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”? Or “What clothes should I bring”? Here we answer those questions and give you all the valuable information you need for the Mayan Riviera weather.
First, let’s use historical data to give you the actual facts about the weather in the Riviera Maya. What temperature can you expect in summer for Mayan Riviera weather verses in December? What’s the monthly rainfall for Rivera Maya weather in September versus March, for example.
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 Mayan Riviera weather is so constant that the hottest months, July & August, are only 5oC (9F) hotter than the coldest. The temperature highs range from 27oC to 33oC (82F to 91 F) throughout the year. This is great because if you like it hot, the Mayan Riviera weather will suit you any time of the year. The slight monthly temperature differences mean you can enjoy hot weather year long.
As we are in the tropics, the Mayan Riviera weather does include rain. And the majority of rain falls 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! And a special feature of the Riviera Maya weather is that it usually falls in a very short time.
For example, in September, the Riviera Maya weather has a pattern where it rains very hard once a week or so for 20 or 30 mins🌦️. I mean very hard. The rain is so heavy that you will get soaked in 20 seconds or less if you are outside. Sometimes 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; before you know it, steam is rising off your skin as you dry off. So when Mayan Riviera weather looks like heavy rain, the best thing to do is to run for cover indoors. And wait it out, perhaps, with a Mexican cocktail in hand🍹.
While the temperature when you visit is important, it’s crucial to know the humidity. Since when the humidity is higher, you will feel warmer in hot weather 🥵. Conversely, if the humidity is high in cold weather, you’ll feel colder due to the cold dampness. Fortunately, with the Mayan Riviera weather, we don’t have to worry about getting cold!
The lowest humidity is in March at 70%. The highest is in October at 84%. Between June and October, the humidity is between 80 - 84%. So, the weather in the Mayan Riviera will feel hotter from June to October, partly because of the humidity.
There are several other Riviera Maya weather aspects that could affect your vacation. Each which can add to your experience depending upon the time of year.
The Riviera Maya weather also has average hours of sunshine that don’t vary much each month. There are more hours of sun in May, July, and August, with an average of 10 hours of sunshine per day. But even from October to February, the Mayan Riviera weather only has slightly less sun ☀️. It still averages 7-8 hours per day. You’ll get plenty of sun to keep your vitamin D levels high year-round.
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, a little after 6 AM. While the latest is in January at nearly 7:30 AM. The earliest sunset is in November, 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.
The chart on the right shows the average weather in the Riviera Maya for snow 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 are 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 ocean on Mexico’s Pacific coast. As you can see from the opposite chart, the ocean temperature is between 26 – 29oC (79 – 84 F) all year. 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 it is one of the reasons it's rated the Best Vacation Destination in Mexico.
The weather in the Mayan Riviera can include tropical storms⛈️ as they do occur here as they do in other tropical regions. But, the number of tropical cyclones that land here categorized as Hurricanes is 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 only a little. The weather doesn’t differ much between Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Akumal, or Tulum. There isn’t an observable difference in temperature between the weather in Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Akumal, or Tulum. However, the weather in the Riviera Maya differs 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 from August through October than in Playa Del Carmen, Akumal, and Tulum. Learn more about the specific weather in Akumal.
A few bugs here can be present depending on the weather in the Riviera Maya. Common bugs you could encounter include:
Mosquitos are more prevalent further away from the ocean, closer to jungle areas. The ocean breezes near the coast keep the mosquitos at bay most of the year. They are more prevalent when the weather in the Riviera Maya is wetter, typically from July to September and sometimes October. If you want to avoid mosquitos, especially from July through September, ensure you have insect screens at your accommodation. Similarly, Tabanos are more abundant in moist habitats. And Chakistes aren’t a big problem year-round as they don’t like sunny or windy environments.
Scorpions are affected by the weather in the Mayan Riviera and elsewhere. During the hotter months (April – June) scorpion stings are more frequent as they reproduce then and are more likely to be outside their burrows. But see our tips below for avoiding them! Spiders can be found year-round, but most vacation rental accommodations are treated regularly. Spiders and scorpions aren’t widespread at these locations.
Below are few valuable Riviera Maya weather-related tips
1. If you’re a jogger or like to exercise, do it early in the morning after sunrise. It’ll also be an excellent time to observe some local wildlife!
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, you take your insect repellent with you. And stay in accommodation that has insect screens.
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 head back to the beach.
4. Wear light-colored clothes, as insects are attracted to darker colors.
5. Make sure you bring sunscreen. With up to an average of 11 hours of sunshine a day, you’ll want to make sure you have applied sunscreen. If you plan on going in the ocean or cenote, make sure it’s biodegradable.
6. Scorpions are poor climbers. So if you are traveling between April and June (when they are more likely to be above ground), you consider accommodation higher than the ground floor.
The weather in the Riviera Maya in Spring is excellent. Now the dry season has started to end. March and April only have 30 and 31 mm (~12 inches) of rain each. And it only rains 5 out of the 60 days in these 2 months. When it does rain, it doesn’t last long. And soon leaves 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, snow, and heavy rains.
The summer and early Autumn/Fall are the wettest weather in the Riviera Maya. With higher temperatures and also higher humidity. Yet, the amount of rain is less than on the Pacific coast, such as 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 falling 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 excellent. But remember to bring your insect repellent and stay in accommodation with insect screens 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! Due to the up to 60 oC (140 F) difference between the Mayan Riviera weather and North America, this is generally regarded as the high season. 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.
As the temperatures are warm all year round, you should pack breezy dresses, breathable tank tops, t-shirts, shorts, and other summer clothes. A sarong or cover-up is highly recommended too. And don’t forget those comfy beach sandals and some walking shoes. Don’t forget a bathing suit and a hat and sunglasses too. If you’re planning on snorkeling, scuba diving, or water sports, you might also want to bring a rash guard.
Suppose you’re planning on eating at some nice restaurants or going nightclubbing in Playa Del Carmen or Tulum. In that case, a couple of dressy outfits might be helpful. If you’re visiting from June to October you might want to bring a lightweight rain jacket or rain poncho in case you get caught in a heavy shower. And one light weight sweater might also come in handy.
Another useful item is a beach bag. And as the weather in the Riviera Maya is sunny, make sure you bring bio-degradable sunscreen as it’s better for the ocean and cenotes.
Now you have the actual data on the Mayan Riviera weather year-round. Choosing when to visit can be challenging. But as you now know, the weather in the Riviera Maya is a warm tropical climate year-round so you can prepare to visit any time of the year, understanding the subtle differences in the Riviera Maya weather over the year. And knowing that you can take advantage of inexpensive flights and affordable accommodation in the shoulder and low seasons.
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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, best weather in the Mayan Riviera, 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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