If you are dreaming of a white (sandy beach) Christmas, look no further than Christmas in Cancun. A tropical getaway is a perfect way to avoid the stress of cooking, decorating, and hosting parties, without losing any of the magic of the season.
As an expat living in Cancun and used to snow-white Christmas in northern Italy, I enjoyed my sun and sand kind of Christmas here even though sometimes it didn’t really feel like Christmas you will still see a lot of Chrismas vibes and decorations all over the city, even on the beach.
Especially if you are staying in one of the hotels of the Hotel Zone they will make sure you get all Chrismassy throughout your stay! Just with the sun, blue sky, and warm weather.
Christmas in Cancun combines holiday traditions from all over – you will see beautifully decorated Christmas trees, and at the same time get to learn about how locals celebrate the season.
And if that isn’t reason enough to come to visit, all of the festivities happen with great weather and amazing beaches!
Thinking about booking a trip to Cancun for Christmas? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know!
Christmas in Cancun: why should you celebrate there?
Cancun is a city that knows how to party – and that includes celebrating Christmas. You will find no shortage of festive decorations and holiday cheer.
If you are looking for a special way to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones, a trip to Cancun is a great option.
The weather is amazing, there are lots of fun activities to do, and instead of being stressed about the holiday, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy.
Still need convincing, check out the 10 reasons to book a holiday trip in 2023.
#1 Excellent Weather
December is known for its great weather. Hurricane season is over, it is not the rainy season, and humidity is about as low as it gets.
The evenings can feel pleasantly cool- perfect for outdoor dining or strolling around, but the days are hot and sunny.
The daily temperatures are between 78-82 degrees, with the maximum temperature being around 86 degrees.
The ocean temperature is between 78-80 degrees, making it refreshing and comfortable to swim or snorkel.
December is the best weather because it is hot enough to enjoy aquatic activities during the day. But, it is not too hot to enjoy a hike at ruins or visit an adventure park in the jungle.
#2 Family-Friendly Activities
In the past Cancun was known for being a party destination. If you are looking to party, there is still great nightlife to enjoy.
However, in recent years, Cancun has become a family-friendly destination, with activities and resorts that cater to families with kids of all ages.
You can make great holiday memories by doing activities everyone in the family will love. Families with young children will love spending time playing on beaches that have calm water access.
As your kids get older, they will love going on snorkeling excursions, visiting water parks, or going zip-lining at an adventure park.
Everyone in the family will love a trip to downtown Cancun to visit Parque Las Palapas, where kids can play on playgrounds with local children and enjoy great food from different vendors.
#3 Unique Mexican Christmas Holidays (Las Posadas & Día de los Reyes)
You will get a chance to break from your normal holiday traditions and see how Christmas is celebrated in Mexico. You will have a great time learning about and participating in local traditions.
Las Posadas are recreations of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem and their search for somewhere to stay once they arrived there.
Posadas take place from December 16 to December 24th. Traditionally, the people re-enacting the journey of Mary and Joseph would be turned away from several homes, and finally given shelter.
That home would then host a party that would be completely with food and piñatas. In Cancun, you might be lucky enough to stumble across a Posada.
Christmas in Cancun is not over on December 25. The Christmas season goes until January 6, el Día de los Reyes.
This day celebrates the arrival of the three kings, or wise men, who visited the baby Jesus and brought him gifts.
Many families exchange gifts on January 6 and eat a traditional bread called a rosca de reyes.
#4 Dinner on Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena, and it is when most Mexicans gather with their families to celebrate Christmas.
They get together in the afternoon or evening, and many go to midnight mass at church before having a late-night dinner.
In true Mexican fashion, this dinner goes late into the night and quickly becomes a party with dancing and music.
Since most families celebrate Christmas on December 24th, many businesses close early. Often, stores and restaurants are open during the day but close by early evening to allow their staff to go home and get ready for their family parties.
Many businesses open on December 25th but may open later or have limited hours.
#5 Cancun Christmas Show and Parade
If you are in Cancun at the beginning of December you do not want to miss the Christmas Parade.
The parade features people dressed as Mary, Joseph, and all the important people present at the nativity.
You will hear traditional Christmas music, but plenty of tropical cumbias are also mixed in. The parade goes down Avenida Tulum, one of Cancun’s main roads that are just on the edge of the Hotel Zone.
Tourists and locals enjoy the parade that finishes at the Municiple Palace where a large Christmas tree is lit.
#6 Christmas Shopping Experience
There is no shortage of great shopping in Cancun, and you will have no problem shopping for everyone on your list. You may even find you can pick up a present or two for yourself.
Quinta Alegria and Plaza La Isla are both known for their popular international brands. If you are looking for a luxury shopping experience, check out Luxury Avenue at the Kulkulcan Plaza.
You can head downtown and shop at Mercado 28 if you are looking for traditional Mexican goods and artesan crafts to take home and give as presents.
You might even find a beautiful handmade Cancun Christmas ornament to take home to remember your trip by!
#7 Ponche Con Piquete
One of the joys of traveling is trying new foods and drinks. Visiting Cancun at Christmas time means you have the unique chance to try traditional holiday foods that are not served all year round.
One thing you do not want the chance to try is ponche con piquete. Ponche is a hot drink made with a combination of hibiscus, apples, guavas, and other seasonal fruit and spices such as cinnamon and clove.
When it is served “con piquete” that means it has a shot of alcohol in it! Everyone has a slightly different recipe, so make sure to try as many as possible!
#8 Beautiful Christmas Decorations
You will have no problem feeling the holiday spirit with all the beautiful decorations you will find.
Hotels, restaurants, shopping centers, and plazas will all be decorated with bright lights and ornaments.
#9 Ring in the New Year at a tropical destination
There is nothing better than starting your year in a tropical paradise. If you plan a Canucn Christmas vacation, why not stay long enough to ring in the New Year?
Most resorts and hotels plan a great New Year’s Eve dinner and party for their guests. These often include great food and drinks, music, and dancing.
If you want to get out of your hotel, many restaurants serve a special meal for New Year’s Eve, just check if you need to make reservations first.
Cancun is a city known for great nightlife, so all the major bars and clubs will be throwing parties, many of them on the beach!
#10 Hit the beach in December
Instead of cold weather – snow, ice, and wind – for your Christmas holidays, you can enjoy hot air and sunshine.
Whether you celebrate the holidays with a big group of family, a more intimate, or even a solo trip, nothing beats spending a day on the beach in December.
Whether your ideal day on the beach is finding a quiet spot to read and relax, or filling your day with beach volleyball and snorkeling, Cancun has the perfect beach spot for you.
How is Christmas celebrated in Cancun?
Cancun is an international destination, and it has incorporated many holiday traditions from around the world.
You will see many familiar Christmas characters, such as Santa Claus, but also have the chance to learn how Christmas is celebrated in Cancun.
Here are some of the traditions you’ll have the chance to experience:
🎉 Las Posadas (9 days celebration before Christmas)
If you arrive in Cancun before Christmas, you might get to see a traditional Posada procession with Mary and Joseph looking for lodging.
Today, Posadas is the word used to describe any holiday party leading up to Christmas. Most businesses throw a Posada for their staff, extended families have posadas, and groups of friends gather together to have a posada.
At posadas, people eat traditional holiday treats, such as tamales, and drink Ponche (with or without picete!).
It is very common for people to break the traditional piñata with seven points. These points represent the seven deadly sins, and if you can break these, you will be rewarded!
🎁 Noche Buena (Christmas Eve)
Mexicans celebrate Christmas on December 24th. They usually gather with loved ones at home to share a meal and party!
Cancun is filled with families from all over Mexico. They will often cook traditional cuisine from their region of the country.
Some staples of the Christmas Eve meal include tamales, pozole, and bacalao with romeritos. Most families will exchange gifts at night after eating dinner.
Most hotels and resorts will serve a special meal on December 24th that will include traditional Mexican flavors, mixed with international options.
🎄 Christmas Day
For most Mexicans, December 25th is a day to relax and recover from the party on Christmas Eve.
Families might get together to eat food that was leftover from the party the night before. The hotel zone of Cancun never shuts down, so many locals will have to work on December 25th.
Most businesses will be open on Christmas Day, but they might open later than normal. If you are visiting Cancun on Christmas Day, there will be no shortage of fun activities to choose from.
You can relax on the beach, or book an excursion – tour companies will be up and running!
🥳 New Year’s Eve
Cancun knows how to party, and it goes all out for New Year’s Eve! Most hotels and resorts will host great parties, often on the beach, to ring in the New Year.
These parties are complete with food, drinks, live music, and DJs, so you can party all night long.
Mexicans have one tradition you do not want to miss out on – eating grapes at midnight! When the clock strikes 12, you will eat 12 grapes.
These grapes represent the 12 months of the year, and you get to make 12 wishes! Mexicans say eating the grapes will bring you good luck in the New Year, so don’t miss out on this tradition!
👑 Día de Los Reyes
Families celebrate Día de Los Reyes on January 6th. This is the day that the three wise men arrived to visit baby Jesus, bringing him gifts.
Many families celebrate by exchanging gifts on this day and gathering to drink hot chocolate and eat a rosca de reyes.
The rosca is a circular sweet bread with small Jesus figurines hidden inside of it. If your piece of bread has a figurine in it, you will be required to bring tamales to the party on February 2nd to celebrate the Dia de la Candelaria.
Where to Celebrate Christmas in Cancun?
You will feel the Christmas spirit all over Cancun, and have plenty of options for where to celebrate.
▶ Beach Resorts
Take the planning and stress out of your holiday by staying at a beach resort. Not only will they have great decorations, but they will plan all your holiday meals and parties for you!
Most resorts will have special meals and parties to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s – as if staying at a resort wasn’t already great!
Many restaurants will have special holiday hours and menus for Christmas and New Year’s. Most restaurants will be open on December 25th, so you will have plenty of options for where to eat.
Remember, Christmas is peak season in Cancun, so make sure to make a reservation.
▶ Plaza Kukulcan
Plaza Kukulcan is a shopping center in the heart of the Cancun Hotel Zone. Every year it puts up great Christmas decorations and hosts small events almost daily throughout the season.
Both tourists and locals love to gather there for some holiday spirit.
Weather at Christmas time in Cancun
Cancun has amazing weather in December! The weather is not too hot or humid. It is comfortably warm and sunny during the day but cools off a bit in the evening.
It has great beach weather with warm days, and the ocean is great for swimming or doing water sports.
It is the tropics, so a quick rain shower is always a possibility, but it is not the rainy season, so rain should not impact any of your plans!
What to pack for Cancun in December?
The weather is great in Cancun in December, which makes packing easy! Just remember to bring:
✔ Swimsuit and beachwear
✔ Lightweight shirts and shorts
✔ Flip flops
✔ Lightweight raincoat
✔ Formal outfit for Christmas and New Year’s Eve
✔ Sunglasses, hat, and reef-safe sunscreen
✔ Sweater or lightweight pants for the evening
Is Cancun a good place to go for Christmas?
Yes! You will feel the Christmas spirit, without any of the holiday stress you feel at home. You will enjoy the decorations, parties, and amazing weather!
Is Cancun expensive in December?
December is the start of the high season, with Christmas week being peak tourism time. This means that hotels and excursions fill up fast, so it is hard to find discounts and great prices.
This is one of the most expensive times to visit Cancun.
Is Cancun worth it in December?
Yes! There is a reason so many people want to be in Cancun in December. The weather and atmosphere are great!
Is Cancun crowded in December?
Many hotels and resorts are at full capacity in December. Thankfully, Cancun was designed to host lots of visitors, and you will still be able to find relaxing, peaceful spots.
Just make sure to book excursions early, since they can fill up fast.
Where is the best place in Mexico for Christmas?
Cancun is a great spot to celebrate Christmas. The entire city is decorated and festive, the hotels go all out with great food and parties, and the weather is great!
Are things open on Christmas Day in Mexico?
Yes, especially in tourist zones. Some businesses may close early on December 24, but you can expect stores, restaurants, and tour operators to all be working on December 25th.
Can I swim in Cancun in December?
Yes! The ocean is between 78 and 80 degrees in December. This is a great temperature for swimming and snorkeling.
You will feel refreshed, but not cold, in the water.
Cancun weather by month
Want to know about the Cancun weather for each month? Click on the month below to get the full details.
Final thoughts: Christmas in Cancun
There is a reason so many people choose Cancun for Christmas celebrations. The city is energetic and festive, with beautiful decorations all over the place.
In addition to all the amazing activities you can always do in Cancun, there is no shortage of seasonal events happening.
Plus, you do not have to stress about hosting holiday parties, cooking, or preparing anything- your hotel or resort will do it all for you.
Just remember, Christmas is the peak tourism season in Cancun, so make your travel plans early!