HOW THE WEATHER IN THE RIVIERA MAYA MAKES FOR A GREAT VACATION

A common question for new visitors to the Riviera Maya, or those thinking of a vacation here, is “What’s the weather like?” Or “when’s the best month to visit?” Sometimes people will occasionally ask “Does the Riviera Maya get hurricanes”?  

In addition to answering these questions this month's blog article will also discuss the hours of sunshine you can expect, the temperature, the rainfall, and will provide tips about the weather in Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Akumal and Tulum.  As you can imagine, the weather year-round in the Riviera Maya, voted best vacation destination in Mexico, is pretty darn nice and makes for a great vacation.

Average Monthly Temperature in Riviera Maya

The Riviera Maya has a warm tropical climate all-year-round.  As you can see from the chart on the right, the monthly temperatures vary only by a few degrees across the year.  The hottest months, July & August, are only 5oC (9F) hotter than the coldest months. The temperature highs range from 27oC to 33oC (82F to 91 F) throughout the year. This is great because it means that if you like hot weather you can get it at anytime of the year in the Riviera Maya.  In addition, unlike some vacation destinations which have some months that are either too hot or too cold to enjoy your vacation, the Riviera Maya’s small monthly temperature differences mean you can enjoy hot weather year long.

Average Number of Hours of Sunshine in Riviera Maya

Similarly, to the average monthly temperatures, the average hours of sunshine also don’t vary greatly each month. There are more hours of sunshine in May, July and August with an average of 10 hours sunshine per day.  October to February have slightly fewer averaging 7-8 hours per day.

Sunrise and Sunset in Riviera Maya

As with the range of temperatures across the year, because of the Riviera Maya’s proximity to the equator, there isn’t a lot of variation in the sunrise and sunset times throughout the year.  The chart opposite shows the earliest sunrise is in June each year at just after 6 AM, while the latest is in January at nearly 7:30 AM.  The earliest sunset is in November at just after 6 PM, while the latest sunset is in July at just after 7:30 PM.

Both the sunrises and sunsets are spectacular all year-round.  The picture below is the sun rising above the Caribbean ocean and the Mayan jungle as seen from Ocean Breeze Akumal.

Average Rainfall in Riviera Maya

As you can see from the chart opposite, the majority of rain comes between July and September, accounting for 70% of the rainfall during the year.  However, in the wettest period, this rain falls on average only 6 days in these months. A feature of tropical countries is that it can rain a lot, but it usually falls in a very short space of time

For example, in September there’s often a pattern about once a week or so when it rains really hard for 20 or 30 mins.  I mean really hard.  So hard that if you are outside you will get soaked in 20 seconds or less.  However, 20 or 30 mins later its gone, the sun is out and you are drying off. The best thing to do when this happens is to get cover indoors and wait it out for the short time the rain falls.

Average Humidity in Riviera Maya

While the temperature when you visit is key its also important to know the humidity as well.  In the Riviera Maya, March usually has the lowest humidity (70%), while October is the highest (84%).  Between June and October, the humidity is between 80 - 85%.

Average Snowfall in Riviera Maya

The chart on the right shows the average snowfall in the Riviera Maya compared to that in London England, Toronto Canada, and New York USA.  If it snows in the Riviera Maya while you are there report it to the Guinness Book of World Records.  It would probably be included in their next edition!

Average Sea Temperature

One of the best things about the Riviera Maya and the Caribbean ocean is how warm the sea water is.  On average it is 10F warmer than the sea on the Pacific coast of Mexico. As you can see from the chart opposite, the sea water temperature is between 26 – 29oC (79 – 84 F) all year long. A dip in the ocean here is luxurious. If you’re a scuba diver you can leave your wet or dry suit at home, all you need to bring is a rash guard.  This is definitely one of the things that makes the Riviera Maya a great year-round vacation destination (Best Vacation Destination in Mexico).

Tropical Storms and Hurricanes

Tropical storms do occur in the Caribbean as they do in other tropical regions.  However, the number of tropical storms that are strong enough to be categorized as Hurricanes are far fewer.  As well, the number of hurricanes that occur and actually hit land in the Riviera Maya are much fewer.  The Riviera Maya has only been hit by 2 hurricanes (category 5) in its lifetime. The first was in Sept 1988 (hurricane Gilbert) and the second was in Oct 2005 (Wilma).  So, although tropical storm season is technically from June to November (with statistically the highest chance in Sept/Oct) the likelihood of being in the Riviera Maya when a hurricane strikes land is quite remote.  If you are interested in tracking tropical storms in the area this is an interesting website from the US National Hurricane Center.

Weather in Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Akumal and Tulum

The weather in Cancun and the weather in Playa Del Carmen, or Akumal, or Tulum only varies very slightly from the average weather in the Riviera Maya.  There isn’t an observable difference in temperature patterns between the weather in Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Akumal or Tulum.  However, there are slight differences in the average rainfall.  As shown in the chart opposite although the rainfall in all areas follows the same monthly pattern, it does appear that there is more rain in Cancun in August through October than in Playa Del Carmen, Akumal and Tulum.

5 Weather Tips

  1. If you’re a jogger or like to exercise do it early in the morning just after sunrise. It’ll also be a good time to observe some of the local wildlife too!
  2. Mosquitos are more prevalent in the summer months when there is more rainfall. Make sure that if you go out at night, or if you venture away from the ocean or close to the jungle (e.g. visiting a Mayan Ruin) that you take your insect repellent with you.
  3. Caught in a monsoon style rainfall in August or September? Don’t worry – find some shelter quickly and hang out for 20-30 mins. Typically, the rains will have passed after that and you can carry on back to the beach.
  4. Wear light colored clothes as insects are attracted to darker colors as they allow them to hide better.
  5. Make sure you bring the sunscreen. With a minimum average of 7 hours of sunshine (up to 11 hours) per day you’ll want to make sure you have applied the sunscreen. If you plan on going in the ocean or in a cenote make sure its biodegradable.

BEST TIME TO VISIT THE RIVIERA MAYA

Spring Weather in the Riviera Maya

In Spring the dry-season starts to end.  Although March and April only have 30 and 31 mm of rain each (it rains only a total of 5 out of the 60 days in these 2 months). When the rain arrives, it doesn’t last long and is soon gone leaving clear skies with plenty of sunshine. The warm temperatures (30 & 31oC), low rainfall and lower humidity make Spring one of the best times of year weather wise to visit. This time of year is very popular with tourists, especially those from North America who may still be experiencing the end of winter temperatures, snow, and rain.

Summer Weather in the Riviera Maya

The summer and early Autumn/Fall is the wettest season with higher temperatures and also higher humidity.  However, the amount of rain on the Caribbean side of Mexico and the Riviera Maya is less than that on the Pacific coast such as in Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta.  Making up for the more humid climate at this time is the highest number of hours of sunshine per day, often 10 hours daily!  An added advantage of this time of year is that it is less crowded, although it is still popular with visitors from the United Kingdom and Europe who come as it coincides with their summer holidays. You are also more likely to find deals on flights and lower priced accommodation (for example compare the rates in LOW season to other times).

Autumn/Fall Weather in the Riviera Maya

The wet season starts to end with total rainfall falling in October and then November.  The combined slightly lower temperatures and humidity make it a pleasant time of year.  In addition, it is much less crowded at this time of year. You are more likely to find deals on flights and lower priced accommodation (for example compare the rates in LOW season to other times).  For me I always really enjoy this time of year.  While there are a few days where it rains heavily for 20-30 minutes, the rest of the time the weather is great.  Added to the fact that it is less crowded I really enjoy the Riviera Maya in Autumn/Fall.  However, remember to bring your insect repellent with you as the mosquito’s aren’t as shy this time of the year!

Winter Weather in the Riviera Maya

The winter is the coolest part of the year, albeit by only 4-5 degrees from the summer highs!  Also, this is the dry season with the least amount of rainfall.  In addition, the temperature and lower humidity, combined with the North American cold winters in Canada and the USA, make this a popular time for visitors, and the high season.

In Summary - How the Weather in the Riviera Maya Makes for a Great Vacation

With a warm tropical climate all year round, personally I don’t think that there is a bad time to visit the Riviera Maya. For me the quieter summer and autumn/fall periods (cheaper flights and accommodation) balance out  the benefits of the winter and spring times.  I think the best time to visit here is when it best aligns with your travel plans and what you want to do when you are here.  

For instance, if you have more time to visit in summer then come then.  If you want to escape the cold winters of Canada, the USA, or northern Europe or the UK, then that’s a great time to come too.  If you are interested in swimming with Whale Sharks then the best time to come is between June and the end of August.  But if you want to dive with Bull Sharks then you’d better come between November and February.  If you want to get some hot sun, swim in the warm ocean with turtles, or take a dip in a cenote - then anytime of year is good!

I think that the weather in the Riviera Maya makes for a great holiday any time of the year, but what time of year would you visit the Riviera Maya?  Let us know when you share the post or email us at info@oceanbreezeakumal.com and tell us!

About Our Blog

Exploring The Riviera Maya is Ocean Breeze Akumal's Blog. Here we explore the diversity of Mexico's best tourism destination to highlight the best beaches, cenotes, restaurants, attractions, Mayan ruins, etc., etc. We provide information to help you explore this spectacular part of the world and give you tips and tricks that only the locals know. Helping to give you the vacation experience of a lifetime.

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