When to fly to Cancun
Cancun has a tropical wet and dry climate, with similar temperatures through the year but distinct rainy periods. Throughout the year, the daily average temperature sits between 24 and 30 degrees Celsius. The months from November to February are more temperate and slightly cooler as they also experience refreshing northerly breezes. The temperature starts to rise slightly in March and April, with the temperature being hottest from May through September. The tropical storm season starts in May and continues through to January, with some months seeing more rain than others, in particular October. February to early May is the driest time of the year. It is worth noting that Cancun is in one of the main Caribbean hurricane impact areas, although large hurricanes are rare.
Weather-wise, the best time to take a flight to Cancun is between February and April when the weather is warm and sunny, but not as scorching hot as other months and there is little rain. This period, however, is also the high travel season and when many students take their Spring Break so flights and accommodation can be pricey.
Cancun is an extremely popular Spring Break destination. During this time, the area is packed with high school and college students, partying, drinking and having a good time. Some resorts cater specifically for Spring Breakers, holding special events and parties, while other do not let any students in at all. Depending on your holiday preference visiting during Spring Break may be your dream or an absolute nightmare. Make sure you research the hotel or resort well before you book to avoid any disappointment.
For those visiting during this period but looking for something with a rather more historical significance, then the Spring Equinox at Chichen Itza cannot be missed. Every year on March the 20th or 21st thousands gather at the ancient Mayan archaeological site Chichen Itza to witness the ‘serpent of Kukulcan’ descend the stairway on one side of the pyramid, ‘El Castillo’ (The Castle), which is also known as the Temple of Kukulcan. This is a wonderful time to explore the rest of the Chichen Itza ground.
If you prefer cooler temperatures and don’t mind the rain, December and January can be a good time to snap up a cheap flight to Cancun. Although do bear in mind the Christmas holiday and New Year period can see prices rise.
If you’re a budget traveller and you’re willing to take your chances with the weather, then May through November can be a good time to find a cheaper flight to Cancun and discounted resort rates.
Once a small, unremarkable fishing village, today the resort of Cancun is the reason most people visit Mexico. It is made up of two parts: the glitzy hotel zone dedicated to tourism, and the central area inhabited by the permanent residents. A different atmosphere prevails in each, with a dramatic contrast between the air-conditioned shopping malls, chic restaurant dining, and wealthy pleasure-seeking tourists in one; and bustling market street stalls, noisy vendors, and the daily grind of people at work in the other.
The hotel zone, situated on a thin strip of land (Isla Cancun) in the shape of a figure "7", is what people imagine when they talk about Cancun. It is a vision of Caribbean paradise with soft white sand beaches and clear blue-green waters. There is plenty of high quality accommodation available, a wide choice of restaurants and shops, a notoriously energetic nightlife, and an array of activities, including both land and water sports. The city is also a good base from which to explore some of the nearby attractions, particularly the ancient Mayan site of Chichen Itza on the mainland, which is the best restored and most famous of the archaeological sites on the Yucatán Peninsula.
Situated between Merida and Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula, Chichen Itza is an archaeological wonder. The Mayan people’s most prosperous period, from the 10th- to 15th- centuries, is preserved through pyramids and thrones set in a dense forest just a couple of hours from Cancun by bus. Kukulkan Temple, the site’s main draw, is dedicated to the serpent god and measures 98ft (30 m) in height. The religious monument has 365 stairs in total, which tourists climb for a better view of the surrounding attractions.
Getting around Cancun
It’s easy to walk around Cancun. Be aware that taxi prices are supposed to be set by zone. The reality is that locals pay far less than tourists, and guests at expensive hotels are always charged more. One popular way to get around the city is by bus. They run between early morning and midnight every day. Watch out for private buses that go to the same places, but charge a higher fee. For a little more adventure, you can rent a moped but be safe and wear your helmet.
The main airport serving flights to Cancun is the Cancun International Airport (CUN) located 7.5 miles (12 km) from the city centre. There are taxi services from the airport. Alternatively, hire a car at the airport as all major companies are represented there.
Cancun insider information
- Spring breakers in search of the best time will head to the hottest bars - Señor Frog's, Dady'o, Basic. Observe the rules of holidaying in Cancun - breakfast at 11am and take a siesta every day.
- If you'd like a quieter time, avoid Spring Break season. Visit at the start of June.
- The Isla de Mujeres lies 8 miles (13 km) from Cancun, an hour's boat journey. This small island is a wonderful place to swim, visit the sea-turtle nursery, and pick up some souvenirs in the local shops.
- Swimming with whale sharks is memorable. Time your flights to Cancun for between June and September; this is when the whale sharks migrate to the Yucatan Peninsula. The Whale Shark Festival takes place on Isla Mujeres every July. Isla Holbox, about 12 miles (20 km) away, is another great place to see the majestic creatures as well as flocks and flocks of colourful bird life.