Tulum evokes images of sun-soaked white-sand beaches, chic eco-bungalows and gleaming Mayan ruins. It’s also the perfect base for exploring the vast Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an to experience the underground worlds of cenotes, or somewhere you might catch a performance by the Voladores (flying men).
It’s no wonder travelers flock to this corner of Mexico year-round. Unfortunately, Tulum’s popularity has made it one of the priciest destinations in Mexico – especially during the high season when the weather is reliably perfect – but visitors can still find deals during the off-season. You may get some rain, but somehow the sun seems to always shine through.
Plan the perfect time for your visit with this guide to seasons and events in Tulum.
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High season (December to April) is warm, sunny and beautiful
Warm, sunny days and cool nights entice travelers to Tulum for beach time, yoga retreats and multi-day music festivals from December to April, the high season for this destination. The temperate weather also makes it optimal for sightseeing. Occasional nortes (storms bringing northerly winds) bring kiteboarders to the otherwise tranquil waters. Expect to see crowds, though, and increased hotel rates that spike around Christmas and spring break.
July to August is the perfect time for great nightlife in Tulum © Tommy Nature Photography / Shutterstock
Shoulder season is July to August – the best time to go for nightlife
Though it’s hot and humid, it’s the heart of summer vacation in this part of the world with Mexicans and international travelers flocking to Tulum to get their tan on. You’ll probably experience some rain showers, but they’re typically short-lived, the sun almost always making an appearance. Balmy nights also mean moonlit beach parties and downtown bar hopping. Hotel rates rise, and Tulum is bustling again.
Budget travelers should visit in low season (May, June and September to November)
These are the low seasons for Tulum. The heat and rain thin out the crowds. If you’re an ocean diver or snorkeler, stormy weather can mean poor visibility too. However, you can still explore the region and cool off in cenotes regardless of the weather. Expect deals on hotels, although some do close for the low season. In the fall months it’s also best to check the weather forecast and always pay attention to hurricane warnings. November can bring the best of both worlds with beautiful weather returning yet prices remaining fairly low.
Here’s a monthly guide to what you can expect through the year in Tulum (although events are always subject to change).
January can be very busy
The first week of January is one of the busiest times of the year with late-night partying, music- and LGBTIQ+ festivals, plus the last of the Christmas-related festivities. Expect warm days and cool nights, crowds and high prices.
Key events: Día de los Reyes Magos, Zamna Festival, Arena Festival.
Carnaval takes over in February
The gorgeous weather continues, but Tulum quiets down. Except for Carnaval, that is, when parades, over-the-top costumes, live music and dancing take over the streets.
Key event: Carnaval.
It starts to get warmer in Tulum in March © stockcam / Getty Images
March brings a spring break crowd
The thermometer rises a few notches, and spring breakers descend on Tulum’s beaches – it’s not a girls-gone-wild vibe, but it’s definitely crowded. Traditional Maya celebrations mark the beginning of spring.
Key events: Spring break, Alborada Maya Festival, Tres Cruces.
Prices rise in April
The heat kicks in for Semana Santa (Easter Week), which usually falls in early April but occasionally in late March. Mexican tourists flock to the sea to cool off – a national tradition. Expect packed hotels and a hike in prices.
Key events: Easter, Semana Santa.
May means deals on hotel prices
A scorcher of a month plus some rain means the start of muggy weather. Not surprisingly, tourism slows down, and there are some great hotel deals. Cinco de Mayo equals drink specials but not much else. The first sea turtles arrive to nest on Tulum’s shores.
Key event: Cinco de Mayo.
There are low prices in June
Hurricane season officially begins; expect hot, sunny days with short rain showers. Tourist numbers remain low and so do prices.
July is vacation season in Mexico
The weather stays warm and humid. This is the height of summer vacation for Mexicans, bringing busy beaches, lively nightlife and higher prices.
It’s hot in August
This is one of the hottest months of the year, but the summer holiday season continues (and so do the short rain showers). Sea turtle activity is in full gear, especially near Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, with mating, nesting and the first turtle hatchlings making their precarious journey to the sea.
September is the height of hurricane season
The height of the hurricane season brings lots more rain though the sun manages to peek out most days. Mid-September, Mexican Independence Day means general revelry – including El Grito – in the central plaza.
Key event: Independence Day.
October is a good time to explore Tulum’s Mayan ruins without the crowds © MasterPhoto / Shutterstock
Hotels offer low-cost rooms in October
Historically the rainiest month of the year, some businesses close or limit their hours. Those that stay open often offer major deals. The weather is spotty, but the beaches are gloriously empty, and you can finally snap a selfie at the ruins without being photobombed. The sea turtle season winds down.
Key event: Sea Turtle Festival.
Festival season begins in November
The rainy season begins to sputter out, and, at long last, the temperatures drop. The festival season begins in earnest again, kicked off with celebrations in the central plaza for Día de Muertos. The last of the turtle hatchlings make their way to the sea.
Key events: Día de Muertos, Día de los Inocentes, Art with Me, Festival de Cultura del Caribe
December has the best weather and very high prices
Hurricane season is finally over, and, except for the occasional norte, the weather is picture-perfect. International tourism kicks into high gear. The Christmas–New Year period means holiday celebrations, fully-booked hotels and sky-high prices.
Key events: Día de Virgen de Guadalupe, Christmas, New Year’s Eve.