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The Best Time to Visit Cozumel for Weather, Deals, Scuba Diving and Other Things to Do

When is the best time to visit Cozumel? Thankfully, there is no bad time to visit Cozumel, but the rain, heat, and crowds vary throughout the year. 

So in this post, I will explain the differences in the weather, when the high season is, or when the wettest months are, when major events that take place on the island are, and much more. 

With this in mind, you can pick when is the best time of year for you to visit Cozumel. 

The island of Cozumel sits 10 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen. 

Cozumel is famous for its world-class scuba diving and laid-back vibes.  The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef runs along the coast of Cozumel with dramatic wall dives and beautiful coral formations. 

Divers and snorkelers can enjoy the crystal clear waters and abundant marine life that lives here. 

The town of San Miguel is full of small shops and some of the best restaurants in Cozumel. Visitors here can find a variety of local cuisine and music.

Cozumel at sunset
Sunset in Cozumel

There is something irresistible about Cozumel, and many visitors find themselves returning to the island year after year. 

The small island’s charm and friendly people will make it a place you will want to visit more than once. 

Repeat visitors all have their favorite time of year to visit the island, depending on the weather, dive conditions, and events that take place.  Here I will help you decide when is the best season for your Cozumel vacation.  

BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL

The Best Time to Visit Cozumel by season

Cozumel Climate graphic
Photo © Weatherspark

Cozumel High Season (December until April)

The high season (also called the dry season) in Cozumel runs from December until April, with the peak of the season being the week of Christmas and New Year and spring break weeks.  

Another way to think of Cozumel high season is that it runs from the United States Thanksgiving until Easter. 

During high season the town is lively with lots of tourists walking around, live music, and activities.  

If you plan to come to Cozumel during the high season, it is a good idea to book your accommodations and tours early. 

Since it is the busiest time of the year, hotels and tour operators are often operating at full capacity, and you want to make sure you are able to schedule all the excursions you want.  

There is a good reason that the winter months of Cozumel are so popular for tourism – Cozumel weather! 

For travelers looking for an escape from their cold winters at home, these are the best months to travel to Cozumel. 

The average high temperature in these months is in the low 80s Fahrenheit, and the average low temperature is in the low 70s Fahrenheit. 

While it is still possible to get rain during these months, they are considered the dry months in Cozumel, and rain is not very common. 

For many tourists this is ideal weather, the sunny days feel hot and are ideal for water activities such as diving and snorkeling, and the nights are cooler, making it very comfortable to walk around downtown San Miguel. 

Another plus of the high season is that there are generally very few mosquitos!  

Cozumel aerial view beach club
Cozumel aerial view

Do I need travel insurance in Mexico? Yes, you do! Whatever it is the way you love to travel, either by car, tour, or bus, always make sure you get travel insurance. I can never stress enough what a lifesaver it can be in unexpected situations. Although I hope I never need it, it gives me peace of mind to know that whatever happens I am covered. I have been using either World Nomads or Safety Wing. Depending on your needs or you can compare different insurance companies on this useful site, TRAVEL INSURANCE MASTER. Make sure you read carefully what’s included before making the purchase. If you want to learn more about both insurance and all your options, you can head over to my thorough post on the best travel insurance for Mexico. I am sure it will shed some light on why you need it when traveling in Mexico and how to choose the best one for you.

Cozumel Low Season (May to November)

The low season of Cozumel runs from May to November, with the least amount of tourists coming in September and October. 

Officially, the months of May to November are the rainy months, with the hurricane season from June to November. 

The higher probability of rain or storms coincides with warmer weather in many areas of the United States, Canada, and Europe, resulting in fewer tourists on the island. 

Although May to November is the low season, there are still plenty of tourists who visit the island during this time. 

These six months are considered the rainy season; however, it is uncommon for it to rain all day. 

Cozumel is in the Caribbean and the weather changes fast here, it can rain heavily for a few minutes and then the sun comes out again right after.  

If you shop around online, it is possible to get great deals on hotels and rentals during the low season. 

Travelers who make their plans to come to the island last minute can often find great deals on accommodations. 

Most tour operators are not as busy during these months, so travelers can also plan their excursions more last minute than if they travel during the high season.  

Cozumel Rainbow on the easty side
Cozumel Rainbow

Cozumel Rainy Season

As I mentioned above, the rainy season in Cozumel is from May until November, with the months of September and October getting the most rain. 

During the rainy season, it is common that it rains every day; however, the rain might only last for a few minutes before the sun comes out again. 

For the most part it is uncommon for it to rain all day for several days in a row. 

The humidity is high in the rainy season, and in the summer months the temperatures are the hottest of the year, so it can feel quite hot.  

If you come to Cozumel during the rainy season, you should pack a lightweight rain coat and bring shoes that can get wet without getting slippery. 

Whenever you venture into town or go for a walk it is a great idea to carry these items with you, if you do not want to get wet. 

If you find yourself caught in the rain while in downtown San Miguel you will see that locals will either pull their scooters over to put on a raincoat or go shelter under an awning to wait for the rain to quickly pass. 

Unfortunately with the rain comes the mosquitos. 

The local government tries to control the mosquito population by spraying for them, but there are still more mosquitos during this time of the year. 

Clouds in cozumel by month
Photo © Weatherspark

Protect yourself from mosquito bites by using mosquito repellent, especially in the early morning and in the evening, especially if you go in green areas.

That includes the archeological site of San Gervasio where you will find in clouds of famished mosquitos. So make sure you get there prepared.

The rain will not affect most of the excursions you sign up for on Cozumel.  Snorkel and diving tours will still go out on rainy days, and the rain will not disrupt the marine life you see. 

Remind yourself that you were going to get wet on most tours here anyway, and do not let the rain ruin your fun. 

If you are here during a particularly rainy time and there are a few indoor activities to check out. 

Rainy days are a great time to get indoors and the newly renovated Cozumel Museum is worth visiting. 

In addition to a history of the island and information about the local flora and fauna, the museum has a section with art from local artists and an extensive history of the Carnaval celebration. 

Another great rainy day activity is to visit a local spa and get a massage.  

Cozumel Ferry
Cozumel Ferry – Read also: How to get to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen

Cozumel Hurricane Season

The hurricane season in Cozumel runs from June to November, with the greatest chance of hurricanes or tropical storms occurring from August through October. 

These humid months have an average rainfall of over 9 inches, with daytime highs around 88 to 90 degrees. 

Many visitors chose to avoid the island during these months because the risk of a hurricane is the greatest, and the months of September and October are the slowest on the island.  

Although the chance of hurricanes is greatest during these months, Cozumel is not hit with hurricanes every year. 

The last major hurricane to cause substantial damage to the island was Hurricane Wilma in 2005. 

Visitors who are not afraid to travel in the wet season are often rewarded with empty dive and snorkel sites and do not have to deal with crowded downtown.  

If you decide to travel to Cozumel during the peak hurricane season, I recommend making sure your travel plans are flexible. 

You can follow the trajectory of possible hurricanes for several days before they arrive on the island, and with flexible flights and accommodations, you can change your trip at the last minute if needed. 

The local government makes announcements on the radio and social media if there is a hurricane warning too. 

Obviously, no traveler wants to have their vacation disrupted by a hurricane, but if you are here when one hits, you will be impressed by how the island prepares for it and recovers after it passes. 

For visitors who cannot leave before a hurricane hits, their hotel or rental will help make sure they are safe during the hurricane, and the local people begin to clean up as soon as they pass, opening stores and restaurants as soon as possible.  

Since many people consider the hurricane season the worst month to visit Cozumel, those who do come will often find great deals on accommodations. 

Hotels and rentals will often offer discounts to visitors during this time. 

If you can be flexible with your travel dates to avoid any seriously bad weather, the low season is not a bad option for traveling to Cozumel.  

Cozumel Aerial view - things to do in Cozumel
Cozumel Coast aeriel view

Cozumel Average Temperatures

Cozumel has a tropical climate. 

The winter months of November to March have the coolest temperatures, with an average high temperature in the low to mid-80s and nighttime average temperatures around 70 degrees. 

These months are also the driest months. 

During the winter months, the island can experience a “Norte” which is when the cold wind blows from the north. 

These cold winds can lower the temperature on the island for a few days, making nighttime lows drop down into the 60s and daytime highs drop to the 70s. 

These windy days can occasionally come with rain too. 

Due to the position of the island, the Nortes cause big waves and rough seas, causing the harbor master to close the port to recreational activities, such as scuba diving and snorkeling. 

If you choose to come in the winter months, I recommend you plan all your water activities at the beginning of your trip, that way if suddenly a “Norte” hits and the port is closed, you will not miss the opportunity to snorkel or scuba dive. 

If you come during the winter months it is also a great idea to bring a sweater and pants, since the evenings can feel cool.  

Starting in April the daytime temperatures begin to climb, and July and August are the hottest months with the highest average temperature of 90 degrees and the nighttime average temperature of 78 degrees. 

The daytime average temperature in September and October is 88 degrees, and the average temperatures begin to drop in November to 84 degrees. 

The summer months are hot and humid, and it is the wet season, with rain showers happening often.  

Cozumel at Sunrise on the east coast
Sunrise in Cozumel

Cozumel Water Temperature

Cozumel is located in the Caribbean Sea and the water temperature is between 78 and 84 degrees all year. 

The water is coolest in the months of February and March when it can drop down to around 78 degrees. 

The air is also the coolest during these winter months, which can make you feel chilled if you are snorkeling or diving. 

While scuba diving, you might feel comfortable on your first dive but feel chilled on the second dive. 

I recommend taking a windbreaker jacket on the boat and a hooded vest for diving, especially if you get chilled easily. 

By May the average water temperature is up to around 82 degrees.

As the air gets warmer throughout the spring and summer, the water temperature will continue to rise.  The water temperature reaches its warmest, around 84 degrees in August and September. 

Combined with clear skies and sunny days, the water is very comfortable for water activities. 

During this time of the year, many divers choose to use a very thin wetsuit or just a rash guard. 

Starting in October the water will cool down and by November the average temperature is 82 degrees.  

COZUMEL DIVING TURTLE
Cozumel Diving – Photo from Canva
BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL

Best Time to Dive in Cozumel 

You can scuba dive in Cozumel all year round, and each season has its advantages.  The high season months of December to March generally have great sunny days and very clear water. 

The combination of good lighting and great visibility make the coral formations and dive sites stunningly beautiful. 

Dive sites such as Palancar and Colombia are especially beautiful this time of year. 

Most of the marine animals in Cozumel live here throughout the year, and there is not much animal migration, except for the spotted eagle ray. 

The spotted eagle rays come to the island around November and stay through March.  It is common during these months to find the eagle rays flying around the reef. 

There are some individual rays that stay near the island all year, but it is rare to see them in the summer months. 

Cozumel is a top tourist destination for scuba diving and the high season brings lots of scuba divers here. 

During these months there can be hundreds of divers a day, making the dive sites a bit crowded.  All the diving in Cozumel is drift diving, and during high season it is common for groups to run into each other on the reef.  

The months of January to March have the coolest air and water temperatures of the year.  This combination can make the diving feel a little chilly, so I recommend bringing extra wetsuit layers and a jacket for on the dive boat. 

Strong winds from the north known as Nortes can blow at this time of year. 

Strong “nortes” will result in the harbor master closing the port to recreational diving, and less strong “nortes” will result in choppy boat rides and cool wind. 

The disadvantage of coming to Cozumel in the winter months is that el norte could disrupt your diving plans or make you feel a bit chilled.

Best time to visit Cozumel -temperatures
Photo © Weatherspark

Throughout the spring and into the summer the air and water temperatures both rise in Cozumel. 

The summer months have hot, humid days and the water is very comfortable for diving. 

During this time of the year, most divers are comfortable in either a light wetsuit or a rashguard. 

You can scuba dive while it is raining; however, the rain can disrupt the surface visibility of the water a bit. 

After several days of rain, there might be a layer of freshwater on top of the ocean, resulting in a foot or so of bad visibility. 

A few dive sites will have runoff from the Colombia Lagoon in the south of the island, resulting in bad visibility. 

Your dive shop and guide will be able to take you to a reef that is not affected by this.  

Since fewer tourists come during the low season, you have a great chance of ‘having the reef to yourself’ on dives. 

With fewer dive boats going on, operators are able to space dive groups apart and you will have the sensation that you and your dive group are alone on the reef. 

Here you will get a chance to find lots of marine life, such as sea turtles munching on the sponges.  

Thankfully there is not a bad time of the year for diving in Cozumel. 

The spectacular coral formations and marine life, such as sea turtles and nurse sharks, are consistent throughout the year.  

Is Dive Insurance necessary?

The short answer is: yes! Although we all hope that nothing bad will ever happen to you, you never know.

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Hyperbaric chambers and hospitalization, in general, are outrageously expensive in Mexico

Dive Assure is one of the top insurance companies for diving and we cannot recommend them enough. I am sure you have heard of them as they are one of the most popular.

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BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL

Best Time for Swimming in Cozumel

Cozumel snorkeling
Snorkeling in Cozumel

You can swim all year in Cozumel.  The water temperature never drops below 78 degrees, making it very comfortable all year round. 

The west side of the island is generally very flat but can have a strong current. 

Pay attention to the current, and do not go too far from shore. 

The east side of the island often referred to as the “wild side,” has large, strong waves most of the year. 

If you go to the wild side of the island be very careful when you get in the water because of the strong current, rocks in the sand, and large waves. 

Pay close attention to the flags and do not go into the water in areas that have red flags flying.  Rip currents are also common on the east side of the island. 

There are often lifeguards patrolling several of the beaches, and they will inform you if you are near an area with rip currents

Depending on the wind, it is possible to get a flat, calm day to swim on the wild side, but this is rare.  

best time to visit cozumel - water temperature
Photo © Weatherspark
BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL

Best Time to Visit Cozumel for the Best Deals

If you are traveling on a budget or just love finding good hotel deals, or tour discounts the low season is probably your best chance to get great deals. 

The high season brings crowds of tourists to Cozumel, including day visitors off of cruise ships, so most tour operators do not feel the need to offer deals. 

During the low season, you are more likely to find a good deal on hotels and rentals.  In town, many restaurants offer low-season specials and happy hours. 

Most dive shops do not lower their prices during the low season; however, some offer special packages that give discounts for diving for several days.  

Westin Cozumel Overview
Westin Cozumel – Photo © Expedia
BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL

Best Time to Visit Cozumel for Avoiding Crowds

If your picture of an ideal vacation is you alone on a white sandy beach, the low season is a great time for you to visit. 

Visitors who want to avoid crowds should avoid the peak season weeks of Christmas to New Years and Semana Santa (Holy Week) which is the week before Easter. 

During the low season months, you can avoid large crowds, downtown San Miguel has fewer people walking around, and restaurants will not be so crowded. 

May is an especially good month to avoid crowds, as fewer families are traveling, but it is not as hot and humid as later in the rainy season. 

Regardless of when you come, if you want to avoid crowds, I recommend taking a beach umbrella and finding a secluded piece of beach on the wild side of the island.  

Cozumel Reef
Cozumel Reef- Photo from Canva
BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL

Best Time to Visit Cozumel for Nightlife

Cozumel does not have the crazy nightlife that Cancun and Playa del Carmen are known for.  Instead, Cozumel has many bars and restaurants that offer live music or salsa dancing. 

Many oceanfront restaurants have bands on the weekends all year round. 

Salsa dancing is very popular with locals and different bars have salsa bands throughout the week.  Obviously, the high season will have more tourists out at night; however, the locals enjoy the nightlife all year.

BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL

Best Time of the Year for Surfing in Cozumel

The east side of the island of Cozumel has several different surf spots.  The waves are not as big or consistent as famous surf destinations in Mexico, but Cozumel still has a dedicated surf community. 

The waves on the “other” side of the island can be choppy and the amount of surfable waves depends on the wind. 

The best time of the year to surf in Cozumel is during the winter months. 

As the norte winds are blowing in, the water on the other side of the island becomes flatter with big swells of waves, making for the best surfing in Mexico

Cozumel surfers follow the wind report and try to surf during this time as the nortes blow in.  Once the wind has turned to the north the waves will fatten out, making it a good time to swim. 

The waves are consistently the best in the winter because of the nortes; however, depending on the wind it is possible to surf all year.  

The best surfing spots in Cozumel are on the wild side at Punta Morena, Chen Rio, and Playa Bonita.  Surfers in Cozumel choose their daily surf spot out of these three options based on the wind. 

To enter the water at Chen Rio you need to go past a rocky area.  If you are here surfing for the day ask locals about the best technique to get into the water.  

If you are interested in learning to surf or renting surfboards there are surf schools on the other side of the island. 

The two most popular surf schools are Bernie’s Board House Surf School and Cozumel Surfing School with Nacho. 

Even if you have surfed before it is a great idea to take a class to learn about the different local surf spots and conditions.  

BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL

Major Events in Cozumel

Cozumel has a few major events throughout the year that bring large crowds to the island.  Here are the major events:

Ironman Triathlon

For several years Cozumel has hosted the Ironman Triathlon.  The Ironman 70.3, or half Ironman, is at the end of September, and the full Ironman is at the end of November. 

These triathlons bring hundreds of participants and fans and fill the island.  Locals and visitors line the streets to cheer on the athletes during the running portion. 

If you are here during this time be aware that the triathlon causes road closures, so plan your activities accordingly.  

Cozumel drone beach club

Mayan Crossing

The Mayan Crossing takes place in May.  This event is a recreation of the Maya ritual of crossing handmade canoes from the mainland to Cozumel.  Each year teams train to cross the channel between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.  

Carnaval 

Cozumel boasts one of the largest Carnaval celebrations in the Caribbean.  The dates of Carnaval vary between February and March, and this celebration always brings a crowd to Cozumel to party and participate in the parades and concerts. 

Pre-Carnaval events such as voting for the king and queen happen in the weeks leading up to Carnaval. 

Carnaval is great fun for all ages, but if you plan to stay in a hotel on the main road know that the party goes on very late and is very loud.     

Cozumel at sunset
Cozumel at Sunset
BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL

Best time to visit Cozumel FAQ

Is Cozumel Safe?

Cozumel is very safe, but there are many instances of petty theft.  If you are leaving a rental car or getting into the water do not leave valuables unlocked and unattended. 

Often people relax on vacation and lose track of their valuable items, making them a target for passing thieves. 

Take precautions like you would in a big city and you will have no problems.

Is USD accepted?

Most places on the island will accept US dollars as well as pesos.  Individual establishments can set their own exchange rate, so you will get a slightly better deal if you pay in pesos.  If you are bringing cash from home try to get small bills.  

Is it very hot in Cozumel?

Whether you are coming in the hottest part of the year or the winter months, Cozumel is warm and humid. 

So, make sure you drink plenty of water!

Not only is it safer for you if you are diving, but you will feel better all around if you drink plenty of water. 

When traveling it is easy to not drink enough water and tourists are often seen at the local hospitals for dehydration.  

Does it rain a lot in Cozumel?

During the rainy season, it often shows rain every day, but this only means it will probably rain at some point on the island during the day. 

So my advice is not to worry too much about the weather report.  Unless the weather report is showing hurricane warnings or a tropical storm approaching, do not let the weather report upset you. 

Do not worry that you will not get to enjoy the sunshine and clear skies.  

Can You Snorkel Off the Shore in Cozumel?

fun facts about cozumel reef snorkeling, snorkeler, reef
Photo © Canva

Yes, you can snorkel off the shore in Cozumel.  Much of the coast of Cozumel is made of limestone, making it a rocky entrance, but creates good snorkeling with lots of areas for fish and critters to live. 

There are also many areas of coral growth that you can reach from shore. 

You can snorkel off of public beaches on the west side of the island, and many beach clubs and restaurants have swimming areas with good snorkeling. 

If you are snorkeling outside of a designated swimming area it is a good idea to carry a surface marker buoy so boats easily see you.  

Cozumel has current year round so it is a good idea to wear fins while snorkeling. 

If you ever realize the current is pushing away from your entrance point, do not panic, get to the shore and walk back to your starting location.  

Is There Sargassum in Cozumel?

Sargassum is a brown alga or seaweed that floats on the surface of the ocean.  In recent years large amounts of sargassum have covered beaches in Quintana Roo. 

While the sargassum is not harmful, some people report that swimming in it makes them feel itchy, and the sargassum that washes ashore can have a bad smell as it sits in the sun. 

Understandably, people are disappointed when they arrive for their beach vacation and find the beach covered in sargassum.

Sargassum arrives in Quintana Roo in the late spring and summer months. 

Cozumel ocean

Thankfully for Cozumel, due to the wind direction and current the west side of the island almost never has any sargassum. 

Occasionally small patches will float by, but there are no large buildups of it on the beach. 

The east side of the island does get sargassum in these months. 

Depending on the wind direction and the shape of the island, some beaches have much more sargassum than others. 

This can change quickly, but the local government does issue a sargassum report weekly.  During the winter months, there is almost never sargassum in Cozumel. 

BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL

What to wear in Cozumel

Cozumel is the ideal place to travel with a small bag, except for your diving gear, if you have one.

But clothing-wise, it’s a very informal island, unless you are going to the top luxury all-inclusive resort, but even there, elegant clothes are optional and unnecessary.

Here is an essential Packing list but if you want to check out a complete packing list for Mexico, I have got you covered as well.

✔️ Swimwear
✔️ Rashguard to protect you from the sun while swimming and snorkeling
✔️ Shorts
✔️ Tank Tops and Tshirts
✔️ Snorkeling gear
✔️ GoPro Hero10 for amazing underwater shots
✔️ Flip flops
✔️ A light dress for the evenings out
✔️ Lightweight rain jacket

BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL

Best time to visit Cozumel: final thoughts

So when is the perfect time to come to Cozumel?  I always recommend to my family and friends to come in November or early December. 

There is usually great weather, not too hot or humid, and the water is comfortable for scuba diving. 

Everyone you ask will have a different answer about the best season to visit Cozumel, but remember, there is not a bad time to come.  

BEST TIME TO VISIT COZUMEL

Planning a trip to Cozumel? Here is what you need to read: