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GoWithGuideFind your perfect tour guide at GoWithGuide. Relax and cherish unforgettable tours with loved ones. Create personalized tours for a truly memorable trip!

Tourism In Cancun Statistics 2023: The Ultimate Guide

Ajitsa A.

by GoWithGuide travel specialist:Ajitsa A.

Last updated : Oct 30, 202315 min read

General

Are you having fun right now? Seriously. I’m sure we can all agree that the most un-fun thing about planning a trip to Cancun is the part where you sift through millions of tabs looking for the information you need. Alarming stories and random resort recommendations won't get you closer to the fantastic Playa Delfines beach. 


So let's cut through the noise. Welcome to Cancun's ultimate tourism statistics guide. From weather patterns and the best travel time to safety tips and do's and don'ts, you'll have what you need to get you as close to those relaxing Caribbean waves and crispy Cascatan tacos as possible. You might even find the right Cancun tour guide for your adventure. Enough chit-chat, let's go!

The City of Cancun: A Beloved Destination By The Numbers 

In the heart of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula lies the breathtaking jewel of Cancun, a mesmerizing city that opens up like a colorful tapestry of wonders. Quintana Roo’s premier vacation spot is the most visited destination in Mexico, with over 9.5 million tourists touching down in 2022, making Cancun International Airport the busiest in the country.

With the ancient secrets of Mayan civilization, splendid beaches, and cerulean seas, Cancun's hotels easily hosted over 6 million international guests in 2019. Despite loose Covid-19 entry rules, 2020 was a low year, with only 2.4 million recorded hotel arrivals. So how is tourism in Cancun now? The resilient city bounced back, breaking records in September 2021, with 1.6 million tourists in one month, a 4.4% increase from 2019’s record.

Tourists flocked from all over the world to spend the summer or winter in the Mexican Caribbean. Clearly, we’re not the only ones obsessed with Cancun.

Collection of Cancun Tourism Statistics


The World Loves Cancun

Quintana Roo welcomed over 17 million tourists in 2022. That's a lot of day trips and a lot of people. So who visits Cancun the most? Spain, The UK, and Canada are close contenders, but the number one spot goes to;

  1. The United States - 5.6 million visitors hit the beaches of Cancun in 2022. Even in 2020, US citizens made up 34% of Cancun’s tourists. 
  2. Canada - Coming in a close second is the USA's northern neighbor Canada with 1.1 million visitors in 2022. Most Canadians go to escape those famously harsh winters.
  3. Colombia -In third place, Colombia brought in 632,134 visitors in 2022. Colombians don’t need a visa to enter Mexico, but they do need tourism cards, which we’ll handle later.
  4. The UK - Across the pond, the United Kingdom was the source of 343,202 visitors. UK residents do not need a visa to tour Mexico, so these numbers will increase as the pandemic slows down. 
  5. Spain - Rounding out the top five countries is Spain, with 140,553 visitors.


Travel Truth: What are the tourism issues in Cancun? Over-tourism is a big issue, especially environmentally. Cancun is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest in the world, and irresponsible diving and snorkeling disrupts the natural ecosystem. You can avoid adding to the problem by asking our local Cancun guides about responsible tour companies or exploring the Cancun Underwater Museum


Cancun has a heavy partying reputation, but there's more to this city than beaches and bars. Let's look a little deeper, shall we? 

Exploring Cancun: A Two-Sided Story

So why do so many people go to Cancun? It’s a symphony of natural and historical marvels, with its sun-and-saltwater beaches, ear-pounding nightclubs, untouched wildlife havens, and ancient Mayan ruins.

That explains the 2.4 million international visitors that made it to Cancun in the first quarter of 2023. This charming city gives you two sides of one vibrant coin, the Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) and El Centro (Downtown Cancun). Luckily, they're only 20 minutes apart, so let's explore both. 


Zona Hotelera: The King of Tourist Towns 

Amidst the pulse of life that echoes through the city, nightclubs come alive. During the day, white sand beaches and interactive museums keep you entertained. Welcome to the Hotel Zone, Mexico’s most ambitious and successful travel hot spot. Let’s get you acquainted.  

Top Destinations In Cancun


Where To Go: The Hotel Zone’s Top Destinations 

  • Museo Maya de Cancun (The Mayan Museum) -  Experience the best Mayan artifacts with modern interpretations of one of the world's greatest civilizations. Spend the day soaking in interactive displays and stelae/stone monuments with intricate carvings and hieroglyphics.
  • San Miguelito Archaeological Site - Connected to the Museum via sandy walkways known as sacbes, this archaeological marvel tells the story of Cancun’s maritime and trading past. 
  • Chichen Itza - Not only is this Mayan archaeological marvel a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but it's also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. From humbling pyramids to elaborate temples, this is an unmissable experience.
  • Isla Mujeres- This island is home to some of the most fascinating ecological hubs. Head to Playa Secreto and Playa Garrafon for lounging, water sports, and eco-friendly diving. 
  • Playa Delfines - Strolling along the soft sand or speeding through the Caribbean Sea on a jet ski is the best introduction to one of the region’s most uninterrupted scenic locations.
  • El Rey Mayan Ruins - It's time to see "The King", aka the El Rey Ruins. This look into Mayan life reveals how the city functioned as an administrative and residential hub for its inhabitants as far back as 250 C.E. It's no wonder the site receives a whopping 2.5 million visitors yearly. 
  • Cancun Interactive Aquarium - There are no words to explain the feeling of shaking hands with a starfish or swimming with dolphins and colorful Caribbean fish. To experience the aquatic world while actively helping Mexico’s conservation efforts is an experience you shouldn’t miss out on. 
  • Isla Contoy National Park - With 173 bird species, 14 reptile species, and 361 marine species, the Isla Contoy conservancy efforts are nothing short of spectacular. Learning about Cancun's fragile marine and land ecosystem the right way starts here.


Travel Q&A: Why Is Cancun So Expensive? The simple answer is high demand. There's so much to see, and everybody wants to see it, increasing the prices, especially during peak seasons. Is Cancun a luxury destination? Yes, if you consider the private Catamaran tours, five-star hotels, and brand-name shopping experience in the La Isla Village


El Centro: Living La Vida En Cancún 

Known as the “authentic” Cancun, El Centro’s warmth, cultural vibrancy, and haunting echoes of history come together in a harmonious dance. From markets to music, it’ll leave you forever under its spell.

Downtown Cancun


Where To Go: El Centro's Top Destinations

  • Parque De Las Palapas - When you mix live music, open air, waving palm trees, and vibrant crowds, you get this sensory experience. Musicians and artists infuse the air with a sense of celebration, creating an atmosphere that appreciates one of Mexico's greatest treasures. 
  • Mercado 28+23 - Sick of the cliché tourist caps and shirts? Mercado 23 and 28 stand out like ancient bazaars. Each turn is a treasure trove of carefully crafted goods. Local artisans and vendors display their work with pride, and even with a few touristy items, it's still worth an afternoon. 
  • Local Taquerias & Loncherias - Despite popular misconceptions, Cancun has its own food identity. Gourmet spots are nice, but if you want to eat like a local, head to one of the many Loncherias, restaurants that highlight home-cooked meals. Or try the Taquerias, where warm tacos await. 
  • Isla Blanca - Cancun wasn’t always a tourist hot spot. Born from intentional investment by the Mexican government, it's a tour lover's dream. Want to travel back in time? Head to Isla Blanca to see what Cancun used to look like. Still undeveloped, the quiet atmosphere and unspoiled serenity leave a long-lasting mark. 
  • El Meco Mayan Ruins - Small but majestic, these ruins stand as a reminder of the past and how powerful time can be. They give off a mysterious aura, and the weathered and slightly damaged site has a certain charm to it despite the lack of giant pyramids and elaborate hieroglyphs. 


Alright, the destinations are divine, but there's more to travel than rest, thrilling experiences, and relaxing drinks. Here's what to expect when you're touring Cancun.

Let’s Get Real: What To Expect In The Mexican Caribbean 

Cancun is generally fun and relaxed. However, it's essential to be mindful of local life and live under the rules and customs to keep your experience pleasant and safe. Let's get to the essentials. 

What To Expect In Cancun: Weather, Food, Seasons


Transport Talk: Getting Around The Zone, El Centro & Everywhere In Between

While it’s not as large as Mexico City, Cancun has an equally efficient transportation system. Here are some great ways to get around the hotel zone and downtown Cancun. 

  • Bus - Simple, convenient, and constantly running, the bus service in Cancun is your best bet for affordable and comfortable travel, especially in the hotel zone. All along Boulevard Kukulkan, you'll find buses traveling to and from El Centro and the Isla Mujeres ferry. The fare is 12 pesos (60 cents USD).
  • Private Car - Need something that operates on your schedule? A private car is the way to go. Just make sure you use an authorized private car, and driver. 
  • Taxi/Uber- Taxis and Ubers don't exactly get along in Cancun, so some travelers skip both. Taxis in Cancun also don't have a meter, so you HAVE to agree on a price before getting in. This mode of transport is best for late nights out or trips to the airport. Rates can vary greatly depending on distance or area (the hotel zone has higher prices). 
  • Ferry/Boat- If you're heading to Isla Mujeres or Playa Cozumel, a ferry is the only way to get there. You can board from El Embarcadero, Playa Tortugas and Playa Caracol. The fare is around 15-21 USD. 


When To Go: Cancun’s Caribbean Seasons

Now that you know where to go and how to get there, it’s time for the most important element. When to go, and there are options for every kind of traveler. 

Perfect Timing: Weather Trends  

Warm, breezy, and sunny. That's it.  Right? Well, sometimes. Cancun's weather is a little more complex, and there's an ideal time to travel within the city’s seasons

  • January -February - For a sunny destination, Cancun can get quite cold. January is the coldest month, with averages of 23°C (73°F), lows of 21°C (69.8°F), and highs of 28°C (82.4°F). 
  • June-August - Carry your sunscreen or stay inside because June is the HOTTEST month, with an average of 28°C (82°F), highs of 33°C (91.4°F), and lows of 25°C (77°F). 
  • September - Humid and very rainy, September is the wettest month, with an average of 270 mm of rain and averages of 28°C (82.4°F). 


Perfect Timing: Travel Seasons & Trends

Cancun transforms with the seasons, so when is the best time to visit? December to May and July to August are ideal because of the weather, festivals, and events, but they are more expensive so let's weigh the options. 

High Season - December to May & July to August 

This is the tourist high season when millions flock to Cancun's sunny beaches and turquoise waters, especially during New Year's and Christmas. It's a great time to travel for those who enjoy festivals like Carnaval, which takes place in February, or swimming with the whale sharks in the summer. The trade-off? Huge crowds and massive price surges

Low Season- September to November & May to June 

This time is ideal if you're looking to save on hotel accommodation, venue tickets, and transportation, as there are a bunch of deals all over the city. Low crowds also mean more time to explore freely. The trade-off? High temperatures mixed with humid rainy days. There's also the occasional hurricane warning. 

Somewhere In Between- November

If you’re lucky, you can travel in November. While it's slightly rainy, the major storms have passed, leaving moderate weather. The plus? Cool events like the Cancun Jazz Festival are in town. 


Travel Tip: The Tourist/FMM Cards- Do you still require FMM forms for Cancun? Mexico is phasing out the physical tourist cards, with most airlines not offering them. Instead, you need to complete an online version at the Cancun Airport website, even if your country doesn’t require a visa. 

What To Eat: Cancun’s Unbeatable Cuisine 

Tantalizing tacos, fresh ceviche, and sweet churros await, awakening your taste buds and inviting you to indulge in authentic flavors lovingly crafted by culinary masters. These local delights are a must-try. 

  • Cochinita Pibil - Ever since the Spanish brought pork to the nation, it's been king of the Yucatan culinary scene. Smooth, savory, and punching with flavor, this achiote-marinated, banana leaf-wrapped, slow-cooked pork is unforgettable. 
  • Tacos Al Pastor - Pork, pork, and more pork. Try this Cancun version of Mexico's pork tacos. The crispy cracklings with a tender center hit the spot after a day spent in the water. 
  • Tikin Xic - A humble fish-cooking style beloved by the Mayans and preserved in local history for centuries, this fish dish is best enjoyed after a slow roast over an open fire or a roasting pit. 
  • Yucatecan Tamales- As precious to the region as the Mayan ruins, this version of the beloved Tamale is unlike any other. Wrapped in banana, or almond leaves instead of corn husks, the filling typically includes succulent pork seasoned with achiote paste. 
  • Sopa de Lima: Consider this the national flag of Yucatan soups. A chicken-based broth infused with the tangy flavor of lime juice and aromatic spices, what more could you ask for? The finishing touch? Crispy tortilla strips, avocado, and habanero slices. 

Before we get lost in food fantasies, let’s touch on some pressing Cancun elements and give you the important information you need concerning safety while you’re in the city. 


Do This, Not That: The Cancun Edition 

Every city has its quirks, and these quick tips will keep your time in Cancun pleasant and free from frustrations. If you want to know more about the best social, ecological, and cultural practices, get in touch with a GWG local expert. 

Do


Staying Safe: The Cancun Edition 

Alright, we're finally addressing the elephant in the room. Cancun’s safety. A burst of violent crime along the Riviera Maya and Tulum related to drug cartel activity towards the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 led to alarming headlines about tourist safety. The good news? It was quickly dealt with, and Cancun was later rated one of Mexico's safest travel cities in 2022. 

So what is the crime rate in Cancun? Cancun’s Crime index stands at 56.33 which is moderate, comparable to cities like Miami, and Los Angeles. Its safety index is 43.67, with a high safety rate of 62.50 when walking around in the daytime.

All in all, is Cancun safe to travel in 2023? Yes! Cancun is well-guarded and safe to tour in the day or night time. If you're freaking out about safety in the city, touring with a local guide can help ease your worries. To feel completely safe, keep these tips in mind; 

Tips To Stay Safe In Cancun

Cancun can be everything you want it to be. There's so much to do and see, so if you're feeling overwhelmed, there's a convenient, hassle-free version of your planning that involves a professional, local Cancun tour guide putting YOUR interests first in a customizable itinerary. Sound like a better option? Great, now let's get started! 

P.S. Looking to travel with companions? The more, the merrier. Share this post with your friends and get them as excited about touring Cancun as you are.

Mexico City Tour Guide - Alex V.

Alex V.

Mexico

Hi guys, it's Alex here! ✌️ For over 5 years, I and my colleagues have been organizing tours to some of the most incredible places in and around Mexico City. As a team of local guides, we aim to help travelers discover our beautiful city and its surroundings in the most interactive, authentic, and fun way. In our tours, we strive to do things differently: avoid tourist traps, go off-the-beaten paths, interact with locals, learn about their traditions, and connect with their core values. So, if you want wanna discover Mexico from a local perspective, and get to know its history, culture, gastronomy, and nature, consider hiring us as your guides. Be sure, we will make your experience in Mexico City unforgettable!                                                                                                                                  

Quintana Roo Tour Guide - Saúl C.

Saúl C.

Mexico

Welcome to Mexico! I'm thrilled that you've chosen to explore this cherished corner of the world that I hold so close to my heart. Originally from Mexico City, I've spent over 18 years immersed in the Cancun and Riviera Maya region, including Playa del Carmen and Tulum. For the past 16 years, I've worked as a dedicated tour guide, starting with local adventure and culture tours. This journey has led me to connect deeply with the Mayan communities, learning from their wisdom and traditions. Throughout my career, I've had the privilege of guiding countless travelers—though I've lost track of the exact number. But one thing I can confidently say: I adore this profession. My exploration extends beyond these coasts. I've journeyed extensively across southeastern Mexico on overland tours spanning 10 to 15 days. Traveling from Mexico City to Playa del Carmen, I've traversed Puebla, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Tabasco, and the entire Yucatan Peninsula—my specialty. What I truly love are private tours. As for sales pitches, that's not my forte. But rest assured, we're destined to have a blast. We'll dive into cenotes, master the art of crafting corn tortillas, ascend ancient Mayan temples, learn from original cultures, and even grasp a few phrases in the Mayan language. Expect jungle hikes, exhilarating bike rides, an abundance of photographs and videos, snorkeling through vibrant coral reefs, and tranquil boat trips through nature reserves—home to crocodiles, spider monkeys, howling monkeys, flamingos, eagles, and more. We'll explore renowned spots for capturing epic photos. I can't wait to share these experiences with you. Until then, take care and see you soon!                                                                                                                                 

Quintana Roo Tour Guide - Octavio M.

Octavio M.

Mexico

Hi friends, my name is Octavio. I have 7 years dedicating to tourism. From chill activities like camping, hiking or cultural tours, to a lot of adventure like rafting, rappel, cliffjumping, mountain biking, diving, climbing, wakeboarding, among other ones. Let me present you the best experiencies and guide you throug waterfal, cenotes, caves, trails, camps in the incredible jungles of Mexico, I love to share nature experiences with my clients, so we can remind the importance of everything that surround us.                                                                                                                                  

Quintana Roo Tour Guide - Fernando Y.

Fernando Y.

Mexico

Welcome to a unique travel experience! I am Fernando Y, private tour guide. I’m excited to share how my passion for travel and local knowledge can make your experience unforgettable. 8 years ago, my love for México and my fascination with urban photography led me to become a tour guide. Each tour is an opportunity to explore and capture the unique essence of our cities and landscapes. As an experienced tour guide, my approach goes beyond the conventional. I pride myself on my ability to immerse visitors in the cultural richness of the places we visit, offering a unique and enriching experience. My method involves not only providing historical facts but also engaging in a deeper analysis of the design of ancient cities, particularly those steeped in antiquity like those of the Mayan civilization. To make a more complete and entertaining tour, I use digital visual media and maps. I consider myself a good photographer, you can always support on me to get the best photos, from the best angles. My success, you do not adapt to me, once I meet you at the beginning of the tour, I adapt to you.                                                                                                                                 

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