Hurricane season in Cancun is the same as the Atlantic season. It lasts from the beginning of June to the end of October. The highest chance of a hurricane occurring is in September and October with a slightly lower chance in August.
What Happens in Cancun When A Hurricane Is Predicted?
This really depends on both the strength of the hurricane and its predicted path.
A minor hurricane that brushes by may mean little to no difference in daily operations. However, aquatic based tours will usually be cancelled as a precaution, and there may be disruption to ferry services to Isla Mujeres.
A minor hurricane direct strike and a major hurricane non direct strike will mean that precautions are significantly increased. Local businesses and residents will begin boarding up their homes. There may also be panic buying of goods in supermarkets.
Hotels will also board up their facilities and may issue instructions to guests in the event of evacuation. Alcohol service may be stopped. Usually, evacuation is enacted only in the most serious of cases. This has happened only once in my 15 years of living in Cancun, for Hurricane Wilma in October 2015.
Although rare this is not to be ruled out. If evacuated from your hotel you’ll most likely be taken to a local school in downtown Cancun. You’ll be looked after by hotel staff until any danger is over. Although sleeping facilities will be provided they will likely be basic. Grab some bedding and pillows for your hotel!
In the case of Hurricane Wilma in 2005 guests of Temptation Resort stayed in emergency accommodation at a local school for 3 or 4 days.
A direct strike from a major hurricane will cause extensive damage. There will be floods and power outages for an extended period. The airport and public transport services will likely not be operational for some time. The best thing to do is to hold tight and comply with instructions from officials. It will be uncomfortable, but you will not be in personal danger.
Best Websites For Hurricane Information
My favorite sites for following hurricane news are the National Hurricane Center and the Wunderground Tropical Weather Page. If you use Facebook, I also follow Mike’s Weather Page when Hurricanes in Cancun are forecast
Hurricanes in Cancun
There have been two major hurricane events in Cancun’s tourism history of 40 years or so. Hurricane Gilbert on Sept 15th 1988 and Hurricane Wilma on 21 October 2005. It follows that Hurricanes don’t hit Cancun every year, far from it. There are also occasions where near misses have taken place and resulted in a lot of worry but, thankfully, no major damage or disruption.
Hurricane Dean in Cancun
In August 2007 Cancun had a lucky near miss. Hurricane Dean looked dead set to strike Cancun with a ferocity similar to that of Wilma. Fortunately, 48 hours beforehand, Dean changed course and ended up making landfall some 200 miles south.
While major preparations had been made in Cancun, the worse that happened were 30 mph (ca. 48 km/h) winds gusting to 50mph (ca. 80 km/h) on the coast. Also some heavy rain showers that lasted just a few hours. The following day things were back to normal and there was little trace that Hurricane Dean had grazed us.
Hurricane Gustav in Cancun
In August 2008 Gustav came close but in the end this one also turned out to be a lot of fuss about nothing. Hurricanes really are not common, every year it seems the National Hurricane Center predicts a busy hurricane season. More often than not that hasn’t materialized in Cancun.
It’s imprtant to note that Tropical Storms don’t always develop into hurricanes. In fact, more often than not they don’t. Even if a storm does develop into a hurricane there is little chance that Cancun will be directly affected to any major extent.
Hurricane Wilma in Cancun
On 21 and 22 October 2005 Hurricane Wilma made a direct strike on Cancun causing severe damage. Hurricane Wilma is the most powerful hurricane ever recorded. She completely decimated the Cancun tourist industry for around 6 months.
The video shown below is the promotional video Coco Bongo used for several months upon reopening. It truly captures the ferocity of Wilma, and still brings me out in goose bumps every time I watch it.