Cancun Time Zone – Is Cancún EST or CST?

It is among the most challenging aspects of travel. In some of the most popular destinations for travel, it’s an issue of setting your watch either forward or reverse; however, in other places, such as Cancun and Mexico, it’s more challenging.

Cancun, Mexico, originally operated on Central Standard Time (CST). However, in 2015, they switched the time to Eastern Standard Time (EST). The issue is that Cancun is not part of Daylight Savings Time, which means they are operating in CST for a portion of all year.

This article will cover all you must know about Cancún Time while on vacation.

Cancun Time Zone - Is Cancun EST or CST

The Time Difference Between CST and EST

Eastern Standard Time (EST) runs one hour before Central Standard Time (CST) if it’s 4 pm in CST and 5 pm Eastern Standard Time.

Both Time Zones belong to the North American continent, meaning both are affected by Daylight Savings Time. Therefore, the time zones do not alter their respective time zones.

How Are Time Zones Calculated?

The time zones are usually determined by Greenwich Mean Time, the central line which traverses Greenwich, England.

Zones towards the west of them are GMT zones. Zones towards the east have GMT + zones.

The world can be divided into 24 areas, each about 15 degrees wide.

Dividing Line between CST and EST

The line of division – the meridian- cuts between Wisconsin, Illinois, and Mississippi.

According to the States, the official line of dividing forms the eastern boundary of Alabama and traverses the middle of Tennessee and Kentucky. It also cuts across the eastern edge of Indiana and divides Wisconsin and Michigan.

What Time Zone is Cancun?

Concerning the physical location, Cancun is in the time zone known by the designation Central Standard Time (CST).

In 2015, however, merchants and other tourism industry members, particularly hotel owners, advocated getting Cancun to move into Eastern Standard Time (EST).

Since then, Cancun has been considered in Eastern Standard Time.

Why Did Cancun Change the Time Zone To EST?

Tourism promoters and hotel owners believed it would allow visitors to take advantage of the sights and attractions of Cancun and longer daylight hours.

It was modified based on the same guidelines that initially started the concept and use of Daylight Savings Time.

Is Changing Time Zones Affect Cancun’s Tourist Industry?

The change was also implemented to improve the quality of service and make Cancun better competitive within the Caribbean tourism sector before 2015. Cancun was the sole major tourism attraction within the Caribbean that was not operating in Eastern Standard Time (EST).

The decision to alter the rules permitted Cancun tourists to operate simultaneously in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Cuba, and Jamaica. This can assist in planning things like Caribbean cruises, including several destinations.

Is Cancun EST or CST?

In the official calendar, Cancun runs on EST. But in terms of practical applications, there’s an entirely different story.

Cancun, as with the majority of Mexico, does not observe Daylight Savings Time. This means that when it comes to setting the clock, what time zone Cancun corresponds to is dependent on the season it is.

Between the 2nd Sunday of March and the first Sunday in November, Cancun time aligns with Central Standard Time.

Beginning on the 1st Sunday of November through the second Sunday of March, Cancún timing corresponds to Eastern Standard Time.

Difference Between Time in Cancun and the United States:

The United States recognizes six different time zones. Four are within the adjacent United States and separate time zones for Alaska and Hawaii.

What is The Difference During Daylight Savings Time:

CancunCentral (CST)Eastern (EST)Pacific (PST)Mountain (MST)Hawaiian (HST)Alaskan (AKST)
4:30 pm4:30 pm5:30 pm2:30 pm3:30 pm11:30 pm1:30 pm

 Time Difference Outside Daylight Savings Time:

CancunCentral (CST)Eastern (EST)Pacific (PST)Mountain (MST)Hawaiian (HST)Alaskan (AKST)
4:30 pm3:30 pm4:30 pm1:30 pm2:30 pm10:30 am12:30 pm

Why Cancun Not Observe Daylight Savings Time to Stay Within EST?

It’s a matter of personal preference and partly due to Mexico, in general, not observing Daylight Savings Time.

In addition, For instance, the Bahamas and Cuba, for example. Cuba as well as the Bahamas both observe Daylight Savings Time. However, Jamaica does not.

There is no specific standard for determining the countries or territories that employ Daylight Savings Time other than preference by the government.

Why is It Important to Know What Time Zone Cancun is Located in?

Knowing the time zone of Cancun is essential for various reasons, whether traveling or planning a trip.

  • Knowing the Best Time to Make Reservations: Knowing when the office hours will be available can be vital for arranging reservations. If you’re in a different time zone, you’ll have to alter your plans to make a call at the correct time.
  • Plan to Change Your Internal Clock: The different time zones can mean changes to your calendar and the internal clock. Knowing the time zone lets you know the amount you’ll need to alter.
  • Understanding when different events occur: Spectacular vacation photos sometimes require a specific timeframe. Planning around the clock in Cancun is essential if you’re searching for stunning sunset shots or other time-specific events.
  • Calling home: When you’re on vacation, it’s possible that when you’re looking to make calls to relatives and friends back home. Awareness of any time difference allows you to call your loved ones away from home.

Why Is Knowing About The Use Of Daylight Saving Time Important?

Understanding who uses Daylight Savings Time and who isn’t will help you adapt when traveling to various locations within the Caribbean.

For example, many Caribbean cruises include several stops throughout the cruise. Awareness of the need to change your clocks at different ports could be crucial, particularly for occasions that occur at specific time frames.

If your primary destination is Cancun knowing about the time zones can help you organize any excursions you want to make.

Although Cancun technically is a part of Eastern Standard Time (EST) between March and November, it is necessary to establish your clocks and create your plans in the same manner as if it’s Central Standard Time (CST).

Does Daylight Savings Time Affect Time In Cancún?

Somehow, Cancun wasn’t observing Daylight Savings Time in 2020. This will alter the time differences. For instance, I live in Dallas, TX, and we are in Central Standard Time. That’s one hour ahead of Cancun. However, in Dallas, we observe daylight savings time through November. This means we’ll have our clocks set by one hour on March 8.

In the process, we were able to catch up to Cancun. Cancun is an hour ahead if we are pushed back by a minute in November. It depends on the season you plan to travel to Cancun and your location; you might or might not have to change your watch.

Who Else Is On EST With Cancun?

As per Wikipedia, these states are always in Eastern Standard Time (EST).

New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island
South Carolina
West Virginia
Florida (partly)
Indiana (all except for Gary and Evansville)
Tennessee (East)

Do Any Other Mexican States Observe EST?

The answer is not. The state of Quintana Roo is the only Mexican state that observes Eastern Standard Time. A fascinating fact is that Quintana Roo does not observe daylight savings time. That means that there are instances when Central Standard Time states in American are on the same day as Cancun.


In conclusion, the answer to whether Cancun is in the Eastern Standard Time (EST) or Central Standard Time (CST) zone is unclear. As explored in this article, Cancun has been known to observe both time zones throughout its history. This can lead to confusion for travelers and locals alike.

However, what is certain is that Cancun operates on Eastern Standard Time during daylight saving time. This means that visitors can expect the same time as cities like New York and Miami from March to November when they arrive in Cancun. Outside of daylight-saving time, however, the city follows Central Standard Time.

Whether you align with EST or CST while visiting Cancun, one thing remains consistent – the beauty and adventure that awaits you in this tropical paradise. From stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife to ancient Mayan ruins and thrilling water sports, there is something for everyone in Cancun. So put aside any worries about time zones and get ready to immerse yourself in all that this incredible destination has to offer!

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