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

The best months to visit Riviera Maya are January through April, the same as Cancun and Cozumel. The worst months 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.

Visitors to Riviera Maya often fly into Cancun’s international airport and drive down to the strip of resorts that line the coast between Tulum and Cancun.

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 and worst times to go.

Four Best Months to Go

Riviera Maya monthly rainfall
Riviera Maya monthly rainfall. © 2017 Scott S. Bateman

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

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

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

April’s average high temperature reaches into the upper 80s for the first time of the year, while the average lows climb several more degrees as well, according to the National Weather Service of Mexico.

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

Despite slightly cooler weather, February and March are the next best months to vacation in Riviera Maya because rainfall again averages less than two inches each month.

January is both a few degrees cooler than February and March and also has a slightly higher chance of rain.

Although peak season is usually December through April, it is best to avoid December because rainfall is usually higher than the other months.

Five Worst Months to Go

Riviera Maya monthly temperatures
Riviera Maya monthly temperatures. © 2017 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 than the more popular peak season of December through April.

May and July experience average high temperatures at 90 degrees Fahrenheit while 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 17, 2020