Best Time to Visit Cancun

Best Time to Visit Cancun


When is the Best Time to Visit Cancun?

December to April are the best times for visiting Cancun, offering the perfect mix of sunny skies and little rain. April and December offer the best weather, while May is best for wildlife (whale sharks have arrived and sea turtles are nesting), and November is the least crowded and best-priced (though can be rainy some years). Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Holy Week are the busiest time for Mexican family vacations.

  • Best Time to Visit Cancun for Good Weather: Cancun weather can be fantastic almost all year round, though it is particularly excellent from the end of December through April, with January through March being the absolute peak time for fantastic weather. These months have the least amount of rain and humidity, the balmiest temperatures, and the sunniest skies. Expect gorgeous beach conditions nearly every day, and pleasant weather for exploring the ruins and jungles inland. Ocean temperatures are cooler than during the summer months, but still comfortable for swimming. Night and early morning temperatures are mostly warm during this time, but can get a little cool from December through February, so it’s a good idea to pack a light jacket or sweater if traveling during the winter months.
  • Best Time to Visit Cancun for Great Deals: The best time for great deal is during the summer rainy season, from July through October, with especially discounted prices in September, October, and November. This coincides with hurricane season, but hurricanes have only landed here twice in the past thirty years. The vast majority of days during the wet season are hot, dry, and humid, but with little rain in short bursts. For travelers who don’t mind the heat and occasional rain shower, this is the ideal time to travel. Hotel rates are supremely discounted, and deal-hunters will also find cheaper fares on flights and excursions. Travelers during these months can save hundreds, even thousands, of dollars versus any other time of the year.
  • Best Time to Visit Cancun for Families and Kids: April through June and November are the best times in Cancun for families traveling with children. Rates for hotels, flights, and excursions are lower than during the high season, attractions and beaches are less crowded, and the weather is warm and comfortable, great for visiting the Maya ruins and adventure parks in the inland jungles. Water temperatures are warm for swimming and snorkeling during all of these months, with whale sharks and sea turtles both present in May and June. The only exceptions to this are during the week of Thanksgiving when tons of Americans visit, and during Holy Week (Semana Santa), the week leading up to Easter, which is the busiest holiday week for Mexican families.
  • Best Time to Visit Cancun for Avoiding Crowds: The best time for avoiding crowds is during the rainy season, from June through October, especially in September and October. As mentioned before, these months line up with hurricane season, though storms are very rare. Travelers during this time will find beaches blissfully empty and tours to the ruins almost private. Be advised that because there are fewer travelers at this time, many tour operators and restaurants close down for their own breaks, especially during the month of October.
  • Best Time to Visit Cancun or Sightseeing (Jungles and Ruins): December and April are the best months for sightseeing at Chichen Itza, Valladolid, and the jungle adventure parks. Weather is suitable from Mid-December all the way through April, with sunny days, very little rain, warm temperatures, and relatively low humidity. However, the peak travel time is January through March, so during that time, attractions will be very crowded. Traveling at the start or end of the best weather, in December and April, gives you ideal conditions for exploring all that the Cancun area has to offer.
  • Best Time to Visit Cancun for Swimming, Snorkeling, and Diving: Oceans, reefs, and cenotes are truly wonderful all year round, though there are some fluctuations in conditions. Water temperatures are at their lowest in February and March and at their highest from July through October. September and October tend to have more rainy days, though, so July and August are the better of these four months for swimming. For diving and snorkeling, Cancun is not the best spot. Though it’s fronted by a huge reef and filled with wildlife, the water is often rough enough to reduce visibility, plus the coral near the main Hotel Zone is mostly dead. Snorkeling and diving tours usually take visitors to nearby Isla Mujeres, MUSA, or Punta Nizuc at the south end of the Hotel Zone, where the water is calmer and clearer with active marine life. Visibility is best in the drier months, from November through May, especially during the months of January through March. For snorkeling, with whale sharks in particular, visit in late May; the water is warm, visibility is good, and the first whale sharks have arrived.
  • Best Time for to Visit Cancun Whale Sharks and Sea Turtles: Cancun is one of the most reliable spots for seeing these two endangered animals. Whale sharks begin to arrive in May and are plentiful by June. From June through August, whale shark tours have almost 100% chance of locating these gentle giants, usually several at a time in one location. Whale sharks begin to leave the area in September and are almost all gone by the end of the month. Adult sea turtles begin nesting on the beaches in May, especially toward the end of the month and finish laying in October. The baby sea turtles begin hatching and heading seaward in July, continuing their nightly treks through December. The best time to see all three groups (whale sharks, nesting turtles, and baby turtles) is in July and August when all are fully present and active.
  • Best Time to Visit Cancun for Honeymoon: Cancun is most beautiful from December through May, with ideal beach conditions and clear skies throughout these drier months, the perfect honeymoon mix. Early December, April, and May offer the best mix of good weather, low-ish crowds, and good room rates for honeymooners celebrating on a bit of a budget. January through March has the best weather, with the most number of sunny days, and near perfect beach conditions, but rates are higher and crowds are thicker.
  • Best Time to Visit Cancun for Nightlife: Cancun always has great nightlife, with parties going on continually at all of the uptown clubs and bars near Punta Cancun in the Hotel Zone. However, different times of the year attract different party crowds. Cancun is most legendary for its Spring Break, with wild parties all day and night, top international DJs, and bikini contests throughout the whole month of March. June through mid-July also see tons of partying, this time for high-school grads cutting loose before college begins. The legal drinking age is 18 in Mexico, but IDs are rarely checked. For amazing, grown-up nightlife, visit from December through February. Clubs and bars still get crazy, but the crowds’ average age is over 25, and they’re less likely to barf on your shoes.
  • Best Time to Book Flights and Hotels for Cancun: Who doesn’t want to nab the cheapest airfare when booking a flight to Cancun? While it’s not down to a science, there are tricks to help you get the best price. Generally, the sooner the better; however, buying too far in advance can sometimes get you a worse deal than if you’d waited a bit. Prices are highest if you wait too long. The sweet spot tends to be around three to four months in advance, with the best airfares typically found for low season trips taken between late spring and early to mid-fall. When it comes to hotels, the earlier you book the better deal you’ll find, as there are only a certain number of rooms available at the lowest rates – when they’re booked, prices increase. Reserve your room as soon as you’ve booked your flight if possible.
  • A Note About Spring Break: While Cancun was once infamous for its huge, noisy crowds of spring breakers and a destination to avoid during the month of March, by staying outside of the main drag, not venturing into the clubs late at night and simply avoiding hotels that cater to that group, you’ll enjoy a relatively peaceful environment. Those who want to find a party can easily do so, while those who prefer a more subdued atmosphere can find that as well.

Different Things To Do In The Cancun Hotel Zone - Xcaret Blog - Read about  travel tips, gastronomy, nature and Mexican culture on Blog Xcaret



Cancun Travel Seasons

  • High Season (Mid-December through March): Winter and early spring are peak travel times in Cancun when rates for hotels and flights are at their priciest and crowds at their heaviest. Christmas, New Year’s, and especially Spring Break are the most popular times for travel here. But by booking a several months in advance, travelers can find better rates and occasional deals. To avoid crowds during high season, book your stay in Riviera Cancun, Playa Mujeres, and Isla Mujeres, which are all less populous than the main drag along the Hotel Zone.
  • Low Season (June through October): Summer is the low season here when deal-hunters can score the best rates on hotel rooms, flights, and excursions. Expect beaches, bars, and attractions to be low-key and much less crowded than usual. These budget-friendly months are not the best weather-wise, with long hot days and frequent showers. Storms are generally heavy but brief, and though this is technically hurricane season, big storms are rare and have only landed twice in the past thirty years. July and the tail end of October tend to have the driest and least cloudy days of the season.
  • Shoulder Season (April, May, and November through mid-December): Shoulder season can be an amazing time to visit Cancun, with sunny days, lower chance of rain, and manageable crowds. Though deals aren’t as hot as in the low season, room rates are much lower than in the high season, especially if booking in advance or for stays over five nights. Exceptions to this fall during Thanksgiving Week, a popular travel time for Americans, and during Holy Week, the week before Easter, the busiest time for Mexican family vacations.

Cancun Weather by Month

Cancun Weather in January: January in Cancun is warm, sunny, and dry, with daily highs around 28°C – dropping down to a cooler, comfortable 20°C at night. Cancun is located on the edge of a tropical jungle, so humidity is always present, but January is the least muggy time of the year, especially toward the end of the month. This is a great month to get out and explore the ruins and jungle inland, as well as visiting Downtown Cancun and the beach. Rain showers come occasionally, but they are typically very light and brief, lasting only an hour or two. Ocean temperatures are cooler than other times of the year but are still comfortable for swimming. Visibility is excellent for snorkeling or diving. (Average Max Temperature: 28°C, Average Rainfall: 46mm, Days with Rain: 7, Ocean Temperature: 27°C.)

  • Cancun Weather in February: February continues the trend of gorgeous weather, just a degree or so warmer than January and slightly drier, with fewer and shorter rain showers. Though the cloud coverage is minimal, humidity increases a smidge, making it just a little muggier, though still comfortable enough for exploring inland. Beach conditions are excellent, with good visibility for snorkeling and comfortable water temperatures for swimming. (Average Max Temperature: 28°C, Average Rainfall: 44mm, Days with Rain: 5, Ocean Temperature: 26°C.)
  • Cancun Weather in March: Expect gorgeous weather in March, the second driest month in Cancun, with warm days averaging highs of 29°C, and comfortable nights. Rain only comes once a week on average, and even then showers are light and over with quickly, leaving skies clear and bright. Humidity is on the rise, but it is still comfortable for hiking, visiting the ruins or colonial pueblos; beach breezes keep the coastline fresh. Water temperatures and visibility remain constant from February. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C, Average Rainfall: 37mm, Days with Rain: 4, Ocean Temperature: 26°C.)
  • Cancun Weather in April: April is the driest month of the year. It only rains about three days in the month, and on those days, showers are usually very short and light. Days and nights are warm, with a few downright hot hours in the afternoons. Humidity runs high, but the temperatures are usually mild enough that exploring the ruins and jungle is still easily doable. Beach weather is just about perfect, with plenty of sunny, breezy days and warming ocean temps, especially later in the month. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C, Average Rainfall: 31mm, Days with Rain: 3, Ocean Temperature: 27°C.)
  • Cancun Weather in May: May is the third driest month of the year, with brief storms most likely toward the end of the month. Cloud coverage is generally heavier than in previous months, and humidity is very high. The majority of the days see clear skies, warm mornings and evenings, and hot afternoons. Beach days are breezy, so the humidity may not be noticeable. But if you plan on visiting Chichen Itza or the adventure parks, go in the morning before the day heats up; earlier in the month is better, too. Ocean temperatures are rising, and the first whale sharks and nesting sea turtles are arriving now. (Average Max Temperature: 32°C, Average Rainfall: 52 mm, Days with Rain: 5, Ocean Temperature: 28°C.)
  • Cancun Weather in June: Summer is the rainy season here, with June being one of the rainiest months. Most days see a good amount of cloud coverage, but actual storms only hit on a quarter of the days, and even then, it’s unlikely to rain for very long. The first truly hot days of summer arrive later in the month. June marks the beginning of hurricane season, though large storms are rare and tend to happen later in the season. Beaches are the most comfortable places to relax this month, as the steady breeze keeps the perceived heat down. If you decide to venture inland, be sure to pack plenty of water and plan on a cenote swim to cool down. (Average Max Temperature: 32°C, Average Rainfall: 115mm, Days with Rain: 8, Ocean Temperature: 28°C.)
  • Cancun Weather in July: Rainy days are less frequent this month, with heavier storms that finish quickly. Days are hotter and muggier than in June. In fact, the last half of July and the first half of August are the hottest weeks in the year. It’s best to spend your time on the beach or cooling off in a cenote; they stay refreshingly brisk all year long. If you venture toward the ruins, be sure to bring plenty of water. Sea temperatures remain steady from June. The first baby turtles start hatching now and head to the ocean every evening. This is an excellent month for marine life, with whale sharks, nesting turtles, and hatching turtles all here at once. (Average Max Temperature: 32°C, Average Rainfall: 103 mm, Days with Rain: 5, Ocean Temperature: 28°C.)
  • Cancun Weather in August: August starts off hot and oppressively humid for the first couple of weeks, and begins to cool down as the month goes on. While ambient temperatures decrease, rainy days increase, especially toward the end of the month. The majority of days see sun mixed with periods of overcast skies. Days that do have rain usually only experience showers for an hour or two in total. Stay at the beach or in the cenotes as much as possible. This is the last month of the year that has all three animal groups: whale sharks, nesting sea turtles, and baby turtles. (Average Max Temperature: 33°C, Average Rainfall: 136mm, Days with Rain: 6, Ocean Temperature: 29°C.)
  • Cancun Weather in September: The rainiest month of the year, September sees at least a little rain for about one-third of the month and cloudy days most of the time. Though showers are more regular and intense, they generally only last around two or three hours. Hurricanes rarely ever hit Cancun, but when they do, it’s usually in September or October. Days are extremely muggy, though the heat and humidity are less constant in the last week. Water temperatures are slightly warmer compared with August. The beach will likely be the most comfortable spot to relax most days, though it’s a good idea to have a few rainy day activities planned, just in case. Whale sharks begin to leave the area this month, while sea turtles continue to nest and hatch. (Average Max Temperature: 32°C, Average Rainfall: 185mm, Days with Rain: 10, Ocean Temperature: 29°C.)
  • Cancun Weather in October: Expect more days of rain but less total rainfall than in September. Most of the rainy, cloudy, and humid days are in the beginning of the month, with the weather getting nicer as the weeks pass. The month ends with clear skies, balmy temperatures, and gorgeous beach weather. Ocean temperatures are slightly lower than in previous months. This is the last true month of hurricane season, though storms are rare in Cancun. The last few nesting turtles will lay their eggs this month, before returning to the sea. (Average Max Temperature: 31°C, Average Rainfall: 157mm, Days with Rain: 11, Ocean Temperature: 28°C.)
  • Cancun Weather in November: Temperatures continue to fall, skies become clearer, and rainy days are less frequent in November. Most of the humidity and rain comes at the beginning of the month, with showers rarely lasting more than a couple of hours. Most late November days are perfect for hitting the beach or visiting the adventure parks or ruins. Ocean temperatures hold steady from October, while the last of the nesting sea turtles leave the area. (Average Max Temperature: 29°C, Average Rainfall: 95mm, Days with Rain: 8, Ocean Temperature: 28°C.)
  • Cancun Weather in December: December is a phenomenal time to be in Cancun! Days are warm, nights are cool and comfortable, and skies are sunny and clear. Brief patches of rain are fleeting, with mostly bright days. The dry season officially begins in the last two weeks of the month and carries through March. Beaches are beautiful with comfortable temps for swimming and good visibility for snorkeling and diving. The last few baby turtles will hatch and march into the ocean this month. (Average Max Temperature: 28°C, Average Rainfall: 70mm, Days with Rain: 7, Ocean Temperature: 27°C.)

Save on Party and Fun Passes for Spring Break Cancun 2021




Cancun Events and Festivals

Cancun in January

  • New Year’s Day – Año Nuevo, or New Year’s Day, is a national holiday in Mexico. January 1 tends to be very quiet in Cancun and throughout the country, with everyone resting and recovering from festivities the night before. While most businesses are closed, restaurants and other places that cater to tourists are usually open.
  • Mayan Village Show – At Xcaret Park, located about an hour from Cancun, recreations of ancient Mayan festivals, including a jungle walk and celebration of the discovery of fire, take place throughout the month of January.
  • El Día de los Reyes (Kings’ Day): January 6 is the twelfth day of Christmas, which is the traditional gift-giving day in Mexico. Children receive their presents, and the family eats together, especially a wreath-shaped, sweet bread called Rosca de Reyes. A baby Jesus figure is baked into the bread, and whoever finds it in their slice will host El Día de Candelaria, the upcoming holiday, and make the tamales for the celebration.

Cancun in February

  • El Día de Candelaria/Tamale Day: February 2. Candlemas falls 40 days after Christmas and is a celebration of the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. It is also the midway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. On this day, people dress up figurines of the baby Jesus and take them to the church to be blessed, along with candles. A meal of tamales, hence its other name, with family and friends follows this. Celebrations in Veracruz and huge, with parades and more, but in Cancun, this is a more intimate holiday.
  • Carnaval: Exact dates vary, but celebrations take place the whole week before Ash Wednesday, with the biggest parties the night before. They celebrate Carnaval in different parts of the Riviera Maya on different days, with the biggest celebration on Cozumel. Cancun’s Carnaval is intimate, taking place in Downtown away from the main tourist zone. Expect parades, live music, wild costumes, lots of food and booze, and dancing in the streets. Street vendors will sell amazing local specialties, while candies and other goodies will rain down from the parade floats.
  • Island Time Music & Fishing Festival: Six-day festival in Isla Mujeres. Local and world-renowned musical acts play in small venues around the island, while fishermen chase sailfish through the local waters. Proceeds benefit the Little Yellow Schoolhouse, serving special needs children on the island.

Cancun in March

  • Inception Music Festival: The largest Spring Break party in the world, lasting 30 straight days and nights and featuring top-name musical acts and DJs. Events take place every night at the clubs in Punta Cancun, including The City, Dady’O, Mandala, and Palazzo. Day parties take place at Mandala Beach, while exclusive day parties also go on at the Oasis Resort.
  • Wine and Food Festival, Cancun-Riviera Maya: Five-day celebration of food and wine, with renowned chefs and sommeliers from Mexico and the U.S. Events include winemaker and celebrity chef dinners, taco competitions, beach parties, golfing, and more.
  • Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza: Occurring annually on March 20, the first day of spring, when the afternoon light hits the pyramid temple of El Castillo just right, it reveals a representation of Kukulkan. The feathered serpent god seems to appear and climb down the side. This amazing event happens twice yearly at the spring and autumn equinoxes, amazing visitors with the astronomical and mathematical prowess of the ancient Maya peoples. It is usually very crowded on the equinoxes and tons of fun. If you prefer to avoid the crowds, you may still see the effect two days before or after the actual equinox.
  • Laser Sailing Show: During the second half of March, this event attracts sailboat enthusiasts and merchants from around the world. The waters around Cancun are filled with sailing vessels of all types, big and small, that roam the coastline for two weeks.

Cancun in April

  • Anniversary of the Founding of Cancun: Cancun’s history is relatively new. Families of the city’s founders put A master-planned tourism community founded in 1970 on. This month-long celebration is held at various locations in Downtown and features masses, music, exhibitions, and a parade down Avenue Tulum.
  • Holy Week – Holy Week is celebrated nationwide, from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday, which typically falls in early to mid-April, March 25 – April 1 in 2018. In Cancun, just about everything stays open during this period to cater to tourists, and it’s usually very busy. If you plan to travel to Cancun during Holy Week, make your reservations as early as you can as flights in and out of Mexico are typically filled months in advance. Easter services are held at churches of various dominations, though mostly Catholic.
  • El Día del Niño (Children’s Day): A holiday filled with fun, gifts, and special activities just for kids. Though not an official holiday, many schools don’t hold classes this day. Zoos, amusement parks, and attractions often offer special discounts on April 30. Travelers can also take part by handing out toys or candy to street kids.

Cancun in May

  • Cinco de Mayo: May 5th is a national holiday that commemorates the country’s defeat of the French in the Battle of Pueblo in 1862. Unlike in the States, it’s a regular day in Cancun, with not much in the way of celebrations. There are usually drink specials in the bars, and some resorts might do a small party, but it will be all for tourists. The only spot in Mexico that really celebrates Cinco de Mayo is in Puebla, more than a day’s drive away.
  • Festival de Cultura del Caribe: Celebration of Maya, Mexican, and Caribbean culture through food, music, dance, literature, film, and more. The eight-day celebration takes place in a variety of venues throughout the city and features a variety of local and international acts.
  • Cancun Jumpoff: This is like Spring Break for grown-ups. A four-day music festival, with live acts and DJs spinning the best in hip-hop, r&b, reggae, and soca. One water park day, plus beach parties, lingerie parties, and overnight after-parties keep the action going non-stop.
  • Regata del Sol a Sol: A 456-mile yacht race beginning in April in St. Petersburg, Florida and ending in early May in Isla Mujeres. Events include a basketball tournament and the Regata Amigos, post-race sail around the island.
  • Sacred Mayan Journey/Travesia Sagrada: Annual recreation of a thousand-year-old pilgrimage from Xcaret to Cozumel in worship of the fertility goddess Ixchel. Roughly 300 men and women row canoes across the ocean beginning at dawn and making their return journey the following dawn. Rituals, music, and dance begin and end the event. A feast awaits the rowers in Cozumel, but the biggest celebration is in Xcaret upon their return.

Cancun in June

  • Día de la Marina – Mexico’s Navy Day is celebrated on June 1 in all coastal towns, including Cancun, to acknowledge the country’s maritime service men and women. It’s commemorated with military parades and fireworks.
  • ExpHotel – The most recognized event in Mexico for the hospitality industry, held June 12-14 in 2018, is an international affair open to the public showing the latest products and services as well as hosting seminars and workshops by leading experts, competitions among prestigious chefs and the Festival of Cheese, Bread and Wine.
  • Festival de los Oceanos: From mid-May through mid-June, they designed this event to encourage ocean conservation. Events include concerts, kids’ drawing competitions, beach cleanups, and competitive cooking, along with plenty of fun beach and ocean activities. Most events are free, though some require registration ahead of time.
  • Pride Cancun: Pride is a smaller celebration in Cancun, lasting just a weekend. Though there is no parade, there are beach parties, sunset cruises, parties in Downtown, events at the ruins, and special nights at all of the major clubs.

Cancun in July

  • El Día Fuera del Tiempo: According to the Maya calendar, July 26 is the first day of the new year. The more important day of celebration comes on the 25th, El Día Fuera del Tiempo, or The Day Out of Time. This is a day for reflecting on the past year and the lessons learned, while also being a day in which anything can happen. They scattered festivities throughout the Riviera Maya, with the biggest ones held in Tulum, lasting as long as five days, and smaller ones at several Cancun resorts.
  • Isla Mujeres Whale Shark Festival: Week-long celebration of the whale shark, including family-friendly activities daily at the main fair, with sand sculpture and piñata contests, a parade, live music, and food competitions with local chefs. Water activities include a fishing tournament, diving and snorkel tours, and swimming with the whale sharks.
  • Destination X The Urban Summer Oasis: Wild five-day festival in the heart of Cancun’s nightlife district with DJs spinning hip-hop, r&b, and reggae. Events include bikini contests, late night hookah parties, a booze cruise, beach parties, and plenty of dancing.

Cancun in August

  • ZoukMX: Ten-day music and dance festival in Playa del Carmen on the beach and in the jungle. This event begins with several teacher workshops, followed by days and nights on end of dancing to zouk, a fast tempo, Caribbean dance music.
  • Assumption of the Virgin Mary – Celebrated nationwide in mid-August, there are special masses held throughout the country, including Cancun. Though some cities will host processions, Cancun typically does not.

Cancun in September

  • El Grito and Mexican Independence Day: Celebrations begin in the afternoon on September 15 in Downtown near City Hall with mariachi music, dancing, and amazing food, especially chiles en nogada, pozole, and mole. Tequila and mezcal are the major drinks here. At 11p, the grito, or cry for independence, is called with bells ringing and fireworks. The country’s biggest party begins immediately after and goes well into the night. Downtown has the most authentic celebrations, but the biggest parties for travelers take place at the nightclubs and bars in the Hotel Zone, especially at Carlos’n Charlie’s and Señor Frog. On Independence Day itself, September 16, a grand military parade winds through downtown, attracting thousands of spectators.
  • Salsa Casino Mayan Congress: Four-day celebration of salsa dance with live music, parties, and workshops. Classes expand from traditional salsa to include Afro-Cuban dance, Casino Wheel, Rumba, Folklore, and more.
  • Autumn Equinox at Chichen Itza: Occurring annually on September 22, the first day of fall, when the late afternoon light hits the pyramid temple of El Castillo just right, it reveals a shadow image of the feathered serpent god Kukulkan, just as it does in spring. However, September is the rainiest month of the year, and sometimes the cloud coverage prevents Kukulkan from making an appearance. With daylight savings time, the event occurs after the park is closed for the evening. Some years, the park stays open late to accommodate the event, but other times, they close at the usual schedule. Check the weather and check the park’s officially posted hours before planning a trip out – It’s a long drive!

Cancun in October

  • Cancun Travel Mart – In mid-October, October 8-10 in 2018, the Cancun Travel Agent Association and the Cancun Hotel Association hold this annual convention, part of which is open to the public, showcasing food, hotels and other services offered in the area.
  • Cancun Jazz Festival: Four-day music festival featuring some of the top names in contemporary jazz. This all-inclusive festival takes place at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, near Tulum. Pre-festival concerts will take place a few days ahead of the main event.
  • Día de la Raza (Columbus Day) – This holiday celebrated nationwide on October 12 commemorates the fusion of the Spanish and Mexican peoples. In Cancun and many other places throughout the country, they often held colorful parades.
  • Día de las Brujas (Halloween) – Traditionally on this day, residents bring flowers and candles to the graves of loved ones on the evening of October 31; however, in Cancun and many other popular tourist destinations, it’s celebrated similar to how it is in the U.S., with kids dressing up and trick-or-treating, and costume-wearing adults heading to bars and clubs. Dady’O consistently throws the best Halloween parties in the area. It’s a good idea to bring your own costume, as local shops will have a very limited selection.

Cancun in November

  • Day of the Dead: November 1-2. Known as Hanal Pixan in Yucatan Maya. This is actually two holidays rolled into one, Día de Todos Santos (All Saints Day) and Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead, All Souls Day). On All Saints Day, Mexicans honor deceased children, leaving offerings to them on custom-designed altars in cemeteries or in their homes, with sugar skulls, toys, and treats. Day of the Dead is similar but for the souls of deceased adults. People decorate altars in their homes or in cemeteries, some keeping vigils and others leaving offerings, usually tequila, cigarettes, and the deceased’s favorite foods. Candles and trails of marigold petals are led from the altars to light the way for the spirit’s return. There are usually parties in the nightclub area in the Hotel Zone, but travelers can also head Downtown for a more traditional experience in one of the many parks, including Parque las Palapas, Luum Pakul, or at the Centro Cultural de las Artes. Daily from October 31-November 2 there is a parade from Avenues Chichen Itza and Tulum to Parque las Palapas, plus performances, foods, and elaborate altars. The eco-tour group Alltournative usually offers a special Hanal Pixan event on November 2, an immersive Maya experience with altar decorating, a ceremony performed by a shaman at a cenote, and a traditional Maya dinner.
  • OHL Golf Classic: An official, PGA tour with over 100 pro-golfers competing for a huge prize in four rounds over the course of one week. The event takes place in Mayakoba at the El Camaleón golf course just north of Playa del Carmen. Some of the proceeds benefit local charities.
  • International Festival of Caribbean Culture: Six-day festival with events held throughout Quintana Roo and Cancun. The event is most popular for its amazing musical lineup featuring the top Caribbean salsa groups, along with poetry and lots of dancing.

Cancun in December

  • Cancun Marathon: aka The Most Beautiful Marathon in the World. The marathon path begins and ends in Downtown, with most of the course following Boulevard Kukulkan for the length of the Hotel Zone, passing the beach and lagoon. A live mariachi band awaits runners at the finish line.
  • Sunset Boat Parade: Annual, holiday event at Jardin del Arte, the sculpture park facing the Nichupte Lagoon. A parade of lit-up, decorated boats begins at sunset, with live music, food, and craft vendors. Family-friendly and always free.
  • Christmas Week – Christmas Week (December 16-25) is celebrated with processions and mass, and children go door-to-door singing Christmas songs for donations. The most important day isn’t December 25, however, it’s Holy Night, known as Nochebuena on December 24, a time when families gather to eat a traditional midnight dinner.
  • Día de los Santos Inocentes/Day of the Sainted Innocents: December 28. This is basically a Mexican April Fool’s Day. Originally meant to commemorate the deaths of the Holy Innocents, the children slaughtered by King Herod to kill the baby Jesus; the holiday has developed into a day of pranks. Once someone is fooled, it is customary to say to them, “Innocent little dove that you let yourself be deceived.” This is also a day where people are known to borrow items and never return them.
  • New Year’s Eve – On December 31, Cancun celebrates New Year’s Eve similar to much of the rest of the world, with big parties and fireworks. Playa del Carmen, about an hour south of downtown Cancun, is typically the place to be, where the party starting at dawn and lasts well into the New Year. There are plenty of parties to be found in Cancun as well, and fireworks are shot over the lagoon, visible from all hotels and resorts with rooms that face it, as well as from walkways.
Group Differences

Group Differences

Differences between the riviera Maya and Cancun

Differences between the riviera Maya and Cancun


Besides the mere location differences between these two popular vacation spots, Cancun and the cities located in the Riviera Maya are different. In some ways it is hard to believe that they are neighbors except the blue of the Caribbean gives it away. This article digs into the variations of each destination and highlights the not so obvious differences.


Cancun is a large city located at the northeast tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. It was the very first tourism specific destination built in the early 70’s. The Riviera Maya is a region to the south of Cancun that starts at Puerto Morelos and ends at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere. In some ways we are comparing apples and oranges – city verses region – but Cancun and the Riviera Maya are compared all the time, if not thought to be the same. When people inform me they thought they were the same, my reply is this “Is Atlantic City and the Jersey Shore the same?” This analogy seems to clear up whatever was unclear. Cancun is a large metropolitan city with a residential population reaching almost one million. The tourism zone, where hotels and entertainment businesses are highly concentrated, is outside the main city center on a small peninsula that surrounds a natural lagoon. Though there are small hotels and vacation rentals in the city center, tourism resides in this area, away from the residential neighborhoods. The Riviera Maya region includes the following popular cities – Puerto Morelos,Playa del Carmen, Puerto Aventuras, Xpu-Ha, Akumal, Soliman’s Bay, Tank Ha Bay, Tulum, and the Sian Ka’an located on over 133 kms/88miles of beach coastline. The largest city is Playa del Carmen with 250,000 residents. Tulum is the second largest city with a population of just under 100,000 people. Other cities are small in comparison with populations well under 20,000 people. These geographical differences, and the fact that people compare a city to a region, make both of these areas very, very different. But Cancun the city is different from Riviera Maya cities.


Cancun has a national population in its core city with 90% of its tourism happening in a designated beachfront area of the city. This separates every day life from vacation life. It also separates residents from visitors. • The sheer size of Cancun makes it difficult to navigate not only for regional day trips but urban exploring. A taxi, public bus or private driver is a must if you wish to explore outside the hotel zone. Though not impossible, it makes exploring a challenge or a tad bit intimidating to the first time visitor. • When visitors choose to leave their resort or large hotel, they are shuffled to more tourism hot spots in the hotel zone. Very few visitors dive into downtown Cancun to experience the local authenticity of Cancun residential neighborhoods and markets. The ‘bubble’ is what Cancun staff support when getting people out and about. • With a large percentage of all inclusive resorts, Cancun has gained the reputation of ‘Spring Break Haven’ where college kids party during the winter months. Cheap resorts, lots of night clubs, and high-end shopping centers have created this atmosphere, but has made Cancun a profitable tourism center. • International brands like Wet and Wild water parks, Hard Rock Cafe, Outback Steak House, MontBlanc, Nike, etc can be found in Cancun to appeal to American and international tourists visiting the hotel zone in Cancun. • Predominately this area is frequented by American and Canadian tourists with a small influx of European and South American visitors.



Each city in the Riviera Maya has its own unique feel, tourism base and extraordinary attractions. Developed after the rise of Cancun, these cities are less populated and come with a lifestyle that is focused on the beach and local cenotes. •Tourism is highly diverse with people from around the world visiting local cities. It is not uncommon to hear various European languages, Spanish, and English spoken everywhere by both staff and visitors. Some Riviera Maya cities have a high concentration of US and Canadian residents, Puerto Aventuras and Akumal being known for this. •These cities are less about resorts, which are located outside city centers, and more about small hotels, vacation rentals and in some cases beachfront cottages (cabanas). This is not the hospitality landscape in Cancun. •Most cities are walking cities as they are small and intimate. It is easy for a visitor and locals to walk to restaurants, local attractions, and to the beach. Playa del Carmen has experienced tremendous growth over the past decade but has retained its neighborhood feel in the downtown core. What we do appreciate is the recent addition of arts and cultural activities that Playa did not have just a few years ago. •It is natural that the concentration of tourism is by the beach, with city centers revolving around hotels, shopping and vacation rentals, but residential neighborhoods are closely located if not a part of the hotel and restaurant areas. This urban mix retained a local feel to the cities where visitors and residents mix, happily. This neighborhood feel makes the cities of the Riviera Maya friendlier, more local, and information about where to go and what to do easily exchanged. •Each Riviera Maya city is a stop on the main 307 highway, the only highway that runs along the coast. This main artery connects local attractions to visitors with easy, making exploring a pleasure, inexpensive and really easy to navigate. Most Riviera Maya visitors and locals visit cenotes, other small cities, Mayan ruins, and local cultural attractions with greater flexibility than Cancun visitors.


We understand all too well the differences between Cancun and the Rivera Maya. We also understand the nuances of both locations. What we love is the diversity of the two areas. We live in the Riviera Maya so we can enjoy the ease of exploring, smaller communities, and direct access to the beach. We value the mix of visitors and locals, and love that we can have tacos on one corner and a burger on the other. We also appreciate the benefits of Cancun. Brand name shopping is useful (think Costco or the Apple Store) and in the old days Cancun was the place you had to shop.Back then Riviera Maya cities had maybe one grocery store and food choices were limited. Today that has changed but Cancun still has stores and retail outlets not found in the Riviera Maya. Unfortunately if your travel agent or online booking website is not familiar with the area (which in most cases they are not, many have not even visited the area) you may find yourself in a hotel or resort that doesn’t match your dream. We have heard time and again that people feel stuck in Cancun. We talk to people who thought they booked a hotel in Playa del Carmen only to learn it is 20 minutes away and not remotely close to the famous 5th Avenue or near the glorious beaches of Tulum as promised.


If you know what you want for your vacation and would like to investigate the best place for your week off, talk to a local (pointing finger over my head) A local will listen to what you want and quickly point you in the right direction. If you want to hit the nail in the head the first time, talk to someone who knows.

So give us a call. Drop us a line. Ask away and we are happy to give you the lay of the land. And if you choose to come to the area, be sure to let us know so we can meet up for a cocktail and share travel stories! We love to hear how your vacation is panning out and what you think of the area. If you are already booked, contact our concierge who is happy to get you where you want to go, suggest great restaurants and guide you to local attractions worth seeing!

Shared from:

Destination Weddings FAQ

Destination Weddings FAQ

Destination Wedding – FAQs

Disney Cruise wedding

The couple may also find most of what I cover here in my book on amazon. 


When do I need to book by?
The booking deadline will be listed on the couple’s wedding website or event link. You’ll get the most options and best rates if you book early. The bride and groom have a lot of details to plan, so it is best to be considerate of their time and book at least 6 months prior to the wedding date. This gives them the time and numbers they need to make and finalize their wedding day plans and budget. As long as the hotel has rooms available, we can book. The deposit gets paid when you make your reservation. Final payments are due 60-90 days prior to travel.

How Should I Book My Trip?
Most couples have a wedding website or event link with information on how to book your trip. This will either have room rates listed, or a quote form for you to fill out. The couple often receives amenities for their wedding based on how many rooms are booked. They are looking to us to organize all the rooms and keep count. The right thing to do is work directly with us to ensure smooth planning and organization for the couple.  Also, make sure you book your trip on time. The bride and groom have a wedding to plan and cannot get an accurate guest count until everyone is booked. We all love good deals, but you want to avoid last-minute problems. Unfortunately, for destination weddings, last-minute guests just add last-minute work for the couple, causing them to scramble to get extra décor, extra seats and extra dinners. Be kind, book early.

How much is the trip going to cost?
Check the wedding page. Often times, room rates are posted there. If not, just email us @ [email protected] Be sure to include all of the details. To do an accurate quote, we need to know how many people are sharing your room, how many nights you are staying, and where you are flying from if air is to be included. For guests, a destination wedding can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $1,700 depending on the destination, departure city and length of stay. This cost covers flights, resort fees, accommodations and food and drinks for typically 4 nights/5 days. 

Piggy Bank

What if I can’t afford it?
We understand, and so do the bride and groom. Not everyone will be able to attend the wedding, and that’s ok. You may always contribute to the “wedding fund” at this link. No matter what, ALWAYS let the couple know.

What’s not included with my all-inclusive trip?
You’ll want to bring a bundle of 1’s and 5’s with for tipping around the resort. Gratuities are technically included with your travel package, but based on our travel experience, you’ll want to tip something to the bartenders and waiters taking care of you. Be prepared by bringing small bills with so you have them if you choose to tip. The shuttle driver is not a hotel employee and will expect a tip, as will the airport employees. Tours, excursions and spa treatments are not included. You can pay with cash or credit card for these at the hotel. Again, US cash for tips is fine. Insurance is not included, but it is optional when booking your trip. All liquor is included unless you order a full bottle of a specific liquor. This will cost extra. Some destinations, like Dominican Republic and Costa Rica, require a small country tax to be paid locally. This is not included, but we will be sure to let you know about it.

What if I find a cheaper price online?
We work hard on getting you the best price. If you see a less expensive price for the exact package – dates, airline, airline times, taxes, insurance, transfers, etc – give us the opportunity to see if we can get the same price. This way we can book your reservation and you can still be counted as part of the wedding party. Usually online prices are lacking something, like transfers or taxes. Please give us the opportunity to help you with this. Please let us know which website you are looking at, and send us a screenshot of the flights, hotel room, and dates so we can recreate it. Our goal is to have EVERYONE book into the bride and groom’s room block. 

What do I wear to a destination wedding?
Since it will be warm, dress cool. For men, khaki slacks, linen shirts, and nice sandals are all appropriate. You will see very few suits and even fewer ties. Ladies, find a nice sundress or capris with sandals. Unless otherwise noted by the bride and groom, destination weddings are a little more casual than traditional weddings, but if you’re unsure, ask the bride or groom. Sometimes couples have planned special dress codes, such as “all white,” so the last thing you want to do is arrive at the hotel with the wrong outfit.

Should I bring a gift?
If you’re attending a destination wedding, you don’t have to bring a wedding gift. Some couples tell the guests that their presence is gift enough but a card is still a nice touch in these cases. Check with us about adding a tour or a room upgrade as a gift from you. This can often easily be done. If you still want to give the couple a monetary or boxed gift, give it to them before the wedding at their Honeymoon Wishes account. 

What if I run into problems?
One key etiquette tip for guests at destination weddings is to avoid involving the bride and groom in travel or room issues. If your name is spelled wrong on your documents or you missed your flight, call US. Likewise, if your room isn’t ready or the view isn’t perfect, don’t complain to the couple or other guests. This just creates a frenzy. There is no need to add extra stress to the couple. If you have a problem, call or email us. Our travel partners have 24/7 help desks. Their phone number is listed on your travel documents. If you have issues with the hotel, we need to solve them while you are there. Very little can be done after you check out. Let us help. Not everything goes as planned, just be flexible and polite. 

Read my short book to discover more insightful information. 

Wedding planning tips

Wedding planning tips

Planning a Destination Wedding – details to consider

There are several things to consider when planning a destination wedding. Here is a list to get you thinking:


Consider how much you’re comfortable having your guests pay for a 3 night vacation. Typically, budgets start at approximately $1000 per person for a 3 night, all-inclusive vacation including air, hotel, transfers, meals, drinks, tips and taxes. Remember though, you get what you pay for.


Your wedding date will determine how much the trip will cost.

Peak season = high rates:  mid-Jan through Easter, all holidays
Mid-season = average rates: Easter through August, early January
Low season = low rates: September through early November, early December

You also want to make sure you give your guests enough time to plan and save for their trip. Sending a Save The Date a year or more before your wedding is a good idea.


​Don’t be upset if not everyone on your guest list can join you due to time or money constraints. Generally, about 40% of those you invite will be able to attend your destination wedding. Most couples have a reception back at home to celebrate with those who were unable to attend.


​Try to keep travel times within reason. For example, you won’t want to plan a Hawaii wedding if guests need to fly for 9 hours and can only stay for 3 nights. Likewise, the more exotic islands can often require multiple airline connections to get there. All guests will need a passport. Most resorts will require the bride, groom and witnesses to arrive 3 full days prior to the wedding ceremony.


Do you envision something small and intimate, or something loaded with activities and energy? We highly recommend all-inclusive resorts that include meals and drinks. This makes it so much easier for your guests to budget for their trip. And, many all-inclusive resorts include a semi-private reception with their wedding packages, which saves you money. Perhaps money that could be spent on a nice upgrade to the honeymoon suite!


Ceremony Location 
​Beach, gazebo, garden, chapel? Resorts usually have many options for you to choose from based on your desires and number of guests. Resorts also have a back up plan and location in case of inclement weather.


Ceremony Type 
​There are two types of ceremonies for destination weddings. You can have a LEGAL ceremony, where you are legally married in your destination and receive a marriage certificate that is recognized at home. Legal ceremonies often cost a little more and require extra paperwork and occasionally blood tests. Or, you can have a SYMBOLIC ceremony that has no legal holding. To have a symbolic ceremony, you would be legally married at home by your clergy or courthouse before you travel. At your destination wedding, you will celebrate your union as if it were your actual wedding with flowers, music, vows and other ceremony details. Your guests will not know the difference between a legal and symbolic ceremony. Approximately 80% of all destination weddings are symbolic.
Wedding planning tips

25 questions to ask

25 important questions to ask a travel agent

  1. Are they available to help you plan?
  2. How long have they been in business?
  3. Do they have a business license?
  4. How do they get paid? Is there a fee to you, and if so, what is it?
  5. Do they specialize in honeymoon planning?
  6. How many honeymoons have they planned?
  7. Are they familiar with the best places to travel the time of year you would like?
  8. What services does the travel agent offer?
  9. If they provide full-service planning, what do they need from you?
  10. Can they help you stay within budget?
  11. Do they get discounts at certain resorts?
  12. Have they traveled to any of the resorts they recommend?
  13. What is their favorite place to visit?
  14. Do they have photographs or websites for the resorts they have booked in the past and recommend?
  15. Do any resorts provide special perks for honeymooners (champagne, chocolates, etc.)?
  16. Can they recommend activities to do while on your honeymoon?
  17. Do they coordinate transportation?
  18. How can you reach them while on your trip in case of emergency?
  19. Do they offer trip insurance?
  20. What types of documentation is necessary for your trip (domestic and international)?
  21. Can they provide references?
  22. What is the total cost and what is required for a deposit?
  23. Do they offer payment plans?
  24. What type of payment can they take – cash, check, credit card?
  25. What it their refund or travel change policy (including if the wedding is called off)?

Pin It on Pinterest