A new time zone

Daylight Savings Time.JPG

Savoring daylight

Quintana Roo follows the tick of its own clock

In route to Mexico last week, I had expected my phone to jump forward an hour somewhere over the Yucatan Peninsula. Once through customs in Cancun, though, I looked at the screen: 1:37 p.m. I was pretty sure this was the same time as back home in Minnesota.

When I called Mr. Smitten that night, he confirmed his clock read the same as mine.

Wait a minute…

I clearly remembered people having traveled to this same area and having jumped forward in time one hour upon their arrival.

So, what was the catch?

During my trip, a woman who lives in the Riviera Maya explained to me that the state of Quintana Roo (home to Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Akumel, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and other popular vacation destinations), does not observe Daylight Savings Time—unlike most of the 30 other states in Mexico.

Hence, when much of the United States “falls back” an hour in November, when Daylight Savings Time ends, Quintana Roo’s clocks will stop aligning with those following Central Daylight Time (CDT) and instead read the same as those under Eastern Standard Time (EST). In other words, Quintana Roo’s time zone—Southeastern—corresponds with EST during the winter and CDT during the summer.

The Mexican state made this switch in 2015 largely for economic reasons, and it’s been good news for honeymooners ever since: more daylight hours to enjoy the region’s beaches, resorts, and more!

For example, if Quintana Roo adhered to either the Eastern or Central zones and followed Daylight Savings Time, the sun would set before 5 p.m. in January rather than after 6 p.m. as it currently does during the first month of the year. This would mean an hour less sunshine for visitors to spend out and about enjoying the beautiful state (and for brides and grooms planning destination weddings, it would significantly bump up sunset ceremony times). Thus, the economic reasons for eliminating Daylight Savings Time became obvious for a state that depends largely on tourism.

The change three years ago also means that Mexico now has four time zones: 1) Southeastern in Quintana Roo 2) Central Standard Time in much of the country 3) Mountain Standard Time on the west coast 4) and Pacific Standard Time also on the west coast.

How would you spend the extra daylight in Quintana Roo created by the state’s unique time zone?