The Best Time to Visit Tulum

Beach at Tulum with straw umbrellas and palm trees
SimonDannhauer / Getty Images

Tulum’s location on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, in the Riviera Maya, makes it an ideal spot for enjoying tropical, sunny, and warm weather year-round. The beautiful beaches and great weather attract a lot of visitors. If you want to enjoy great weather and not have to share it with as many people, the best time to visit Tulum is between late October and mid-December. During that time, it’s not as crowded as it is from January to March, hurricane season has come to an end, and the weather is warm and generally dry, but not too hot. 

Weather

Throughout the year, Tulum has highs in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit (only occasionally going up to the 90s in the summer months). In January, the coldest month,  the temperature rarely falls below 60 degrees F (16 degrees C). Tulum has the best weather from November through May, with clear skies and idyllic beach conditions. The months with the most rain are June, September, and October. 

High Season

Although Tulum is more remote than other destinations on the Riviera Maya, it’s very popular and does get crowded during parts of the year—mainly from the last week of December through the beginning of March. This period is when folks from up north head south for warm-weather getaways and it's when Tulum is enjoying its best weather. Of course, prices are at a maximum during this period.

During the shoulder season of late November to early December, there are generally fewer people, although you’re not likely to find any exceptional deals. The low season is during the summer months and early fall. If you visit during the low season, the weather can be very hot and rainy, but there are fewer visitors, and you may be able to find good deals on airfare and accommodations.

Sargassum in Tulum

Sargassum is a kind of seaweed that accumulates in the ocean and then washes onto the shore creating piles of smelly seaweed along the beaches. It’s been an issue in the Riviera Maya since 2011 (with some years worse than others). It affects other beaches in the Caribbean but beaches on Mexico’s Pacific coast are not affected. Of course, if you can avoid visiting when there’s sargassum on the beach, that would be ideal.

It’s not possible to predict exactly when the sargassum situation will be at its worst but, in general, the sargassum bloom in the Caribbean Sea reaches a height in late summer and declines throughout the fall and winter. Some properties do better than others at keeping their beachfront clean, so check online reviews before booking if this issue is important to you.

Spring

The months of March, April, and May are fairly pleasant in Tulum but toward the end of the season, temperatures begin to get hotter and it's more humid. Tulum is not as popular among the spring break crowd as Cancun and Playa del Carmen, but it does receive a spike in visitors in the springtime. The two weeks around Easter is the Semana Santa holiday and is a popular travel time throughout Mexico; many Mexican families vacation during this time, so you should make your accommodation reservations in advance if traveling during that period. 

Events to check out:

  • Alborada Maya: This festival represents a blend of Maya and Catholic tradition. Held in March at the Maya Ceremonial Center in Tulum, Various saints are honored, through pilgrimages, prayers, offerings, and Mayan music.
  • Carnival: Celebrations take place the week before Ash Wednesday, with the biggest parties the night before. There are celebrations throughout the Riviera Maya on different days, with the biggest celebration on Cozumel and the final party in Tulum. Expect parades, live music, wild costumes, eating, drinking, and dancing in the streets.
  • Holy Week (Easter) is a time of religious observances, but for many Mexicans, it’s an opportunity to head to the beach.

Summer

Summers can be hot, muggy, and somewhat cloudy. However, even on rainy days, Tulum is beautiful, with the clouds adding some drama to beautiful scenes of the beach and ruins. There are far fewer tourists during this time, which is great for photo opportunities as well as for enjoying the destination without the crowds. Summertime is the best time to observe whale sharks and sea turtles in the Caribbean near Tulum. Whale sharks begin to arrive in the area in May and can be reliably spotted on whale watching tours from June through August. Adult sea turtles begin nesting on the beaches in May. The first baby sea turtles begin hatching and heading out to the ocean in July, continuing their nightly treks through December. This can also be the time with more sargassum on the beaches.

Events to check out:

  • The Celebration of the Talking Cross is held in the month of July and is an interesting combination of Catholic and pagan cultural motifs. The celebration has its origins in the 1800s, at the end of the War of the Castes (an indigenous rebellion) when a mahogany cross was found in a cenote in the community of Chan Santa Cruz.

Fall

The weather in fall remains hot at the beginning of the season, but by the end of October, temperatures drop to the low 80s Fahrenheit. You’re likely to experience some rain if you visit during this season. The rainy season is not altogether uncomfortable, however. It usually only rains for a short time, and then the sun comes out again. Visit in the early part of the season for good deals, or in the later part for some lovely weather before the crowds arrive in December.

Events to check out:

  • Sea Turtle Festival: Every October, several communities along the Riviera Maya host a festival (Festival de la Tortuga Marina Tulum-Akumal-Xcacel) dedicated to sea turtles in order to raise consciousness about their plight, clean the beaches, make sand sculptures, give workshops, and most importantly, release hundreds of baby sea turtles.
  • Riviera Maya Jazz Festival: An event featuring renowned international and local acts that takes place over three days in November in Playa del Carmen. 
  • Art With Me: An art and music festival held over 4 days in November that combines art, music, workshops, wellness, and cultural experiences to inspire change, and nurture personal growth. When night falls, there’s a lot of partying with dancing to electronic music on the beach.

Winter

Winter offers the best weather in Tulum. You can expect clear skies, balmy but pleasant weather, and warm ocean water if visiting during this season. If you’re looking for sunny days and near-perfect beach conditions, this is the time to visit, however, rates are higher and there are more crowds since everyone wants to experience Tulum at its best. December and January are busy travel months, and Tulum’s party scene and nightlife are at a peak.

Events to check out:

  • Tulum Food, Spirits & Wine: A 6-day restaurant week and gastronomic festival featuring music and special presentations as well as special meals and wine pairings. Attendees enjoy a fun and creative culinary and cultural environment.
  • Day Zero Festival: This jungle festival in Cenote dos Palmas takes place each January. World-famous DJs are invited as well as local performers, professional drummers, live artists, fire dancers, and impressive circus acrobats. 
  • Zamna Festival: A dance music extravaganza that takes place from the end of December to mid-January. Thousands of tourists attend the 17-day immersive electronic experience, dancing in massive crowds to a series of DJ sets. *due to COVID-19, it is likely that Zamna will be rescheduled to March for the 2021 festival. Visit the official website for the latest information.
Article Sources
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  1. Weather Spark. "Average Weather in Tulum, Mexico, Year Round." Retrieved February 3, 2021.

  2. Ocean Explorer. "What is Sargassum?" Retrieved February 3, 2021.

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