The Best Time to Visit Cancun

Beach in Cancun, Mexico

 BrettCharlton / Getty Images

The best time to visit Cancun is from December through March when the weather is generally clear and warm, but not too hot. This is high season, so if you travel at this time of year, there will be plenty of other people there enjoying the delightful weather along with you. If you prefer to avoid crowds (and find better deals), consider visiting during a different time of year. Summer and fall are generally more humid and rainy, and have greater potential for tropical storms and hurricanes, but can be the best time for travelers on a budget to score some great deals.

Spring is, for the most part, pleasant, but you’ll want to be aware of the risk of running into crowds of spring breakers (this can be a good or bad thing depending on your point of view!).

Cancun's Best Weather

The main appeal of a Cancun vacation is beach time, and you’ll find ideal beach weather during the winter months, with clear, sunny days and temps between 75 F and 90 F, although the occasional cold front can bring some chillier temps for a few days at a time. The main weather concern in Cancun is hurricanes, so when planning your trip, keep in mind that Mexico’s hurricane season falls between June and November. Chances of a hurricane hitting during your vacation are slim, but even if there isn’t a direct hit, there can be several days in a row of overcast, rainy weather.

If you do travel during this time, consider purchasing travel insurance that will reimburse your expenses should you have to cancel your trip due to a tropical storm or hurricane.

High Season in Cancun

When it’s cold up north, many folks head south looking for sunny weather and warmth — savvy northerners know the best way to survive a long winter is by taking a week's break when it's coldest and darkest. Wintertime is the most popular time to visit: this is peak season, so the number of visitors remains high and steady from the end of November through the beginning of March. It quiets down for a little while, but then spring break crowds become evident. The summer months and early fall are the quietest in terms of crowds, and are a good time to find great deals.

  

Sargassum Season

The seaweed that's been washing up on beaches in the Caribbean (in Mexico as well as other destinations in the Caribbean) has been garnering a lot of consternation among visitors. Although this type of seaweed is a natural phenomenon that has been occurring for centuries, the influx in recent years has been greater, thicker and more widespread. It is thought to be due to rising temperatures in the ocean and larger quantities of trash. Think of it like the ocean's self-cleaning system. Unfortunately, it is unpleasant to look at beaches lined with seaweed and swim in water that is full of it.

Hotels and other beach properties make an effort to clean it up as quickly as they can, but sometimes it unpredictably appears from one day to the next before it can be cleaned up properly. Although sargasso can appear at any time of year, it seems to be more prevalent in the summer months, when the water is warmer. You can check the official website of the Sargassum Early Advisory System (SEAS) for up-to-date information.

Here’s a look at the different seasons and the pros and cons of visiting Cancun during each of them:

Spring

Spring can be a great time to visit, with lovely weather, but it can be very crowded, particularly during spring break season (mainly from mid-March through April). Some people love the party atmosphere and wild nightlife that you’ll find at this time of year, but if you’re looking for a quieter, more relaxing vacay, it is possible to avoid spring break crowds. If you visit during the spring, you could time your stay so that you can visit Chichen Itza on the spring equinox (March 20 or 21) in order to see the famous light and shadow effect that looks like the serpent of Kukulcan descending the steps of El Castillo Pyramid at sunset on the day of the Spring Equinox (it’s also visible the day before and after the equinox, if it’s not too cloudy).

Some other festivals and events to enjoy in the spring include Carnival and Holy Week observances.

Summer

Summertime in Cancun tends to be rainier than other seasons. There are still lots of things to do when it rains in Cancun, so don’t despair. You should be able to find good deals on flights and hotels if you travel during the summertime, and another plus is that you can go swimming with whale sharks this time of year (from mid-May through September).

Fall

Rainy weather in Cancun often continues through the autumn season, and the risk of tropical storms and hurricanes is still a factor through November. If the rain doesn't bother you, there are other advantages to traveling this time of year. There are interesting holidays you can experience, such as Mexican Independence Day in September, and Day of the Dead at the end of October to the beginning of November. There's also the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival that's held in November in Playa del Carmen, that offers free concerts at the Mamitas Beach Club

Winter

Winter weather is usually very pleasant, clear and warm, with average daily high temperatures below 83 F, but there can be the occasional cold front that comes through, so pack a sweater just in case. Ocean temperatures are cooler than during the summer months, but still very comfortable for swimming. Visiting archaeological sites and other attractions away from the beach can be more pleasant this time of year, because it isn't so hot. Cancun can be a great place to celebrate the Christmas and New Year holidays — a white sand Christmas can be much more enjoyable than a snowy one!

Was this page helpful?