Cancun In January: Everything You Need To Know

Being one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, people are likely to visit Cancun at all times of the year. Because the climate in Cancun and the Mayan Riviera is semi-tropical, you can visit at nearly any time of the year and expect to have a great time.

But when exactly is the best time to visit?

If you were to ask me, I’d tell you that I love visiting Cancun during low-humidity months like December/January.

Others may love visiting in March/April for spring break madness, June/July for summer vacation, or September/October for the unbeatable low-season deals. The answer really depends on what you want out of your trip.

If you’re looking into taking a trip to Cancun in January, you’ll want to consider a few things. You’ll want a good understanding of the weather, hotel/flight deals, crowds and more to find out whether Cancun in January is right for you.

To help you plan your Cancun vacation, we’ve compiled this post to help you learn more about whether visiting Cancun in January is right for you.

This post may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running/pumping out useful and free content. Thanks a lot!

Cancun in January: At a Glance

If you’re seeking the perfect balance of pleasant weather and fewer crowds, then Cancun in January will be an ideal time for your visit.

January marks the dry season in Cancun, offering beautiful sunny days and mild temperatures. While you might experience some occasional rain showers (really depends on the year), they won’t last too long. Plus, the chances of encountering a hurricane are significantly lower compared to previous months.

The average daytime temperatures in January hover around a comfortable 82°F (27.8°C), providing an excellent escape from the winter chill in other parts of the world.

Whether you plan on relaxing on the pristine beaches or exploring the bright blue underwater world through snorkeling or scuba diving, January is an excellent time to do outdoor activities without the sweltering heat and high humidity!

Crowd Levels: Moderate

Ideal time for budget travelers: Okay

Events This Month: Embrace the Mexican culture and celebrate the Day of the Three Kings (Dia de Reyes) on January 6th, commemorating the arrival of the Three Wise Men.


Here’s a quick overview of all the useful info you need to plan an awesome trip!

Nearest Airport: Cancun International Airport (CUN)

Where To StayExcellence Playa Mujeres (adults only), Beloved Playa Mujeres (adults only), or Finest Playa Mujeres (for families) — for an upscale experience, these all-inclusive resorts are the best bang for your buck, in my opinion!

How to Get Around: A rental car is not needed in Cancun. A lot of the tours/excursions provide transportation to/from your hotel. If you need to get around, taking taxis, pre-arranged transportation, or the local colectivo are common ways to get around.

Must-Do’s: Spend a whole day at Xcaret Eco Park, explore the island of Isla Mujeres, shop for souvenirs at Mercado 28, and marvel at Chichen Itza and swim in a cenote on the same day!

Before You Go Tip #1: Be sure to shop for reef-safe sunscreen before your trip! Cancun’s shores are teeming with coral reefs, so you’ll want to avoid wearing traditional sunscreen as they contain chemicals that damage and even kill the precious reefs.

Before You Go Tip #2: Make sure you have a valid passport way before your trip to Cancun. Your passport should be valid for at least six months after your planned departure date from Mexico. If you don’t have a passport (or it’s about to expire), get a new one ASAP.

Before You Go Tip #3: If your phone carrier doesn’t give you free coverage in Mexico, get yourself a digital eSIM card through Airalo to prevent crazy roaming fees. With Airalo, you can install a digital SIM for 200+ countries/regions and get connected as soon as you land. I’ve used Airalo in Asia and Europe and both times it’s worked like a charm — it’s legit.

Before You Go Tip #4: Get yourself covered with travel insurance before your trip! SafetyWing is a travel essential for me these days! I love them so much because can purchase a policy even if your trip has already started. You can pause and resume coverage with flexibility and they’ve got you covered in 185 countries.

👉 TRAVEL SMART: Before leaving for your trip, check for the latest travel advisories for Cancun/Mexico. The site provides the latest things to be vigilant about. Cancun is in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo.

What Are Cancun’s Travel Seasons?

There are three distinct travel seasons for Cancun: high season, low season, and shoulder season. Before we dive into Cancun’s travel seasons, here’s a quick breakdown of how the weather fluctuates throughout the year in Cancun.

  • WET SEASON: The wet season runs from May to October and tends to be actually hotter than the dry season.
  • HURRICANE SEASON: Hurricane season spans June to November, with a higher likelihood of storms from August to October. Actual hurricanes are rare though, so it’s still a decent time to visit if you don’t mind periodic rain showers here and there throughout the day. (The area has seen only two hurricanes in the past 30 years.)
  • DRY SEASON: The dry season is from December to April. Travelers will find cooler, more pleasant temperatures.

High Season In Cancun

Cancun’s high season typically stretches from late December to April. 

This is peak season across the world’s sunbelt—especially in Mexico! From Christmas onward, expect Cancun and the rest of Mexico to be very busy. Cancun’s pristine white sands will be covered with flocks of tourists ranging from kids on their winter break, party-goers flocking in for Cancun’s infamous Spring Break events, and more.

Because of the increase of tourism during the high season, you can expect a similar spike in airfares, hotel rates, and all-inclusive resort costs as well. Especially around Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Spring Break!

Pro Tip: To get around this, visit Mexico in early December, before all the mayhem begins!

Low Season In Cancun

Cancun’s low season runs from May through October because this time period coincides with Mexico’s main rainy season. You can expect super hot, sticky, and sweltering days with frequent downpours and unpredictable weather. Cancun’s hurricane season also falls within the low season.

While it is the rainy season, rest assured you likely won’t be rained in during your entire vacation. The rain typically comes in short bursts–a downpour for a few days followed by sunny skies the next.

Also during the summer months, the shorelines of Mexico tend to draw in a lot of seaweed (sargasso). Hotels and resorts do their best to clean up the seaweed but do expect to see more seaweed than normal during the low season.

Since tourists tend to avoid Cancun during this time, you can often find the best hotel deals in the low season. You’ll get crowd-free beaches, cheaper airfare and hotel rates, and better hospitality. The is often considered the best time to visit Cancun if you’re traveling on a budget.

Shoulder Season In Cancun

In our opinion, the best time to go to Cancun is the shoulder months of April, May, November, and December. During these months, you’ll experience lesser crowds and more mild weather conditions, and pretty reasonable rates.

We especially love going towards the end of November/first week of December right after Thanksgiving. We’ve been three times during this timeframe and have always been met with nearly perfect weather!

Cancun In January: What To Expect

With January comes the dry season, where Cancun experiences near-perfect weather. Days are warm and nights are cooler. What that means is that you’ll be able to enjoy outdoor activities with sunshine and enjoy evening strolls without sweating the whole time.

January is one of the coolest and driest months of the year in Cancun with the least chance of rain and no hurricane risk.

The days are generally beautiful, warm, and sunny! And while it’s not possible to say there will be no rain in January, if it does rain, it will only be light passing showers.

Nights are usually still pretty warm, with nighttime averages hovering around 72°F (22°C). You may want to bring a light cardigan or sweatshirt, but chances are you’ll be pretty warm already.

Packing a long sleeve, a light pair of long pants, and your normal beach clothes will be perfectly fine in January.

I am someone who is always cold (even when my friends are perfectly fine in the same weather) and in January, I usually don’t need to bring a jacket or coverup with me. That there alone tells you how gorgeous the weather is in Cancun in January.

Cancun Travel Tips - Travels With Elle

In terms of how Cancun in January will impact your wallet, hotels and resorts are usually at their maximum occupancy and therefore rates will be higher during January compared to any other time of the year. If you do plan on traveling to Cancun in January, be sure to make your hotel reservations as soon as possible.

With the exception of Spring Break, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, January is one of the more expensive times of the year to visit Cancun.

You may be able to find some deals during the second week of January (after the holidays and New Year’s celebrations), but don’t expect to find the same amazing travel deals you would during the low season.

And because of the ideal beach weather, expect slightly more crowded beaches, restaurants, and pools at your resort.

Cancun Weather In January

Temperature: Highs of 82°F (28°C), lows of 70°F (21°C). Skies are most of the time clear and sunny. It’ll be sunny and hot (but not too hot) during the days, and cooler in the evenings. Very rarely will you need a long sleeve at night.

Humidity: Humidity is lower than June through November, hovering around the 86% max and 75% min range. Humidity is pretty darn low for Cancun in January which is great because you won’t get that hot sticky feeling on your trip.

Rain: January has 7 rainy days on average. Hurricane season has passed, so chances of you running into a hurricane on your travels are extremely slim to none. There could be rain, but it happens usually during the night and are only passing showers.

Hours of Sunshine: 8 hours

Sea Temperatures: 81°F (27°C)

January Events In Cancun

New Year’s Eve / New Year’s Day – As with many other party destinations around the world, Cancun turns into a major party city for New Year’s Eve. Expect huge parties at the clubs and bars and lots of fireworks! On New Year’s Day itself, everything is relatively quiet as many businesses are closed and the parties have passed. Restaurants and bars will still open.

El Día de los Reyes (Kings’ Day) – January 6 is a day of celebration in Mexico. Kings’ Day features a round-shaped bread called Rosca de Reyes. A baby Jesus figure is baked into the bread, and whoever finds it in their slice must commit to making tamales for everyone during El Día de Candelaria (Feb 2)!

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Is January A Good Time To Visit Cancun?

January really is one of the best months to visit Cancun, so the answer is an astounding yes!

It’s one of the best winter months to visit Cancun due to lesser crowds (if you avoid the first week of Jan) and low chances of tropical storms.

This is a great time to visit if you’re looking for a more relaxed vacation where you can spend some time on the beach, relax, and enjoy Cancun at your leisure.

It’s not the best time to go if you’re looking for those vibrant nighttime vibes, or if you’re looking for warm summer nights.

Is Cancun Cold in January?

While it might be cold in January for many other cities/destinations in the world, Cancun is not one of those places. In fact, January is one of the best times to visit Cancun, Mexico!

Days are warm, nights are cool and comfortable, and skies are almost always sunny and clear. Average highs are around 82°F (28°C). Average temperatures rarely fall below 73°F (23°C).

Get ready for some near-perfect weather in January!

Is Cancun Rainy in January?

No, not really. January sits in Cancun’s dry season. This is one of the driest months in Cancun and the Yucatan Peninsula which means there is a low chance of rain.

Best Time To Visit Cancun For Perfect Weather

Cancun has great weather for much of the year, but for the best weather, you should visit between the months of December and April. The average temperature stays around the mid-80’s, with little to no rain on most days.

It’s important to keep in mind around March and April the spring breakers will start to visit Cancun, which can lead to high crowds and busy areas.

So while the weather might be amazing, if you’re looking to avoid these groups of rowdy travelers, you’ll want to travel closer to the December, January or February months.

This time is great as the temperature is extremely comfortable, without having to worry about hurricanes or too much rain in general. It’s ideal weather to spend time on the beach, while not feeling too hot or cool.

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Best Time To Visit Cancun For The Best Deals

Cancun has a peak tourist season, as well as a low tourist season during the year. Due to the great weather during the summer/spring seasons, November through April are typically the busiest months in Cancun.

Beyond the weather, though, these times are most popular due to the holidays. Lots of people go on vacations to Cancun in November and December for holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

On top of that, it is also particularly common for people who live in cooler areas to visit and escape the cold winter weather.

The popularity of these times of the year generally leads to a more expensive trip overall, with higher flight prices, hotel rates, and resort costs.

So, if you’re looking to snag a deal on your Cancun vacation, you’ll want to look into visiting between May and November.

This time of year brings fewer tourists due to the higher likelihood of rain and some inclement weather. Hotels, all-inclusive resorts, and airlines will usually lower their prices to attract tourists.

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However, if you wait until the sweet spot between September and October, you can enjoy some of the more comfortable temperatures with a lower likelihood of bad weather (and still take advantage of those great deals).

Read More: 15 Best All-Inclusive Resorts in Cancun for Families

Best Time To Visit Cancun To Avoid Crowds

If you’re looking to avoid crowds, you’ll want to keep a few details in mind while planning your visit to Cancun.

As we discussed before, the holidays are a popular time for people to visit Cancun – specifically in November and December, and March and April for spring break. If you’re looking to avoid massive crowds, you’ll want to make sure you visit outside these months at the very least.

For the least amount of tourists visiting while you’re on your trip, you’ll want to look into visiting sometime in October or September.

Lots of people flock to Cancun for their summer vacations throughout June, July and August, leading to lower crowds than the holidays but still a sizable amount of tourists.

September and October lie in the sweet spot where you’re just out of the summer, but the holidays haven’t come up yet.

Best Things To Do In Cancun Mexico - Excellence Playa Mujeres

Best Time To Visit Cancun For Swimming, Snorkeling and Diving

Cancun is a great place to visit if you’re looking to spend some serious time outdoors and in the water! There are a lot of opportunities to swim, snorkel, go diving and engage in other activities during your vacation.

If you want to do any of these things while in Cancun, you’ll want to visit during a month where the water is warm, and the weather is beautiful.

To have the best time on the beaches while in Cancun, you’ll want to go during the summer or early fall months. July, August, September and even October guarantee the warmest water of the year, allowing you to enjoy long periods of time swimming and snorkeling.

For the lowest likelihood of rain and bad weather, you can avoid hurricane and rain season by going closer to June and July. This is also a great time to see the most amount of marine life, including turtles and sharks.

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Best Time to Visit Cancun for Whale Sharks

Speaking of sharks, did you know whale sharks are some of the most popular marine life people come to see when visiting Cancun? Don’t worry, despite them being in the shark family, they’re actually docile and friendly, and love to feed on plankton (not people).

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To maximize your chances of seeing a whale shark when on vacation, you’ll want to visit Cancun during shark season. This season primarily takes place in June and July when the water is warm and the weather is at its best.

Sometimes, though, shark season extends past these couple months and can span anytime between mid-May and mid-September.

It’ll be hard to plan your trip around the potential for an extended season, so it’s best to just book your trip near June/July.

Best Time To Visit Cancun For Nightlife

Beyond visiting Cancun to enjoy the beautiful beaches and resorts, many people go to take part in the vibrant nightlife. Cancun is infamous for its party life and lively nighttime entertainment, with tons of restaurants and nightclubs you can visit each night to guarantee a fantastic time.

If partying is one of your vacation priorities, you will want to visit Cancun either during March and April, or during the summer months.

March and April are when many people come out to Cancun during spring break–you can find lots of beach parties during the day, and packed nightclubs later on in the evenings.

Best Time To Visit Cancun - TravelsWithElle

The summer is another popular time for the younger crowd to come out to party, as the weather is at its best and it stays warm late into the night.

If you’re looking for a lively crowd to party with, but don’t exactly want to deal with all the craziness of spring break, you can also visit Cancun during October, November or December.

A lot of people (us included) tend to visit during this time to visit the various clubs and other attractions Cancun has to offer. And unlike the spring and summer months, this time of year the people visiting tend to be older and more relaxed.

If that sounds more like you, I’d skip March/April and visit towards the end of the calendar year!

Does It Rain All Day in Cancun During the Rainy Season?

Yes and no. While there is a possibility it could rain all day, there’s also the possibility that it could rain for 30 minutes during the day with nothing but sunlight the rest of the time. It could also rain overnight with no rain in sight in the daytime.

The rain can be heavy at times in Cancun, but it is unlikely to rain for the whole of your trip. Usually, if it does rain, it will only last for 1-3 days.

Rest assured, if you do vacation during the rainy season, you will not be rained in during your entire vacation!

Wet Season - Best Time To Visit Cancun

Essential Travel Tips For Cancun In January

  • To avoid eye-gouging prices in Cancun, avoid going to Cancun during the week of Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Prices tend to come down slightly for the second week of Jan, but don’t expect to find crazy good deals in Jan.
  • To make sure you bring all the right travel gear and have all your bases covered, always check the weather forecasts before you leave on your trip to Cancun. No matter the season, it’s smart to bring a windproof umbrella and light rain jacket with you.
  • There’s been sort of a seaweed problem in Cancun. Want to make sure you’re going to be getting crystal clear waters? Check the latest seaweed conditions report before heading to the beaches on Cancun or Isla Mujeres.
  • The most popular times to visit Cancun range from June to early August and November to March (high season). If you’re looking for a quieter experience, plan your trip for mid-August to October.
  • Cancun hurricane season runs from June through November. Most weather experts recommend purchasing travel insurance if you plan on visiting during hurricane season.
  • Bring pesos with you just in case you need to pay with cash. Pick up pesos from an ATM wherever you depart from before heading to Cancun. Not all places accept credit cards on the island (small shopfronts, food vendors, etc.), and ATMs are few and far between.
  • When using a credit card, choose to pay in the local currency instead of your home currency. You’ll get a better exchange rate and will be paying less than the home currency option. (In my case, I would pay in $MXN instead of in $USD.)
  • The tap water in Mexico is not safe to drink. Instead of spending your money on plastic water bottles, bring a reusable water bottle and a rechargeable Steri-Pen (the way more environmentally friendly option).
  • Cancun is extremely tourist-friendly. If you can’t speak a lick of Spanish, you’ll be okay. Cancun largely caters to English-speaking visitors, and you’ll find that English is spoken by most locals, hotel/restaurant staff, and tour guides.
  • Cancun is pretty safe, but always practice self-awareness and caution. Certain areas of Mexico have long held a reputation for being unsafe due to cartel violence, but resort areas and tourists are not targeted. Just exercise increased caution as you would anywhere–avoid being flashy, don’t walk around alone at night, be wary of your surroundings, and you should be just fine.
  • No matter what you’re budget is, you’ll find tons of accommodation options in Cancun. Most budget accommodations and hostels are located in downtown Cancun, while luxury and resort options are largely found in the Hotel Zone or more remote areas nearby such as Playa Mujeres or Puerto Morelos.
  • Taxis in Cancun are costly, and buses are cheap. Taxis in Cancun follow a set price (Ex: ~$45 from Playa del Carmen to Cancun’s Hotel Zone; ~$26 from Cancun International Airport to the Hotel Zone).
  • Many travelers opt for local bus transportation, which is reliable, frequent, and inexpensive (under $1/ride) to ride between the Hotel Zone and downtown Cancun.
  • Looking for transportation priced somewhere in the middle? A private transfer booked ahead will be your best bet.
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Pro Tip: If you’re thinking about doing a lot of different excursions during your visit to Cancun, consider getting yourself a Go City Cancun All-Inclusive Pass to save money!

Read More: Go City Pass Review: Is It Worth The Money In Cancun?

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Cancun In January: Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cancun crowded in January? 

January is a very popular time to visit Cancun, as many people travel to Cancun to escape the cold weather in their home countries. Having said that, it is generally less crowded than the peak spring break months of March/April and the holiday season in December.

Is Cancun humid in January?

Cancun is way less humid in January than in the summer months, but it can still feel somewhat humid as it’s still a tropical destination.

Is December or January better for Cancun?

Both December and January fall in peak travel season because they’re wonderful times to visit Cancun! In terms of weather, you really can’t go wrong with either month.

In terms of weather, both months are generally mild and dry, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit. However, there is a slightly higher chance of rain in December than in January.

In terms of crowds, expect larger crowds compared to previous months of the year. Price-wise, the end of December may be more expensive than January due to the holiday season. January is a good time to visit for those who want to avoid the holiday crowds and take advantage of slightly lower prices.

Is January or February better for Cancun?

Both January and February are great times to visit Cancun, as they offer dry and mild weather and fewer crowds than the coming months of March/April.

February is ever-so-slightly warmer than January, with temperature highs in the low 80s Fahrenheit (Jan averages 78.8°F). As both months are considered high season, you can expect travel costs to be similar.

What are the best months to visit Cancun?

The best months to visit Cancun are typically December through April. The weather is near-perfect at this time of year, which happens to fall in the middle of Cancun’s dry season. This is considered the peak tourist season in Cancun, so it is going to be a little more crowded than in other parts of the year.

As long as you plan your trip and book hotels/flights before the spring breakers do (they usually flock to the area in mid-March to April), then you can still take advantage of lower travel costs. If crowds are not your thing, the sweet spot is during late-November and December. January and February are going to be crowded months to visit, but not as crowded as it’ll be in March and April.

What are the worst months to visit Cancun? 

Based on weather conditions, the “worst” months to visit Cancun are typically June to October, as they are the hottest and most humid months of the year. Given that these months fall inside of Cancun’s hurricane season, there is a higher chance of rainfall and tropical storms (though actual hurricanes are rare).

If pristine beaches are what you’re after, you’ll want to avoid visiting during these months too. Cancun not only has its hurricane season from June to November but also a seaweed season that begins around May and lasts until October.

Mexico Travel Insurance

This is a no-brainer. When traveling internationally, be sure to get yourself some travel insurance.

I’ve heard of too many unfortunate experiences where friends and family have had baggage lost/stolen, hotels canceled, or have had unexpected medical emergencies while traveling where they’ve had to cut their trips short.

True story alert — in 2022, my partner even had his shoulder completely dislocated while surfing in Mexico, resulting in a $950 USD emergency room bill that we had to pay out of pocket for! Not fun… and most definitely not cheap.

Without travel insurance, you would have to pay out of pocket for these mishaps. This is why I get travel insurance for all my international trips now!

One of the best budget-friendly travel insurances for those traveling outside their home country is SafetyWing.

SafetyWing Insurance provides coverage for unexpected illness or injury, including eligible expenses for hospital, doctor or prescription drugs. This means that if you get ill or injured, THEY will cover the medical expenses.

In addition, it provides emergency travel-related benefits such as:

  • emergency medical evacuationvery much needed if you like to go hiking or backpacking in the wild.
  • travel delay
  • lost checked luggage
  • adventure sports coverage (add-on)so you can rappel down waterfalls, cave dive, mountain bike, scuba dive, etc. with peace of mind.
  • electronics theft (add-on)get reimbursed if your laptop, phone, camera or other electronics get stolen.

Click here to price out how much travel insurance would be for your trip.

We hope you found this post useful and now have a better idea of whether Cancun in January is right for you. We love visiting this time of year. Between December and January, these months are tied for the “best” time to go to Cancun — at least for us!

If Cancun in January is NOT what you thought it was, consider visiting Cancun during another month of the year. Check out our other Cancun guides by month:

Happy vacationing!

Want more Cancun travel tips? You might like:

25+ Exciting Things To Do In Cancun To Make Your Trip Unforgettable

Xcaret Park Review: Is It Worth The Money?

Essential Cancun Travel Tips: Things I Wish I’d Known Before My Mexico Trip

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Mexico All-Inclusive Packing List: 60 Essential Things To Bring With You

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Elle Leung

My name is Elle and I'm a travel blogger and adventurer based in California. I love helping people plan trips and create unique itineraries based on their interests and their budgets. I'm a huge fan of outdoor adventures and doing off-the-beaten-path things in my state (and all around the world too)!

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