Cruise and Beach Destinations
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Best and Worst Times to Visit Cancun

This video explains the best time to visit Cancun and avoid the annual hurricane season.
Full-Screen Version | YouTube Caribbean Channel

The best time to visit Cancun is March and April when temperatures are in the 80s Fahrenheit and high 20s Celsius. Rainfall is the lowest of the year. The worst time is September and October during hurricane season.

Although March and April are usually ideal, travel planners have some other options.

How can you avoid the Cancun hurricane season and the cooler winter weather but also avoid the crowds? Multiple visits and plenty of research provide some useful insights on both the best and worst times to go.

  • The hottest months -— when temperatures can reach above 90 degrees -— are May through September. June is usually the hottest of them all.
  • The lowest temperatures are December through February. January is typically the coolest. Water temperatures will feel chilly at times.
  • The lowest rainfall is February through April.
  • The peak tourist season is November through April; March sees a spike in visitors because of school spring breaks.
  • Airline prices peak from mid-December to mid-January, and the cheapest tickets are usually available in September and October (the wettest months).

Cancun travel guide | Best beaches | Cancun attractions

Worst Time to Visit Cancun

Cancun tourism statistics
These statistics from the Caribbean Tourism Organization show the number of visitors to Cancun by month for the most recent available year. Source: © Scott S. Bateman

The worst time to visit Cancun is during the Caribbean hurricane season from June through November. It hits Cancun especially hard with heavy rains in September and October.

Average rainfall spikes in June, drops back down in July and August, then goes up to more than eight inches in September and October. The number of days with rain is an average of 14 in September and 16 in October, according to Mexico’s national weather service.

Cancun’s Hurricane Season

The annual Cancun hurricane season officially runs from June 1 through Nov. 30 along with the rest of the Caribbean. Cancun usually has the highest risk from hurricanes and tropical storms in September and October.

But the season is not as scary as it sounds. The average Caribbean hurricane season has six to eight hurricanes and about 12 to 16 tropical storms, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. But because the region is so large, few Caribbean destinations get directly hit by hurricanes or tropical storms. Still, quite a few of them including Cancun have plenty of rainfall as a result of storms and hurricanes passing through the area.

Cancun monthly rainfall and hurricane season
Monthly rainfall and average days with rain in Cancun reach a high point in September and October during hurricane season. © Scott S. Bateman

It is normal for most Caribbean destinations to have about eight to 10 rain days each month and see a climb during the fall months, which is the peak of the Caribbean hurricane season.

For Cancun, 16+ days of rain in October is normal (and one of the highest in the Caribbean region).

Most destinations also average about three or four inches of total rain each month, although it varies by season.

Cancun receives more than eight inches on average in September and October, again among the highest in the region.

But it is not as high as some of the rainforest destinations such as Dominica and Grenada.

One reason to consider going there in September or October is to take advantage of lower prices and smaller crowds. If that’s tempting, try to make it a last-minute vacation and review the long-range weather forecast before buying airline tickets and booking a hotel.

Air and Water Temperatures in Cancun

Average monthly Cancun temperatures
Average monthly Cancun temperatures. © Scott S. Bateman

Average air temperatures are plenty warm during the summer. High temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 Celsius from May through September, but winter is another story. High temperatures from December through February average in the low 80s Fahrenheit or high 20s Celsius.

Those temperatures sound comfortable enough, but another factor comes into play. Cold trade winds create a wind chill effect that cools the water and beach to uncomfortable temperatures. This is when resort guests often spend more time in heated pools than on the beach or in the seawater.

Important tip: Anyone who plans to go during the winter should ask the resort or hotel if they heat their pool and how much. As we found out, a heated pool makes a big difference during cool weather and strong trade winds.

Average low temperatures, which take place mainly at night, also have an impact. They lower the seawater temperatures, which tend to hover midway between the high and low of the day’s air temperature.

The best swimming time during the winter is mid to late afternoon -— if it’s possible to swim at all. During the hot summer months, just about any time will do.

Cancun’s Busiest Months and Seasons

  • Because of rain, it is no surprise that the least popular time to visit Cancun is during September and October.
  • The three least favorite months are September through November, while the most popular months are December, March, and July followed by January and February, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
  • Visits spike in March partly because of college spring breaks. Families might prefer another month because of the party atmosphere.
  • December through February are popular months throughout the region because people want to escape from winter. But that time has a downside because temperatures are not ideal.
  • Visits drop during May even though the odds of rain in June are higher than May.
  • Another spike takes place in July because children are out of school and families are more likely to visit.

Cancun Weather by Month

Cancun surf
Cancun beaches fill with people during the spring but not during the cooler winter months. Source: Pixabay public domain


The average high temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit or 28 Celsius may sound good to a vacation planner. But the average low of 69 Fahrenheit or 21 Celsius brings the ocean water temperatures down to an uncomfortable level in January. Rainfall is moderate at nearly four inches.


Cancun temperatures in February increase about 1 degree but leave the ocean still cool for swimming. The dry season has arrived with average rainfall of less than two inches.


Beach lovers will find better temperatures for sunning and swimming. Rainfall still hovers about two inches. It rains only five days on average this month. The weather in March is one of the best of the year.


April is even better than March. It is the best month of the year for low rain and warm temperatures. It also has rain only four days on average.


It’s still the dry season, but average rainfall increases to nearly four inches per month. It also is the first month when average high temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 32 Celsius.


The rainy season arrives in June with an average rainfall above five inches. The number of days with rain increases to 11. Temperatures stay hot.


Cancun beach wedding
March and April are some of the best months to visit Cancun for good weather. Source: Pixabay public domain

It’s even hotter with an average high of 92 Fahrenheit or 33 Celsius. Rainfall is usually lighter this month than in June.


The hottest month of the year often has a small increase in rain versus July. It is a good month for people who like their beaches steaming hot.

Cancun in September has some of the worst weather with as much as 10 inches or more of rain. It also is the last month with temperatures above 90 Fahrenheit. Vacation planners should avoid Cancun in September unless it is a last-minute vacation with a clear weather forecast.


October is only slightly worse than September. Average rainfall still hovers around 10 inches for the month. It has the highest number of days with rain for the year at a total of 16. Like September, vacationers should avoid October unless the short-term forecast looks good.


The rainy season starts to decline in November with average rainfall of more than five inches per month. Average high temperatures are comfortable at 85 Fahrenheit or 29 Celsius.


Cooler with average highs of 83 Fahrenheit or 28 Celsius. Ocean temperatures are uncomfortable at times, especially on days with strong trade winds. Still, people flock to Cancun this month to escape from northern winters.

Caribbean in December will find weather in the mid to upper 80s Fahrenheit and moderate rainfall for most islands. But some islands do better than others.

Cancun in Winter

A popular time to visit Cancun is December through February because it is a quick and convenient getaway from the northern winter.

But as someone who visited there in late February, I can say from personal experience that the weather was cool enough to keep most people out of the water or from even sunning on the beaches. Strong trade winds made it feel even cooler.

That didn’t stop us from finding other things to do. The best part: far fewer crowds than other months of the year.

Cheapest Time to Visit Cancun

The cheapest time to go to Cancun also is the least popular time— in September and October during the high point of the rainy season, when hotel prices drop and crowded beaches are non-existent.

Why would anyone go in September and October for low prices if it rains too much? The answer lies in last-minute vacations.

Tip: Check the weather forecast for the next seven to 10 days, especially in the east Atlantic, for approaching storms and hurricanes. If the forecast looks good, check major travel sites for last-minute deals.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
December 28, 2023

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