Cancún is all that it’s hyped up to be – spectacular white sand beaches, high-rise resorts and a world-renowned party scene that spills from the nightclubs to the beach clubs. It has some unexpected gems too: leafy downtown plazas, festivals and holiday celebrations almost monthly, even a nearby national park and Maya ruins.

Add to that blue skies and balmy weather, and it’s no wonder Cancún is such a popular destination. Prices can certainly be high, especially at popular times like Christmas and Spring Break, but deals (and quiet beach days) can be found if you’re willing to visit in the off-season. It may be hot and there may be some rain, but it’s glorious just the same.

Rows of parasols and loungers on an empty beach in Cancun
No crowds and low prices can make an off-season visit to Cancun very tempting © Federico Scotto / Getty Images

Low season: May to June & September to November

Best time for travel deals

Hot weather and rain showers keep crowds at bay. Deal hunters will find major discounts on hotels, tours and even cover charges. The sun shines most days, but keep an eye on the forecast and heed hurricane warnings come autumn. Even if they don’t make landfall, stormy weather can mean heavy rain, powerful waves and a damper on nightlife too. November sees the return of beautiful weather and yet prices stay low.

tourists stand in long lines to enter the popular Coco Bongo nightclub in Cancun at the start of Spring Break
Tourists stand in long lines to enter the popular Coco Bongo nightclub in Cancun at the start of Spring Break © shakzu / Getty Images

High season: December to April

Best time for perfect weather and around-the-clock partying

Sunshine, warm weather and a legendary party scene brings plane-loads of beachgoers and partiers to Cancún, especially during Christmas, New Year and Spring Break. Book your accommodation far in advance and expect to pay a premium during the holidays. The temperate weather is optimal for sightseeing and snorkeling excursions, while strong and consistent winds on nearby Isla Blanca are ideal for kiteboarders.

Green sea turtle over coral reef underwater in Cancun
Shoulder season is the perfect time to snorkel and see the coral reefs teeming with life in Cancun © M.M. Sweet / Getty Images

Shoulder season: July to August

Best time for nightlife and whale sharks

The heat and humidity don’t stop partiers, especially Mexicans, from flocking to Cancún’s beaches. Short bursts of rain aren’t uncommon, but the sun always manages to shine. Balmy nights also mean perfect weather for bar hopping and dancing ‘til dawn. This is also the best time of year to snorkel with whale sharks and to watch sea turtle hatchlings make their first journey to the sea on Parque Nacional Isla Contoy. Hotel rates drop somewhat from high season, but not entirely.

Woman wearing hat on beach, rear view
Cancun's immaculate beaches await you © Buena Vista Images / Getty Images


Cancún is busy with travelers on an extended holiday and the last of the Christmas-related festivities. Peak-season prices continue through the middle of the month. Expect perfect beach weather – warm days and cool nights – with an occasional cloudy day.

Key events: Día de los Reyes Magos


The beautiful weather continues but Cancún slows down. The crowds dissipate until Carnaval when parades, wild costumes, street parties and live music take over downtown, including at Parque de las Palapas.

Key events: Carnaval


March brings spring-break madness as college kids descend on Cancún – expect epic beach parties, top-name musical acts, and packed nightclubs. Inception Fest, a month-long, nonstop party, adds fuel to the fire. Hotel rates peak and the weather gets warmer.

Key events: Spring Break, Inception Fest.

Two friends sit on swings at a beach bar
Spring breakers flock to Cancún to party in the sunshine © ranplett / Getty Images / iStockphoto


Spring breakers continue to arrive. Hotel rates stay high through Semana Santa (Holy Week) when Mexicans traditionally head to the beach. Cancún also celebrates its founding with free concerts and a parade along Avenida Tulum. The temperature continues to tick up.

Key events: Easter, Semana Santa, Fundación de Cancún.


The temperature breaks into the 90s and the humidity rises. It’s low season – tourism slows and hotel prices drop – but that doesn’t stop Cancún’s vibrant and often raucous events scene. Sea turtles begin to arrive on the shores of Isla Contoy for the nesting season.

Key events: Cancún Jumpoff, Wine and Food Festival Cancún, Challenge Cancún Triathlon,


Hurricane season officially begins. Expect hot, muggy days with occasional rain showers. Tourist numbers and hotel prices remain low though Pride Cancún brings a weekend of rainbow-themed beach parties, nightclub events and booze cruises.

Key events: Pride Cancún

People exploring Caribbean Sea underwater
Snorkeling in Cancún is a wonderful way to explore the underwater life of the reef © Stefan Cristian Cioata / Getty Images


July is a scorcher but marks the beginning of Mexican summer vacation. The city is busy again and hotel prices jump up. It’s the height of the whale shark season too, which runs from May to September; local dive shops offer snorkeling tours with these gentle giants near Isla Contoy. Festivals feature everything from beach cleanups to foam pits.

Key events: Festival de los Océanos, Destination X.


One of the hottest months of the year, August also sees an increase in rain. Mexican vacationers continue to arrive so prices hold steady. The first sea turtle hatchlings make their way to the ocean from their nests on Isla Contoy.


It's the height of the hurricane season, which means rainy days, few tourists and lots of deals. Mid-September brings Mexican Independence Day celebrations in Parque de las Palapas. Nearby, El Grito, the traditional cry of independence, can be heard at city hall.

Key events: Día de Independencia


Heavy rains continue in October but the sun typically makes a daily appearance. Cancún’s slowest period, some tour operators and restaurants close for the month. Major deals continue and the beaches are gloriously empty. Halloween is celebrated in the Zona Hotelera with alcohol-fueled costume parties. The sea turtle season winds down.

Key events: Cancún Jazz Festival, Halloween

A woman dressed as a Catrina - one of the most recognisable symbols of the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico
Día de Muertos is a huge celebration in Mexico © Sergio Carrasco / Sony Photography Awards


November brings a welcome break from the heat and rain. It kicks off with Day of the Dead celebrations in downtown Cancún and theme parties in the Zona Hotelera. Music and cultural events round out the month’s festivities. Tourist numbers remain low, as do hotel prices.

Key events: Día de Muertos, Día de los Inocentes, Festival de Cultura del Caribe, Festival Internacional de Música de Cancún.


The hurricane season is long gone and except for occasional nortes (storms bringing northerly winds), it’s perfect beach weather. Deals can be had until mid-December, when travelers begin to arrive for the Christmas holiday season, filling hotels and driving prices sky high.

Key events: Día de Virgen de Guadalupe, Christmas, New Year's Eve, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Cancún

You may also like:
Best free and almost free things to do in Cancún
The best ways to get around Cancún
7 stunning Cancún beaches

See our full range of Mexico travel books

Make the most of your time in Mexico with Lonely Planet’s range of travel guides and phrasebooks. Be the architect of your own trip as you discover the best things to do in Mexico through insider tips, suggested itineraries and handy maps.

Buy Mexico travel books

Explore related stories