When to go to the Yucatán Peninsula

The best time of year to visit the Yucatán

Month-by-month

While the Yucatán Peninsula has consistently high temperatures throughout the year, the cooler months are found between November and February. The rainy season is over, so it is generally dry and far less humid. This is a great time to visit the Peninsula, as the subtle drops in temperature make it far more comfortable to explore and there are generally fewer crowds. The winter months are also the best time to see the abundant flamingos in the Celestun Biosphere reserve on the north-western tip of the Yucatán.

If your preference is for hot weather, visit the Yucatán Peninsula between March and May. The hottest month is usually May, when the fierce sun leaves locals praying for rain to arrive. The heat of the summer months makes cenote dipping – swimming in water-filled sinkholes – even more appealing.

The Yucatán’s rainy season from June to October is hot and muggy. Expect humid heat during the day and rain in the afternoon. Temperatures don’t drop too much though the rains certainly make it feel fresher. Be aware that this is hurricane season in coastal areas, with the highest risk running from August to October. June to September is the best time to swim with majestic whale sharks as they pass through Mexico’s Caribbean waters.

Mexico Yucatan Puerto Morelos beach boats in Mayan Riviera Maya of Mexico

Puerto Morelos beach boats in Mayan Riviera, northeastern Yucatán

Festivals and events

The Yucatán Peninsula is a great place to visit at any time of year, however, there are a few festivals and events that make it especially enticing.

Merida comes to life with its aptly named Merida Fest during the first few weeks of January. The streets fill with displays of music, dance and theatre and the food is excellent. Merida Fest is a lovely way to immerse yourself in local Yucatec culture.

February and March is Carnaval season across the Yucatán, with events from Merida to Cancun. Carnaval celebrations involve concerts and colourful street parades full of music and dancing.

The coastal towns fill up again during the Holy Week of Easter – also Spring Break in the US – and are best avoided unless you are looking for a 24-hour parties. Expect crowded beaches and raucous nightclubs. Easter is also a very popular time for families to visit archaeological sites, so expect crowds and queues.

May sees a recreation of a sacred Mayan journey by boat from Cozumel to the mainland in honour of the Goddess Ixchel. For Mayans, crossing the sea means entering Xibalba – a sacred, hidden underworld. Watch the thirty handmade canoes, each with a crew of between four and six people, make the 36-mile journey over the sea.

In late October and early November, Day of the Dead, known as Hanal Pixan among the Maya, is commemorated around the region. It is a wonderful time to visit and to experience lively festivals and parades or visit cemeteries where locals decorate graves to honour the dead.

Winter sees Christmas and New Year celebrations across the peninsula and an increase in crowds. Unless you are specifically coming to celebrate Christmas and New Year at the beach, you may want to avoid the largest tourist destinations at that time and explore inland to cities like Merida and Valladolid instead.

Mexico Mexico City Dayofthedead

Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is celebrated all across Mexico

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