Here are the best times to visit Playa del Carmen - Lonely Planet (2022)

Playa del Carmen has become a fast favorite among digital nomadsthanks toits walkable center, excellent infrastructure and proximity to islands, reefs and ruins.

While this rising star of the Riviera Maya is a year-round destination, tourist numbers do ebb and flow throughout the year. Pick the right time to visit, and you might just have the place to yourself.

Winter and spring see snowbirds and spring breakers pouring in; hotel rates are at their highest, and the beach town’s population increases tenfold. If you aren’t averse to some rain and extreme humidity, the best time might be to visit is in fall, when the crowds thin and prices dip. Thankfully, Playa never shuts down, and lousy weather rarely lasts more than a week.

Here is our thorough, season-by-season, month-by-month guide to the best times to visit Playa del Carmen.

Expect perfect weather in high season (December–April)

Playa’s peak season brings balmy days and cool evenings – but also huge crowds and high prices. Beaches bulge at the seams and hotel rates spike around Christmas and spring break. While moderate temperatures make sightseeing gloriously pleasant, don’t expect tranquility as revelers flock here for a good time. Be sure to book your travels a few months in advance.

(Video) The Playa del Carmen Travel Guide (Mexico's BEST things to do in 2022)

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Enjoy a taste of culture in shoulder season (July–August)

Summer in Playa del Carmen means blazing heat and near-unbearable humidity. Despite that, Mexicans and foreign travelers flood in for their summer vacations. While there may be some downpours, the sun always appears between showers. Make the most of the temperate evenings and join in Playa’s celebration of its patron saint, la Virgen del Carmen, every July.

Here are the best times to visit Playa del Carmen - Lonely Planet (1)

Score great travel deals in the low season (May–June, September–November)

Travelers tend to stay away during this season due to the scorching heat, tropical storms and sargassum – a more recent scourge. Since 2011, much of the Caribbean (including the the Riviera Maya) has seen massive amounts of this seaweed wash up on its shores. This typically happens between April and August, but it can be unpredictable. Even during the season, the beach may be blanketed in seaweed on some days and totally clear on others.

Fall is the height of the hurricane season, when it’s not uncommon to experience high winds, torrential rain and power outages. If you’re visiting during this season, it’s wise to follow closely the news for hurricane warnings.

Here’s a breakdown of what weather and events to expect in Playa del Carmen throughout the year.

January has warm days and cool evenings

The year begins with warm days and cool evenings, as holidaymakers continue to flock to Playa for some winter respite. The last bit of Christmas festivities carries on into the first week of January, with the celebration of Three Kings’ Day, popular throughout Mexico. While Playa del Carmen isn’t big on traditions, you’ll still find Rosca de Reyes (a cake typically eaten on the feast day) sold in supermarkets and bakeries.

Key events: Día de los Reyes Magos

(Video) PLAYA DEL CARMEN (2021) | Things you MUST do in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

February is the month for parties

Perfect weather continues into February, when some of the best parties in Playa del Carmen take place. Happening all month long is the dance festival eventZoukMX, which culminates with a massive beach jungle party. Mexico’s biggest LGBTQ+ dance music festival, theArena Festivalcranks up the volume, while Carnaval parades take to the streets of Playa del Carmen.

Key events: Día de la Constitución, Carnaval, ZoukMX, Arena Festival

Spring breakers arrive in March

As the mercury rises come March, spring breakers arrive in droves, packing beach clubs in Playa’s city center with millennials and the young at heart. March is also the best time to visit Chichén Itzá, roughly 2.5 hours from Playa del Carmen by private car. During the spring equinox, the light aligns perfectly (and remarkably) to create the illusion of a colossal snake creeping slowly up theEl Castillo pyramid’s monumental staircase.

Key events: Spring break, spring equinox

Here are the best times to visit Playa del Carmen - Lonely Planet (2)

April brings the Easter-holiday crowds

Tourism kicks into high gear once again for Semana Santa, when Mexicans escape to the coast for their annual Easter holidays. Sargassum seaweed starts to make an appearance on the beaches, too. There isn’t any formal Holy Week celebration in Playa, but the churches brim with locals on Easter Sunday. The Riviera Maya Film Festival takes place in the middle of April, with a week-long series of free showings around town.

Key events: Easter, Semana Santa, Riviera Maya Film Festival

Enjoy a Mayan ritual in May

May is when the rain starts to fall – as do tourist arrivals. And after the crowds disperse, great hotel deals abound. Cinco de Mayo isn’t a big affair in Playa, though bars usually have drinks specials to celebrate the occasion. At the end of May, the Sacred Maya Journey commences with the launch of traditional giant canoes at Xcaret. The regatta recreates an ancient Mayan ritual in which pilgrims made annual journeys to Cozumel Island to pay tribute to Ixchel, the goddess of fertility.

(Video) My 9 things you should know about Playa Del Carmen Mexico

Key events: Cinco de Mayo, Sacred Mayan Journey

June is the month for hotel bargains

The rainy season officially begins this month, with hot sunny days and spurts of rain showers, usually in the late afternoons. Tourists remain few and far between, and prices reach their lows for the year.

Vacation with Mexican families in July

The humid and scorching weather continues, but the summer holidays bring Mexican tourists and higher prices. In mid-July, Playenses celebrate the Festival of Virgin of Carmen ardently, with ladies dressing in embroidered huipil and parading with gilded figures of their patron saint. At the Feria del Carmen (fair), the Palacio Municipal plays host to a medley of cultural events, mariachi performances and live music shows.

Key event: Feria del Carmen

Hot August days bring afternoon storms

During one of the hottest months of the year, Playa continues to receive hordes of summer vacationers. The searing heat and rainy days signify the onslaught of tropical storms. The last of the sargassum seaweed washes up on the beaches.

September is the height of hurricane season

This is the height of the hurricane season, although the sun often peeks out in between showers. Potential flight cancellations, power outages and flash floods usually keep tourists away. In the middle of the month, locals celebrate Mexican Independence Day by painting their faces with red, white, and green paint and echoing “¡Viva Mexico!” through the streets. This is your chance to experience El Grito, a reenactment of the battle cry, at Palacio Municipal.

Key events: Independence Day

The rains continue in October

Playa del Carmen is deluged with rain at this time of the year; though most restaurants and hotels stay open they slash their prices. The beaches are empty, and the sun might slip through if you’re lucky. The end of October marks Halloween, a holiday that Mexicans have adopted. Families stroll along Fifth Avenue in costumes while the little ones ask for candies. Party-minded grown-ups, meanwhile, usually get dressed in costumes and hit the clubs till the wee hours.

(Video) The Complete Travelers Guide to Playa Del Carmen

Key events: Halloween

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Celebrate Día de Muertos in November

The rains have subsided but the crowds have yet to return: November could be the best month to visit Playa del Carmen. The first week of November is when Mexico celebrates one of its most important festivals: the Day of the Dead. While Playa’s celebrations pale in comparison to those in other Mexican cities, the Día de Muertos event at Xcaret makes the pricey entrance fees worthwhile. Small parades occur on and around Fifth Avenue, while locals usually convene at the municipal cemetery at midnight.

Key events: Día de Muertos, Día de la Revolución, Riviera Maya Jazz Festival

The high season begins in December

The skies finally clear up and Playa regains its picture-perfect image. An influx of international tourists means busy beaches, fully booked resorts and sky-high prices. Restaurants start filling up in mid-December, when Mexicans gather for posadas (Christmas parties), singing festive songs and breaking into piñatas. Almost everyone in Playa goes out for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, so make your restaurant reservation well in advance.

Key events: Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, Christmas, New Year’s Eve

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FAQs

Here are the best times to visit Playa del Carmen - Lonely Planet? ›

Winter and spring see snowbirds and spring breakers pouring in; hotel rates are at their highest, and the beach town's population increases tenfold. If you aren't averse to some rain and extreme humidity, the best time might be to visit is in fall, when the crowds thin and prices dip.

What is the best month to visit Playa del Carmen? ›

The best time to visit Playa del Carmen is between April and May, when there are fewer people along the shore. Day temperatures hover between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, dropping slightly in the evenings. From October to March, the climate is generally dry and slightly warm.

What is the rainy season in Playa del Carmen? ›

Rainy season (October to April), and dry season (May to October). However, the highest temperatures often occur anywhere between March or April until October.

What is high season in Playa del Carmen? ›

The high seasons in the Riviera Maya/Playa del Carmen occur in the "winter" months from December through April and again during summer vacation in July and August. The peak seasons in Playa del Carmen are Christmas and Spring Break (Semana Santa) which is the week before and after Easter.

What is better Cancun or Playa del Carmen? ›

Choosing between Playa del Carmen vs. Cancun can be challenging because both offer the most exciting places in Mexico. If you want a beautiful, quiet vacation, go for Playa. But if you're looking for a lively and high-spirited vacation, Cancun is the way to go.

What is the hottest month in Playa del Carmen? ›

The hottest month of the year in Playa del Carmen is July, with an average high of 90°F and low of 72°F. The cool season lasts for 2.5 months, from November 28 to February 13, with an average daily high temperature below 83°F.

Is there a seaweed problem in Playa del Carmen? ›

This is usually what the Riviera Maya look like – usually. But for a few years now, especially in summer, large amounts of seaweed in Playa del Carmen have been unestetically on Mexican beaches. Anyone on vacation in and around Playa del Carmen at this time of year has surely noticed the seaweed.

Is it safe to travel to Playa del Carmen right now? ›

Playa del Carmen is open and traveling to Playa is safe and easy, with few covid travel restrictions or entry requirements, few coronavirus cases and certification as a Safe Travels destination.

Is Riviera Maya the same as Playa del Carmen? ›

Playa del Carmen is a town, which is in the Riviera Maya. The Riviera Maya is also called the Mayan Riviera and is an area, which runs from just south of Cancun, until Tulum, and the entrance of the Sian Ka'an Biosphere.

Is Playa del Carmen beaches nice? ›

This stretch of Mexican coastline is famed for its turquoise water, sun-bleached beaches, thick palm groves, and laid-back living. It's among the most-visited destinations in not only the country of Mexico, but in the world. The Riviera Maya has dozens of beautiful beaches, many of which are in Playa del Carmen.

What is the cheapest month to go to Playa del Carmen? ›

Top tips for finding cheap flights to Playa del Carmen

Book at least 1 week before departure in order to get a below-average price. High season is considered to be June and July. The cheapest month to fly from United States is January.

What is low season in Playa del Carmen? ›

In general, the best times to book a cheap flight to Playa del Carmen are late January-February, late April-early June and October. These are the low seasons in Playa and it's just before or after the various holiday events.

Is Playa del Carmen busy in March? ›

As we discussed before, the holidays are a popular time for people to visit Playa Del Carmen–specifically in December and January, 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.

Where is the safest all inclusive resort in Mexico? ›

The Akumal hotels and resorts, known as some of the safest all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, are in a gated area patrolled by security.

Is Playa del Carmen walkable? ›

How to Get Around Playa del Carmen? If you're staying in the downtown Playa del Carmen, then you can walk to most places. The city is easily walkable, with pedestrian paths everywhere. If you don't want to walk you can either take a taxi or rent a bike.

Whats more expensive Cancun or Playa del Carmen? ›

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Playa del Carmen and Cancun, we can see that Cancun is more expensive. And not only is Playa del Carmen much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Playa del Carmen would let you spend less money overall.

Does it ever get cold in Playa del Carmen? ›

The coldest months in Playa del Carmen are January and February – but like anywhere else, it is warmer during the day and colder at night. The warmest months are the summer months, July and August.

What is the best month to visit Riviera Maya? ›

The best time to visit is between December and March when the weather is most settled. The hottest month of the year is May with an average daily maximum of 36 C and an average low of 23 C. The coolest month of the year is December with an average daily maximum of 28 C and an average low of 20 C.

Can you see the sunset in Playa del Carmen? ›

The best place to watch the sunset panoramically in Playa del Carmen is undoubtedly Punta Esmeralda Beach. It has everything, crystal waters, cenotes for swimming, white sand and a quiet environment to have a great time.

Why does Playa del Carmen smell? ›

Tourists looking for sun and sand in Mexican resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum have been disgusted by foul-smelling mounds of sargassum — a seaweed-like algae — piling up on beaches and turning turquoise waters brown, and experts are warning that it may be the new normal.

Is there still a seaweed problem in Mexico 2022? ›

Sargassum Forecast for Seaweed Season in Mexico in 2021 and 2022. In Mexico, sargassum seaweed season is generally between May and October each year. If you travel to the Caribbean coast of Mexico outside of that time period you can generally expect to avoid large mats of seaweed on the beaches.

Is the water clear in Playa del Carmen? ›

Playa del Carmen is known for white sand beaches, beautiful clear turquoise waters, but in 2015 it is also becoming known for record-breaking amounts of seaweed.

Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now 2022? ›

The U.S. Government advises people to "reconsider travel" to Mexico, which is the third-highest of four levels of danger. Covid-19, as well as a rise in crime and kidnappings, are the major reasons.

Is Playa del Carmen safe to walk at night? ›

Playa del Carmen is a generally safe destination for solo visitors, though they should exercise caution as petty crime and scams have been known to occur in Mexico. Tips for solo travelers include sticking to main tourist centers, staying in hostels, and not walking alone at night.

Is Airbnb safe in Playa del Carmen? ›

It is definitely safe to rent an Airbnb in Playa del Carmen. In fact, you'll actually get breathtaking luxury for a very low price here.

Which airport do you fly into for Playa del Carmen? ›

The Airport

Most travelers will choose to fly to the Cancun airport. Cancun airport serves as the primary Playa del Carmen airport.

How far is Cancun and Playa del Carmen? ›

The distance between Cancun and Playa del Carmen is 68 km (42 miles) about 1 hour if you consider Down Town Cancun.

Can you swim in the ocean in Riviera Maya? ›

Another reason the best beaches in the Riviera Maya are so popular is the ocean temperature. The water temperature on this, the Caribbean side, is often 10F warmer than the Pacific side. Hence, swimming, snorkeling, diving, and water sports are fabulous all-year-round.

Is it better to stay in Cozumel or Playa del Carmen? ›

If you're looking to save money on your trip, Playa del Carmen may be the better destination for you. But if you're willing to spend a bit more money, Cozumel offers an unforgettable experience with its stunning beaches, all inclusive resorts, and amazing snorkeling.

Can you walk along the beach in Playa del Carmen? ›

The beach is always a great place to walk along the coast. No matter where you choose to stay in Playa, there are various walking routes that immerse you into the local scene or get you out of the tourist zone and into daily life. If you are a walker, you will love these routes.

Does Playa del Carmen have white sand beaches? ›

The beautiful, turquoise water, palm tree-lined, white sand beaches! You are absolutely spoiled for choice with picturesque, holiday brochure-worthy beaches in Playa del Carmen. Everyone you ask will have a different favorite beach and for very different reasons.

What is the cheapest month to go to Playa del Carmen? ›

Top tips for finding cheap flights to Playa del Carmen

Book at least 1 week before departure in order to get a below-average price. High season is considered to be June and July. The cheapest month to fly from United States is January.

What is low season in Playa del Carmen? ›

In general, the best times to book a cheap flight to Playa del Carmen are late January-February, late April-early June and October. These are the low seasons in Playa and it's just before or after the various holiday events.

Is it safe to travel to Playa del Carmen right now? ›

Playa del Carmen is open and traveling to Playa is safe and easy, with few covid travel restrictions or entry requirements, few coronavirus cases and certification as a Safe Travels destination.

What is Playa del Carmen like in May? ›

May Weather in Playa del Carmen Mexico. Daily high temperatures are around 90°F, rarely falling below 85°F or exceeding 93°F. The highest daily average high temperature is 90°F on May 15. Daily low temperatures increase by 3°F, from 70°F to 72°F, rarely falling below 63°F or exceeding 76°F.

How much is a taxi from Cancun to Playa del Carmen? ›

Cancun Airport Taxi Rates
DestinationOnline FromDistance - Time
Playa del Carmen$44.14+55 km - 45+ min
Puerto Aventuras$51.12+76 km - 60+ min
Akumal$58.04+92 km - 70+ min
Tulum$64.63+120 km - 100+ min
6 more rows

How far is Playa del Carmen from airport? ›

The Cancun International Airport is 55 km ( 34 miles) from the center of Playa Del Carmen. In a car this takes about 50 minutes to drive. It is a very easy to drive route with only one turn out of the airport and onto a four lane highway to Playa Del Carmen. By bus the drive takes about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Which airport do you fly into for Playa del Carmen? ›

The Airport

Most travelers will choose to fly to the Cancun airport. Cancun airport serves as the primary Playa del Carmen airport.

Is Playa del Carmen busy in March? ›

As we discussed before, the holidays are a popular time for people to visit Playa Del Carmen–specifically in December and January, 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.

How far is Cancun and Playa del Carmen? ›

The distance between Cancun and Playa del Carmen is 68 km (42 miles) about 1 hour if you consider Down Town Cancun.

Should I go to Playa del Carmen in September? ›

The best time to visit Playa del Carmen is in April, May or September. The weather isn't too hot or humid in April and May, and deals abound, other than during Easter and spring solstice, when Playa del Carmen is overrun by vacationers.

Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now 2022? ›

The U.S. Government advises people to "reconsider travel" to Mexico, which is the third-highest of four levels of danger. Covid-19, as well as a rise in crime and kidnappings, are the major reasons.

Is Playa del Carmen safe to walk at night? ›

Playa del Carmen is a generally safe destination for solo visitors, though they should exercise caution as petty crime and scams have been known to occur in Mexico. Tips for solo travelers include sticking to main tourist centers, staying in hostels, and not walking alone at night.

Can you walk around Playa del Carmen? ›

The beach is always a great place to walk along the coast. No matter where you choose to stay in Playa, there are various walking routes that immerse you into the local scene or get you out of the tourist zone and into daily life. If you are a walker, you will love these routes.

Do hurricanes hit Playa del Carmen? ›

Playa del Carmen is located in the peninsula, and in an area where we are susceptible to hurricanes. Hurricane season is quite long and lasts for months. Officially it starts in June and ends in November. That being said, it is similar to winter in some of the northern areas of the United States and Canada.

Does it rain in May in Playa del Carmen? ›

The amount of rain in May is normal with an average of 78mm (3.1in). It rains on average a total of 6 days. The average maximum daytime temperature lies around 32.0°C (89.6°F). If you enjoy looking at a blue sky and love the sun than this is a great time to go to Playa del Carmen with 228 hours of sun.

Is it cold in Playa del Carmen in January? ›

January Weather in Playa del Carmen Mexico. Daily high temperatures are around 82°F, rarely falling below 76°F or exceeding 87°F. The lowest daily average high temperature is 81°F on January 13. Daily low temperatures are around 65°F, rarely falling below 56°F or exceeding 71°F.

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