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Best Time to Visit Cancun | When to Go & Helpful Tips

Best Time to Visit Cancun | When to Go & Helpful Tips

Planning a trip to Cancun, Mexico sooner than later? Then you need to know the best time to visit Cancun for ideal weather, cheaper prices, and fewer crowds!

The time of year you go can make or break your Cancun getaway, so choose wisely. It’s easy with the help of our travel guide! We’ll show you the best times of year to go to Cancun, no matter what your goals for the trip are.

Looking for the ideal Cancun experience with perfect weather and unlimited options for activities? No problem – we’ll show you when to go. Planning your trip on a shoestring budget?

You’ll find the cheapest time of year to visit below. Seeking uninterrupted R&R time on the sunny shores with fewer crowds to disturb your peace? We’ve got you covered. 

See the best time to visit Cancun below, why you absolutely need to make the trip at least once in your lifetime, and the worst time of year to go in our quick and informative Cancun guide. Get ready to take a dive into one of the world’s top vacation destinations – the water’s always nice in Cancun! 

Why You Should Visit Cancun

Aerial view of a beautiful turquoise wave lapping the shore during the best time to visit Cancun

Iren Key/Shutterstock

Cancun is known for its glistening white-sand beaches, vibrant blue water, and excellent weather year-round. So it’s really hard to say what the best time to go is. More on that later, though.

This colorful city on the coast of the Caribbean Sea is home to some of the world’s most popular resorts and hotels, yummiest eats, and a rich, cultural history that you’ll see in artwork, cuisine, and architecture.

Cancun’s semi-tropical climate is only one reason you need to visit this Mexican city. The temperature hovers around a pleasant 78 degrees year-round here, getting as high as 95F in the dead of summer (July) and as low as 67F in January.

Cancun experiences 2 distinct seasons throughout the year: 

  • Wet season (May-October): Hotter temps, more rainfall and severe weather, and calmer winds
  • Dry season (November-April): Peak season with cooler temps, less rainfall, and more cool breezes

The pristine sugar-sand beaches and excellent weather year-round in Cancun are major tourist magnets. If white sand sparkling on the shores of clear, turquoise-blue Caribbean waters is your idea of beauty (and you know it is), it’s hard to find a place more beautiful than the beaches of Cancun.

From Playa Tortugas to ferry rides that will take you to beautiful Cozumel Island, if you’re looking for gorgeous beaches to relax on, you’ll have many options in Cancun. 

The vibe here is equal parts upscale relaxation and party time. The Cancun nightlife is world-famous for a reason! But if you’re an early riser who skips the party scene after dark, you’ll appreciate Cancun’s natural beauty, nearby Mayan ruins, myriad shops and restaurants, and amazing weather.

This is where you go when you want to take an unforgettable trip to one of the world’s most stunning destinations. Going to Cancun is convenient for travelers worldwide, thanks to the Cancun International Airport where most tourists arrive in Mexico.

It’s a popular day trip destination for Caribbean and Mexican cruises, where travelers can get off the boat to enjoy the beaches, Mayan ruins, shops, and restaurants in the area. 

History buffs can’t miss the opportunity to check out the Mayan ruins of Tulum, an ancient city on the ocean only 2 hours from Cancun. Ancient cultural centers and museums (like the Mayan Museum of Cancun) dot the city and provide great options for days when you’re looking to get out of the sun for a bit.  

On your trip to Cancun, you’ll have the opportunity to sample a range of unique and delicious eats from upscale dining to satisfying street food. Some of the world’s best chefs operate restaurants in Cancun to cater to international tourists with a discerning palate.

But some of the most delicious cuisine you’ll find is in tiny roadside stands and street food booths – Elotes and esquites (Mexican street corn), Tacos de Canasta (“basket tacos”), Cochinita Pibil (pork slow-roasted in banana leaf “pibs”), and some of the best desserts you’ve ever eaten await you here! 

There’s every reason in the world to visit this vibrant coastal town on the Caribbean Sea.

There are so many things to do! But what’s the best time to visit Cancun? Take a look below to see the overall best, cheapest, least busy, and worst times to visit Cancun. Get ready to plan the trip of a lifetime! 

Overall Best Time to Visit Cancun

Gorgeous view of a white sand beach pictured during the best time to visit Cancun

cge2010/Shutterstock

  • December to early March: Peak season for a reason
  • Amazing weather (low 80s, sunny, low humidity)
  • Reasonable rates on flights, hotels, and activities
  • Book early for the best prices and availability

All things considered, the absolute best time to visit Cancun is from December to early March. This is the peak tourist season in Cancun, so it’s going to be a little more crowded than other parts of the year.

But as long as you plan your trip before the spring breakers hit in mid-March to April, the crowds won’t be overwhelming. The weather is perfect at this time of year, which happens to fall in the middle of Cancun’s dry season.

The sunny skies, limited rainfall, and low humidity from December to early March make this the best time of year to come to Cancun. While the weather is ideal and tourists flock to Cancun at this time of year, the prices aren’t very high.

The peak season in Cancun means a modest increase in prices, but with so many airlines flying into the Cancun International Airport, you’ll easily be able to find affordable flights.

And the abundance of hotels and resorts in Cancun means there’s always room availability – just book at least 3 months in advance to score the best prices in peak season. 

Cheapest Time to Visit Cancun

Women in bikinis swimming in a cenote during the best time to visit Cancun

Huang Jenhung/Shutterstock

  • September-November is the most affordable time to go
  • Peak rainy/hurricane season – get traveler’s insurance
  • Get excellent deals on flights, hotels, and packages 
  • Fewer crowds and more hotel/flight availability

The cheapest time to visit Cancun is during September to November, which is the tail end of Cancun’s rainy season and hurricane season.

It’s wet, it can be overcast and cloudy, and there’s an increased risk of hurricanes and severe storms at this time of year. That makes it a lot more affordable than the peak season with great weather, but it’s definitely a trade-off. 

On the positive side, this time of year means you can unlock great deals on hotel rooms, resort stays, flights, and rental cars because fewer tourists are venturing to Cancun at this time.

You’ll benefit with better room and flight availability, lower prices on everything, and the ability to book last-minute deals that help you vacation on the cheap. On the negative side, the weather could be pretty poor during your visit in the months of September, October, and November.

It’s very humid in October here (75.2% humidity) and feels much hotter than it is (typically in the upper 80s). Rainfall is unavoidable, and the potential for tropical storms and hurricanes is higher.

In the last 30 years, only two hurricanes have hit Cancun, so the odds of a hurricane hitting during your stay are quite low. But it’s a risk all the same, so purchase travel insurance in case shifting weather means you need to cancel your trip last-minute. 

Least Busy Time to Visit Cancun

Sandy beach with boats pictured during the least busy time to visit Cancun

Lunamarina/Shutterstock

  • May and September see the fewest visitors of the year
  • Flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. are wide open
  • Rates are cheaper, especially in September
  • Prepare for rainy/severe weather 

The least busy time to visit Cancun is during the months of May and September (when Cancun sees the lowest number of visitors of the year).

If you want to feel like you’ve got the whole place to yourself, going during either May or September is the ticket. May marks the start of the wet rainy season that runs through November in Cancun, and September is near the end of the hurricane season.

So while you’ll benefit from smaller crowds and better flight/hotel availability at this time of year, you’ll also be battling poor weather during your stay. But the potential for rain and severe weather is nothing an umbrella, a nice hotel room, and plans for fun indoor activities around the city can’t fix!

Since you’ll be able to save big when you plan your Cancun trip at one of the least busy times of year, you’ll be able to splurge on nicer resorts and hotels than you could during the height of tourism season. 

And if you’re a procrastinator when it comes to travel planning, going during May or September means you can book last-minute and still find great availability in Cancun.

In fact, you’ll be able to take advantage of excellent package deals that resorts and hotels offer in efforts to bring more tourists in during the low season! 

Worst Time to Visit Cancun

Tropical storm pictured during the worst time to visit Cancun with a giant rain cloud over the beach

Iren Key/Shutterstock

We’ve taken a close-up look at the best time to visit Cancun for amazing weather, cheap prices, and fewer crowds. But what’s the worst time to visit – the seasonal periods any experienced traveler or local would recommend steering clear of?

That depends on what your trip goals are. Take a look at the worst time to visit according to your goals for the trip below. 

  • If you’re seeking perfect weather, the worst time to visit Cancun is in September and October. This is peak hurricane season with the most rainfall of the year (October especially). Highs are in the upper 80s – not unbearable, but the humidity level is at its highest in October (75.2%). So the heat feels “heavy” and it’s harder to cool down at this time of year.  
  • If you’re seeking cheap prices, the worst time to visit Cancun is December to April. This is the peak season in Cancun, and holiday travelers, snowbirds, and spring breakers descend on the city in droves. Prices on flights, hotels, and activities rise as a result. Book in the less popular off seasons – the month of May and September to November especially – for cheaper rates. 
  • If you’re seeking smaller crowds, the worst time to visit Cancun is mid-March to April. This is the busiest part of the peak season in Cancun with spring breakers arriving en masse and essentially taking over the beaches and hotels. Book in May for similar weather with much smaller crowds. 
  • If you’re seeking pristine beaches, the worst time to visit Cancun is May to August. This is the “seaweed season” in Cancun, when huge mats of Sargassum seaweed litter the shores of the beaches and act as a real eyesore. The seaweed is so prolific, it can make swimming in the ocean an unpleasant experience. And as it rots in the sun, it stinks. 

More Things to Consider

Now that you know the best time to visit Cancun – and the worst possible times to go – let’s talk about some of the traveler tips you didn’t know you needed. Here are a few tips that will help you tackle Cancun like a seasoned traveler! 

  • Don’t drink the tap water. They say you shouldn’t drink the tap water in Mexico and there’s good reason for it. Waterborne illness is common here, with unrelenting diarrhea being the number one risk of drinking contaminated tap water. Stick to bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth and don’t swallow water while you shower. Ask for no ice in your drinks to further limit your chances of waterborne illness. Better safe than sorry, especially on a dreamy vacation like this! 
  • Hurricane season runs from June-November. Nothing can ruin a Cancun vacation faster than a hurricane or tropical storm, so it’s wise to plan your trip outside of hurricane season. From June to November, the conditions are ripe for severe weather and travel insurance is a must if you book during this time. Fortunately, Cancun has only been hit by hurricanes twice in the last 30 years – but it’s still smart to plan for the potential of dangerously bad weather. 
  • Seaweed barriers are a must from May-August. The mats of brown Sargassum seaweed that make their way ashore in Cancun from May to August can ruin a beach trip fast. It’s in the water, on the shore, and the smell permeates the coastal areas. You can still enjoy a Cancun vacation during seaweed season, but swim in blue-water areas only and look for resorts that have seaweed barriers in place. Cancun plans to have large barriers in place soon to limit the seaweed that ends up ashore during this time of year. 
  • Most people speak English. In Cancun, Spanish is the local language, but most everyone (about 90%) in tourist-facing businesses here (airports, hotels, restaurants, shops, etc.) speaks English so communication won’t be an issue. It’s a good idea to brush up on a few Spanish phrases in case of an emergency, but you can relax knowing you don’t need to be a fluent Spanish speaker to enjoy Cancun. 
  • Convert your cash to pesos ahead of time. Most resorts, hotels, restaurants, and shops here will accept American dollars as well as pesos, the Mexican currency. But we recommend converting your cash for the trip into pesos to make things easier. You won’t have to mentally calculate the conversion rates or worry about overpaying for items and services priced in pesos.
  • Explore beyond your hotel. While all-inclusive resorts and hotels make it easy to stay in one spot for the whole trip, don’t miss the chance to explore around to see more of Mexico. Ferry rides can carry you to nearby Isla Mujeres, where you can snorkel with dolphins and whale sharks. Chichén Itzá is a 3-hour bus ride away, and you’ll be able to experience the ancient temples and step pyramids up close. Tulum, a nearby town with ancient Mayan ruins, is only 2 hours away. 

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Cancun?

Cabana and palapa pictured with blue water and blue sky during the best time to visit Cancun

Lunamarina/Shutterstock

  • Overall best time to visit: December to early March
  • Cheapest time to visit: September to November
  • Least busy time to visit: May and September
  • Worst time to visit: Varies; avoid December-April for the cheapest prices/fewest crowds

Overall, the best time to visit Cancun is during peak season – December to early March. It’s sunny with average temperatures in the low 80s and record-low humidity.

There’s little rainfall to ruin your plans and the whole city is hopping with energy in the vibrant winter dry season. This period gets you in before the spring breakers hit the beaches and hotels. That means your stay will be a little more crowded than spring and fall, but not too crowded.

The Cheapest Time

For the cheapest prices, the best time to visit Cancun is September through November. This time of year sees the fewest tourists due to the less-than-ideal weather.

It’s rainy and hurricane season during this time, so overcast skies and the chance for severe weather make it an iffy time of year to go. But the prices – oh, the prices! You won’t find Cancun vacations cheaper than during the September-November timeframe.

The Least Busy Time

To avoid large crowds, the best time to visit Cancun is during the months of May and September. Both see big dips in the number of visitors arriving in Cancun and can give you a more relaxing stay with fewer people booking at these times of year.

May sees a little dip in visitors after the peak season ends and features great weather with a little rainfall here and there. September has the fewest visitors and lowest prices, but the weather isn’t as great as it falls during both the rainy and hurricane seasons.

The Overall Best Time

If you’re not a college spring breaker, we recommend avoiding booking your Cancun trip during mid-March through April. The resorts, hotels, and beaches get tightly packed with spring breakers.

It’s really crowded, prices shoot up, lines and waits are longer, and there’s less availability during this time. Book your trip a little sooner – between December and early March – or in May to skip the spring break spike. 

There’s so much to do and see in sunny Cancun. Where will you be spending your time while you’re there?