Have you been thinking of planning a Caribbean beach escape, but wondering when is the best time to visit Playa del Carmen? This article is jam-packed with all the information you need to plan your trip accordingly.
I have had the privilege to live in Playa del Carmen for the past 3 years, and have gotten to know the place quite well, so I am more than happy to share all my advice when it comes to visiting this magical beach city.
It is rapidly becoming more popular with expats and is also a popular place to retire in Mexico and a digital nomad destination. The welcoming hospitality of the locals and the large variety of dining options add to the appeal of Playa del Carmen making it a highly desirable destination.
Yes, Playa del Carmen will always have warm temperatures and beautiful beaches that are great to visit year-round, especially if you are visiting from somewhere with snow. But different times of the year will be better suited depending on your travel style.
The Riviera Maya has so much to offer, and with Playa del Carmen right in the middle of all the action, it is the best place to be. The different seasons bring different types of tourism.
Are you looking for a wild party? Spring might be the best time for you. Or if you are looking for more relaxation and if hot temperatures don’t bother you, then July or August may be ideal.
So when is the best time to visit Playa del Carmen? The answer really depends on so many things.
Let’s get into this article where I will go over Playa del Carmen season by season, pointing out the pros and cons that come with each.
Playa del Carmen High Season
High season in Playa del Carmen starts in the middle of November and runs until the middle of April. This is definitely when the city is busiest.
Speaking as a local, the change in the number of people in the city increases quite drastically and happens pretty fast.
I remember walking down 5th Avenue one day in early November and the streets were quite empty. Then again the same walk, a week later closer to American Thanksgiving, the streets were bustling with people.
The beaches fill up with vacation go-ers trying to catch that Caribbean sun. Restaurants and bars become busier, and you can find more events that take place throughout the city.
What I love about high season in Playa del Carmen is that a lot of my digital nomad friends return to the city after spending the hot summer months away.
If you are a solo traveler it is also effortless to make new friends, as many like-minded people travel to Playa del Carmen during this season.
Playa del Carmen weather during the high season is the perfect weather for many people. Balmy temperatures of 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit (28-30 degrees Celsius). Warm sun that blankets your body and a cool Caribbean breeze In the evening. The beaches are clean, beautiful, and calm.
Call me crazy but I tend to find the evenings chilly. With the sun down and the fresh air blowing, it is time to wear a sweater. But then again remember I’ve been living here for 3 years and have become accustomed to the intense heat.
The influx of tourists means higher prices for hotels and all-inclusive resorts. Such demand causes prices to peak at important holidays such as Christmas, New Year, Easter or Semana Santa, and spring break.
And with the holidays come the big parties! If you are looking for some wild nightlife, the holiday season is the best time to go to Playa del Carmen.
Low Season in Playa del Carmen
The low season in Playa del Carmen is from May until October.
The summer months of June, July, and August bring very hot weather, sometimes unbearable for many people.
Personally, I enjoy the extreme heat. Don’t get me wrong, you spend most of your days sweating and complaining about how hot it is, but over the years I have come to embrace and enjoy it.
Temperatures run from 86-90 degrees Fahrenheit (30-32 degrees Celsius) with high humidity levels of 90%. Rain showers are to be expected during this time.
The good news is that the rain usually lasts only 20 minutes then the skies clear up and return to being sunny and blue.
If you are searching for accommodations during this time I highly recommend finding a place with a pool.
When the extreme heat rolls in, the majority of snowbirds leave the city returning to their respective countries for the warm summers.
Playa del Carmen becomes noticeably quieter. The beaches have fewer people, 5th Avenue is more laid back, and occupancy at hotels and Airbnb is significantly lower.
I was at the beach in PlayaCar in July and remember having the beach almost all to myself.
Low season has the great benefit of lower rates at hotels and Airbnbs as well. I have seen pricing as low as $25 USD a night at some boutique hotels, and all-inclusive resorts have considerably lower rates as well.
Although there are fewer people you will still have travelers from all over the world coming to enjoy the Caribbean sun.
Because school is out for the summer, families like to visit for summer vacations and graduation trips.
Also, Mexican nationals flock to Playa del Carmen for the summer months to enjoy the beaches, beer, and relaxed Caribbean vibe.
Seaweed season in Playa del Carmen
You might think this is a funny topic, but it is something that needs to be recognized when considering the best time of year to visit Playa del Carmen.
Sargasso is a type of seaweed that arrives on the beaches of Playa del Carmen with the rising temperatures of the summer months. This can begin as early as March, and end around September. This is just give or take, due to the patterns of weather, it changes pretty much every year.
The reality is that Sargasso is really unpleasant when it arrives at the beaches in large amounts. It washes up on the shore of the beaches and lies in the shallow water making swimming and sunbathing unpleasant.
Although humans don’t enjoy it, Sargasso has many positive benefits for the ecosystem. It provides a food source for many organisms, creates a protective shelter for juvenile fish, and also absorbs carbon dioxide from the air.
Also, it protects against the erosion of the beaches because it acts as a barrier on the shore of the sand.
The amount of sargasso that arrives every year varies. Different wind patterns, temperatures, storms, and current directions all play a part in the abundance of seaweed.
Some years the amount of sargasso is horrible and spending your day at the beach is next to impossible. Not only does it make swimming a little bit ick, it also washes up on the shore, dries up, and starts to stink.
On the other hand, I have experienced some incredibly beautiful beach days in the middle of the summer with perfectly clean beaches and clear waters. Unfortunately, this is a part of Mother Nature that we cannot control.
Playa del Carmen Hurricane Season
With all the beauty of the Caribbean, we can’t forget to talk about hurricanes.
Playa del Carmen hurricane season is not something to be afraid of, but rather to just take good caution.
Technically speaking, the hurricane season is from June to the end of November. The highest likelihood of a Hurricane rolling through is in August, September, and October.
With hurricane season comes hot temperatures and periodic heavy rainfall. While the temperatures constantly remain hot, the rain showers are sporadic and usually last only 20 – 30 minutes.
The good news about hurricanes is that they can be predicted and followed. Meteorological services and local authorities provide up-to-date warnings on hurricane arrivals, providing everyone time to take the necessary precautions to prepare and remain safe.
In the past 3 years that I have been here, I have been fortunate enough to not witness any extremely destructive hurricanes.
Personally, I wouldn’t let hurricane season deter you from booking a vacation during this time. You can find some really great deals on vacation packages. If you can handle the tropical rain, this is a nice time to visit.
Best time to Visit Playa del Carmen by Month
Here is a quick guide to Playa del Carmen holidays, events, activities, and weather by month.
January in Playa del Carmen
Ring in the New Year in Playa del Carmen. Spend New Year’s Day on the beach planning your year ahead.
Temperatures are beautifully balmy. Warm sunny days and cool breezy nights with slim chances of rainfall.
High season means higher accommodation price points. The city is full but definitely slower than the pre-Christmas rush. A great time for events, parties, and meeting new people.
Looking for adventure? This is the perfect season to go scuba diving with the bull Sharks!
February comes with mild temperatures making for beautiful beach days and ideal conditions for excursions.
Spend Valentine’s Day with your partner. Hotels and restaurants offer specials such as candle-lit dinners on the beach.
Get ready to party with Carnival. Now you may think more about Brazil when it comes to Carnival, but Playa del Carmen puts on a spectacular show of its own. A week-long party full of dancing, music, feathers, and a grand parade. If you are in Playa in February this is an event you don’t want to miss.
Crowds tend to be lower as tourism starts to taper off from the holidays. Scuba diving with the Bull Sharks is still in season.
Two words: Spring Break!
Tourism peaks again with an influx of people looking for that spring break getaway. The atmosphere of the town is lively and energetic with many parties and special events.
The sun is out and is blissfully hot allowing for that golden sun-kissed skin. This is the best time to visit Playa del Carmen if you want to enjoy a party with the 20-somethings. This is the best time to head to busy clubs like Coco Bongo.
Depending on the year and how the calendar falls, you might have Semana Santa in March as well. Semana Santa is “Holy Week” and is the week before Easter. People from across Mexico flock to the beaches of Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen during this festive week, so beaches can be very busy and prices will be higher.
Find different celebrations around town and higher tourism due to a break in school for the children.
April in Playa del Carmen
Again depending on the calendar you might find Semana Santa and Easter in April instead. The same situation applies.
The climate is still that perfect springtime weather (which really feels like summer in other parts of the world!). Temperatures are hotter than you will find in January and February. Expect temperatures of 82-86 degrees Fahrenheit (28-30 Celsius).
It is still considered high season but tourism begins to drop at the end of April as we move into May.
This is the start of the low season, but if you can handle the heat, this is one of the best times of year to visit Playa del Carmen.
Temperatures begin to rise with the average falling being 86-90 degrees Fahrenheit (30-32 degrees Celsius) with high humidity levels. Rain is more frequent so be sure to pack your umbrella.
The city begins to be noticeably quieter.
Although Cinco de Mayo is mainly celebrated in the city of Puebla you can find some small celebrations around Playa del Carmen. It is really more of an American celebration than a Mexican one, so don’t head here looking for big parties.
Tours and excursions are less crowded, to beat the heat a snorkeling day at Xel-Ha might be the perfect activity.
Pricing on accommodations is significantly lower than in the winter months, with great deals on vacation packages.
June in Playa del Carmen
June in Playa del Carmen is hot and humid. Be prepared for 90+ degrees Fahrenheit (32+ degrees Celsius) with high humidity of 85 – 90 %.
The summer months are the perfect time to spend your days exploring cenotes near Playa del Carmen.
Cenotes hold fresh water which is considerably colder than the balmy temperatures of the Caribbean Sea. The perfect way to cool off from the hot air.
Sargasso also begins to arrive on the beaches in Playa del Carmen so visiting cenotes is a great place to spend the day outside, in the water, and avoiding seaweed.
Snorkel and scuba diving trips are also a fun way to stay busy and explore the beautiful reefs here in the area. There are so many great things to do in Playa del Carmen at this time of year.
June is the beginning of the whale shark season in the Riviera Maya along with sea turtle nesting season.
The kick-off of summer vacations in Mexico and many places in North America. Tourism starts to pick back up with kids being out of school.
Families visit Playa del Carmen to celebrate graduations and the freedom of summer holidays.
July is a bit of a party season with fun-packed foam parties at the hotels. You can even find Canada Day and 4th of July celebrations throughout Playa del Carmen.
If swimming with the whale sharks is a bucket list activity of yours this is the best time to visit Playa del Carmen. You can also include day trips to places like Chichen Itza, Bacalar, or Akumal with prices being so much lower.
July and August is the peak season of the whale sharks migration pattern in the Caribbean Sea.
August in Playa del Carmen
August tends to be a slower month for tourism.
Beaches, hotels, and resorts are much quieter with the general public preparing for back to school and avoiding the increasingly hot and humid days. This is also when storms begin to be a little bit more common.
If hot days with high humidity and the occasional tropical rainfall don’t bother you, this might be the best time to book your trip to Playa del Carmen.
Temperature-wise, we are talking 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) and 92% humidity levels.
You can find some fantastic discounts on travel packages. Not to mention the city will be calm and quiet with fewer tourists.
Snorkeling with whale sharks is still in full swing along with other exciting excursions and relaxing activities to avoid the heat like massages at local spas and plenty of great shopping in Playa del Carmen to keep you busy.
Take advantage of exploring the Tulum Ruins, Chichen Itza, and Coba with fewer crowds.
Volunteering to release baby sea turtles into the ocean is on the list of cool nature activities in August.
September is a fantastic month to visit Playa del Carmen because of the big celebration of Mexican Independence Day which is on September 16th every year.
This is one of the biggest celebrations across Mexico where the whole country comes alive. In Playa del Carmen, you can expect lively parades, colorful decorations, concerts, and more.
This holiday truly represents Mexico at its finest and is an awesome experience to be a part of.
The weather in September begins to cool down compared to the unbearably hot months of July and August. Rain showers are more frequent, but they cool the city off nicely. September is the low season so expect lower accommodation pricing and fewer people.
Playa del Carmen in October
October in Playa del Carmen is a great time to visit the region.
The seaweed begins to disappear, the temperatures begin to fall, and the city is not overly busy.
Playa del Carmen is great for its events in October as well. Don’t be surprised if you spot Octoberfest celebrations and some fun Halloween parties.
This is also the perfect time for budget-friendly travel deals. Things you might need to watch out for in October are more rain than normal or possibly a hurricane warning.
With that being said Playa del Carmen does a fantastic job of keeping up to date with all hurricane warnings and necessary measures to stay safe.
All over Mexico, November is one of the best times to visit. The weather is warm, but not too hot. It’s not too packed with tourists yet. The wet season is mostly done and you are left with bright sunny blue skies and cooler evenings. It is utter perfection.
If you are looking to experience Day of the Dead Celebrations then November is the best time to visit Playa del Carmen.
Day of the Dead or in Spanish “Dia de Muertos” is held every year in Mexico on November 1st and 2nd.
It is a special holiday to remember loved ones who have passed away. You will see Playa del Carmen come to life with marigold flowers, ofrendas (altars with gifts for family members), parades, music, dancing, and many people dressed as Catrinas.
The weather in November is great. Warm sunny days (85 degrees Fahrenheit/30 degrees Celsius) with cool breezy evenings that stay around 78 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius).
November is still considered hurricane season, so I advise you to take precautions regarding the weather.
That being said, in the past 3 years I have lived here I have been fortunate enough to not experience any hurricanes. Towards the end of November, tourism begins to rise and snowbirds begin to return to Playa del Carmen for the winter.
Playa del Carmen in December
Christmas in the Caribbean? It couldn’t sound better!
One of my favorite parts about December in Playa del Carmen is all the beautiful Poinsettia plants that are planted throughout the gardens of town.
Streets are lively, decorations paint the town, and there are plenty of parties to go around. December is the high season at its best. Travelers and tourists from all over the world flock to Playa to enjoy the holidays.
Temperatures average 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit (27-32 degrees Celsius) with low humidity levels. You might have an occasional rain fall but normally December becomes drier than the previous months.
Playa del Carmen also offers some fabulous New Year’s Eve Celebrations. Restaurants, nightclubs, and bars all go to the extreme to ring in the New Year in style.