Weather in Riviera Maya & Cancun: When is the best time to travel?

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We all hope to have the perfect weather in Riviera Maya & Cancun during our vacation. After so much time planning, saving and counting down with excitement, the last thing anyone would want is for a hurricane or tropical depression to ruin our Caribbean holiday. 

The weather forecasts and predictions are almost never 100% accurate and the weather can change instantly. Today on our blog we share with you our experiences and advice as locals.

Cancun Hotel Zone Beach

How is the weather in Riviera Maya & Cancun?

In general, the weather in Riviera Maya & Cancun can be defined as “summer all year round”, very hot and humid – the perfect climate to enjoy the paradisiacal beaches of the Caribbean. 

The coasts of the state of Quintana Roo receive the hot marine currents from the Gulf of Mexico that results in spectacular climate, which is considered as tropical as it can also bring some rain throughout the year. We have approximately 300 days of sunshine a year.

As it is tropical climate, there may be the occasional unforeseen light or fast shower that normally does not last more than ten minutes, allowing tourists and locals to continue enjoying the sun of the Mexican Caribbean. With our tropical climate, we locals basically consider 2 seasons in Riviera Maya & Cancun: summer and winter.

Portal Maya in Downtown Playa del Carmen

Weather in Riviera Maya & Cancun in Summer

June:

During the month of June, the area begins to heat up more, having an average of 31 degrees Celsius. June is one of the months with the most influx of tourism and is also associated with something that many fear, hurricanes.

The hurricane season is officially from May to November. According to the statistics, most hurricanes occurred in the months of August to October. However, there is no need to worry too. Even if you travel to the Riviera Maya or Cancun during this season, the chances of a hurricane hitting the destination are extremely low. Riviera Maya & Cancun has only been hit by two major hurricanes, Gilberto in 1988 and Wilma in 2005, 17 years apart.          

In mid-May, whale sharks begin to migrate to the warmer waters of the Caribbean ocean and therefore by June, they have settled in their Mexican seasonal home and whale shark swim tours are available for our tourists.

July:

July is the most humid month of the year, with levels ranging from 70 to 85% moisture, which makes it feel extremely sticky and you will definitely sweat a lot. 

During the month of July, the temperature exceeds 32 degrees Celsius. This may sound not very hot to some, but if when you add the humidity factor to it, the actual temperature feel is 6 degrees higher. Of course, a swim on the beach and a cold refreshing cocktail will help a lot to cool things down.  

As for tours and excursions, this is the best season to for all activities. Just don’t forget to stay well hydrated and wear breathable cotton clothing.

August:

In the month of August, the minimum temperature in Riviera Maya & Cancun is 28 degrees Celsius, making August the hottest month of the year. In addition, the humidity continues to increase. 

August is within the hurricane season and the likelihood of a hurricane occurring is higher than in June and July, but not as high as in the months of September and October. We could say, that at the end of August has a higher chance than in the beginning of August. However, it is important to remember that the chances of a hurricane affecting the Riviera Maya or Cancun are still very low.  

August is the fourth month with the most precipitation of the year, with an average of 4 days of rain in total. The humidity index continues to be in the high ranges of 70% to 84% throughout the month, generating a hot and sticky feeling; the perfect excuse to enjoy a dip in the pool or cenote.

Chichen Itza Visitors

Weather in Riviera Maya & Cancun in Winter

November:

November falls within the autumn months and for us locals, it is a very important month that officially indicates the end of the hurricane season.

Temperatures for some days reach up to an average of 30 degrees Celsius and the lowest is around 20 degrees Celsius.   

November is quite dry; we barely reached a total of 10 cm of rain spread over 5 days throughout the month, making it the 5th driest of the year. However, this “dry” does not affect the humidity of the atmosphere, which still ranges between 75% and 86% (humidity is all year round here).   

December:

In December, for the locals the cold winter finally makes itself felt, in theory.

The temperatures can reach up to an average of 25 degrees Celsius in the day and the lowest on average is about 20 degrees in the evenings but cold fronts can cause the temperature to go down more.

Fun fact: On March 4, 2013, Cancun woke up to 9 degrees Celsius, a fact that was considered historic on social networks. It may not seem very cold, but for a place whose houses are only air-conditioned and its population has more bathing suits than sweaters, it was quite an event. 

January:

This month becomes unbearably cold for the locals. Tourists from colder places can feel very comfortable without sweating all day, but with a minimum temperature of about 17 degrees Celsius, I can assure you that you will see many locals wearing warmer clothing. If you come from a country with cold climate, you will not have any issues and you can enjoy the Caribbean without any problems as the temperature’s higher average is around 25 degrees Celsius.   

It is important to mention that during this month, we occasionally experience cold fronts that refresh the destination, that can cause the temperatures to a low average of 12 or 13 degrees Celsius during its duration (So don’t forget a light sweater, just in case).

February:

The average high temperature in February is about 28 degrees Celsius and a low of around 19 degrees Celsius; we normally feel the latter only at dawn.    

As for rain, there is no need to worry. February is the third driest month of the year, so the chances of a downpour ruining your vacation are slim to none.   Your hotel pool is probably a bit cold compared to the sea, so it is a good time of year to enjoy water activities such as snorkeling.

Snorkeling in the Reef

In conclusion: What is the best season to travel to Riviera Maya & Cancun?

As you have read, “summer all year round” in Riviera Maya & Cancun is something very real. Temperatures remain high with little variation throughout the year and although there are months with more chances of rain, it is almost certain that if you come for more than a couple of days, you will have at least one sunny day regardless of the time of year.

So, what is the best time to travel to Riviera Maya & Cancun? Honestly, the answer is based on when suits you best.

The months under the “hurricane/rain season (from August to October)” are usually also the months with the best promotions and discounts on both flights and accommodations. This is sometime that may attract you to consider.

If money is not a problem and the only thing you are interested in is having the best climate, the ideal months to travel are in April, May and the beginning of June since in general the temperatures are warmer than in winter, but not so hot like summer. In addition, these months do not fall in the hurricane season and rainy days are rare.

At the end of the day, as a local here, any time is good to enjoy the Riviera Maya & Cancun.

Cancun Sign in Playa Delfines
Destino Riviera

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