When to Go
As with many other places in Mexico, high season begins in late November and continues until early April. The weeks around Christmas and Easter are peak times for visiting; making reservations up to a year in advance is common. Fortunately, the Yucatán doesn’t get the Spring Break crowds like Cancún, but you may see a slight increase in travelers (and prices) during August, when most Europeans take their vacations.
If you’re traveling off-season, May is usually the hottest month of the year; rainfall is heaviest between June and October, bringing with it an uncomfortable humidity. Provided you can avoid Thanksgiving weekend, November is one of your best bets for good weather and affordable rates. This time of year, the rainy season is over, the humidity has faded, and temperatures are pleasantly cool—plus you also won’t have to deal with holiday hordes, which means properties and airlines will most likely be offering discounted rates.
El Festival de Mérida, which commemorates the founding of the city, runs through most of January and stages nearly 200 free events, including concerts, dance performances, and art exhibits.
Campeche City lays claim to Mexico’s oldest Carnaval celebration, and Mérida holds the country’s second largest. As cities steeped in tradition, both do up their pre-Lenten festivities in style each year in February or March.
Thousands swarm Chichén Itzá on the first day of spring, when the sun creates a snakelike shadow—meant to evoke the ancient serpent god, Kukulcán—that moves slowly down the side of the main pyramid.
If you like music and dance, Mérida hosts its Otoño Cultural during the last week of October and first week of November; events run almost nightly at theaters and open-air venues around the city.
The Día de los Muertos (October 31 to November 2) brings street processions to Mérida and many other towns—some somber, some merry—with participants painting their faces white to look like skeletons.