Tulum is one of the hottest travel destinations in the world. Every year, thousands of tourists arrive in this popular Mexican beach town to enjoy the best that life has to offer. If you’re planning on doing the same, you might be wondering when the best time to go to Tulum is.
When I used to live in Cancun, Tulum was my favorite weekend getaway to spend some time with friends on its endless beaches until the sun went down. The town itself is everything but charming, with no historical appeal or any of the colonial feel that you usually find in all the Mexican Pueblos Magicos. But magic it is indeed, for its white-sand beaches, and fancy beach clubs, the world-class restaurants, and eco-chic hotels lining the beach or scattered around downtown, not to talk about all year round great nightlife, the refreshing cenotes and the overall thriving nature, the Mayan ruins, and much more.
It’s always a good time to enjoy all the things to do in Tulum, but there are some months/seasons that are undoubtedly much better than others, depending on what you are looking for.
So if you are wondering when it’s the best time to visit Tulum, the short answer is that shoulder seasons are the best to travel to Tulum. There are just many more activities available, the weather is perfect, and both town and beach are generally much less crowded.
However, traveling in the high seasons has its advantages, otherwise, it wouldn’t be called the high season, right? read more to know in detail what every season has to offer in Tulum.
- The best time to visit Tulum at a glance
- The best time to go to Tulum by season
- The best time to go to Tulum by month
- When you can find the best weather in Tulum
- When is the Sargassum Season in Tulum?
- How to get from Cancun to Tulum
The best time to visit Tulum at a glance
The best time to visit Tulum for you depends on a number of factors. For simplicity’s sake, I’ll divide all travelers into three categories based on their needs.
The best time to visit Tulum for budget travelers
If you’re on a tight budget and want the best bang for your buck, you’ll want to visit between June and October; those months are known as the low season and it’s the best time for saving money in Tulum. Rooms are easily available and most of the time discounted and there are far fewer tourists in the area.
The downside? The weather is quite hot, and humid and it’s the apogee of the rainy season that starts from May and continues all the way until the end of October. June, September, and October are the rainiest months in Tulum. It’s rare that a hurricane may spoil your entire vacation but it is a possibility if you are traveling in those months. It’s definitely raining a lot, especially in the afternoon.
However, I have to say I was housesitting in Tulum in September and October 2020 and although I went through two storms the weather was mainly sunny and the beach enjoyable. I used to go to Cinco Beach Club, a real gem.
Best time to traveling to Tulum for a short vacation
For those of you who only have a week or a few days and want to make the best of that time, I recommend going to Tulum anywhere from late December to March; these months are also known as the high season. The weather is absolutely perfect during this time; just the right amount of sunny to sunbathe in without being too hot and humid. There are tons of activities available and Tulum’s party scene is just popping during this season.
The weather is drier, but notice, I said drier, not dry, which means it can rain anyway, but it’s less likely!
Now we come to the downsides. Obviously, everyone wants a piece of Tulum during its best season, so expect tons of crowds (especially around Christmas and New Year’s). The prices for accommodations are at their peaks, and, if you don’t book in advance, it’s near impossible to find lodgings. My recommendation is to plan each day of your trip and then book your rooms and tours months in advance.
Best time to travel to Tulum with no crowds
I can personally relate to this one, heavy crowds are just not my thing. If you’re in the same boat, visit Tulum during April, May, November, and early December.
The best months for you guys are November and early December; the hotel prices are a bit lower than the high season (though not nearly as cheap as in the low season), the weather is great, and you can enjoy the natural beauty of Tulum in relative peace. While it’s easy to find accommodations during this season, I’d still recommend you book your trip as early as possible in order to get the best deal
The best time to go to Tulum by season
High season (late December through Easter)
High season is widely regarded as the best time to go to Tulum. The main reason is the weather. It’s simply perfect for vacationing. Gone is the rainy and hurricane season; you can enjoy clear skies and a calm ocean that’s perfect for swimming.
As I’ve mentioned above, expect Tulum to be very crowded during this season. If heavy crowds aren’t your thing, you might want to pick the shoulder or low season instead.
In case you do decide to visit during this season, book everything as early as possible. If you have limited time, plan out your itinerary as thoroughly as possible. Rooms and tours to natural reserves and amusement parks get booked months in advance for this season. Since Tulum is such a small town, how much fun you’ll have depends largely on where you’re staying.
Pros of the high season
- More parties and events
- Best weather, dry and less chance of rain
- Warm water
Cons of the high season
- Hotels and flights are highly priced
- More crawded
IMPORTANT FACT – Easter is the most crowded and expensive time of the year in Mexico, because, besides tourists, it’s when locals travel the most, even more than Christmas.
Low season (June to October)
This season is perfect for those of you who are looking to save some money. You can score some fantastic deals at Tulum’s hotels during this season when prices and visitors are at their lowest. The caveat is that the weather is very hot and humid. June, September, and October see the most rainfall, although these rain showers are usually quick to pass. July and August are not as rainy as the aforementioned months but they’re usually hot and sticky.
In addition to the rains, you’ll have to watch out for the hurricane. The hurricane season in Tulum starts from June and lasts until October.
Despite the weather being quite hot during these months, the sea breeze lowers the temperature quite a bit if you stay in the shade. I recommend taking advantage of Tulum’s excellent beach clubs and visiting the cenotes, as a lot of them stay cool and relaxing all year round.
Pros of the low season
- Less crowded (Except for August)
- Amazing deals (Except for August)
Cons of the low season
- Hot and humid weather
- Frequent showers
- Risk of hurricane
Shoulder season (April – May, and October -November)
Tulum is busy during this season, but not nearly as much as the high season. There will be moderate to low crowds depending on where you go. In order to score the best deals on hotel prices and to ensure availability, I recommend booking your accommodations as far out as possible.
April and November are the best months because of the great weather; the crowd noticeably thins in April (after Easter), and November is the pre-high season so you won’t find a ton of people in Tulum. May is when the weather becomes noticeably hotter and the rains start, but Tulum still remains quite enjoyable.
Pros of the shoulder seasons
- Less crowded (less than the low season because there is school, so families don’t travel)
- Top unbeatable deals
Cons of the shoulder seasons
- Very hot and humid weather(October and November only)
- Frequent showers
- Risk of hurricane (October and November only)
The best time to go to Tulum by month
Tulum in January
The atmosphere in Tulum is really fun during January, there are a ton of parties and events going on all over the town. Every year, there’s at least one multi-day music festival in Tulum during this month; this year, it was the famous Zamna Festival.
If music festivals aren’t your thing, there are other activities available as well. I highly recommend going to the beach clubs (check out my Tulum beach clubs article for more information on that). Also, January is one of the best months in Tulum for nightlife. The prices are at their highest because of the demand, and it’s really hard to find accommodations.
Tulum in February
February is the driest month of the year in Tulum, though not by much. If you experience a lot of skin issues due to high humidity, this would be the perfect month for you to visit Tulum. The weather remains great, with clear skies and warm waters. It does get a bit chilly at night so pack a few long sleeves if you’re planning to go out at night. The town won’t be as crowded as around New Year’s, but you should still expect everything to be booked and prices to remain high.
As for events, you can expect to be able to find fun events every day. I can’t name them because their days and names change every year, but you can find a ton of yoga retreats, dating events, parties in cenotes, jungle tours, tours of Mayan ruins, music festivals and events, parties at beach clubs, networking events, you name it.
Tulum in March
March is quite a busy month in Tulum. The weather doesn’t change much from February, and the humidity remains low. The month sees a lot of new tourists arrive because of college spring break parties. If you’re planning a visit during high season and aren’t fond of crowds, I’d recommend that you don’t visit in March for this reason alone. Tulum becomes as crowded as can be and there are a lot of loud parties.
On the events front, there’s a 5-day wine and food festival that features renowned chefs from all over the world; there’s delicious food and parties to enjoy all over the town. There’s also Spring Equinox, which occurs on March 20 every year. Apart from these two, there are individual events going on every day.
Tulum in April
April is part of the shoulder season in Tulum. The crowds thin out noticeably and last until Easter. The weather gets a bit warmer and relatively more humid than February and March, preparing for the start of the rainy season in May. You might even experience rain here and there, but they pass quickly enough.
This is probably the best time of the year for families. Especially because of Children’s Day (Dìa del Niño), which is a holiday just for kids. A lot of attractions offer special discounts to families on April 30. In addition, people from their spring break leave so Tulum is much calmer than in March. April is when hotels start running deals, so be on the lookout for those.
Tulum in May
This is the start of the low season in Tulum. Days get noticeably warmer, but they still remain perfectly tolerable (especially during early to mid-May). As I mentioned above, hotel prices start going down in April and there are even more deals available. Whale sharks and sea turtles usually begin to arrive during this month, and you can take tours to see them.
I recommend this month for honeymooners who are on a budget. The room prices are down, it’s less crowded, yet there are still plenty of events going on. Most notable one is Cinco de Mayo which is actually not so much heartfelt and celebrated in Mexico, but there’s also the 8-day festival that celebrates Maya, Mexican, and Caribbean culture.
Tulum in June
If you visit Tulum during June, expect humidity to be at its peak. The hurricane season also starts in June. June, September, and October see the most rain (and humidity). Thankfully, the rain showers pass very quickly, leaving plenty of sun to enjoy during the day. Crowds starting thinning from June, due to which many attractions and tour operators close down.
On the bright side, if you take a tour to see whale sharks, you’ll have an almost guaranteed chance of seeing them from June all the way through August. I highly recommend you take one of these tours, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Tulum in July
July is one of the hottest months in this area, with temperatures during the day rising as high as 90F or 32C. It doesn’t sound like much, but you have to remember that it feels much hotter due to the high humidity. Almost every day will be rainy, but most of the time they’re just rain showers. Hurricane season will pick up theoretically, although I don’t recall when it was the last time I saw an hurricane in Tulum in July.
On the bright side, the tours to see, and swim with, whale sharks are in full swing. The prices of accommodations are quite low, and there will be a lot of deals. To top off all this, July is also the best month to see baby turtles hatch at the various beaches of Tulum and on other beaches of the Riviera Maya.
Tulum in August
Expect the hot weather from July to continue in August, and they’re both the hottest months of the year. Thankfully, the frequency of rains reduces significantly in August compared to the other summer months.
August is also the last month of the year to have an almost guaranteed chance of swimming with the whale sharks. While these majestic creatures technically stay in the area until September, they don’t really follow a fixed schedule every year. Swimming in the warm ocean waters is also very enjoyable.
Tulum in September
Welcome to the rainiest month of the year in Tulum. The upside to all these rains is that the temperatures go a tiny bit down during the day. There’ll be rains almost every single day during this month.
Two events to watch out for if you’re in town during September are the Mexican Independence Day (September 15) and the Autumn Equinox (September 22). The Independence Day celebrations begin in Tulum during the afternoon, and you can enjoy a full day of music, food, fireworks, and drinks.
Tulum in October
October is the second rainiest and the least busy month for tourism in Tulum. Crowds will be at their lowest, though keep in mind that a lot of tour operators will close up for a few weeks because of this. Hotel prices will be at their cheapest during this month, and it’ll be very easy for you to find accommodations in all price ranges.
There are two two notable events in October. The first one is the Turtle Festival, which is a three-day festival focused on sea turtle conservation; a lot of big hotels in Tulum sponsor this event. The second event is the Halloween, it’s not a spectacular celebration in Tulum; there are only small parties, but it’s still very enjoyable.
Tulum in November
November, as I mentioned before, is part of the shoulder season. The weather improves noticeably, with lower temperatures during the day and the start of the dry season, which lasts until April. The crowds start arriving and it’s a bit harder to find accommodations during this month.
During this month, Tulum is filled with all kinds of religious, cultural, musical, and food festivals. The month begins with Hanal Pixan, two-day holidays called All Saints Day and All Souls Day taking place on the 1st and 2nd day respectively. The first day is spent honoring deceased children with sugar skulls, toys, and candies. The second day is spent in a similar way but it’s dedicated to adults.
Then comes time for the three-day music festival called Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. Thousands of people gather on the beach near Mamita’s beach club in Playa del Carmen to watch major acts and enjoy music all the way until late in the evening. The Tulum Food, Spirits, and Wine Festival also takes place during November. Local and international chefs and mixologists hold dinner parties, street food events, and wine tastings to gather funds for charity.
Tulum in December
December begins with the largest and one of the most important religious festivals of Mexico, Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a very important symbol of the Mexican culture. It starts with runners taking turns carrying a torch. Once the torch reaches its destination in Downtown Tulum on 12th of December, the main event officially starts with lots of food, wine, music, and dances.
Two musical events also take place in Tulum during December. Taking place at Papaya Playa, Dos Equis Winter Beach is a three-day festival with DJs, fashion events, and dance parties. The second one, Sound Tulum Music Event, begins in late December and consists of a series of music events with many DJs at various venues each night.
Towards the end of December, the Day of the Sainted Innocents brings about a lot of tomfoolery and pranks akin to April Fool’s Day. The festival is to honor the innocent babies slaughtered by King Herod while trying to murder Jesus, and it takes place on December 28 every year. People do many kinds of things on this day, like borrowing things never to return them, and saying “Innocent little dove that you let yourself be deceived” to someone after fooling them is a tradition.
When you can find the best weather in Tulum
December brings the best weather in Tulum, which lasts all the way until April. The clear days are perfect for going to the beaches so you can enjoy the sun. However, the nights do get slightly chilly, especially from December to March, so pack a few long sleeves if you plan on going out after sundown.
The best weather also comes with the highest prices of the year. If you’re on a budget, consider visiting during the low season. The best months during the low season are May and July. Almost all the activities from the high season are still ongoing during May, and the summer isn’t in full-swing yet. July is the best time of the year to swim with the whale sharks and sea turtles; you even get to see the baby turtles hatching at the beaches during this month.
When is the Sargassum Season in Tulum?
The sargassum is a big issue in Tulum during low season. You can expect the Sargassum Season to start from April, and it lasts until August (sometimes even until September). If you’re planning to visit during these months, you should take this into account.
Having said that, please take it as a grain of salt, because in reality it’s almost impossible to predict how bad the Sargassum Season will be during a particular year and when it’s coming. Some years, you’ll barely even notice it, especially during April and May. In 2021, it has been particularly bad. Before you book (or cancel) your trip, inquire about the situation and plan around this season.
If you are planning to stay in one of the amazing beach hotel, you can ask them before booking. Sometimes the management make sure the beach in their premises stay clean. Make sure you ask about beach and water, some times the beach is clear but the water is full of weeds.
How to get from Cancun to Tulum
There are at least 3 ways you can use to travel from Cancun to Tulum. I’ll cover these briefly.
Traveling to Tulum by Bus from Cancun
This is by far the most affordable way to get to Tulum. There are a few ADO buses per day that go directly from Cancun Airport to Tulum. In case you miss the bus in Cancun, you can take an ADO bus to Playa del Carmen instead; the bus schedule from Playa del Carmen to Tulum is much more frequent than from Cancun to Tulum. The journey will take you anywhere from 2-3 hours.
Traveling to Tulum by Bus from Cancun
If you’ve got your own car (or you’re renting one), you can take the 307 Highway south from Cancun. You don’t eben have to go through Cancun, because the Airport is just outside the city on the way to Tulum, so no traffic is involved. and the whole journey will take you around 1.5 hours. This is the most convenient way, as you can take your luggage with you and you don’t have to worry about the safety.
Rent A Car in Mexico
Browse among international and local car rentals and find the best deal.
Get a Taxi or private shuttle
I’d personally recommend you to go for a private shuttle instead of taxis. With private shuttles, the rates are fixed and you don’t have to haggle; they’ll even pick you up from the airport and directly take you to Tulum.
I have a detailed write-up on different ways you can use to go from Cancun to Tulum (as well as their prices)where I can explain more in detail each way to travel to Tulum and you can decide what works best for you. While you’re traveling, make sure to also follow the safety guide to Tulum I’ve written.