Best Time To Visit Cancun
The best time to visit Cancun is February for gorgeous weather and fewer peak-season crowds. May is amazing for cheaper prices, gorgeous evenings and wonderful sightseeing opportunities. Your trip will be incredible regardless of what time of year you go to Cancun, but let’s be honest, some months are better than others depending on how you like to enjoy your vacations.
We’ve compiled a lot of research in this guide to help you easily learn:
- When is the best weather in Cancun
- Considerations for the Cancun hurricane season
- How to avoid crowds
- When you can find the best deals
- Unique things to do that are only available certain times of year
We share our top 3 picks for the best time of year to go to Cancun including a bonus, little-known and under-rated time of year to consider for your next vacation.
How To Decide When To Visit Cancun
Different people will want to come to Cancun for different reasons. Here are the top factors we took into consideration:
- Best Weather In Cancun – Beat the heat, avoid hurricanes and soak up the sun. We explore the best weather windows for your time in Mexico.
- Skip The Crowds – How to avoid the crowds… any time of year
- Lowest Prices & Deals – Travel to Cancun during certain months to score great deals and cheaper prices on hotels and airfare
- Unique Things To Do – Want to see whale sharks? Looking for the best time to visit Mayan Ruins? Consider certain times of the year that are best for sightseeing and spotting rare animals.
Temperature - December through April is the best time to visit Cancun for near perfect weather. Unlike the hotter summer months, you still get the sunshine without the idyllic temperatures in the 82-86 degree range. This is perfect for enjoying the beaches or exploring in the nearby jungle. It is cooler in the early mornings and late evenings, which is great for getting some exercise or keeping cool while enjoying the outdoor nightlife. If you do visit in May – September we recommend you enjoy the ocean, pools and seaside breeze to stay cool. When you plan your adventure to go inland, take advantage of the cooler temperature in the mornings and bring lots of water!
Water Temps - Water temperatures do cool down a few degrees in these winter months. It is still a pleasant 78-80 degrees and great for refreshing swim or snorkel. However, if you plan to spend most of your vacation in the water, the 82-83 degree water in the summer months might be most appealing.
Rainfall – As for rainfall, June, September and October are the three standout months for bigger rainfall, while December through April have the least amount of rain.
From the chart above we can see that October is our winner for the most precipitation and the most number of rainy days. With that said, the rains typically happen in the evenings (after 4-5PM) and in shorter bursts so there is still plenty of opportunity for outdoor adventure and relaxing throughout the days, even on a “rainy day”.
For a full guide checkout Weather In Cancun: Everything You Should Know
Hurricane Season technically runs from June through November, but you are most likely to encounter a storm in August through October. The good news is that hurricanes in Cancun are actually rare and unlikely to affect your trip no matter when you visit. Hurricanes hit the Cancun region once every seven years on average and only once every 21 years for major hurricanes.
If there is a storm, hotels and local operators are very well versed in how to help you and provide needed provisions. Furthermore, most activities and tours you have booked allow free cancellations with plenty of time to see that weather may be an issue.
The two busiest times of year in Cancun are December during Christmas and March (plus first week of April) during Spring Break. But, just because these are the busy seasons does not mean you can’t find ways to escape the crowds to find some serenity.
First, consider heading out on the wide open ocean to fish, sail or snorkel where there are way fewer crowds. Second, you can drive a little further and leave the masses behind. Delve into the jungle to explore impressive Mayan Ruins and go to the less visited destinations like Uxmal, Coba or Ek Balam if the crowds at Chichen Itza aren’t your thing.
If you straight up want to skip the crowds the best time to visit Cancun is from the late Spring months from the middle of April through July. During this time you can expect to find fewer crowds on the beaches, shorter lines getting into Mayan ruins or a secluded Cenote that you can score to yourself if you get there at the right time.
Alternatively, come in October or November when the weather back home is cold and blustery, but it is warm and inviting in Cancun with some of the lowest visitor numbers the entire time of year. In November, the temperatures are dropping, the skies are clearing and as long as you come before Thanksgiving you can find some amazing deals.
Lowest Prices & Deals
Did someone say deals in Cancun? You can definitely score lower prices on hotels, airfares and on things to do in Cancun when you visit from July through November. Peak deal season is September through November when you can save hundreds of dollars on hotels, which are often 30-40% cheaper than what you might expect to pay during high-season. For those that enjoy a relaxing tropical rain storm and warmer weather this can be an amazing time of year to visit, save and enjoy.
Deals on excursions and activities can also be found during this time of year. Given there are fewer crowds you can enjoy these fun things to do in the Cancun region at a lower price point and have more to yourself.
Finding cheap airfares to Cancun follows a similar pattern to hotels where you can get great deals during the off seasons. Yet in our research, we were surprised to see a lot of variation in airline prices from one region to the next. To find unique airfare deals from your home, checkout this cool tool to evaluate the cheapest time of year to fly to Cancun from your home base.
Pro Tip: If you have the flexibility, book your flights on a Monday-Wednesday to save extra on your airfare.
Unique Things To Do – Ocean & Land
There are certain activities and sightseeing that are only available certain times of the year. If you’re into seeing rare sea creatures than May through September is the best time to visit Cancun.
- Best Time For Whale Sharks – Whale Sharks arrive in May and typically stay through September. These magnificent creatures are the largest fish on earth! But don’t worry, they’re extremely friendly and docile and you can get the rare opportunity to spot them up close on a Whale Shark sightseeing and snorkeling adventure in these summer months.
- Best Time for Sea Turtles – Sea turtles arrive to nest and have babies in May and stay into October. The green turtle, hawksbill turtle and loggerhead turtle inhabit the oceans near Cancun. Popular ways to see them are out snorkeling or you can watch them make the dash from their nests to the ocean in turtle release events. Even if you're here when turtles aren't hatching, adult sea turtles can be seen snorkeling near Akumal.
- Best Time for Diving – Cancun is known for a multitude of diving opportunities. Explore MUSA - the biggest underwater museum in the world with its 400 life-sized sculptures, dive with sharks or explore freshwater caves and Cenotes. The average water visibility in Cancun and Isla Mujeres is from 100 to 115 ft.
- The best time to dive in Cancun is November through April when the weather is dry and the visibility is best. Further, you can get the adrenaline pumping when diving with Bull Sharks from December to March.
- A second great time is May – September when there are fewer crowds. We recommend a cenote dive this time of year which can get beautiful summer light streaming into the caves and a balanced 82 degree water temperature. This season is also prim to get in the water and see a Whale Shark.
- Mayan Ruins – Cancun is famous for the opportunity to see ancient Mayan ruins. While these incredible historic sites are open year-round, we think October through early Decemberis an ideal time for visiting. You will have fewer crowds and cooler days and the surrounding jungles are lush from the tail end of the rainy season. The possibility of having darker clouds as a backdrop to your photos makes this a wonderful time of year to visit places like Chichen, Tulum or Ek Balam.
As you’ve seen, the best time to visit Cancun could literally be any time of year! As we crunch the key factors of best weather, avoiding crowds, finding good deals and enjoying unique, seasonal opportunities we recommend our the following top three best times to visit Cancun.
- Top Favorite - December through February is simply unbeatable due to the gorgeous weather and opportunity to escape to a tropical paradise when the weather back home (for those coming from the north) is cold and dark. Particularly in late January and February you’ll find the fewest crowds around during this peak season in Cancun.
- Second - Come in May to find good deals, fewer crowds and the opportunity to sea whale sharks and sea turtles. It is also the third driest month of the year in Cancun and ocean temperatures are rising. Be prepared for warmer temperatures, but enjoy the strong breeze on a sailing adventure to Isla Mujeres or Holbox to stay cool.
- Third place bonus - November. Third, but certainly not the least, November in Mexico is a hidden gem. This is the best time to visit Cancun that is totally off the radar. We love this time of year for a Cancun vacation because the days are getting sunnier, the surroundings are lush from October rains, there are very few crowds and some amazing deals to be had (come before Thankgiving!). And let’s be honest, you are probably ready to escape the dark cold fall back home by November right? November in Cancun is off the radar for most, but we think it fits beautifully between the tail end of hurricane season and before the crowds and prices arrive in December.
Seasonal Tours & Activities
Find our top tours and activities optimized for certain times of the year
Planning Your Trip to Cancun
Top guides, tips and essential resources for planning your trip to Cancun