With average temperatures ranging from 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, and some 253 days of sunshine a year, Cancun makes a good case for prospective visitors during any month of the year. In fact, more than 4 million tourists annually descend on the Mexican resort’s 14 miles of fine sand beaches and top-rated hotels. Cancun may have found both fame and infamy as a spring break resort, but the hotel zone’s bars, restaurants and activity desks never shut down for an off-season and do a brisk trade well outside the party season.
Like many resorts around the Caribbean Sea, Cancun’s high season runs from mid-December to April, with the weeks around Christmas the most coveted. For snowbirds escaping the North American and European winters, Christmas and New Year's among the palm trees command hotel rates up to 50 percent higher than the regular season, with advanced booking (up to three months) essential. The payoff is average daytime temperatures around 84 degrees and cool evenings of around 64 degrees on average. Visitors during the high season can enjoy the full panoply of scuba diving, water sports and inland tours as the resort hits its stride.
From mid-March to early April, more than 40,000 college students descend on Cancun for spring break, consolidating the resort’s place as the most popular spring break destination worldwide. For participants, the period sees the hotel zone turn over almost 25,000 rooms and scores of nightclubs for a week or so of budget revelry, legal drinking at 18 and visits by top international DJs. The most popular hotel is the giant Oasis Cancun with more than 1,000 rooms. Reports that the resort finds itself swamped by hordes of beer-chugging students, though, are exaggerated. Stay at the upmarket, five- and six-star hotels such as the Hyatt Cancun and the Cancun Palace, and spring breakers are few and far between, and in some cases banned from the premises.
As soon as Easter is over, Cancun’s hotel rates drop considerably, and visitors can snap up reductions of up to 30 percent in some resorts. The low season from May to October is the cheapest time to visit Cancun and a good option for those who plan to spend most of their time scuba diving underwater or out on the ocean. For beachgoers, however, conditions are noticeably less appealing than over the winter season. Temperatures in July and August can reach 97 degrees during the day and humidity is high. From mid-September to mid-November, frequent rain showers can shut down the El Centro streets because of flooding. Beware also that hurricane season runs from June to December, with storms most likely around September. However, storms arrive with plenty of warning and guests would have ample time to evacuate should a hurricane be forecast.
Events and Activities
As a year-round destination, Cancun hosts a seamless calendar of popular, easily accessible activities, but for the niche pursuits, some months are better than others. Big game fishermen, for example, will find little to do around Christmas, since the Blue Marlin season peaks around June and July when the waters are warmest. There is little game fishing of any kind during September and October. Hotel guests can take part in turtle release programs during the nesting season from May to October, when resorts such as the Ritz-Carlton organize nighttime tours of the beaches. Culture buffs would like the vibrant carnival in March and the jazz festival in May. And November’s Cancun Film Festival increasingly attracts big Hollywood stars promoting their movies.
- Cancun Film Festival
- Spring Break Cancun: Kickin' It in Cancun
- Mail Online: American Students Are Flooding Cancun for Spring Break Amid Fears That Other Mexican Resort Towns Are 'Too Dangerous' for Tourists
- Cancun Music Festival
- Frommers: Planning a Trip to Cancun
- Cancun Travel
- Visit Mexico: Cancun
- Nile Guide: Sea Turtle Nesting Season
- Fodor’s: Cancun Travel Guide
- Fodor’s: When to Go to Cancun
- Photo Credit Svetaleo/iStock/Getty Images
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