month of the year has something unique to offer visitors. If you want guaranteed good weather, head there between December and April.
If you’re after a bargain, June to October will have the best prices. Finally, if you’re determined to avoid hurricanes and tropical storms, avoid September and October.