Cancún is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, thanks to its picturesque beaches and the region’s rich history. Is there ever a bad time to go? There’s no specific “worst time” to travel to Cancún, but there are some things you should keep in mind as you prepare to book your trip here.
Between the region’s weather patterns and the fluctuating airline and hotel prices, it might seem hard to figure out the ideal time to head to Cancún. Let’s clear the air and figure out when you really want to book that next trip to Mexico’s ultimate coastal paradise.
Though Cancún’s tropical climate is similar to Puerto Vallarta and means abundant warmth year-round, Cancún’s geography makes it vulnerable during hurricane season. Though large hurricanes rarely make direct landfall on Cancún, Hurricane Gilbert notoriously landed here as a Category Five hurricane in 1988, followed by Hurricane Dean as another Category Five storm in 2007, and Hurricane Wilma came dangerously close to Cancún when it reached the Yucatán Peninsula as a Category Four storm in 2005.
Even if no hurricanes show up in the local forecast, remember that Cancún typically gets its most rain during September and October. On the flip side, February, March, and April tend to be the driest months of the year. Cancún is still prone to some heavy rainfall during the winter holiday season, but at least the hurricanes are all gone by then. Moving to the water, Cancún’s beaches tend to get the most seaweed during summer, whereas the beaches have slightly cooler but much clearer water during winter.
If you don’t mind spending quality time inside your hotel, or if you don’t mind going out in the rain, you might be fine with a late summer or early fall trip. But if you prefer ample sunshine and fun days at the beach, you’re probably safest with a late winter or early spring trip to Cancún.
Cancún’s high season for travel spans from December to March: The big crowds usually start pouring in for winter holiday trips, and there’s usually a final rush of maddening crowds for spring break. On the flip side, Cancún’s low season with the thinnest crowds runs from June to October, as that’s the bulk of the Atlantic and Caribbean hurricane season (see above). April, May, and November tend to be Cancún’s shoulder seasons, when the tourist crowds are still noticeable but not too hot and heavy.
Typically, high season means high prices. Therefore, Cancún hotel rooms and flights are almost always most expensive during the winter holidays, spring break season, and the winter weeks in between. On the other end, flights and hotel rooms are usually at their very cheapest during the summer and for most of the fall, when Cancún gets its most rainfall and humid heat.
If you’re seeking a “Goldilocks Time” of great weather, more manageable crowds, and lower prices, you probably want to aim for a trip between Halloween and Thanksgiving, or a trip in April or May. If you insist on the best weather for outdoor activities, go during winter, but be prepared to pay more. If you want to save the most money, do a summer trip, but pack your umbrellas and raincoats, and be ready to change your plans in case the weather forecast turns wetter. Whenever you decide to go, enjoy your trip, and check out some fun towns off the beaten path that you may want to add to your itinerary.
The cover photo was taken by Michelle Raponi, licensed under Creative Commons, and made available by Pixabay.
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