Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
Riviera Maya

Best and Worst Times to Visit Riviera Maya

Riviera Maya beach
Visitors flock to Riviera Maya beaches in the spring. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

The best times to visit Riviera Maya are January through April, the same as Cancun and Cozumel. The worst times are September and October during the peak rainy season.

The three popular tourist destinations are located close to each other and share similar weather and peak tourism seasons.

Riviera Maya is a popular resort area on the Caribbean coast of Mexico that lies between Cancun to the north and Tulum to the south. The dominant city is Playa del Carmen.

Cozumel, the largest island in Mexico, lies about 12 miles across the water from Playa del Carmen, which is Riviera Maya’s most popular tourist attraction because of its extensive dining and shopping district along Fifth Avenue. Western Caribbean cruise visitors to Cozumel often take a day trip over to Playa del Carmen.

Cancun and Riviera Maya are resort destinations while Cozumel is mainly a cruise destination. But they share common weather, and as a result they all have the same best times to go.

Four Best Times to Go

Riviera Maya monthly rainfall
Riviera Maya monthly rainfall shows the best and worst months for risk of rain. © Scott S. Bateman

April is the best month to visit for a combination of warm temperatures and low chances of rain.

April’s average high temperature reaches into the upper 80s Fahrenheit or about 30 Celsius for the first time of the year, according to Servicio Meteorológico Nacional, the national weather service of Mexico. The average lows climb several more degrees as well.

April also is one of the driest months of the year with an average rainfall of less than three inches.

Despite slightly cooler weather, March is the next best month to vacation in Riviera Maya. Rainfall averages less than two inches a month.

Average high temperatures range in the low to mid 80s Fahrenheit for January through March, which is warm enough for time on the beach. Temperatures climb again in April.

But the average low temperatures—mostly at night—drop into the upper 60s Fahrenheit. They often will make seawater uncomfortable for swimming in combination with cooling trade winds, especially in the mornings.

January isn’t as ideal as March and April. It is both a few degrees cooler than February and March and also has a much higher chance of rain.

Although peak season is usually December through April, December and January have somewhat higher rainfall than the other months.

Five Worst Months to Go

Riviera Maya monthly temperatures
Monthly temperatures show the best and worst months for warm weather. © Scott S. Bateman

The Caribbean hurricane season brings plenty of rain to Riviera Maya.

The season officially runs from June 1 through Nov. 30, but the area around Riviera Maya has a big spike in rain during June, a slight pause in July and then picks up strongly from August through November.

September and October historically are the worst months for rain when total rainfall averages 9 to 10 inches a month.

Average high temperatures climb to 90 degrees or higher from May through September.

Resort prices usually hit a low point in September and October, which may be appealing to adventurous tourists on a limited budget.

Three Other Months

May, July and December average about three to four inches of rain each month and present better opportunities to go than June and the August through November period.

Beaches will be less crowded and prices may be lower in May and July than the more popular peak season of December through April.

May and July are ideal for beach lovers. They have average high temperatures at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. December’s average high is about 83 degrees Fahrenheit, the National Weather Service of Mexico reports.

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.
February 21, 2024

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