Traveling to Cancun in January 2023: Weather, Things to Do & Must-Know Travel Tips
Cancun in January is buzzing from the excitement of the New Years’ celebrations. January is the high season in Cancun, and you will find the beaches and streets filled with tourists. The hurricane season is well past, and it is the dry season.
The weather is sunny and warm, but not too hot. If you live somewhere with cold, snowy winters, Cancun weather in January probably looks ideal.
Lots of tourists visit the Cancun area in January to escape the cold, especially after the excitement of the holidays passes. Are you planning your winter getaway?
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about visiting Cancun in January.
How is the Weather in Cancun in January?
If you are looking for a tropical escape from the cold, this is the first question you want to be answered. Overall, Cancun weather in January is great.
It is technically one of the coolest months in Cancun, but it is still plenty warm to enjoy the beach and the Caribbean Sea.
You can expect lots of sunshine in January, and the evenings are pleasantly “Caribbean cool.”
Cancun Temperature in January
January is the coldest month of the year in Cancun; however, that does not mean it is cold! The average temperature during the day is around 75 degrees.
The daily average high temperature is 81 degrees. It almost never passes 86 degrees in January.
The daily average low temperature is 68 degrees. It usually never gets colder than 58 degrees.
January 26th is considered the coldest day of the year in Cancun, and the average temperature ranges from 67 degrees to 81 degrees – so now you can understand, Cancun’s “cold” is not like the cold in most other places!
If you travel to Cancun in January, it is possible you will experience a day or two of a norte. Nortes are the name that locals call strong winds that blow from the north.
This wind can bring rain with it, although not always.
The norte winds can make temperatures drop below average, and make the ocean rough. Depending on how strong the winds of the norte are, the port captain may decide to close the port for recreational activities.
In this case, you will not be able to go on any scuba diving, snorkeling, or catamaran excursions until the wind dies down and the port captain reopens the port.
If you plan to scuba dive, snorkel, or do other aquatic activities, my advice is that you plan those at the beginning of your trip.
If you happen to be here when a norte blows in, you will still have several days to do the excursions you want. If you plan all the water excursions at the end of your trip and a norte blows in, you may not be able to reschedule.
Nortes can bring rain, or sunny, but windy days. If you are here during a norte when the sun is shining, it is a great time to go visit ruins.
You will be very comfortable hiking in the jungle with the fresh air. Just remember to use sun protection! On windy days you will not feel as hot, and it is easy to get sunburnt!
What is the Ocean like in January?
The water temperature in Cancun is always pleasant for swimming. In January the surface temperature ranges from 77 degrees to 84 degrees.
The average temperature is 78 degrees. This is a comfortable temperature for swimming, especially if you stay close to the shore. If you are planning on scuba diving, you will want to use a wetsuit.
Everyone is comfortable at different temperatures, but many scuba divers in this temperature are comfortable wearing a 3 to 5-mm wetsuit.
If you get cold easily or are diving for several days of your trip, you will be happy to have this exposure protection.
The cenote water is always around 75 degrees, regardless of the month of the year. If you plan to scuba dive in a cenote you will want to add a layer of wetsuit on top of what you wore in the ocean.
You can expect great visibility in Cancun in the month of January. January is a sunny month that does not get a lot of rain, which adds to great visibility.
Does it Rain in Cancun in January?
Cancun is a tropical destination, so there is always a chance of rain. That said, January is in the dry season, and you should not expect it to rain all day.
Even in the dry season, it is not uncommon for a quick rainshower to pass through the area in the afternoon. The rain should not affect your daily plans or excursions.
If you do not want to get wet, it is a great idea to carry a lightweight raincoat with you all the time – you never know when it will come in handy.
The great thing about the Cancun area is that even if it rains, the sun will come back out afterward!
Unless there is a strong norte wind with rain blowing in, you should not let a little rain in the weather forecast affect your vacation plans.
It is common to see on the weather report that there is a chance of rain, but this will not mean you do not have beautiful, sunny days.
How is the humidity in Cancun in January?
People often want to know, if will it be humid in Cancun. The answer is yes, it is always humid in Cancun. Cancun is in a tropical climate, and surrounded by jungle and ocean- you cannot completely escape the humidity.
The good news is this, January is one of the least humid months in Cancun. The ocean breeze will keep you feeling comfortable. The bad news- if you have hair that gets a little crazy in humidity, you might have wild hair while on vacation!
The humidity in Cancun in January is between 70-80%. January 30th is often the least muggy day of the year, but it is still muggy 66% of the time! Plan accordingly and wear comfortable clothing and stay hydrated.
One of the best parts of coming with the humidity is lower are fewer mosquitos! The mosquitos come out the most during dawn and dusk hours during the rainy season.
January is in the dry season and with the cooler temperatures in the evening, there are fewer mosquitos.
If you are someone that the mosquitos absolutely love, you will still want to pack insect repellent.
Will Cancun be Sunny in January?
Yes! You can expect sunny days if you visit Cancun in January.
Throughout the month of January, the amount of time that the sky has cloud cover ranges from 25-30% of the time – this means you can expect several hours of sunshine a day! Do not forget your sunscreen.
The UV index in January is usually between 7 and 8, so make sure you protect your skin. In January the amount of daylight increases from a little under 11 hours a day, to over 11 hours a day.
In January the sun sets between 6:15 and 6:45 pm- you can plan a happy hour drink to enjoy the sunset!
Is Cancun Windy in January?
Yes, it can be windy in Cancun in January. The average wind speed in January is a comfortable 9 miles per hour.
Cold north fronts, called nortes, can blow at this time of year. These cold fronts bring stronger winds, powerful gusts, and cooler weather.
The wind can make the ocean really rough, so the port captain prohibits aquatic activities, such as snorkeling and scuba diving.
If you are in Cancun during a norte, you will feel the coldest weather that Cancun experiences, nights can drop down to the mid-50s!
You will see locals bundled up while driving their motos to work and may even hear them complain about the cold.
If you are coming from a snowy, winter destination, this weather will hardly feel cold to you. You will want a sweatshirt or a light pair of pants for the evenings.
Nortes are a great chance to get off the beach and explore ruins, do some shopping, or check out the local restaurants in downtown Cancun.
Nortes usually blow past in a day or two and the weather goes back up to its usual temperatures.
Is There Seaweed in January?
While there is always the chance of wind blowing in a bit of seaweed, it is not common in the month of January.
In the summers of the last few years, the Riviera Maya has dealt with large quantities of sargassum arriving on its beaches.
Sargassum is a brown alga that typically floats on the top of the ocean. Climate change has affected the amount of sargassum that washes ashore.
There is more sargassum because of ocean currents and temperature changes. Sargassum is not in itself harmful to humans, but some people do find it irritates their skin.
But, expecting a white sandy beach and finding a beach full of sargassum is really disappointing for travelers.
Sargassum is most common during the summer months, so you should expect to find sargassum-free beaches.
Best Time to Visit Cancun
Thankfully, there is not a bad time to visit Cancun. January is a great month to visit if you want to escape the cold and get some sunny beach time.
If you are dreaming of a break from the winter weather, just know that you are not alone. The high season for tourism starts around the holidays in December and goes until April.
The peak weeks are near the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and Semana Santa, or the week before Easter.
Many hotels are fully booked during the peak season, so plan ahead and make your reservations early. Hotels are generally at their most expensive this time of year because so many people want to travel.
If you want to come in January and try to escape the crowds the most you can, try coming the week after New Year.
Many people choose to travel for the holiday or wait until the end of the month. The middle of January has a slight dip in tourism before picking right back up!
The weather in January is great. It is hot and sunny during the day but cools off in the evening. It is not so hot and humid that you will be running for air conditioning or uncomfortable, but plenty warm to jump into the ocean.
The ocean temperature will be around 78 degrees, which is comfortable for snorkeling or swimming near the shore.
If you are scuba diving you will be happy wearing a light wetsuit.
If you are in Cancun in January and have a few windy days, head into the jungle to check out the ruins.
The winter months are great for visiting ruins because it is not too hot to enjoy a hike in the jungle.
A trip to Cancun in January is a great way to start your year. You can expect hot and sunny days that let you comfortably enjoy the beach or any other excursion you sign up for.
Just remember that it is a popular time of the year to come, so book your hotel early!
Packing List for Cancun in January
Packing for a trip to Cancun in January is pretty simple. You want comfortable clothes for wearing to the beach, in the jungle, or on the excursions, you sign up for. To make your packing even easier, here is a list of things you do not want to forget.
✔️ Swimsuit and beachwear – Possibly the most essential thing in your suitcase will be your swimsuit, you will want it for the ocean, the pool, and visits to cenotes.
✔️ Reef Safe Sunscreen – The sun is strong in Cancun, and the last thing you want to do is get burnt. Look for brands that are reef safe. Avoid sunscreens that have oxybenzone and octinoxate in them. You cannot use any sunscreen in the cenotes, so also pack sun protective clothing.
✔️ Mosquito Repellent – January is not mosquito season, but it is always best to carry some bug repellent just in case. Look for eco-friendly brands.
Keep mosquitos away!
OFF! Botanicals Deet-Free Insect Repellent, Plant-Based Bug Spray & Mosquito Repellent, 4 oz
6885 4.5-⭐️ Reviews
✔️ Water bottle – You should not drink tap water in Cancun; however, you can still put a reusable water bottle to use.
Many large hotels have water filtrations systems that make the water drinkable.
If they do not have a filtration system, ask your hotel if they have large ‘garafones’ of water that you can use to fill up your water bottle.
MOTIVATIONAL 32oz BPA & TOXIN FREE REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
✔ Made of high-quality eco-friendly BPA Free, food-grade PETG plastic material, it’s leak-proof, odorless, durable, and recyclable, safe for your daily drinking.
✔ Time maker can help you boost your daily water intake.
✔ STURDY AND PORTABLE: This sports water bottle is made of premium quality, BPA FREE, PETG plastic material,
These are the reusable 20-liter water jugs that locals use in their homes. Whenever possible try to fill up your water bottle with filtered water to avoid using plastic water bottles.
✔️ Flip flops – always handy
✔️ Sun protection hat and cute clothing – always a must! make sure you use sunscreen even if it’s cloudy. Remember you are in the tropics!
Click on the image below to see the product⤵️
✔️ Raincoat – It is great to keep a lightweight raincoat on you in case you get stuck in rainshower. It will also work as a windbreaker if you need it on a windy day.
✔️ Sunglasses – The sun is really strong and can hurt your eyes. Some UV-protection sunglasses will help.
✔️ Beach towel and beach bag – Some hotels will provide a beach towel but if you go out on a tour you will want to take a light one with you, which takes less space
✔️ Dry bag or waterproof phone case – A dry bag and waterproof phone case are great to take on snorkeling, scuba diving, or boat excursions.
Earth Pak -Waterproof Dry Bag
25000 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Reviews
✔️ Pick your favorite colors
✔️ Different sizes
✔️ Phone waterproof case included
✔️ Great attitude – Remember that travel plans do not always go as you expect, but it’s your job to make the most of your vacation. Having a great attitude will help you enjoy new experiences and have the best vacation!
What to Wear in Cancun in January
Not sure what clothes you need in Cancun? Make sure to pack for the excursions and activities you are planning to do.
☑️ Want to spend a lot of time at the beach, scuba diving, or in the water? Pack plenty of swimsuits and comfortable beach wear.
☑️ Want to take a luxurious sunset catamaran cruise? Fun and cute but comfortable sundresses are perfect! Here is what you will want to wear in Cancun in January.
☑️ Swimsuits and comfortable beachwear – I love the Cupshe brand – affordable cute and of great quality.
☑️ Flip flops/sandals that can get wet for the pool and beach
☑️ Tennis shoes. Great for wearing to visit ruins.
☑️ Comfortable clothing. You can pack a lot of T-shirts, shorts, and tank tops, you will use these every day in Cancun.
☑️ Light raincoat – A windbreaker or raincoat are always a great thing to have on hand in the tropics. You never know when you will get a surprise rainstorm passing through. These are also handy if you are doing any water excursions and want to warm up/ dry off when you get out of the water.
☑️ Warm Weather Clothing – This can double as your outfit for on the airplane. You will want a sweater/sweatshirt and a pair of pants. With the temperatures dropping in the evening and the ocean breeze, some people will feel cool at night and be happy for extra layers.
☑️ Hat – Even if you hardly ever wear hats at home, you will want to pack one. Hats help keep the sun off of your face. If you have hair that gets a little frizzy and crazy in the humidity, a hat can keep it contained during the day too!
A fancy outfit. If you are planning a romantic dinner, sunset cruise, or another special event, it can be nice to have a fancier outfit.
Here below some cute suggestions. Just click on the image to see more ⤵️
Sandals and flip flops
Top recommended tours in Cancun in January
Whether you want an adventure-packed vacation or to fill your time with luxurious, relaxing excursions, there is something for you in Cancun.
Water lovers can pick between snorkeling, scuba diving, or visiting cenotes.
If you prefer to stay dry, you can check out the ruins. Here are some of the most recommended tours in the area.
👉 Diving in the Mexican Caribbean for Beginners
5⭐️ 216 Reviews
The crystal clear blue waters of Cancun are breathtaking. If you have always dreamed of trying scuba diving, this is a great place to do it! You will meet at the dive shop, where you will receive a quick scuba diving theory class.
Next, you will try on gear and get into the pool with an instructor. The instructor will teach you everything you need to safely go into the ocean.
From there you will get on a boat and head to MUSA, Cancun’s underwater museum.
There you will see a variety of wildlife living on the statues that make up the artificial reef. From there you will go to a natural coral reef to dive.
No previous diving experience is necessary, but you do need to know how to swim to participate in this.
👉 Luxury Catamaran and Snorkel. Lunch & Open Bar Onboard and Visit to Isla Mujeres
4.5⭐️ 1831 Reviews
Nothing says vacation quite like a luxury catamaran sail. You will love passing the Cancun coastline on the catamaran on your way to Isla Mujeres.
On the way, you will get a chance to hop into the water and snorkel in the beautiful, blue water. A gourmet lunch is served on board before you arrive at Isla Mujeres- a small island to the east of Cancun.
Once at Isla Mujeres you can take a stroll around, either on your own or with a guided tour. You will then have a relaxing sail back to Cancun while sipping a delicious cocktail.
👉 Best ATV Tour, Ziplines and Cenote Swim with Lunch and Transport Included
4⭐️ 1535 Reviews
If you are looking for adventures, this tour is for you. You will take ATVs through the jungle to arrive at a cenote.
Guests over 18 can choose to drive their own ATVs or have a guide drive for them. Cenotes are freshwater pools that connect to a series of underwater rivers that are found all over the Riviera Maya.
You can use a rope swing to enter the water, or climb down a ladder, and enjoy the refreshing water. To end the tour you will go ziplining through the jungle.
👉 Cobá, Chichén Itzá, Cenote & Valladolid Tour with Buffet Lunch
4.5⭐️ 441 Reviews
If you want to pack a lot of sightseeing into your day, this is a great trip. You will get up early to visit the Coba ruins that are located in the jungle.
From there you will make a quick stop in the town of Valladolid and head to Cenote Saamal. You can jump into the refreshing water and take a swim.
From there you will visit the famous archeological site of Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza is one of the seven modern wonders of the world. A buffet lunch is included.
What To Do If It Rains
Everyone hopes for great weather while on vacation. If you were planning on spending the day relaxing by the pool, a rainy day can be a bummer.
The great news is that there are still fun things to do in Cancun when it rains. If you like to shop there are plenty of different shopping areas to check out, including La Isla Shopping Village.
In addition to shopping, it has restaurants and a movie theatre. If you decide to go to the movies, just know, most movies are shown in the original language (usually English) with subtitles.
When looking at the movie schedule you can see if it is with subtitles or dubbed into another language.
If you have the bad luck of a few days of bad weather, there are still fun excursions to check out. Here are a few things to consider booking in bad weather:
👉 3-in-1 Street Food Tour with transportation (food stalls + local market+ murals)
5⭐️ 390 Reviews
Get out of your hotel and let your guide show you some local food. This tour will take you to a local market.
You will visit street vendors and walk around downtown Cancun and enjoy local murals.
Go hungry because you will get the chance to try traditional Yucatecan tacos. If it is a rainy day, pack your raincoat because you will walk a little bit outside.
👉 Coco Bongo Cancun Gold Member VIP Night Out by After Dark
4⭐️ 97 Reviews
Visit the world-famous Coco Bongo nightclub in style. With this ticket, you will not have to wait in line and will have great seats for the show. Your ticket includes an open bar with premium spirits.
Best Hotels in Cancun
There are over 200 hotels in the Cancun hotel zone. It can be overwhelming to try to pick you. No matter what you are looking for in accommodation, Cancun has a hotel option for you.
👉 Best hotel for Solo travelers | Breathless Cancun Soul Resort & Spa | Adults Only | All Inclusive
This adults-only, all-inclusive hotel offers guests great service and is perfect for relaxing. There are three different pools to choose from, or you can relax on the white sandy beach.
There is an on-site spa if you want to treat yourself.
There are 10 different restaurants to choose from, where you will enjoy beautiful ocean views. If you want to stay active there is a gym or you can play volleyball, kayak, or bodyboard.
👉 Best hotel for Families | Hyatt Ziva Cancun | All Inclusive
The Hyatt Ziva is a great option for families. You can snorkel just off the white sandy beach.
There are three pools to enjoy and a kid’s area with toys and games. There are 8 on-site restaurants to enjoy and a gym, tennis courts, and basketball courts.
👉 Best hotel for couples | Turquoize at Hyatt Ziva Cancun | Adults Only | All Inclusive
A great spot to kick back and relax. There are two poolside bars and the hotel is located right on a beautiful stretch of beach.
The gym offers yoga and aerobics classes. There is an on-site spa. The hotel has 8 restaurants to choose from, including an Italian restaurant.
There are also beach volleyball and tennis courts to enjoy.
👉 Best Luxury Hotel in Cancun | Nizuc Resort and Spa
Treat yourself to this luxurious resort. You can choose from a variety of rooms, including rooms with small, private pools.
This five-star resort is located on a private beach. There are six restaurants to choose from, in addition to a beachfront bar and poolside bar.
The property has five pools, a tennis court, and spa to enjoy.
Cancun Events and Festivals In January
🎊 Celebrate New Year in Cancun
If you plan your trip for the end of December, you will get the treat of celebrating New Year in Cancun. Many hotels will throw great dinner parties for guests.
You can watch fireworks over the lagoon and party all night long.
🎵🙌🏻 Dead and Company, Playing in the Sand
Dead and Company will be playing 3 nights of concerts on January 14-17. Book a room at one of the Moon Palace resorts and be part of this all-inclusive concert vacation.
You can relax during the day and rock concerts at night.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you swim in Cancun in January?
Yes! The water is a comfortable temperature for swimming year-round. The water is clear in January and the beaches are free from sargassum.
Is it safe to arrive in Cancun at night?
Yes, but book your hotel shuttle in advance. You will exit the airport and have a driver waiting for you to take you to your hotel.
If you are concerned about whether it’s safe to travel to Cancun, I have got you covered as well.
Is it too cold to go to Cancun in January?
No. January is one of the coldest months in Cancun, but it is still a tropical location. You can expect daytime temperatures to reach the low 80s during the day and cool off in the evening.
It will be plenty warm to enjoy lounging by the pool or on the beach.
When is the best time to visit Cancun for good weather?
Travelers love the weather during the dry season in Cancun from November to May. During this time the weather is not too hot or humid, and you can expect warm, sunny days.
Cancun in January: Final Thoughts
A trip to Cancun is a great way to start your year. The weather in January is cooler than other months of the year, but will still feel hot during the day.
Take advantage of the cooler weather to go into the jungle and visit Mayan ruins or cenotes. Just remember, January is a popular time to travel to Cancun, so plan ahead.
Book your hotel and any excursions you want to do early to make sure they do not fill up.
About the Author
Hey there! This is Isabella, the owner, and writer of this site. I have been living in Cancun for the past 12 years and although I have been roaming around Mexico, Cancun’s spectacular turquoise waters and pristine beach draw me back to this popular Mexican beach destination. That is why I decided to start this blog, to show you all the beauty you can find in Cancun and share helpful travel tips to help you plan a fabulous vacation in Cancun!