Home Feature What is the best time of the year to visit Cancun?

What is the best time of the year to visit Cancun?

by Yucatan Times
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When it’s cold in the U.S., sun seekers migrate south to Cancun’s pristine white-sand beaches, sparkling ocean waters, and culture-rich city scene.

The warmth makes winter an attractive time to visit some of Mexico‘s highly accessible Caribbean beaches and perhaps most touristic strip, but it’s also Cancun’s most crowded and expensive season. Lots of travelers get the idea to swap snow for sand and hot chocolate for margaritas.

For reference, Cancun’s tourism seasonality is broken down as such:

  • High season: December to April
  • Shoulder seasons: April through May and October through November
  • Low season: June to October

If you want to avoid crowds and find hotel deals, consider going in the summer or fall. While you’ll get humidity and occasional rain, prices are lower. Hurricanes, spring break revelers, and sargassum seaweed are other pitfalls to plan around when visiting the Yucatan shores.

Here’s everything you need to know about the best times to visit Cancun.

Illustrated circular calendar showing best times to go to Cancun

Best Time to Visit Cancun for Smaller Crowds

Cancun‘s busiest seasons are winter — December to April — and spring break, which makes summer and fall the least crowded times to visit. A higher chance of rain from June to November tends to deter the crowds. In September, the wettest month, Cancun gets as much or more rain than Seattle gets in December.

Despite the weather, visiting Cancun in the summer or fall is a great way to get a local’s experience in this otherwise tourist-filled city. Though you likely won’t get the chance to share the dance floors in town with umpteen other vacationers, you’ll certainly get lower rates and a better seat at restaurants with fewer tourists around. If you wait for the brief window where decent weather and small crowds overlap — October and November — you’ll be treated to the best of both worlds.

Best Time to Visit Cancun for Good Weather

If lounging on the beach under a clear sky is your top priority, a trip during the high season might be best for you. Temperatures in the winter usually fall between 65 and 85 degrees from December through April, with January being the coldest month. Winter is also the season with the least rainfall, with March being the driest and clearest month. Visiting in March might deliver comfortably warm 75- to 85-degree days ideal for beach lounging, but you might have to battle with swarms of spring breakers.

By the time Cinco de Mayo rolls around, Cancun becomes very hot and muggy, with daily highs in the upper 80s or 90s through September. By visiting during the winter, you’ll also miss Mexico’s hurricane season, which falls between June and November. While these storms don’t always land, they can bring multiple days of rainy and overcast weather to Cancun.

Tourists stand in long lines to enter Cancun's Conco Bongo

Best Time to Visit Cancun for Lower Prices

If you don’t mind a bit of humidity and catching some residual wet weather from Cancun’s hurricane season, the cheapest times to visit are after spring break, May to June, and during the fall shoulder season, September to October. The weather is less comfortable during the shoulder seasons, which means fewer visitors and better rates.

Other ways to save money on a trip to Cancun, even if you go during peak tourism season, are booking hotels and flights at least three months in advance and going the all-inclusive route. Resorts where meals, beverages, and activities are covered in the price can significantly offset the cost of a trip to Mexico.

Worst Times to Visit Cancun

Spring and summer break revelers can be a good or bad thing, depending on whether you’re inclined to join them. However, note that crowds, prices, and events like DJ sets, foam parties, and bikini contests spike during the school holidays.

Another downside of visiting Cancun during the spring and summer is the seaweed. Cancun not only has a hurricane season from June to November but also a seaweed season that begins around May and lasts until October. The brown, floating, and notoriously foul-smelling sargassum seaweed that washes up on Cancun’s beaches is a growing problem due to climate change and pollution. The Mexican government attempts to block it from making landfall by using aircraft to monitor massive seaweed patches, but some of it inevitably ends up littering the white sand. Often, hotel staff and city workers will quickly shovel up clumps of the nasty muck, but large patches can impact swimming and boat access during these months.

Between the influx of party animals, stinky seaweed traps, and increased risk of hurricanes starting in spring and persisting into fall, the high-season visitors might just be wise in their timing after all.

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