Considering activities when thinking of what to pack for Cancun.

The Best Time To Visit Cancún For Every Traveller

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

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Cancún is one of the world’s top vacation destinations but just like anywhere, there is a best and worst time to visit. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to deciding when the best time to visit Cancún is.

I’m taking all the guess work away and breaking down what to expect each month and season, from weather to crowds to prices and more.

Keep reading to find out when the best time to visit Cancún is for you and when you’ll definitely want to steer clear.

Best Time To Visit Cancún

When it comes to a Cancún vacation, everyone has their own list of priorities. Some people want to avoid crowds, others want the best weather, some people want incredible beach time, others just want a great deal.

Whatever’s important to you, there’s a best and worst time to visit Cancún. So, think about what matters to you and keep reading to find your best time to visit Cancún.

The Overall Best Time To Visit Cancún

I know, I know, I just said there is no one-size-fits-all answer to when the best time to visit Cancún is, but there is a happy medium!

If you’re just looking for nice weather, reasonable prices and not too many people then the best overall time to visit Cancún is May.

Cancún in May is right in the pocket between high season and low season. The weather may not be perfect but it’s still pretty great!

Average temperatures are hot, with a high of 91F/33C and a low of 76F/24.5C. Rainfall is starting to creep up but it’s still the fifth driest month of the year (not bad odds out of twelve months!) at around 3.5 inches.

Crowds in May are also at one of the lowest points of the year. Most tours, day trips and excursions are still running and prices are starting to drop significantly, to some of the best rates of the year.

May is also a great time to visit Cancún if you’re looking for wildlife! Whale Sharks begin arriving in the area (although they aren’t fully in season until June) and sea turtles begin nesting.

But, if you have a more specific criteria for what you want out of your trip, keep reading.

Best Time To Visit Cancún For Excellent Weather

If having excellent weather is what’s important to you when visiting Cancún then you’ll want to focus on the high season, which runs December through April.

This time of year is when you’ll experience the least rain and the most pleasant temperatures. If you really want to hone in on the “great weather sweet spot” then April is ideal.

April in Cancún is the best time to visit for the balance between the highest temperatures with the lowest rainfall. The average temperature is a high of 88.7F/31.5C and a low of 74F/23.5C, and rainfall is on average only 1.5 inches for the month.

A major drawback to visiting Cancún in April is Spring Break. If your trip happens to fall during Spring Break you could be in for a rowdy experience.

If you don’t want to risk it, February is a great alternative. Temperatures are slightly lower and rainfall is slightly higher but the risk of Spring Breakers is zero.

Cancún in December is also a great time to see some of the Mexican holiday traditions and escape a snowy Christmas at home.

Picture perfect beaches make Cancun worth visiting.

Best Time To Visit Cancún To Avoid The Crowds

Being one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations means crowds are a part of the architecture in Cancún. However, just as the weather has ups and downs, so does the crowd volume.

The best time to visit Cancún to avoid the crowds is low season, which runs June through October. While avoiding crowds is great, it’s worth considering the reasons why more people don’t visit during this time.

Summer in Cancún is hot. It is humid and muggy and temperatures can soar into the 100s F/40s C. Toward the end of the low season in September and October, rainfall is also at its annual high, with almost 9 inches falling on average.

A great way to balance low crowds without compromising too much on weather is considering the Shoulder Season months of May and November.

These months experience moderate rainfall (November sees almost 2 inches more than May) and low crowds. Sure, it might be hot but that’s nothing a dip in the pool can’t remedy.

The best time to visit Cancun to avoid crowds is the shoulder and low seasons.
I almost had the pool to myself at this popular 5* resort!

Best Time To Visit Cancún For The Best Deals

I have spent years working in the travel industry planning travel and there are a few rules of thumb that I always follow to find the best deals:

  • Book in advance (4 – 7 months is ideal)
  • Be flexible (having firm requirements or dates can make you miss a hidden gem)
  • Cheapest doesn’t always mean Best Value (sometimes paying a little more can mean a huge difference in quality)

There is a short answer to “When is the cheapest time to visit Cancún?” but there’s also a smart answer.

The Short Answer: The cheapest time to visit Cancún is September and October.

The Smart Answer: You shouldn’t just be looking for the “cheapest” time, you should be looking for the best value time. The cheapest time to visit Cancún also happens to be the height of Hurricane season, the time with the most rainfall and the time when most tours and excursions aren’t running.

The best value times to visit Cancún are January, May and November.

Considering activities when thinking of what to pack for Cancun.
Parasailer in October in Cancún

I’ve already covered all the reasons why May is the best overall time to visit Cancún. It’s the happy medium between good prices, nice weather and low crowds.

So let’s dive into why January and November are also great value months in Cancún.

November is a great value month to visit Cancún because it is at the end of the Low Season. Things in Cancún are starting to ramp up but aren’t yet in full swing. Tour operators have opened up for the season and hotel and flight prices are still low.

Temperatures in November linger around an average high of 85F/29C and average low of 73F/23C with rainfall of about 5 inches.

January may be the surprise contender on this list because it’s right in the heart of High Season, but it also happens to offer some of the lowest airfares of the year.

While hotel prices are still high, the savings on airfare can make a big difference. So if you’re looking to travel during the High Season but still see some savings, January is a great option.

The weather in January is similar to that of November, with an average high of 82F/28C and a low of 69F/25.5C and rainfall around 5.5 inches.

Best Time To Visit Cancún To Swim With Whale Sharks

Whale Shark Season is an exciting time of year to visit Cancún! Swimming with Whale Sharks is a bucket-list item for most marine lovers and off the coast of Cancún at Isla Mujeres is somewhere you can do this between June and September.

Whale Sharks are actually not whales, they are sharks, and they are the largest fish on earth – roughly the size of a school bus!

Don’t be alarmed though, these gentle giants are very docile. Although they are carnivores, with a diet of mostly plankton they are not dangerous to humans.

It’s important to remember that we are visitors in the water so we want to make sure that when interacting with marine animals we doing so in a safe and respectful way.

It is important to do your research before booking a tour to make sure you are going with a reputable company that provides ethical experiences. Click the button below for my pick of Cancún Whale Shark Experience.

a whale shark underwater
Photo by Leonardo Lamas

Best Time To Visit Cancún Handy Chart

To help you process all the information about when the best time to visit Cancún is I thought I’d give you a handy chart to summarize the main factors people look at when planning their trip.

While this is a helpful reference, it is just a high level summary. To better understand what to expect in each season, or which time of year is best for you, I encourage you to read more of this guide.

MthGood WeatherLower CrowdsBest Deals

Worst Time To Visit Cancún

The worst time to visit Cancún is also pretty subjective depending on what you dislike the most so I’m going to narrow it down to two. The worst times to visit Cancún typically would be Spring Break and Hurricane Season.

Spring Break in Cancún falls sometime in March – April each year and it really changes the tone of what to expect from Cancún. Crowds and debauchery are at a high so unless you fit that demographic, avoid this time.

Hurricane Season is also not a great time to visit Cancún because of the weather. While the likelihood of a hurricane actually making landfall in Cancún is really slim, the storms and rain can put a damper on the sunny vacation festivities.

Although the odds of adverse weather is higher during hurricane season, it’s not a given. I was in Cancún for 4 days in the height of Hurricane Season last year and didn’t see a spot of rain.

This was taken in October in Cancún, the weather was beautiful!

Cancún Travel Seasons

Dry Season In Cancún: December – April

Dry Season is High Season in Cancún and it runs from December to April, when the US, Canada and Europe are in their coldest months. Travellers often try to escape the cold to the warmer weather of Cancún.

This is the best time to visit Cancún to experience great weather, which is generally very pleasant and clear this time of year.

It’s warm enough for swimming without being unbearably hot or humid. This is also the dry season so rainfall is much less likely at this time of year. Of course the downside to great weather is higher prices.

Top Tip: Flight and accommodation rates are much higher than average during the period between, just before Christmas to the end of the first week of January.

As a general rule the first week of January is the most expensive time to fly in the whole year. Flight prices tend to drop significantly after this time.

High Season in Cancún is also when you’ll see the most crowds, especially in the Hotel Zone. It can be a struggle to find a spot on the beach or a lounger to relax in. This is also when you’ll see a lot more families and long lines at restaurants.

The best time to visit Cancun really depends on what you're looking for but is there ever a bad time to visit paradise?

Rainy Season In Cancún: June – October

Low Season is Rainy Season in Cancún, June through October. This is Cancún’s summertime and the weather this time of year can be somewhat unpredictable. Temperatures and humidity are high and rain and storms are more frequent.

If you’re a flop and drop type of traveler who likes to plant yourself on the beach for 10 days this is probably not the time of year for you!

However, if you’re planning to include more activities in your travels like a day trip to Chichén Itzá, shopping, food tours, etc or you don’t mind some savings in exchange for a bit of rain, this could be a great time of year for you to travel.

The good news about rain in Cancún is that because it’s on the water, weather rolls in quickly and it rolls out quickly. Sure, it might rain or storm but that doesn’t usually last all day. At the peak of rainy season it’s more like to see a few hours of rain and then clearer weather the rest of the day.

Hotel and flight prices this time of year can see a significant savings but before booking it’s important to consider what you want to do while you’re there.

Many tours and activities run year-round but if there is something you really want to do, it’s a good idea to make sure that it’s operating before booking.

Shoulder Season In Cancún: April – May, October – November

The shoulder season is the transitional time between the Dry and Rainy Seasons, also known as the best of both worlds.

All the benefits of Dry Season like gorgeous weather and the perks of Rainy Season like fewer crowds and reasonable prices. Shoulder Season is my personal choice for when to visit almost anywhere.

Shoulder Season in Cancún runs during April – May and October – November. I like to consider this the happy medium of travel seasons.

If you are considering Shoulder Season the best time to visit Cancún would be May and November. This is when the weather is at its best, prices and crowds are lower and activities are operational.

In Cancún during shoulder season there are three main issues to consider: Rain, Seaweed and Spring Breakers.

October is one of the rainiest months of the year in Cancún with about 9 inches of rainfall on average.

The best time to visit Cancun for the nice weather, low crowds and reasonable prices is shoulder season.
This was taken during Shoulder Season, not a cloud in the sky!

Sargassum seaweed has become a problem in the Caribbean and Mexico in recent years. This seaweed washes up on the beach and in the hot sun can create a stinky and unattractive mess.

Hotels and beach clubs along the Riviera Maya are quick to clear it away but if you’re looking for perfect beaches you’ll want to consider the seaweed. Sargassum can wash up any time of year but it is most common in May and June.

Spring Break In Cancún: March – April

Around March and April every year large hoards of Spring Breakers descend upon Cancún. Spring Break in Cancún is a rite of passage for many students who participate in the party free-for-all but it can be a nightmare for other travellers.

Cancún caters to the crowds this time of year with all-you-can-drink clubs, massive parties, booze cruises and DJs.

The legal drinking age in Cancún is only 18 so travellers can expect loud music, late nights and crowds of pumped up teens.

The exact dates of Spring Break varies year to year but the month of March into early April is a good rule of thumb to follow.

Hurricane Season In Cancún: June – November

‘Hurricane Season’ sounds like something everyone should avoid but truthfully, the likelihood of a hurricane blowing through your vacation is pretty rare. Hurricanes form far from land, over large bodies of water like the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, unlike tornados which form over land.

In the last 30 years only two hurricanes have made landfall in the Cancún area. So while it’s possible to see an actual hurricane, it’s unlikely. During Hurricane Season you are more likely to see bursts of strong winds, occasional thunderstorms and breaks of rain, rather than an actual hurricane.

I recently visited Cancún during hurricane season for 4 days and had nothing but clear, sunny, blue skies.

Remember to pack sunblock for Cancun because it can be expensive to purchase locally.
Photo by Andreas M.

What To Expect In Cancún By The Month

To make it easier for you to choose the best time to visit Cancún I’ve broken down quick summaries of what to expect for each month of the year. For more details information check out the sections above.

Cancún In January

🌡️ Average High Temperature: 82F/28C

🌡️ Average Low Temperature: 69F/20.5C

🌧️ Average Rainfall: Moderate – 5.37 inches

🏷️ Price Level: Flight prices are low but hotel prices are typical for High Season.

📈 Crowd Level: Moderate-High – This is the quietest month of the High Season but is still busier than Low Season.

🤿 Tours and Activities: Fully Operational

🏖️ Likelihood of Seaweed: Low

Cancún In February

🌡️ Average High Temperature: 84F/29C

🌡️ Average Low Temperature: 69F/20.5C

🌧️ Average Rainfall: Low – 1.8 inches

🏷️ Price Level: High

📈 Crowd Level: High

🤿 Tours and Activities: Fully Operational

🏖️ Likelihood of Seaweed: Low

Cancún In March

🌡️ Average High Temperature: 86F/30C

🌡️ Average Low Temperature: 71F/21.5C

🌧️ Average Rainfall: Low – 2.07 inches

🏷️ Price Level: High

📈 Crowd Level: High

🤿 Tours and Activities: Fully Operational

🏖️ Likelihood of Seaweed: Low

Cancún In April

🌡️ Average High Temperature: 89F/31.5C

🌡️ Average Low Temperature: 74F/23C

🌧️ Average Rainfall: Low – 1.49 inches

🏷️ Price Level: High

📈 Crowd Level: High

🤿 Tours and Activities: Fully Operational

🏖️ Likelihood of Seaweed: Moderate

Cancún In May

🌡️ Average High Temperature: 91F/33C

🌡️ Average Low Temperature: 76F/24.5C

🌧️ Average Rainfall: Low – 3.46 inches

🏷️ Price Level: Moderate – Low

📈 Crowd Level: Moderate – Low

🤿 Tours and Activities: Operational – Some operators may close down toward the end of the month.

🏖️ Likelihood of Seaweed: Moderate – High

Cancún In June

🌡️ Average High Temperature: 92F/33.5C

🌡️ Average Low Temperature: 77.5F/25C

🌧️ Average Rainfall: Moderate – 5.41 inches

🏷️ Price Level: Low

📈 Crowd Level: Low

🤿 Tours and Activities: Partially Operational

🏖️ Likelihood of Seaweed: Moderate – High

Cancún In July

🌡️ Average High Temperature: 92F/33.5C

🌡️ Average Low Temperature: 77F/25C

🌧️ Average Rainfall: Low – 2.24 inches

🏷️ Price Level: Moderate – Low

📈 Crowd Level: Moderate – Low

🤿 Tours and Activities: Partially Operational

🏖️ Likelihood of Seaweed: Moderate – Low

Cancún In August

🌡️ Average High Temperature: 92.5F/34C

🌡️ Average Low Temperature: 76.5F/25C

🌧️ Average Rainfall: Moderate – 4.31 inches

🏷️ Price Level: Low

📈 Crowd Level: Low

🤿 Tours and Activities: Partially Operational

🏖️ Likelihood of Seaweed: Low

Cancún In September

🌡️ Average High Temperature: 91F/33C

🌡️ Average Low Temperature: 76.5F/25C

🌧️ Average Rainfall: High – 8.84 inches

🏷️ Price Level: Low

📈 Crowd Level: Low

🤿 Tours and Activities: Partially Operational

🏖️ Likelihood of Seaweed: Low

Cancún In October

🌡️ Average High Temperature: 88F/31C

🌡️ Average Low Temperature: 75F/24C

🌧️ Average Rainfall: High – 8.7 inches

🏷️ Price Level: Low

📈 Crowd Level: Low

🤿 Tours and Activities: Partially Operational

🏖️ Likelihood of Seaweed: Low

Cancún In November

🌡️ Average High Temperature: 85F/30C

🌡️ Average Low Temperature: 73F/23C

🌧️ Average Rainfall: Moderate – 5.18 inches

🏷️ Price Level: Moderate – Low

📈 Crowd Level: Moderate – Low

🤿 Tours and Activities: Operational – Some operators may be closed down toward the beginning of the month.

🏖️ Likelihood of Seaweed: Low

Cancún In December

🌡️ 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

Cancún Travel FAQs

Is Cancún Safe To Travel?

Cancún in general, is safe to visit as a tourist. It is highly unusual for tourists to be the target of violent crime. As with anywhere, it is always best to exercise caution and operate with common sense to avoid drawing unwanted attention. Avoid wearing flashy jewelry and watches, walking around neighbourhoods outside of the buzzing tourist areas at night, over intoxication and flaunting expensive items.

How Can I Get From Cancún Airport To My Accommodation?

If you plan to take a taxi from the airport to your accommodation it is always advisable to pre-book through the Cancún airport website.

Ubers and regular taxis can’t operate from the airport. For a reliable service and reasonable prices travellers can book in advance directly through the airport.

If you would like to take the bus, shuttle or rent a car you can find all transportation information and rates directly on the Cancún airport website.

Should I Buy Travel Insurance For Cancún?

Yes, everyone traveling internationally should purchase travel insurance.

Travel can be unpredictable so it’s best to purchase a comprehensive plan which covers emergency medical, emergency transportation and trip cancellation and interruption, at a minimum.

How Much Cash Should I Bring To Cancún?

Deciding how much cash to bring to Cancún is tricky because everyone is different!

Credit cards are widely accepted in Cancún especially for larger purchases like hotels, excursions and restaurants.

However, Cash is King in Mexico! Pesos will be needed for markets and street vendors, small purchases such as water and coffee, tipping, and taxis.

ATMs are easy to find and offer better exchange rates than exchange bureaus. Always withdraw cash from ATMs inside banks. Avoid cash withdrawals at the airport and outside stores.

Can I Use US Dollars In Cancún?

It is a common misconception that you should bring US Dollars to Cancún. While you can use US Dollars in some areas of Cancún, such as the hotel zone, it’s never a good idea.

US Dollars are subject to harsh exchange rates and price gouging. It is always best to use the local currency.

Do I Need To Tip In Cancún?

Tips are expected in Cancún, particularly in tourist hotspots. A standard tip of 10-15% is adequate although locals will often just round up to the nearest ten.

Some places in Cancún will automatically add tips to your bill, especially if you are in a large group. Check your bill before paying. IVA on a bill is the standard government tax, but anything that reads propina is a tip.

It is good practice to tip anyone who carries your bags for you and also housekeepers. 20-50 pesos per day is adequate. You do not need to tip taxi drivers but if they help with your bags you may want to.

Do They Speak English In Cancún?

As a rule, no. In popular tourist destinations you will encounter more people who speak English, especially in customer service positions at hotel and popular restaurants. If you find yourself in more local establishments and traveling away from the hotel strips you are sure to encounter a language barrier.

It is helpful to download Spanish Offline using the Google Translate app to have access to translations without internet. You can also download my Useful Mexican Words and Phrases Cheatsheet at the bottom of this page.

Can I Drink The Tap Water In Cancún?

No, Mexico does not have a universal clean water program across the country. Drinking from the water supply can cause what Mexicans call “Montezuma’s Revenge” which consists of severe diarrhoea, vomiting and flu-like symptoms.

Because the weather is hot, staying hydrated in Cancún is extremely important. Bottled water is available in the vast majority of restaurants, hotels, bars, shops, supermarkets and is also often available for purchase from street vendors.

There are products like water purification powders and straws that can purify tap water in Cancún but finding bottled water is easy to do.

Can I Brush Your Teeth With The Tap Water In Cancún?

The rule for testing brushing your teeth in Cancún is the same rule you should use for testing street food: Try once and see how it goes.

How your body reacts to the bacteria in Mexico is unpredictable. It is best practice to brush with bottled water however I have spent months in Mexico using tap water to brush my teeth and didn’t experience any adverse affects.

Do I Clear Customs In Cancún?

Yes, when you land in Cancún you will be required to clear customs and passport control, and you will be required to complete a landing card.

Upon arrival in Cancún you will be issued with a Tourist Card, the cost is included in the price of your airline ticket. You MUST keep this card and give it to passport control when you leave the country. If you do not have this card you will have to purchase a new one and may incur additional penalties.

Summary: Best Time To Visit Cancún

Hopefully by now you’ve got a good idea of the best time to visit Cancún for you, but is there really a bad time to visit paradise?

With a little forward planning and weighing up the pros and cons of each month and season, I hope I’ve helped you narrow down what works for you.

Unfortunately when it comes to visiting Cancún you can’t have it all so it’s best to choose what factors are most important to you and make sure you pick a time that caters to those.

Then all you have to worry about is which swimsuit to pack!