You might not immediately think of festivals when you think of Cancun, but surprisingly there are a number of festivals year round that do not center around spring break! Many people forget that Cancun is more than just a strip with all-inclusive hotels and tourists. There is a whole (real) world beyond the tourist zone, and many festivals in Cancun will get you interacting with locals and getting an authentic feel for the Mexican way of life.

Here are some popular festivals in Cancun to enhance your vacation in this paradise south of the border.

Festivals in Cancun

photo by Sergio Camalich via

Independence Day

September 16th is one of the most important days in Mexico, as it is the day in 1810 that Mexico declared its independence from the Spanish regime. The entire country celebrates this holiday, even in a tourist centric town like Cancun. There will be parties all over town, but to really experience Independence Day head to the downtown bars and restaurants and party with the locals. You will no doubt yell out a few “Viva Mexico” throughout the celebrations.

Cancun Wine and Food Festival

Rotating between Cancun and Riviera Maya, the Cancun Wine and Food Festival is held each year in March. It highlights the Mexican cuisine with celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings and parties!

Day of the Dead

The Mexican culture believes that loved ones who have passed away come back to visit on November 1st, or the Day of the Dead. Each year on the first few days of November Cancun celebrates this holiday with lavish feasts, altars around town to present offerings, and of course, parties.

Cancun Jazz Festival

The Cancun Jazz Festival takes place at the beginning of September at the Hard Rock Hotel, about an hour outside of Cancun. It is an all-inclusive three-day festival, and a ticket includes all entertainment, food, and alcoholic drinks. Enjoy a stacked lineup of entertainers and spend Labor Day Weekend listening to music, and having a blast.

Equinox at Chichen Itza

Festivals in Cancun

photo by Darren Austin via

The mystery of the Mayan culture at Chichen Itza is fascinating to explore all year-long, but even more so at the Equinox. Two times a year (spring and fall) on the equinoxes, the light and shadows hit the main pyramid, Kukulcan, and creates the image of a serpent moving down the pyramid. Huge crowds gather to witness this amazing event, so be ready! It is absolutely incredible to think about how brilliant the Maya were in planning and building their structures!

These are just five of many festivals that occur year round in Cancun. From fitness events like the Cancun Marathon to cultural events like Viva Mexico to food events like the Latin America Food Expo, there are tons of festivals for whatever you enjoy. It is easy to book one of the hotels in Cancun close to (or even at) one of these festivals.

If you are looking for ways to stay active while vacationing in Cancun, be sure to check out some of the top active adventures in Cancun.  

This post is part of the Hipmunk City Love Campaign.