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Festivals & Events in Cancun and the Riviera Maya

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Last update: Mar 19, 2021

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Festival and Events in Cancun and Riviera Maya

Cancun and the Riviera Maya have become world class tourist destinations due to the development of an impressive hotel infrastructure, as well as constant innovation in their attractions, shows and activities.

The constant flow of tourist from everywhere in the world has led to have a yearly program of festivals and events related to local and national folklore and traditions. Music, dance, sports and gastronomy play a fundamental role in most of those festivals.

The festivals and events in Cancun and Riviera Maya have come to pump up tourist life in the Mexican Caribbean. They are another perfect excuse to visit these destinations.

Among some of the most outstanding festivals and events in the region are:

Año Nuevo

Pasar el New Year’s Eve Spending New Year’s Eve (December 31st) and New Year’s Day (January 1st) in Cancun or Riviera Maya is an extraordinary experience. Many hotels, clubs and restaurants have a special program for these days that includes dinner, open bar and other amenities (concerts or presentations by famous artists, bands and comedians, for example). In addition, it is common to see fireworks shows in the sea and the Lagoon.

Playa del Carmen Carnival (February)

It is a local festival in which there is a parade, percussion shows (“batucadas”), dance exhibitions, Children's Carnival, classical music concerts, contemporary Latin music concerts, dance competitions (Intercolegial de Baile Riviera Maya), among other activities.

Spring Equinox in Chichen Itzá

If you are planning to visit this archaeological site on a season that makes this ancient city even more impressive, the spring equinox (March 20th – 21st, depending on the year) is the perfect date. It is at this time when you can witness the descent of Quetzalcóatl (Kukulkán) down the main stair of the temple. According to popular belief, this ancient city is filled with the energy of the sun and nature every spring equinox.

Spring Break

Cancun and Riviera Maya are two of the main destinations for North American students in their spring break. During this time, hotels, bars, nightclubs and beach clubs offer special events (concerts, DJ presentations, theme parties) to make the stay even more attractive. It is one of the best seasons to go to the Mexican Caribbean if you are looking to party.

Fishing Tournaments

The Caribbean Sea, as well as some other bodies of water in Cancun and the Riviera Maya are home to a wide diversity of flora and fauna. Year after year different tournaments are organized in this region. Competitors from different parts of the world come to these destinations in order to show their fishing skills. Among some of the most relevant are the following: 

  • Mahahual Cup (june)
  • Golden Caribbean Cup (june)
  • Punta Allen Fishing Tournament (july)
  • Women’s International Tournamente “La Diosa del Mar” (Sea Goddess) in Puerto Morelos (july)

For fishing events, it is important to check the yearly program to see what’s happening in the region.

Whaleshark Festival

This festival is something unique in Quintana Roo, those who attend it can swim with these beautiful and unique marine specimens.

Generally, it happens between June and July. It’s celebrated every year in Isla Mujeres. There are many planned activities for locals and visitors. The main purpose of these activities is to make people aware of the challenges that the survival of this amazing animal faces as well as to highlight its relevance to the whole local ecosystem.

Del Carmen Fair

Inspired by “La Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen”, patroness saint of the Town of Playa del Carmen, this fair is organized every year in July. It’s a perfect opportunity to try Mexican food because of the wide offer available. There are also rides and other games.

Ironman 70.3 Cozumel

It is a sporting event for athletes from all over the country and the world. This triathlon competition aims to find the best athletes in this discipline that includes: swimming in the sea (2.4 miles), bike riding (riding 112 miles) and marathon (26 miles race). It usually occurs in September.

Festival of Life and Death in Xcaret Park

The Day of the Dead is one of the most popular traditions in Mexican culture. It is a celebration that was born during the Spanish colonization in Mexico. It has pre-Hispanic culture elements mixed with the Spanish Catholic heritage. In Xcaret park, many special activities and shows are organized due this celebration during the last days of October and the first week of November.

Festival Sabor

This Festival offers a series of extraordinary culinary experiences created for any tourist or local who want to try something authentic. It is also an inclusive event because it encourages community participation and spreads a message in favor of sustainability and food awareness. It happens in October on Playa’s del Carmen Fifth Avenue. There, national and international chefs meet to show their creations made with local products and drinks.

Mayakoba Golf Classic

This tournament belongs to the list of nearly 50 professional tournaments on the PGA Tour calendar. This event takes place at El Camaleón Golf Club (a few minutes north to Playa de Carmen) and has the participation of 132 professional golfers. In addition to the tournament, there are also charity events, gastronomic events and family events.

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