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The Best and Worst Times to Visit Cancun: A Guide

Cancun

The decision to visit Cancun, Mexico, is one that is made by literally thousands of people on an annual basis. It's easy to see why it would be an ideal travel destination for a lot of individuals. They have beaches, warm weather and some truly breathtaking sights. There's plenty to do there and you have the opportunity to enjoy yourself to the fullest extent possible.

In fact, it is easy to make memories there that you will likely carry with you for the rest of your life. That being said, Cancun is just like every other location in the sense that there are certain times of the year that are more popular than others. There is also a certain time of year to go that is just better than others. That doesn't necessarily mean that the best time to go is during the most popular travel months when virtually every other tourist is headed there, either.

If you really want to know when the best time to visit Cancun is, you need to keep reading. It all has to do with things like avoiding hurricane season, being there when the temperatures are at their most agreeable and of course, avoiding the crowds.

If you really want to experience Cancun for all it has to offer, that doesn't necessarily mean jumping on a plane and traveling there during the summer months when everyone else is doing exactly the same thing. As a matter of fact, you might be surprised about the best times to travel here.

When Do Most People Travel to Cancun?

You might be a bit shocked to learn that Cancun sees the most tourists between November and April. This is something that most people are unaware of until they try to book travel to the region, largely because almost every location around the world sees its peak travel season during the months between June and August. With the exception of locations like Australia, this is when most people travel because that's when the overwhelming majority of individuals have the most time off work.

Cancun is a little bit different, largely because it is one of the premier spring break destinations around the world. Since most colleges are actively allowing students time off for spring break between March and April, the population of Cancun can easily double or even triple in size during these months. In fact, it's not at all uncommon for even the most serene beaches to become so crowded that you literally can't move without running into someone else.

As a result, you'll definitely be spending a lot of time dealing with other tourists if you decide to travel there during the busiest spring break travel season. That can be unfortunate, largely because that's also when the weather is often the most agreeable. More will be discussed about that later on. For now, what you need to know is that the weather might very well be quite pleasant during the months of March and April, but you also have to contend with a number of other people if that's when you decide to go.

What Are the Hottest Months of the Year in the Region?

Considering the fact that Cancun is located in Mexico, it probably won't come as any surprise to you that the hottest months are May through September. As a matter of fact, temperatures typically start climbing in early May and they usually don't even think about providing you with any relief until at least the third week of September. Increasingly, you have those years where it starts getting hot sometime in April and it doesn't actually cool down enough to be comfortable until mid-October.

Granted, a lot of people travel to warm-weather locations during the hottest times of the year and they do just fine. That being said, you have to take into consideration the fact that in Cancun, the hottest weather can be a lot to handle, even for the people that live there. It isn't at all uncommon for the temperatures to climb up into the high nineties and stay there all day long.

The bigger problem is that during the hottest months, you don't even get a great deal of relief at night. As such, Cancun can quickly become a sweltering location where it's impossible to enjoy almost any type of outdoor activity, no matter when it's planned.

If you think that the solution to the heat is to simply stay by the beach where you have constant access to the water, you might want to think about developing a different plan. That's basically the plan that everyone seems to have. The next thing you know, you're being literally crammed onto a beach like a bunch of sardines where no one has any elbow room to turn around, much less to get into the water. Even if crowds don't bother you, it can be significant enough to effectively end any relaxation that you were planning on having.

What About Traveling During the Winter?

Perhaps you are someone who's always dreamed of traveling to Cancun, yet you are definitely not a fan of summer temperatures. If that's the case, there certainly isn't anything wrong with that. There are plenty of people who don't necessarily like the idea of sweating half to death every second of the day. It's possible that you could consider traveling to the region during the coolest times of the year.

This is typically December through February. Since Cancun is a warm-weather location, there isn't a great deal of time out of the year that it's actually cool. That being said, these are the three months that you'll typically find to be cooler than just about any other time of the year.

If you're really adventurous (and you really like cool weather), you might even consider going during January. If you are lucky, you might even find a day or two during that month where the temperatures are cool enough that you might even need a jacket.

When Should You Travel to Avoid the Crowds?

A lot of people want to travel to Cancun, yet they have a strong desire to avoid the crowds that automatically come with visiting during spring break. That's more than understandable, especially if you want to immerse yourself in local culture. After all, it's almost impossible to really get to know what it's like for the people who live there when there are tens of thousands of tourists running all over the place.

If you're in the mood for a more authentic experience, such as visiting Cancun's famous downtown (known by locals as El Centro), then you need to take this into consideration or you'll end up getting the same tourist experience that everyone else has. What does that mean for you as a traveler? Unfortunately, it means that you need to find a time when the weather is agreeable, when the crowds are far less likely to be out in full force and when you won't get charged an arm and a leg for traveling there.

What You Need to Know

The thing that makes it so difficult is that when it's not sweltering hot, Cancun tends to have a lot of rain. Therefore, if you go anytime between December and February, you still might not have the chance to enjoy the local culture because you might end up getting rained out every day. The rest of the time, it may be too hot for you to enjoy much of it in any capacity.

It's also worth noting that both airlines and hotels tend to give massive discounts during the months of March and April because it’s a popular spring break destination. You can definitely travel there on a budget during this time of year, but again, you'll have to put up with the crowds. If you go during other times of the year, it's actually likely to cost you far more money. Typically, you can travel to different locations during times other than the peak travel times of the year and get huge discounts, but that simply isn't the case here.

The Best Times of the Year to Travel to Cancun

It's already been well-established that the best times of the year to travel to Cancun will largely depend on what you want to do when you get there. If the crowds don't bother you, then it's really best to travel during the warmer months of the year, despite the fact that you'll likely have to deal with more tourists.

The one caveat is that you probably should avoid traveling there during the month of June at all costs, as this is typically the hottest month of the entire year. It's so hot during that time of year that even the locals do their best to avoid the heat.

It's probably not going to be a trip that you'll enjoy very much if you find yourself stuck inside your hotel room all day long because it's too hot to go out. Again, most people consider the best times of the year to travel to the area to be during the months of March and April.

When Should You Avoid Traveling to the Area?

Even if you plan on traveling during some time other than peak travel season, there are still certain times that you should just refrain from visiting, no matter how badly you want to go. For example, it's typically not a good idea to travel to the area during the months of September or October, largely because this is the area’s hurricane season. Obviously, you don't want to get there and then find yourself in a situation where you're faced with a major hurricane. It's not safe to stay in the area if that happens.

Even if you desperately want to travel there during this time of year, it really is something best avoided. The last thing you want to do is find yourself in an unfamiliar area where you're being forced to evacuate. It can put you and the people that you care most about in danger because you don't know where you need to go and you may not be able to reach out to individuals who live there in order to get help when you need it the most.

So, When Should You Go to Cancun?

You’ve probably heard that Cancun is an ideal travel destination for the overwhelming majority of your life. After all, it is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. After reading this, you're also probably wondering when you can actually go and enjoy the region, particularly if you don't plan on going during the months of March or April and becoming part of the spring break frenzy.

If you can't go during September, October or June, then when can you go? Remember, May through September tend to be exceptionally hot as well. You probably also want to avoid the rainy season, so visiting during October may not be the best idea, either. What does that leave you? Believe it or not, Cancun makes an ideal travel destination for Christmas.

Conclusion

Traveling there toward the end of December and into the beginning of January gives you an opportunity to celebrate both Christmas and New Year's in the area and get a taste of local culture, all at the same time. You'll have to pay a bit more for hotel rooms and your airline tickets are likely to cost more as well. However, it will definitely be worth it, especially if you're not into dealing with the spring break crowds that flock to the beaches every single March and April.

Cancun is indeed a beautiful location and it's one that should be enjoyed. The ideal time to travel there will depend on whether or not you like to be around lots of people and the type of weather that you consider to be your ideal fit. If you love crowds and the whole spring break thing doesn't bother you, then take advantage of the discounts and travel during March and April. If that's not your forte, then consider going there for the holidays throughout Christmas and New Years. The idea is to visit Cancun when it truly speaks to your soul because if you do, it will be a trip you will always remember.

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Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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