Weather in Cancun and Riviera Maya
Weather in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Riviera Maya
Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya are on the eastern coast of Mexico on its Yucatan Peninsula. They have a tropical climate with warm temperatures year round and distinct wet and dry seasons.
Average Temperature and Rainfall: The yearly average temperature in Cancun and the Riviera Maya is around 26ºC / 79ºF and yearly rainfall averages around 1400mm / 55 in. The coolest period is around January/February with an average of 23ºC / 73ºF, but temperature rarely drops much below 20ºC / 68ºF even at night. From June to July is the hottest time, and temperatures in the mid 30sC / mid 90sF are not uncommon. However, Cancun and the Riviera Maya are on the coast and there is nearly always a cooling sea breeze; it does not get as hot as inland areas which can get temperatures in the 40s / 100sF.
Although temperature doesn’t vary widely across the year, there can be said to be two distinct seasons in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. The wet season runs from May to October and is slightly hotter, the dry season is from November to April and sees cooler temperatures. This is due to the north trade winds which are strongest in this season and bring cooling breezes to the coast.
March and April are the driest months in the year, with about 40mm / 1.6 incihes of rain per month on average, and also the sunniest.
Humidity can be high in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, often around 80%. It is at its lowest in April and May.
CANCUN / RIVIERA MAYA AVERAGE TEMPERATURE BY MONTH
CANCUN / RIVIERA MAYA AVERAGE RAINFALL BY MONTH
The months of September and October, at the end of the wet season, generally see the most rainfall. These months can see over 200mm / 7.9 inches of rain. However, because this rainfall often occurs in short but heavy tropical downpours, even these months see a lot of blue sky. Rainstorms often last just a couple of hours before sunshine and blue sky returns.
Sea temperature is fantastic year round, averaging about 27ºC / 80ºF. It varies from about 23ºC / 73ºF at its coolest to almost 30ºC / 86ºF, which can feel like a warm bath. This makes swimming a pleasure at any time of year.
Hurricane season in the region is officially from June to October, though September and October are the most likely months. The last significant hurricane to hit Cancun and the Riviera Maya was a huge one. Hurricane Wilma struck in October 2005 and was category 5 when it hit land. The storm battered Cancun for nearly 3 days with winds of up to 130mph and caused damage of over $3 billion.
Although devastating, your chances of being caught in a hurricane are quite low – on average Cancun and the Riviera Maya receive a direct hit every 12 years, though it does get brushed by one once every 2.5 years. Warnings and predictions are accurate and past experience has taught the region how to cope, with the introduction of emergency and evacuation procedures.
Heat can also be hazardous and is certainly more common than hurricanes in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. In temperatures around the 30sC / 90sF and high humidity the risk of dehydration and sunstroke is high. Be sure to carry water with you, avoid going out in the peak of the day's heat and wear high factor sun block.
As with anywhere in the world weather patterns can occur outside the norm. You’ll get dry years and wet years and heat waves and cool periods.
*This graphic is meant as a joke, but it illustrates well how quickly rain can come and go in the region. So don't fret if you see forecasts for rain every day of your vacation! The forecasts often say there is a chance of rain, meaning it might rain at some point during the day, but, normally, if it does rain, the rain comes and goes very quickly!