Cancún In December: Weather, Christmas & New Year Info 2024

Last Updated on April 27, 2024 by Ashlea J. Russell

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Considering Cancún in December?

So you’re thinking about travelling to Cancún in December? Get ready for white sandy beaches, turquoise waters you have to see to believe and more activities than you can shake a stick at!

December is a popular time for travel to Cancún for a lot of reasons. The weather in other countries is usually cold, a lot of people get time off over the holidays and who doesn’t want to round out the year with a gorgeous beach vacation?

But what is Cancún like in December? Is it even a good time to go? The good news is, I’m an expert on Mexico and I’ve got you covered.

Cancún Weather In December

Weather is what most people are concerned about when they’re looking to book a tropical beach vacation.

So here’s a quick overview of what to expect from the December weather in Cancún.

🌡️ Average High Temperature: 83F/28C

🌡️ Average Low Temperature: 70F/21C

🌧️ Average Rainfall: Low – 3.77 inches

🏷️ Price Level: Moderate – High

📈 Crowd Level: Moderate – High

🤿 Tours and Activities: Fully Operational

🏖️ Likelihood of Seaweed: Low

Is the Weather Good?

The weather in Cancún in December is usually excellent! Temperatures linger around a really comfortable low 80s F/high 20s C making it great weather for activities.

Humidity in December is around 80% which is fairly average for Cancún but a nice gentle breeze off the ocean keeps things comfortable.

  • Even with a breeze, the sun is really strong, so top up your sunblock!

In Cancún travellers can expect clear blue skies most days in December!

Is it Rainy?

December is not the rainiest month of the year in Cancún or the driest. February and April tend to be the driest months of the year but December isn’t far behind.

With hurricane season ending in November, the average rainfall in December is around 3.77 inches so while it’s possible to see a shower or two it’s highly unlikely to see a full day of rain.

Even in the wettest months of the year, Cancún doesn’t typically see nonstop rain.

How’s the Water Temperature?

The average water temperature in Cancún in December is 80F/26.5C. The most comfortable water temperature range for swimming and other water activities is considered to be 77F/25C – 84F/29C so Cancún is right in the sweet spot in December.

This means you can spend all day snorkeling, diving, or floating on a giant flamingo without feeling uncomfortable.

Is December A Good Time To Visit Cancún?

Because December is high season in Cancún and Isla Mujeres you should give some thought to what experience you’re likely to have while you’re there.

Is it Crowded?

December is not the busiest month to visit Cancún but the crowds are nearing their peak. The highest volume of crowds in Cancún is usually January through March with December close behind.

The end of December tends to be a more popular time to visit Cancún than the beginning of the month. This is in large part due to the holiday season.

This time of year you may have to make reservations for specific restaurants, it can be a challenge to find a quiet spot on the beach and expect lots of families at the pool.

Rainy season in Cancún doesn't mean it rains all the time!

Is it Expensive?

I spent years working as a travel agent and one of the top things people would ask me about is how to get the best deals when travelling.

While there are all sorts of tips, tricks and trends to consider, one thing that remains constant the world over is that the period just before Christmas until the end of the first week of January is the most expensive time to travel.

This is also true for Cancún hotels and flights. While it’s possible to find deals, especially with the travel industry still recovering from the pandemic, December is a more expensive time to travel.

  • Top Tip: Peak holiday pricing usually kicks in December 21st. For a shot at a better deal, travel and return before this date.

Christmas In Cancún

*Sigh* It’s December 25th and you’re scrolling through social media to see people bundled up and trudging through snow. You take a sip of your margarita and adjust your sun hat before wading into the Caribbean sea. Sounds like the dream huh?

What to Expect on Christmas Day

Christmas in Mexico, much like other parts of the world, is a time for family and friends to gather together and spend some quality time. But the big day in Cancún is actually December 24th, Christmas Eve or as the Mexicans call it Nochebuena.

Nochebuena is when you can expect to see the most closures of shops and restaurants, especially those run by families and locals. Festivities on this night tend to run late so expect things to open a little later than usual on Christmas Day.

  • If you’re staying at an all-inclusive beach resort expect to see a lot of decorations, a special Christmas dinner menu and maybe even a visit from Santa.

If you're good, Santa might make an appearance at your hotel.

Are Things Open On Christmas Day In Cancún?

Most of the major tourist attractions, sites and activities around Cancún will operate on Christmas Day although some will have limited hours.

Almost all restaurants and shops in Cancún will be open on Christmas Day but they may open slightly later depending on how late the Nochebuena festivities ran!

Many restaurants will also offer a special menu on Christmas Day and you can usually find this information on their website, Facebook or Instagram.

How To Spend New Year’s In Cancún

Given that Cancún knows how to throw a party, New Year’s is a great time to be there. Here are a few ideas for how to ring in the New Year.

A Swanky New Year Ball

Some of the higher end beach resorts throw a New Year’s ball or gala where people can throw on their glad rags to sip bubbles and dance the night away. These events usually require guests to purchase tickets in advance or as part of their reservation package.

Tickets typically cover a special multi-course meal, drinks and some bubbly to ring in the New Year.

  • New Year’s Balls or Galas usually have a dress code of cocktail attire.

If you're staying on a resort for the holidays in Cancun you can participate in the events on site.

Party Like it’s 1999

If you want something a little wilder you can head to one of Cancún’s big party clubs like Coco Bongo or Mandala Club.

  • Purchase passes well in advance because they sell out!

Passes usually include:

  • Unlimited Drinks
  • Credit for Food
  • Club Access (with DJs and Performers)
  • Souvenir i.e. T-Shirt
  • Optional Upgrade to VIP/Fast Track Entry

Club nights in Cancún can be pretty crazy and even more so on New Year’s. The clubs are usually pretty packed so although drinks are included, getting to the bar can be a challenge.

Definitely arrive early and hit the bar straight away if you intend to have some drinks.

Good Ol’ Fashioned Fireworks

The fireworks in Cancún rival fireworks anywhere else in world!

Travellers can make their way toward the beach to catch the show or you may want to take a cruise. The Jolly Roger Pirate Ship Cruise is a fun way to enjoy dinner and a show plus they usually offer special New Year’s cruises.

Festive Things To Do In Cancún

Cancún has more activities than anywhere I’ve seen in the world. Whatever your interests, there’s something for everyone here. December is a great time to enjoy a few authentic things you won’t see the rest of the year.

Take in a Performance at Kukulcan Plaza

At the centre of the Kukulcan Plaza is the atrium which features a gorgeous, ornate Mayan stained-glass ceiling. This atrium plays host to free nightly performances and concerts beginning around the 16th of December each year.

Performances include choirs, dances and other live shows which are completely free to the public.

Experience the Tradition of Los Posadas

Los Posadas literally translates to “The Inns” and if you’re at all familiar with the nativity story you can probably guess why.

In Cancún locals who participate in Los Posadas can be found reenacting candlelit processions through the streets, stopping at different three different homes looking for a place for the birth of baby Jesus. As the story goes, the first two houses will turn them away before reaching the third and final house where there’s a nativity scene and a fiesta full of food, drink, and piñatas.

Things to Do if it Rains in Cancún

While December isn’t the rainiest month in Cancún it’s still possible to experience a little rain but you shouldn’t let that stop you from having fun. Here are a few ideas to keep you occupied if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Museo Maya de Cancún & San Miguelito Ruins

The Mayan Museum of Cancún is a great, inexpensive way to spend a few hours indoors. The building itself is a gorgeous, modern design by a prominent Mexican architect set in the jungle near the hotel zone.

The museum houses thousands of artifacts and art from the Maya people, with hundreds on display at any given time. One of the most popular exhibits is a 12,000 year old skeleton found in a cenote just down the coast near Tulum.

And it may surprise you find out, you don’t need to leave the Hotel Zone to see some ruins! If you head out the back door of the museum and follow the leafy path you’ll find the San Miguelito ruins. These are much smaller than other sites but there’s enough to see to fill an hour or so.

Tacos, Tequila & Shopping

Tacos, tequila and shopping are the Mexican trifecta! Plus December in Cancún is a pretty good excuse to hit the markets. Sure, there are plenty of shopping malls to choose from but I always prefer the mercado experience.

Any visit to Cancun can be enhanced with a taco and tequila tour.

This tour ticks all the boxes. Group sizes are capped at 10 which means the local guide can you take you places that just couldn’t accommodate a bigger crowd. This is where you’re going to see Cancún through the eyes of a local.

The group will hit five of the best food stops in town and try tacos, quesadillas, desserts, and a tequila and mezcal tasting before spending some time shopping for local wares.

Take An Authentic Mexican Cooking Class

I don’t know a person on earth who doesn’t love Mexican food but a lot of what we get in the United States, Canada and other countries is actually Tex-Mex food – not Mexican food!

One of the best ways to experience another culture is through the food and this authentic Mexican cooking class goes one step further to include a market visit.

Your local guide will take you to the food market and teach you about the different ingredients and spices available there before helping you select your ingredients.

The cooking class uses traditional methods and tools to teach you to make your own homemade tortillas, guacamole and a few authentic Mexican dishes you may not have heard of. By the end of the glass you’ll enjoy a 4-course meal you prepared with your own fair hands and of course a margarita.

Group sizes are capped at 10 so that you get plenty of one-on-one attention from the teacher. If you’re staying in Cancún, transportation is included.

Dried chiles in the market

Top Recommended Tours In Cancún

Whether you’re visiting Cancún in December or any other time of year, you’re probably going to want to take part in at least one tour, activity or day trip.

Believe me when I say there are thousands of options! So, to take some of the guess work out of it I’ve shortlisted a few tried and true experiences to consider on your trip.

Chichén Itzá

There are hundreds of tour operators and options out there for visiting Chichén Itzá and unfortunately they are not all created equally.

My top pick is the Chichén Itzá, Cenote and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour. Groups on this tour are capped at 24 which makes a big difference to the overall experience.

This tour also includes a stop in Valladolid which is a small and super authentic town in the Yucatán. The stop here isn’t long but it’s enough to get a feel for small town Mexico and have a look around.

It also includes a Yucatán rite of passage, swimming in a cenote!

  • A cenote is an underground sinkhole full of rain water. They are really important in Mayan culture and are considered sacred.

The tour includes: Note: the entrance ticket to Chichén Itzá is not included – this is typical of all tours and it costs about $30USD/$40CAD.

  • Hotel Pick Up
  • Lunch
  • Cenote Entrance
  • Chichén Itzá Visit*
  • Valladolid Visit
  • Bilingual Guide
  • Small Group Guarantee

  • *Entrance to Chichén Itzá is not included – this is typical of all tours. The ticket costs about $30USD/$40CAD.

Cancun offers many amazing activities and day trips.

Tap into Your Adventurous Side

Cancún doesn’t have to be all about the water. One activity I can never say no to is ATVing. ! In Cancún you can do an ATV, Zipline and Cenote Adventure all in one day!

This tour takes you overground, underground and above the ground. You’ll start off ripping through the jungle on your own ATV to a cenote underground swimming hole where you can cool off. Then you’ll fly through the canopy on a zipline and enjoy a taco lunch.

The tour includes:

  • Hotel Pick Up/Drop Off
  • ATVing
  • Ziplining
  • Cenote Swimming
  • Air Conditioned Vehicle
  • Safety Equipment
  • Lunch
  • Bottled Water
  • Bilingual Guide
  • Small Group Guarantee

Zip Through the Lagoon in Your Own Speedboat

Many people think the coast near Cancún is all beach but actually it’s mostly mangrove.

The mangroves are where the bird and sea life lives and offer a different experience from the white sandy beaches. Now imagine zipping through these mangroves in your own 2-person speedboat!

The Nichupte Lagoon is located in between the hotel zone and the mainland and is the host for the Speedboat and Snorkeling Jungle Tour.

After some instruction, you’ll jump in your 2-person speedboat and zip through the channels of the lagoon. Your guide will be on hand to help you spot some of the wild life in the area. You’ll make your way to Punta Nizuc where you’ll be able to snorkel in the coral reef amongst the colourful tropical fish.

  • Hotel Pick Up/Drop Off
  • Private Speedboat
  • Orientation Lesson
  • Snorkel Equipment
  • Lockers
  • Showers
  • Safety Equipment
  • Bilingual Guide
  • Small Group Guarantee

  • A reef preservation fee of $25USD/33CAD is not included. 🐠

Packing Tips For Cancún In December

I know it can be hard to figure out what to pack for Cancún and what to leave at home.

First of all, Cancún is hot in December so you can pack light! In addition to the usual bathing suits and clothes there’s a few other things you’ll want to think about.

If you plan on spending anytime by the water, on the water or in the water you’ll want a waterproof phone case, they are an inexpensive way to protect an expensive phone.

Another essential item is going to be a power bank. A power bank allows you to charge your phone on the go so if you spend all day on a day tour or laying out on the beach you don’t have to worry about losing battery.

Sea Star Beachwear water shoes are an essential item to pack for Cancun beause they are boat safe and can go from beach to dinner.
These Seafarer Slingbacks have been my go-to water shoes for years!

  • Water shoes are mandatory on a number of excursions in Cancún. You may want to bring your own instead of borrowing.

Cancún in December isn’t unbearably hot and the cool breeze off the water can be deceiving. A high SPF sunblock is important to bring and remember to apply and reapply.

No one likes to worry about safety on vacation and although Cancún is generally a safe destination, pickpockets exist everywhere. An anti-theft day pack is a great way to take the worry away. With hidden zippers and pockets you can relax on your excursions.

Summary: Cancún In December

By now it should be clear that December is a great month to visit Cancún for a lot of reasons. In addition to great weather, a well-planned trip can see you getting a good deal, having amazing experiences and getting a peek into Mexican traditions that are exclusive to December.

Hopefully this article covers all the bases to help you plan your trip to Cancún in December and has your well-equipped for an amazing tropical beach vacation.