A common question for new visitors, or those thinking of a vacation, is “What’s the weather in the Riviera Maya like?” Or “when’s the best month to visit?” Sometimes people will ask “Does the Riviera Maya get hurricanes”? Here we answer those questions and give you everything you need to know about the weather in the Riviera Maya.
One of the best things about the weather in the Riviera Maya is that it 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 weather in the Riviera Maya is so constant that 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 it hot the weather in the Mayan Riviera will suit you any time of the year. The Riviera Maya’s small monthly temperature differences mean you can enjoy hot weather year long.
With the Riviera Maya weather the number of hours of sunshine doesn't vary much each month as well. There are more hours of sunshine in May, July, and August with an average of 10 hours of sunshine per day. But even October to February the Mayan Riviera weather only has slightly less sun ☀️. It still averages ~8 hours per day.
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 earliest sunrise 🌅 is in June each year at a little after 6 AM. While the latest is in January at nearly 7:30 AM. The earliest sunset is in November at a little after 6 PM. While the latest sunset is in July at a little 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.
As we are in the tropics the weather in the Riviera Maya does include some rain. Yet, the majority of rain comes between July and September. These months have 70% of the rainfall during the year. But, even in the wettest period, this rain falls on average only 6 days a month! A special feature of the weather in the Mayan Riviera is that while it can rain a lot, it usually falls in a very short space of time.
For example, in September the Riviera Maya weather has a pattern where once a week or so when it rains very hard for 20 or 30 mins 🌦️. I mean very hard. So hard that if you are outside you will get soaked in 20 seconds or less. So hard that the raindrops bounce back a foot off the road when they hit it! But, 20 or 30 mins later it's gone. The sunny weather of the Riviera Maya returns and before you know it steam is rising off your skin as you dry off. When this happens, the best thing to do is to run for cover indoors. And wait it out perhaps, with a cocktail in hand 🍹.
While the temperature when you visit is key, it’s also important to know the humidity as well. If the humidity is higher, you will feel warmer in hot weather 🥵. Conversely, in cold weather, if the humidity is high, you’ll feel colder due to the cold dampness. Fortunately, with the weather in the Riviera Maya, we don’t have to worry about getting cold at all! The humidity in March is usually the lowest at 70%. While October is the highest at 84%. Between June and October, the humidity is between 80 - 84%. So, the Mayan Riviera weather will feel hotter from June to October, in part because of the humidity.
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. The Riviera Maya weather doesn’t have any snow at any time of year😲. If it does snow while you here you should report it to the Guinness Book of World Records.
One of the best things about the weather in the Riviera Maya is how warm the sea 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 ocean 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 one of the things that makes the Riviera Maya a great year-round vacation destination. And one of the reasons I like this area much better than the west coast of Mexico. (Best Vacation Destination in Mexico).
The weather in the Riviera Maya can include tropical storms ⛈️ as they do occur here as they do in other tropical regions. But, the number of tropical storms that land here which are categorized as Hurricanes are very, very few. 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). The tropical storm season is technically from June to November. And while the highest chance is in Sept/Oct, the likelihood of being in the Riviera Maya when a hurricane strikes land is quite remote. If you want to track tropical storms in the area an interesting website is from the US National Hurricane Center.
The weather across the Riviera Maya varies little. Between Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Akumal, or Tulum the weather doesn't vary much. There isn’t an observable difference in temperature between the weather in Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Akumal, or Tulum. However, where the weather in the Riviera Maya does differ, is in average rainfall. There are slight differences in the average rainfall between Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Akumal, and Tulum. Although the rainfall in all areas follows the same monthly pattern, 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 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 rain. Make sure that if you go out at night, or venture close to the jungle 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 fast and hang out for 20-30 mins. The rains will pass and you can then head back to the beach.
4. Wear light-colored clothes as insects are attracted to darker colors since they can hide better.
5. Make sure you bring sunscreen. With up to 11 hours of sunshine a 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 it's biodegradable.
The weather in the Riviera Maya in Spring is excellent. Now the dry-season starts to end. March and April only have 30 and 31 mm (~12 inches) of rain each. And it only rains a total of 5 out of the 60 days in these 2 months. When it does rain, it doesn’t last long. And soon there are clear skies with plenty of sunshine again. The warm temperatures (30 & 31oC, ~ 84F), low rainfall, and lower humidity make Spring one of the best times of year weather-wise to visit. As a result, Spring is very popular with visitors. Especially from North America which still has winter temperatures, along with snow, and heavy rains.
The summer and early Autumn/Fall is the wettest weather in the Riviera Maya. With higher temperatures and also higher humidity. Yet, the amount of rain in 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 in summer is the highest number of hours of sunshine per day, often 10+ hours daily! An added advantage of summer is that it is less crowded. But it is still popular with visitors from the United Kingdom and Europe who come during their summer holidays. As well, 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).
The wet season starts to end with total rainfall declining in October and then November. The combined lower temperatures and humidity make it very pleasant weather. Also, it is much less crowded. Again you can find deals on flights and lower-priced accommodation (for example compare the rates in LOW season to other times). I always enjoy the Mayan Riviera weather at 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. But, remember to bring your insect repellent as the mosquitoes aren’t as shy this time of the year!
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. And the temperature and lower humidity, combined with the North American cold winters, make this a popular time for visitors. Due to the up to 60 oC (140 F) difference between the weather in the Riviera Maya and that in North America this is generally regarded as the high season.
Now you have everything you need to know about the weather in the Riviera Maya and its year-round warm tropical climate. You can be prepared to visit at any time of the year, knowing the differences in the Mayan Riviera weather over the year. And knowing when you can find inexpensive flights and affordable accommodation.
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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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