Tulum is a beach and boho lover’s dream located on the edge of a biosphere reserve south of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. A place where every day you’ve got the chance to bury your feet in powdery white sand and dive headfirst into the clearest turquoise water followed by sipping on a coconut in the shade of a palm tree just to repeat it all again an hour later. Is there ever a bad time for that? I don’t think so, but there are probably are a few things you should know about such as the best time to visit Tulum so you can truly get the most out of your stay.
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There are a few factors that might influence the best time to visit Tulum for you. If you have a smaller budget you might want to reap the benefits of travelling in the low season to score some unexpected deals on hotels. If you’re someone who doesn’t like crowds you might also consider travelling in low season or at least shoulder season to avoid packed beach clubs and having to wait for a table at the best restaurants in Tulum.
However, if you do want to have the best weather and if your goal is to mingle and meet new people and you’re not too bothered about saving money, the high season might be the best time to visit Tulum for you. It’s also a great time to see sea turtles and whale sharks in the area especially in Akumal and Isla Mujeres.
I’ve personally travelled to Tulum in both the high and the low season and there are stark differences between the two. Keeping reading and find out about the best time to visit Tulum to enjoy its beautiful beaches, lush jungles and laid-back pace of life.
When is high season in Tulum?
The high season in Tulum is from December to February during the northern hemisphere winter months, mid-December- Mid-January being the busiest times. The average temperature during the day is 28°C/82°F and 20°C/68°F at night. This is also the dry season in Tulum. At this time many travellers from the United States and Canada like to take time off to escape the winter and enjoy the Caribbean, especially during the holidays. Due to this, it’s the most expensive time to visit. Accommodation prices skyrocket and so do beach club minimum spends and cover charges, parking fees and so does the beach strip traffic.
Other peak times of the year to visit Tulum and the Riviera Maya are Easter, Spring Break and also July and August, which sees more of an influx of European travellers to the Yucatan Peninsula taking advantage of their summer vacation.
Pros of high season in Tulum
- There are more things to do. Everything is in full swing and there’s never a dull moment! All restaurants are open, so are yoga studios that usually have two classes a day compared to just one in the low season. There is so much variety for where to go and what to see especially when it comes to entertainment and live music – you’re guaranteed a good time.
- It’s easier to meet people. As most hostels and hotels are full, it’s much easier to be able to meet new people and connect with like-minded souls.
- The Nov-Feb high season also means the best weather of the year in Quintana Roo; clear skies, warm days and low humidity.
- Fewer bugs and mosquitoes.
Cons of high season in Tulum
- Prices are high. Tulum is generally an expensive place, especially when compared with the rest of Mexico. If you would like to save money or travel on a budget consider travelling during the low or shoulder season.
- There is so much traffic! Tulum town really isn’t as close to the beach as you might think. If you decide to stay in Tulum town and want to get to the beach every day you’ll have to cope with all the traffic. The beach strip is only a very narrow main road and cannot cope with the amount of traffic during the high season. Definitely rent a bicycle and cycle over taking a taxi.
- Beach club prices are high. Almost all the Tulum hotels along the beach have their own beach clubs that allow visitors from outside the property to rent a space for the day. Normally you’re charged for the privilege or there’s a minimum spend involved. During the high season, the minimum spend can triple at most beach clubs.
- Make sure to make reservations in advance for the most popular restaurants.
When is the low season in Tulum?
The low season in Tulum is mid-May to mid-July and then again in September and October. May and June are the hottest months in Tulum and some of the wettest which makes a sunny beach holiday less guaranteed. Hurricane season in September and October makes Tulum that little rainier and potentially dangerous, even though hurricanes here are actually quite uncommon. October is the month where you’ll see the least amount of people so if you don’t like huge parties and crowds this might be the best time to visit Tulum for you.
While May, June, September and October does bring in a lot more rain compared to the winter, this doesn’t by any means mean rain all day long. You’re much more likely to see heavy showers in the afternoon which pass relatively quickly, leaving you with plenty of time to still enjoy the beach.
I personally visited Tulum for the first time in October and it barely rained, bar a few short showers during the day and a few at night. There was definitely more rain when I visited the quintessential Mexican town of Valladolid nearby. Prices were at their lowest and I got a really good deal on an Airbnb, which I found was four times cheaper than it’s rate during the high season.
Read more: The Best Airbnbs in Tulum.
Pros of low season in Tulum
- Reduced prices. If you’re travelling on a budget, you’ll get considerably more for your money travelling in the low season. There are better deals on hotels and Airbnbs, a lower minimum spend at beach clubs and discounts on tours, activities and car rental.
- Fewer tourists
- Less traffic on the beach strip
- No need to reserve restaurants, events, car rentals and bus tickets in advance.
- Spontaneous travel and day trips are possible.
Cons of low season in Tulum
- Many restaurants and business are closed. Local businesses take their vacations during this time so you might find that that new restaurant you wanted to visit is closed for two months. It is just a small percentage though and there are still plenty of delicious eating options in Tulum open during the low season.
- Yoga class schedules are almost halved. If you want to do yoga be prepared for studios and hotels to almost halve their class schedules. While a studio might be offering two classes a day in high season, both morning and evening- in the low season most classes are just in the morning.
- Fewer people means fewer people you can meet especially if you are a solo traveller.
- The rainy season means there are far more mosquitoes around. Do not leave home without bug spray if you travel to Tulum during the low season.
To grab a great deal on a hotel, especially during the low season make sure you don’t miss Where To Stay in Tulum: The Best Hotels in 2021
If you visit during the low season and get caught in an especially bad weather depression, some alternative activities to enjoy are indoor yoga classes, going on a road trip, visiting an underground cenote and relaxing on a balcony in a hammock with a book.
When is shoulder season in Tulum?
The shoulder season in Tulum is Mid- March-Mid-May and also November-mid-December, apart from spring break and Easter. During this time you won’t really save yourself too much money on hotels as prices continue to be almost as high as during the peak season, but you will notice fewer people and a more relaxed atmosphere. Make sure to still book your accommodation in advance during this period to not miss out on the best hotels in Tulum. The sea temperature is ideal and there are fewer rainy days compared to the low season.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed break try to avoid Tulum during Easter as local Mexican travellers take this time to come to the beaches and they are more crowded than usual especially during Easter weekend. Spring break will also bring a younger crowd of North American travellers to Tulum, even though most do prefer to stay north in Cancun.
When is the best weather in Tulum?
The best weather is Tulum is during the high season. Winter in the Caribbean means stable temperatures with lower temperatures at night and very little cloud cover and rainfall. The water temperature is similar all year round, albeit a couple degrees warmer in the summer but it’s suitable for swimming all year round.
The rainiest months are May, June, September and October where heavy showers are common but not constant.
May-August brings extreme heat and humidity and high temperatures, especially inland and in the nearby jungle so if you plan to spend a bit of time at Chichen Itza or nearby Mayan ruins Coba, Valladolid or even the Tulum Ruins, it can get uncomfortable and quite sweaty.
The Sargassum Problem in Tulum
One of the most common questions I get over on my Instagram since relocating to Quintana Roo is about the seaweed problem in Tulum, Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It’s difficult to say when the best time to visit Tulum is to avoid the sargassum problem. In the last few years, the growing amount of sargassum in the Atlantic has posed quite a few problems for the Riviera Maya tourism industry. Experts believe that sargassum arrives in Mexico more towards the summer months after having fed on the nutrient-rich West African shoreline during the winter.
Having said that it can come at any time and it’s very difficult to predict. Some days can be seaweed free others not. If you are worried about the sargassum problem affecting your vacation, make sure to stay at one of the hotels along the beach strip. They are normally good at clearing the seaweed every morning meaning that their part of the beach is much more pleasant. On the public beaches, however, it tends to just pile up rotting in the sun as the local authorities aren’t the most efficient when it comes to clearing it.
When is the best time to go to Tulum?
The best months to go to Tulum in my opinion is during the shoulder season in April, early May or November. During this time of year, you’ll most likely have great weather (albeit very hot in May) with what could be little rainfall and you’ll also be able to potentially find some discounted accommodation on booking.com or hotels.com. These times are also less busy and will allow you to have a more relaxed experience, especially if you are someone who doesn’t enjoy crowds.
If you are travelling on a budget I’d recommend gambling on the weather and going in September or October. I ended up saving hundreds of dollars over my weekly stay and the weather was great. With climate change these days you just don’t know what’s going to happen but you might have to be flexible and find other things to do if it rains.
Best Places to Visit in Tulum
Cenotes – The whole of the Yucatan Peninsula is filled with beautiful cenotes or sinkholes. They are like natural swimming pools dotted through the jungle in these parts of Mexico and have crystal, clean water with plenty of scuba or free diving opportunities. Some of the best cenotes to visit in the area are Gran Cenote, Cenote Calavera and Dos Ojos, a little further north of Tulum.
Sian Ka Reserve – This reserve just south of Tulum is overflowing with natural beauty and wildlife. Look out for flamingoes and crocodiles here as well as beautiful lagoons and coves. It’s best to take a tour of the Sian Ka and sometimes boats are necessary for the best experience. Check out the best tour options below
Tulum Beach – the white sand beaches of Tulum are some of the most beautiful in the whole Riviera Maya and one of the biggest draws to the area. Sit yourself down on a sun lounger in the shade of the palm trees and enjoy the warmth of the divine Caribbean Sea and tropical climate.
Tulum Ruins – One of the most beautifully placed ruins in Mexico, the Tulum ruins offer a view of the coast like no other. Explore this abandoned Mayan citadel and head to the beach straight after.
Coba– Located a short drive outside of Tulum, Coba also offers another very different Mayan Citadel – a tall pyramid in the middle of the jungle.
For the complete list of things to do in Tulum check out The Ultimate Tulum Weekend Itinerary
How was your trip to Tulum? What time of the year did you find to be the best time to visit Tulum
More on Tulum:
Tulum Itinerary: The Ultimate Wellness-Focused Tulum Weekend Guide
Discover the perfect wellness-focused itinerary for Tulum.
Your Quick Guide to the BEST Cenotes in Tulum & Playa del Carmen
Your guide to visiting cenotes near Playa del Carmen and Tulum
Where to Stay in Tulum: The Best Hotels in 2021
Everything you need to know about the best hotel options in Tulum in 2021 for all budget.
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