Planning a trip to Mexico and are wondering about when is the best time to visit Playa del Carmen? This article is for you. Playa Del Carmen is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, which has two distinct seasons – the dry season and the rainy season.
The high season in Playa Del Carmen offers the perfect weather for lounging and spending time at the beach. The downside is that this is the busiest season when most people visit Playa Del Carmen. Hotel rates and activities around the area will be the most expensive during this time. If you are not into big crowds and long waiting times in queues, you are better off avoiding the peak season.
On the other hand, there is the low season when there are fewer crowds, and the prices for accommodations and activities are significantly lower.
However, that is because this is the least optimal time to enjoy the place as it may entail inclement weather, fewer available tourist activities, and even fewer available flights.
Then there’s the often-overlooked shoulder season which offers the best of both worlds.
Want to know more about the best time visit Playa del Carmen? Read on to find out more about our month-by-month guide.
What’s the best time to visit Playa Del Carmen?
If you want the perfect weather for the beach: Visit during the peak season – from December to April. If you want the cheapest, best travel deals, visit Playa Del Carmen during the low season between June and October.
If you want the best of both worlds, visit Playa Del Carmen during the shoulder season in Playa Del Carmen in May and November.
In short, the best time to visit Playa del Carmen depends on whether you like to travel during the peak, low, or shoulder season.
When is high season in Playa Del Carmen?
The prime or peak season in Playa Del Carmen spans from December to April. The weather is warm and pleasant – sunny, but not too hot, and there is little to no chance of encountering rain.It’s the best time to enjoy the sandy white beaches of Playa del Carmen. All shops are in business, and locals offer water activities like snorkeling and diving that you can enjoy during your stay.
The downside is that there are also lots of people who would like to enjoy this perfect weather too. So, prepare plenty of patience because crowds will be high in most places like cenotes and Mayan ruins during this time.
There will most likely be long waiting queues at the popular restaurants, so it is always best to reserve in advance to save time. And because of the surge of tourists, expect the cost of accommodations, meals, and even transportation will also be at its highest.
PRO TIP: If you plan to visit Playa del Carmen during the peak season, book your flights and accommodations several months in advance to ensure a good spot and great deals. The sooner you book, the more you’ll save.
When is low season in Playa Del Carmen?
If you are not a fan of crowds, visit Playa del Carmen anytime between May to June or September to November.
The sun is especially scorching around May, so many tourists avoid booking their trips during this time. The heat index can reach as high as 33°C during May, so consider this if you don’t like extreme heat and humidity.
There is also the risk of encountering tropical storms around September which means you can’t go out to enjoy the sun, and your plans could be affected. Storm surges can cause power outages and flash floods and may even delay your flight.
And since not many tourists book their visit during the low season, most establishments close temporarily, and the few remaining restaurants have fewer dishes to offer. There also could be limited opportunities for tours and other activities during this time.
Why you should visit Playa Del Carmen in low season?
The silver lining, is that the rainy season is just beginning in June, so the weather is mostly bright and sunny, but some day can be interspersed with fleeting precipitations later in the afternoon. There are few tourists, and prices are still at their lowest.
You will more likely score fantastic deals at restaurants and accommodations during the low seasons because of the lack of tourists at this time. If you are willing to deal with downpours here and there, if it means saving several bucks, this may be the best time to book your flight and accommodations.
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When is shoulder season in Playa Del Carmen?
Playa del Carmen’s often overlooked shoulder season is from June through September. At this time, the weather is still blazing hot during sunny days – but not as scorching as the days of May, so you can still get tan lines at the beach.
This period is also the start of the rainy season, so there may be downpours during the afternoons. If you plan to visit during the shoulder season, check the weather app daily when making plans for the day.
What are the advantages of visiting Playa Del Carmen in shoulder season?
The good thing about visiting Playa Del Carmen during the shoulder season is that it’s less crowded than the peak season, and prices are much lower when many establishments and accommodations are starting to go back to business. It means there will be more hotels and activities available compared to the low season.
So if you plan to take great beach photos during your stay, remember that the beach will have a lot of seaweed around this time, which does not look great in photos.
Best time to visit Playa Del Carmen by month
Playa del Carmen has two distinct seasons – the dry and rainy seasons. During sunny periods, the sun is blazing hot. Meanwhile, during the rainy months, there are scattered downpours now and then, but they usually clear pretty quickly, revealing a mellow yet still-shining sun in between.
Aside from the weather, another thing to note is the festivals you can experience if you visit at the right time.
So, if you are wondering about the best time to visit Playa Del Carmen by the month, here’s a detailed overview:
Playa Del Carmen in January
If warm days and cool evenings are right up your alley, you will enjoy Playa del Carmen in January. With the last bits of Christmas festivities still going on, you can still feel the winter-like crisp of the cool night air, all while enjoying the warm sun on bright mornings. The coldest month falls in January, where the highest temperature is only around 27°C, and can even go as low as 20°C at night.
The highlight of the month: The Three Kings’ Day
The Día de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings’ Day, is celebrated every January 6 to honor the Three Wise Men. This holiday commemorates the day when the Los Tres Reyes Magos gave their gifts to Jesus Christ. Thus, this is when Mexicans exchange Christmas gifts.
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It is also customary to eat the Rosca de Reyes or “Wreath of the Kings,” a traditional sweet bread meant to symbolize the gifts given to baby Jesus. Some of this festive-looking bread contains a little plastic baby representing the newborn messiah, and whoever gets it in their bread has to make tamales on February 2.
Playa Del Carmen in February
The perfect balance of warmth and coldness continues into February, which is the best month for parties and festivities. During this time, the temperature rises to a maximum of 28°C and falls to about 21°C at its lowest.
The highlight of the month: ZoukMX Dance Festival
The month-long dance festival event ZoukMX takes place in February. This event features a massive beach jungle party that will keep you up all night. The Arena Festival, Mexico’s biggest LGBTQ+ dance music festival – is also held at Playa del Carmen in February. You can also witness the street parade called Carnaval Parade at this time.
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The Día de la Candelaria, or “Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin,” is held every February 2. It’s a festival wherein families gather to have tamales.
Playa del Carmen in March
As the heat continually rises month by month, tourists and beachgoers are starting to flock to the beach and clubs. March’s average daily temperature is warmer at 29°C during its peak and about 21°C during nighttime.
A highlight of the Month: Spring Equinox
March is the perfect time to visit Chichén Itzá to witness the incredible phenomenon of the spring equinox, wherein the late afternoon light aligns perfectly to create the illusion of a colossal snake creeping up the El Castillo pyramid’s monumental staircase.
Playa del Carmen in April
During the Semana Santa, many tourists go on an escapade to the beach to beat the summer heat. With a high of 30°C during the mornings and a low of 23°C at night, April is one of the best months for chilling at the beach.
Highlights of the Month: Cozumel Air Show and Riviera Maya Film Festival
The Cozumel Air Show, a festival featuring aerial acrobatics with planes, is a free event held every April. There is also the Riviera Maya Film Festival, a week-long film showing featuring internationally awarded films that highlight Playa del Carmen’s rich culture.
Playa del Carmen in May
With an average daytime temperature of 33°C and 25°C at nighttime, May is yet another perfect opportunity to enjoy the heat at the beach and the cold fronts at night. It’s also the month when the scant rainfall starts to make an entrance, so prepare an umbrella just in case!
A highlight of the Month: Sacred Maya Journey
The Sacred Maya Journey takes place during the last week of May. This festival re-enacts an old Mayan rite of offering tributes to the goddess Ixchel. Here, the pilgrims begin their journey in Xcaret aboard canoes with wooden oars, going to Cozumel, where the offering ritual occurs.
Playa del Carmen in June
Starting in June, Playa del Carmen enters the rainy season while recording arid temperatures reaching about 32°C. While the sunny days are still hot, expect sudden rain showers, especially late afternoons. Temperatures at night remain at 25°C.
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Playa del Carmen in July
During this time, the weather is humid and hot on sunny days, with temperatures averaging around 32°C. The rainy season is still here thong. But the good thing is that stormy and cloudy days can bring the temperature to as low as 25°C.
Highlights of the Month: Festival of the Virgin of Carmen and Feria del Carmen.
Playenses commemorate the Festival of the Virgin of Carmen every July. Everywhere you look, you’ll see bejeweled ladies dressed in embroidered huipil and parading in honor of the patron saint. The Feria del Carmen also takes at the Palacio Municipal, where a medley of cultural events, mariachi performances, and live music shows take place for all to enjoy.
Playa del Carmen in August
August is amongst the hottest months in Playa del Carmen. The highest temperature remains approximately 32°C, with the lowest temperature being 25°C. It continues to lure summer vacationers to the beach despite the cloudy and rainy afternoons. If you want to score a deal on hotels and activities, August is a perfect month to visit Playa Del Carmen.
Playa del Carmen in September
During September, the scant late afternoon downpours from June to August are now full-fledged typhoons. Tourism at Playa del Carmen is at its lowest during September because the risk of tropical depressions and hurricanes usually keeps tourists away.
Flight cancellations, power outages, and flash floods are common during inclement weather. However, that is not to say that the sun does not peek through now and then; when it does, the temperature averages 31°C.
Highlights of the Month: Independence Day and El Grito
The Mexican Independence Day occurs every September, and locals commemorate it by painting their faces with red, white, and green paint while chanting, “¡Viva Mexico!” while parading the streets. If you visit during September, you’ll experience the El Grito, a reenactment of Mexicans’ battle cry.
Playa del Carmen in October
If you are looking for the time of the year when establishments slash their prices to almost 50%, that is during October. And reasonably so, because Playa del Carmen gets rain virtually every day at this time of the year. And when the sun peeks through, the temperature reaches a minimum of 24°C and a maximum of 30°C.
Playa del Carmen in November
Come November, the rainy season in Playa Del Carmen has already waned, so most establishments are already returning to business, but the crowds are still nowhere to be seen. The breeze also starts to get chilly by this time, with temperatures reaching a minimum of 23°C and a maximum of 29°C.
A highlight of the Month: Rivera Maya Jazz Festival
The Rivera Maya Jazz Festiva is a free beach event held by Mamitas Beach Club featuring various professional jazz acts from many countries.
Playa del Carmen in December
By December, the skies have finally cleared, and Playa del Carmen is once again at its peak magnificence. Expect an influx of tourists by this time, along with cold temperatures ranging from 21°C to 28°C. There is also a significantly lesser chance of encountering scattered precipitations during December.
Highlights of the Month: Virgin of Guadalupe and Christmas Day
The Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe takes place on December 12. This features religious processions of the statues of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The day culminates with a fireworks show around the beach of Playa del Carmen. And, of course, the festive Christmas Day is celebrated on December 25.
Where to stay in Playa Del Carmen?
On a Budget: Hotel Casa de las Flores
If you are looking for affordable accommodation with exceptional location and amenities, Hotel Casa de las Flores is the perfect place for you. This hotel is just a short walk from Playa del Carmen Beach, and since it is in Central Playa del Carmen, it is near shops, restaurants, and bars. Even the airport is a 5-minute drive away.
It air-conditioned rooms with terraces overlooking a quaint outdoor pool surrounded by tropical gardens. The best thing is that there is free Wi-Fi throughout the area.
Mid-range Budget: Playa Palms Beach Hotel
If you want to upgrade your accommodation without breaking the bank, book your stay at Playa Palms Beach Hotel. This splendid beachfront hotel is located right at the shore, with many restaurants, shops, and nightclubs around the corner.
Every room has a balcony where you can enjoy a mesmerizing view of the sea while resting in a hammock. They also have an outdoor pool and a private beach area. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the area.
On average, a night in their Ocean Front Studio costs around $159.
All-Inclusive Luxury Choice: Fairmont Mayakoba Riviera Maya
Fairmont Mayakoba Riviera Maya offers a luxurious experience in Playa del Carmen. The pristine private beaches in this five-star hotel are more secluded, so you won’t have to worry about crowds of tourists even during the peak season.
The all-inclusive 5-star accommodation at Fairmont Mayakoba includes private terraces with gorgeous views. It also offers water sports facilities, free bikes, a luxurious buffet breakfast at the beachfront, bars, spas, gyms, airport shuttles, a massive outdoor pool, and, most importantly, free Wi-Fi.
Best time to visit Playa Del Carmen: FAQ
When is the high season in Playa Del Carmen?
The high season in Playa Del Carmen is from December through April. The town is busiest during the Christmas season until Semana Santa in April. If you are visiting anytime in December, January, February, March, and April, expect to enjoy the best weather by the beach at the cost of mingling with thick crowds of tourists.
When is the shoulder season in Playa Del Carmen?
There are downpours here and there during June, July, and August, which most discourage vacationers from visiting the beach. However, the weather is still warm enough during the morning, so tourists who like to avoid crowds during the peak season and inclement weather during the low or hurricane season tend to visit during the shoulder season.
When is the low/hurricane season in Playa Del Carmen?
The hurricane season in Playa Del Carmen begins in September and lasts until October, sometimes extending during early November. Vacationers are nowhere to be seen during these months, as the risk of being caught up in a typhoon and having your flight canceled is simply nightmarish.
What’s the worst time to go to Playa Del Carmen?
The worst time to visit Playa del Carmen is during its hurricane season because of the risk of getting your flights canceled. And, of course, who even goes to the beach during the rainy season?
When is the cheapest time to visit Playa Del Carmen?
If you are traveling on a budget and don’t mind the risks of typhoons, power outages, and flight cancellations, September to October may be your best bet, as they offer generous discounts on most hotels and tours during the hurricane season.
When is seaweed season in Playa del Carmen?
The ongoing seaweed problem continues to plague many beaches of Playa del Carmen, most notably during July and August. However, in recent years the seaweed has been showing up on Playa Del Carmen beaches as early as in March.
Best time to visit Playa Del Carmen: final word
The best time to go to Playa del Carmen are the shoulder months November and May – they still have good weather, lower crowds and favorable prices on hotels and tours, which are much lower than during the high season.
To beat the high costs and save up on your trip, make your reservations at least six months in advance. To avoid the massive crowds, opt for equally picturesque yet lesser-known spots around Playa del Carmen like Puerto Morelos and Playa Xpu-Ha.