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Everything You Need to Know About Hurricane Season in the Mayan Riviera

Updated: Nov 4, 2020

We take this natural disaster as a reminder of the power of weather and the climate circumstances. We’re diving deep into what we need to know in regards to hurricane season in Mexico, and how we can be informed and prepared.

When looking at the weather in general, keep in mind that rain in the forecast may simply mean it is a passing shower, lasting only a few minutes. It could easily rain in Playa del Carmen and be sunny in Cancun too.

Hurricane History

The last major hurricane in the Yucatan Peninsula was Wilma in 2005. Before Wilma, it was Gilbert in September 1988—17 years prior to Wilma. For Wilma, a tropical depression had formed in the Caribbean Sea near Jamaica mid-October and eventually grew into a tropical storm. Moving south, Wilma intensified and became a hurricane on October 18, and in just 24 hours, Wilma was a Category 5.

Wilma hit the Yucatan Peninsula on October 20 and 21. In preparation for the natural disaster, the government of Quintana Roo declared a red alert the day before the hurricane hit, and classes were suspended. Residents and tourists were advised to move further inland or return to their places of origin. Many unable to relocate were taken to shelters throughout Cancun.

Cancun suffered from extensive structural damage, severe flooding and fallen trees, power lines, and debris. Rainfall in Cancun exceeded 23 inches, and Isla Mujeres alone reported 64 inches. Felix Gonzalez Canto, the governor of Quintana Roo at the time, said, “Never in the history of Quintana Roo have we seen a storm like this.” And there has yet to be one like it since.

Learn more about Wilma here.

Climb the Mayan ruin of Coba and snorkel in two cenotes on our exclusive tour!

Hurricane Season

Due to an improvement in technology for weather forecasting, we are lucky to be able to better predict weather patterns ahead of time. Some travelers will actually choose hurricane season to visit Mexico because there are less tourists, lower prices, and if you’re a surfer, better waves!

Hurricane season in Mexico begins June 1 and runs through November 30. The highest risk is between August and October.

According to Kerry Emanuel, Professor of Atmospheric Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a hurricane strike decreases from north to south, so Cancun may be more likely to have bad hurricanes, but further south in Tulum it may be safer during the season.

Spend a full day in Tulum's scenic biosphere reserve, Sian Ka'an!

How to Prepare for Hurricane Season

Always track the weather before you depart for your trip and stay tuned to local weather channels beforehand and during your stay.

If you’re worried, you can buy travel insurance to be safe. Travel insurance can protect you if you have to cancel because of a hurricane, and it helps you get your money back if a hurricane hits your destination, whether you’ve arrived yet or not.

If your travel plans are delayed for at least six hours because of a storm, you can be reimbursed for expenses that arise—think hotel rooms and meals. You may even be able to get back up to $25,000 if you need to evacuate a destination based on recommendations from local authorities or the U.S. State Department.

For advice on weather in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, learn more here.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to write in the comment section below or send us an e-mail to:

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