Cancún or as said in English – Cancun is a city in southeast Mexico on the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula which is located in Quintana Roo, a Mexican state.
It is a popular tourist destination in Mexico, as well as the seat of the municipality of Benito Juarez.
The city of Cancun meets the Caribbean Sea with its magnificent beaches and is one of the easternmost points of Mexico.
Early Spanish sources state that the island of Cancun was known as “the point of grass” or Nizuc – as the Maya called it.
Mayan archeological sites, including old temples and pyramids, are one of the most popular tourist places in Cancun.
Alongside parties and beaches, as well as hotel resorts, Cancun gives you the best of both worlds – a traditional, historical part of the city, as well as the modern, urban part where the life of the party is settled.
Cancun is very well-known for its tropical climate, which is specifically defined as a tropical wet and dry climate.
It is also known for little to no difference in temperature during the months of the entire year. The only difference is made between rainy and dry seasons.
Cancun is considered a hot destination during the entire year. It is also defined by onshore winds.
The average year temperature is around 27 degrees Celsius, with around a hundred and fifteen rainy days during the year.
Even though the most efficient way of knowing what to pack exactly is to check the weather forecast before leaving, you should not expect big temperature changes.
You should pack summer clothes, and light, and loose outfits, alongside sandals and flip-flops for your beach getaways.
On the other hand, you should also pack light and comfortable sneakers when going on visiting the local tourist sites, because most of them are placed in nature afar from the city center.
Make sure to bring sunscreen, wide brim hats, and always have a reusable water bottle that you can refill any time you need.
The UV index can be very high during this time of the year, which means you need to make sure to stay protected from the direct sun rays.
May is not peak season month in Cancun which means it is perfect, as there are fewer crowds.
In the following titles, we will explain to you the best places to visit in Cancun, what to wear and what are the best transportation offers in the city.
Weather in Cancun in May
May is the month in which the rainy season begins and lasts all through October.
In May, you can expect high humidity, intense thunderstorms during the afternoon, and hot temperatures.
However, such weather is not uncommon for the rest of the year as it is practically the same during the entire year.
May is a great month to visit and plan your trip to Cancun. Although it can be wet and hot, it is a good time if you are not quite prone to sweating.
It is not peak season but it is not as crowded as the rest of the year, which can be enjoyable if it is your first time coming to Cancun.
There are a lot of couples booking their honeymoon trips in May. It is not a boring time of the year, it is simply less crowded than at the peak of the season.
It is perfect for visiting popular monuments or tourist sites as it is less crowded. It is also a great month for visiting and getting to know Cancun’s wildlife.
Locals usually take tours of tourists to go and see whale sharks, which are arriving in the waters surrounding Cancun during this time of the year.
Also, sea turtles start nesting on the local coast which is a great experience to watch live. Those are two of the most popular tourist activities, and May is a great time to experience them.
Even though it is the start of the rainy season, you should not worry a lot about frequent rain.
Oftentimes, there are short showers in the afternoon, but that’s probably it for the entire month. It passes quickly and does not leave a wet mark big enough to ruin your stay.
The average temperature is around 27 degrees Celsius, with the lowest being around 24 on average.
The average heat index can get higher by up to five degrees during the day which means you probably won’t feel cold during the day.
However, you should pack something warmer to wear in the evenings, in case it gets colder.
It is considered a tropical pleasant time of the year throughout the entire month. It is also good for booking your trip because you may find cheaper flights and accommodation, as it is not peak tourist season.
With around eleven hours of sunshine during the day, it is also one of the sunniest months of the year.
If you plan on sunbathing make sure to pack sun protection and watch out for staying in the direct sun for a longer period of sun. there is a real danger of getting sunburnt.
The sea temperature averages around 28 degrees Celsius. Being very warm, it is a great time to try some new water sports.
You should try scuba diving or go see local coral reefs, as the Cancun coast is full of them.
Also, try to stay hydrated during your stay in May, as heat waves can come and go, but still, leave an impact on your body and well-being.
Make sure to pack loose summer clothes, made of natural materials.
Cancun in May: What to see?
Maya archeological sites – Being a Mexican city, it is logical for it to be home to the Mayan historical heritage.
There are smaller Mayan vestiges of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization located in the Hotel Zone, near El Rey. El Meco is considered to be a more substantial site, as it is found just outside the city borders.
You should also check out sites like Coba and Muvil, Kinicha, Tulum, Xcaret, etc.
El Ceviche Fountain – It is also known by its real name – ‘Caribbean Fantasy’ and is located in downtown Cancun.
It is also right in between the Tulum and Coba intersections.
El Ceviche Fountain is also the center of daily urban traffic in Cancun and has witnessed a lot of political events such as protests and similar gatherings.
Tulum – a resort town around a hundred and thirty kilometers south of Cancun.
Even though it seems far from Cancun, you should find time to go and visit as it is a popular tourist place with tours that make the trip easily accessible.
Tulum is a Mayan archeological site. There is also Tulum National Park which overlooks the seacoast.
The site offers Castillo, which means ‘castle’ translated from Spanish. Castillo is built as a watchtower, while the Templo de las Pinturas has a mural that is still in the process of restoration.
The very next is the Coba archeological site which is also nearby.
Coba – The archeological Mayan site with a lot of historical monuments of the ancient period of history. Almost seven hundred thousand tourists visited this archeological site in 2017.
One of the most popular and considered main attractions is the Ancient Pyramid, which is open to the public and has around a hundred and thirty steps up to the top of it.
It has become a true tourist complex because it has three hotels, one campsite, and seven restaurants nearby the archeological site.
There are also many small shops selling local crafts at the site.
Nohoch Mul Pyramid is a 42 meters tall pyramid from which you can see a stunning view of the Yucatan and non-public areas of Coba including Macanxoc and Coba Lagoon, spreading towards the east and the southwest.
You can also see Coba group, which is a series of structures nearby the entrance that includes a church and one of the two ball courts at the site.
You can also visit the Conjunto de Pinturas area, which focus is the Pyramid of the Painted Lintel, where tourists can see the actual painting on the top of the temple from afar.
At the ruins of Coba, you can find the Macanxoc group which is known for its 8 staples and numerous altars. This area is known for its spiritual significance.
You can also visit the Coba Stelae monuments, which give insight into the way ancient Mayan people used to dress in Coba.
It also shows the culture and the way men and women used to dress, and their relationship when it comes to power and mutual respect, with a special focus on ceremonial and political activities of the ancient Mayas.
The hieroglyphs contain further information about the city’s organization back in the time, with dates of major historical events.
Finally, you can see Sacbe when visiting the Coba. Saccbe is contained in roads that range from ten to thirty feet. They were also built by the Mayan people for commerce.
The longest one is around a hundred kilometers, with fifty others being discovered nearby.
This type of construction is believed to be more difficult than the one related to building pyramids and temples. Most of it was done in the colder temperatures in the evening.
Rio Secreto – In literal translation, the meaning of a secret river. It is a cave system near Playa de Carmen, consisting of 38 kilometers of caves in the semi-flooded system- The local Maya people used it for ritualistic purposes hundreds of years ago, being very familiar with the nature in question.
Explorations of the cave began in 2008 and it soon became a tourist place.
In 2016, around a hundred thousand people visited the Rio Secreto. This cave is also home to many animal species, such as bats, tarantulas, catfish, etc.
Chichen Iza – a large city built by the Maya people located in the Tinum Municipality, close to the Cancun area. It consists of many architectural styles, such as the ones you can see in central Mexico.
It was also one of the largest Maya cities and probably had the most diversity when it comes to the population in the Maya world. The ruins of the city are federal property, but in the past, it had been private ownership.
In 2017, over 2.6 million tourists visited Chichen Iza. You should use the less crowded May to come and visit.
Isla Mujeres – is a small city located on the island of the same name, located in the Caribbean Sea, very close to Cancun.
The island is part of one of the eleven municipalities of the State of Quintana Roo, the municipality of Isla Mujeres (which includes part of the mainland), and is located thirteen kilometers from the city of Cancun, the main tourist pole in the region. It was founded under the name of Dolores.
It is a popular tourist site accessible by boat tours that organize regularly.
It is known for its warm and sunny days, as well as transparent and clean seawater and beaches. They are home to dolphins and turtles, and one of the most attractive activities for tourists is swimming with said animals.
You need approximately fifteen minutes from Cancun by ferry.
Xcaret – One of the most famous ecological parks built in the same area which is known as the Xcaret archaeological site.
It is a popular tourist destination that was originally just hectares of land purchased back in 1984.
With further discovery, people found cave ceilings and underground rivers running through them.
The owners, with the help of authorities, formed an eco-park in 1990. It is a successful tourist site ever since.
Cancun Underwater Museum – a great and original experience. It has come to life by a non-profit organization based in Cancun that developed the whole concept of an underwater museum.
It has a total of five hundred sculptures with three different galleries between three and six meters in the water. The museum officially started working in 2010 and it has many benefits.
The underwater museum is to benefit the protection of the coral reefs by redirecting visitors away from natural reef formations, while damaged coral formations receive restoration, reducing the human impact.
Artificial reefs are created by sunken ships and other objects that have fallen to the bottom of the ocean.
The Hotel Zone – As bizarre as one may feel about tourists visiting a hotel zone, this is very popular among tourists.
Many of them book their stays in a six miles long strip of restaurants, shops, and hotels. It is also known as a tourist zone with nearly a hundred hotels, beaches, shopping malls, and restaurants.
The Hotel Zone is a vibrant place with active nightlife, which is especially in favor of the younger population among tourists.
If you plan on visiting the Hotel Zone for one day, it is a good plan to figure out where you want to go and where you want to shop so that you can plan your transportation there more easily.
Even though six miles is not a lot if you are in good shape, the heat and humidity can cause you to feel weak during the walk.
Make sure to stay hydrated and wear wide hats, as well as reapply for sun protection during the day.
Cancun events in May
There are many events and cultural and musical festivals during May in Cancun.
Alongside great weather and being less crowded than at the peak of the season, it is a great combination to complete your stay in Cancun in May.
Cancun has slowly become a music festival epicenter over the year.
Throughout the entire year, you have at least one music festival a month. Combined with great nightlife at the clubs, you do not need to worry about having a great time at parties.
You can choose from some of these festivals according to your liking:
Cinco de Mayo – It is a commemoration of the Mexican army’s historic victory against the French in 1862. It is also celebrated in the U.S. with Mexican groups.
It is a national holiday in Mexico. During the day people do not make large celebrations, but you can find parties in tourist resorts. Bars are prone to serving special drinks.
If you want to experience a real Cinco de Mayo celebration, you will need to travel to the city of Puebla and discover what the real celebration of this historic win means to the Mexican people.
Festival de Cultura del Caribe – This festival celebrates all Caribbean cultures, with two of the most popular often being Mexican and Mayan cultures. Cancun’s two biggest ethnic groups are Mexicans and Mayan.
This festival is celebrated with a lot of traditional, and ethnic food and party celebrations, movies about different cultures, plays, and a lot more content.
It is usually celebrated in the first half of May, which means if you book your trip at that time, you will be able to see the Cinco de Mayo and Festival de Cultura del Caribe celebrations.
Cancun Jumpoff – This is a hip-hop festival that is usually aimed at students that are planning their college spring break.
It is usually held at the end of May for five to six days. Cancun Jumpoff is characteristic of non-stop parties, combined with beach and pool parties.
The next Cancun Jumpoff is planned for 24-29 May 2023 so if you plan on visiting, you should book now.
Regata del Sol a Sol – It is a famous yacht race that first started back in 1968. The yacht race starts in St. Petersburg, Florida, and ends at Isla Mujeres, which we talked about before in the text.
It attracts tourists from all around the world, but also yacht owners from many cities in Mexico and the United States.
Travesia Sagrada Maya – This event is related to celebrating the Mayan goddess of fertility Ixchel. Three hundred canoeists face the challenges of the race in the open sea, which they had been previously preparing for months.
Their main goal is to recreate their journey from Xcaret to Cozumel.
The event is usually held at the end of May, and even though it does not take place in the center of Cancun it is still very close to the city and easily accessible to all tourists interested in races and the Mayan culture.
How to get to Cancun: Flights & Local Transportation
If you are coming from the United States, you should make sure to catch great deals during May when it comes to flights and accommodation in Cancun. Cancun’s International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean areas.
There are direct flights from around 42 cities in the U.S., but also many direct flights from Europe capitals and cities in South America.
The Cancun International Airport is located in the south of the Hotel Zone, which we previously mentioned in the text.
It is also the entry spot for visitors that come from Tulum and Playa del Carmen.
Hotels and resorts usually offer special transport from the airport to the hotel, which is probably the best option for you.
If you do not plan transport within your hotel reservation there are still many options from which you can choose:
Shuttle service – Is considered the most affordable option for one or two people if you do not have a problem with additional stops on the way to the hotel. Although you need to make reservations in advance, the pricing is per person.
For example, groups of more than two people will go better with private transportation, such as taxis. It is appreciated to leave a small tip to the driver, and around 50 pesos (2.5 dollars) will do it.
Taxis – There are a lot of taxi drivers stationed at the airport at all times.
Even though the taxi is not expensive as it can be, for example, when you use it in the U.S. or European cities and capitals, the rates can vary and depend on your end destination.
Approximately, one ride costs around five hundred pesos, which is around two hundred American dollars.
Taxis in the city will mostly charge you a fixed price or will tell you an average price that can be around the fixed price or lower depending on the distance you need to travel. Also, it is important to note that taxis only accept cash, but will probably
accept US dollars for payment, alongside the local currency which is the Mexican pesos.
However, the price in American dollars can be higher than the one you will pay in pesos, so make sure to find an exchange office and convert money to Mexican pesos. There are many exchange offices at the airport which will make it easier for you to get around.
Private transfers – Known for their comfort and convenience. This means you will have a personal driver with your name and surname as a label waiting for you at the airport.
The driver will also claim your luggage and take you to the address destination of your stay in the hotel. Cars have air conditioning and other additions such as refreshments during your drive.
You can book it in advance through companies like eTransfers or PrimeTime Cancun. Prices depend on the distance the driver covers, but it probably would not cost you more than thirty U.S. dollars.
Uber – As a worldwide spread and known driving agency, it technically does work in Cancun. However, Uber drivers are not allowed to pick up customers at the Cancun International Airport.
On the other hand, they are practical for moving around the city, especially in the Hotel Zone of Cancun. You can always check offers on the app which are usually cheaper than local taxis.
Because of the cheaper rate, not many Ubers are available so make sure to book it fifteen to twenty minutes in advance.
Alongside Uber, public transportation such as local buses is a popular and reliable way of getting around Cancun. They also travel from the airport to downtown Cancun for a rate that is usually not much more expensive than five U.S. dollars.
This is probably the most effective transportation option if you are staying in the center of Cancun, because the busses go regularly according to schedule, alongside with it being much cheaper than other options.
You can also take the bus that goes through the Hotel Zone, which is around six miles long.
If you wish to rent a private car, this is a great option for the personal routes you planned to take during your stay in Cancun. It gives you the freedom to explore the destinations, but it can be much more expensive than other listed ways of transportation.
If you are okay with paying a bigger price, it is the most efficient way of transportation in Cancun. Not a lot of people use it, which can make the price go up to three times higher because of not having many day rates.
To conclude, if money is not a big deal to you and you plan on spending it on transportation during your stay, renting a car is the best option for you.
Tren Maya is a government-funded railway project which is around a thousand and five hundred kilometers long. It has been open for visitors to use since 2018, as it connects the entire Yucatan Peninsula.
The literal translation is ‘The Maya Train’ and it has three different routes. One goes south from Cancun to the Riviera Maya.
The second connects Cancun to Merida, stopping by Chichen Itza, a famous Mayan historical site that is very popular among tourists.
The third one connects the southern Quintana Roo to the state Campeche and makes a stop at the Calakmul Mayan historical site.
During this year, there are also other planned railways to finish, which are still in the making, such as the one that connects the Cancun International Airport with downtown Cancun, Puerto Morelos, Tulum, and Playa de Carmen, by making stops at Xcaret, Akumal and Puerto Aventuras, which are all popular tourist destinations.
In conclusion, Cancun is worth visiting in May. With many great festivals and parties, as well as historical places and wildlife, Cancun offers you everything you want in a tourist destination for your next holiday.
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