Cancun Mexico







Time in Cancun, Time Zones, and 'Mexican Time'


TIME ZONES: Cancun is in the CENTRAL time zone, the same as Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas, etc. (GMT minus 6 hours).


DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME: Cancun observes daylight saving time, on the same schedule as the United States. If you’re from Arizona or Indiana, you are aware that parts of these states do not observe daylight savings time – during the months when the rest of North America is observing daylight saving time, the time difference between Mexico and those areas will be increased by one hour.


24-HOUR CLOCK: Time in Cancun is often referred to by the 24-hour clock (known as ‘military time’ to some). This is especially true when in writing, such as in printed advertising. It’s easy to discern: Any time posted as 13:00 or higher is in the 24-hour clock. Simply subtract “12” from the number of hours displayed. For example, if a soccer match is advertised as being broadcast at 17:30, it will be shown at 5:30 in the afternoon. 18:00 means 6pm, 20:00 means 8 pm, etc.


“MEXICAN TIME”: Cancun is no stranger to ‘Mexican Time’, even though it is a city which caters to tourists who are more or less used to the idea of being on time for any appointment or meeting. This is referred to as “Mexican Time”. “Five Mexican minutes” means up to 10 or 15 minutes. The Mexican culture is not nearly as obsessed with promptness as the rest of North America or the rest of the planet, for that matter. This is a laid-back culture, where the word “mañana” (which literally means ‘tomorrow’) actually means “some day other than today”.


Your best advice is to NOT FIGHT IT. You are in Mexico now, and Mexican Time applies to you no matter where you come from. Whereas being 15 minutes late for an appointment in the rest of North America would be considered rude, in Cancun, and the rest of Mexico being as late as half-an-hour or more is just considered ‘the way it is’. “Go with the flow” is the way to regulate your vacation clock.


This can be wildly annoying to people who move here and expect things to work the same way as they are familiar with back home. Remember that Dorothy duly noted “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto”. Mexico is not Kansas, nor anyplace else for that matter, Toto, except Mexico. Relax and adapt, or forever be resigned to an aggravation you can not change.



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