Time in Cancun, Mexico: Everything you want to know

When you ask what is the time in Cancun, you will probably get some of these answers: tequila time! Vacation time! Relaxation time!

And while most of those answers are true, it is important to know what time it is in Cancun.

Knowing Cancun’s time zone will help you plan your travel day and know how much of a time difference to expect, and plan your vacation activities. Keep reading to learn what time it is in Cancun.

What is the time zone in Cancun?

Cancun is on Eastern Standard time. It does not observe daylight savings time. This means that when you book your vacation to Cancun your home might be at the same time as Cancun, but you are an hour different when you arrive!  

Cancun, Mexico Time Zone map

Cancun time zones map
Cancun Time Zones Map – Photo © TimeTemperature.com

Is Cancun in the Central Time Zone?

No, Cancun is not in the Central Time Zone. Cancun used to be on Central Standard Time but switched to Eastern Standard Time on February 1, 2015. Cancun made the switch to Eastern time after years of work by the government and leaders in the tourism industry.

They wanted to switch time zones so that tourists would have one more hour of daylight in the evenings to enjoy the beach, snorkeling, and in general, time to spend out and about. 

cancun beach coast with sunset
Sunset in Cancun

How many time zones are there in Mexico?

Mexico uses four different time zones. The state of Quintana Roo, home to Cancun is the only state that is on Eastern Standard time.

Most of the country, including the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico City, are on Central Standard time. Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit, and Baja California Sur are on Mountain Standard Time, and Baja California Norte is on Pacific Time. 

Does Cancun have Daylight Saving Time?

No, Cancun does not have daylight saving time. It operates all year on Eastern Standard time, without changing its clocks.

If you live in the Eastern Time Zone you will have the same time as Cancun in the winter months, but be one hour ahead in the summer.

If you live in the Central Time Zone, you will be one hour behind Cancun in the winter, but the same time in the summer. 

Cancun sunrise and sunset 

The exact time of the sunrise and sunset in Cancun changes every day. You can check this information online to make sure you do not miss it! 

I usually use the timeanddate.com site for accurate information.

Panorama of Cancun before sunrise
Cancun before the sunrise

Sunrise time in Cancun

Since Cancun is in the Northern hemisphere, the days are shorter in the winter and longer in the summer. The short day of the year in 2023 will be December 21.

The sun will rise at 7:20 am and set at 6:11 pm, giving you 10 hours and 50 minutes of daylight.

The longest day of the year will be June 21, with the sun rising at 6:06 am and setting at 7:32 pm, giving you 13 hours and 25 minutes of daylight. 

Where can I see the sunrise in Cancun?

In Cancun, you can watch amazing sunrise from the beach, which is one of the reasons why I recommend staying in the Hotel Zone in Cancun for the best Cancun experience.

If not, you can just wake up early and get to the public beaches in Cancun to watch the sunrise. When I first arrived in Cancun, I used to take surf classes in Playa Delfines.

I didn’t have a car. So I woke up at 5 am. and rush myself on the R1 or R2 Bus and get to the beach.

While I realized surfing is really not for me, I still had an amazing time swimming while watching the sunrise from the beach. The best way to start the day.

You can also get to beaches that are closer to downtown, such as Playa Langosta o Playa Pez Volador, right after.

Sunset time in Cancun

The closer you are to the equator, the less variation in daylight you will have. So, although Cancun does have a few-hour difference between its longest and shortest days, the sun never sets very late.

So, pay attention to when the sunsets happen, it will never be much past 7:30- you don’t want to miss it! 

Where can I see the sunset in Cancun?

Since the sun rises from in the water, obviously it sets at the back but you can still admire amazing sunsets from the Nichupte’ lagoon.

I love to take a stroll in Plaza La Isla and watch the sunset from there.

What is the golden hour in Cancun?

Golden hour actually happens twice a day. It is the first hour after the sunrises and the hour before it sets.

The lighting during this time is perfect for great pictures due to the angle of the sun at the earth. 

For the exact time, you can check it out on apps like PhotoPills or on timeanddate.com site.

The best time to visit Cancun

There are no bad times to visit Cancun. Many people prefer the dry, winter months of November to April over the hotter, humid, and sometimes rainy months of May to October.

The days are slightly shorter in the winter, but you will still have warm, sunny days to enjoy at the beach.

Less people travel to Cancun in the rainy season, so it is a great time to avoid crowds- plus, you can still have sunny, beautiful days! 

You can check out my detailed posts on the weather in Cancun by month. Pick the month you want to travel in here below.

Cancun Weather by Month


Playa Delfines Cancun
Playa Delfines Cancun

Time in Cancun: Frequently Asked Questions

Is Cancun on Eastern or Central time?

Cancun is on Eastern time. Cancun does not do daylight saving time so in the summer, when people in Central time “spring forward” Cancun will have the same hour as Central time. 

How far ahead is Cancun to the UK?

The UK is 5 hours ahead of Cancun. On the last Sunday in March, the UK will go into daylight saving time and will be 6 hours ahead of Cancun.

The UK will switch their clocks back one hour at the end of October. 

What is the time difference between LA and Cancun?

LA is three hours behind Cancun. When LA springs forward for daylight saving time, it will be two hours behind Cancun until it falls back in the late fall. 

How many hours of sun does Cancun get?

The number of hours of daylight Cancun gets depends on the season. The shortest day in the winter has around 10 hours and 50 minutes of daylight. The longest day in the summer gets almost 13 and a half hours of daylight. 

When did Cancun change the time zone?

Cancun changed from Central time to Eastern Standard time in February 2015. 

Final thoughts: Time in Cancun 

It is always a great time to visit Cancun, especially now that you know what time it is there! Knowing what time it is in Cancun will help you plan ahead for any time changes you will experience and make the most of your time here- catching as many sunrises and sunsets as possible! 

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