Cozumel Diving: Guide to Wetsuits and Diving Water Temps
Diving in Cozumel throughout the year, my need for neoprene thermal protection varies, but one thing is for sure: I hate it when I get cold long before I’ve been able to dive my tank. I no longer care who wears what, or if some random dude pokes fun at me because I’m wearing a hood in July, I just want to be as comfortable as possible.
No matter the water temperatures when scuba diving in Cozumel, it’s important to tune into your own body’s tolerances for cold, and to realize that with lots of repetitive diving, your cumulative tolerance to lower body temperature will likely diminish over time.
When I first started diving here many years ago, 79-80 F diving water temperatures in Cozumel would have me in a dive skin with a shorty over it. Or a full-length Lavacore. Great. But not anymore! I get cold wearing a 5mm and hood in January, so by February, I’m cranky! lol
Generally, most scuba divers in Cozumel are comfortable in full 3mm wetsuits throughout the year and may add light hoods and booties, or switch up to a full 5mm wetsuit in the cooler diving season of December through May.
The warmer Cozumel diving water temperatures are from June – November, and many divers lighten their thermal layers to a 1-3mm tropical wetsuit, a shorty, or just tights and a rashguard top.
That said, there are many divers in Cozumel’s warm water diving termperatures who are comfortable in light garments all the time – think shorty wetsuits or just rash guards and shorts. Meanwhile many others tend to get a little cold after only about 40-45 minutes at depth, even during the warm season. Yes, even the divemasters.
This is always a personal and subjective decision, depending on how cold you tend to get and your own comfort levels, period. It simply has no bearing on your experience or level of certification or overall badassery.
Average Cozumel Diving Water Temperatures in 2022-2023:
|Cozumel Diving Water Temperatures||Average Water Temperature at Depth:|
|December – January||78-80 F / 25-26 C|
|February – March||77-78 F / 25 C|
|April – June||80-81 F / 26-27 C|
|July – October||80-83 F / 26-28 C|
|November – December||79-80 F / 26 C|
Depending on which month you’re planning your awesome dive trip to Cozumel, I’d recommend a few different wetsuits and thermal scuba gear and accessories to add to your packing list.
*N.B. Some of the following gear recommendations include affiliate links, where I may receive a small % commission for referrals, at no extra cost to you. These are items I’ve used and recommend, with honest pros and cons listed where appropriate.
Some Cozumel Divers Don’t Need Wetsuits
First off, I know there will be a chorus of experienced Cozumel regulars who are happy as a clam diving here– at any time – with a shorty wetsuit or even just swim shorts and a rash guard top.
I so wish I could do that comfortably, still. I really do. And for many, of course, it makes perfect sense.
Diving in Cozumel is nice and warm. The absolute coldest water temperatures we experience are from January through March when the water can fluctuate from about 80F/26C only down to about 77-78F/25C.
And that’s pretty darn warm, for sure. (another of the may reasons in this full overview of why Cozumel is such a great place to dive!)
Plus, many folks are coming here in the winter from the frigid regions of Canada, the U.S., Mexico City, the U.K., and from all over! Getting away from the winter’s cold and snow, you’ll feel plenty warm in the sunny heat of Mexico and the nice warm Cozumel diving water temperatures.
Unfortunately, many other divers simply have slightly lower core temperatures and/or lower tolerances for being cold while diving.
As you’ll remember from your Open Water class, some people may just have compromised body heat for a variety of reasons.
For example, I may have a lower tolerance now due to lots of consecutive dives, my older age, a gradual loss of bone density, a loss of fat and muscle mass (or any different body type or composition), a slightly lower natural temperature, or just a growing dislike for being even the slightest bit chilly. Who knows?
The real point is, it’s not a contest. We should all just wear what we need to wear to truly stay warm and comfortable.
Don’t forget, being chilled on a dive is not only uncomfortable, but according to the Divers Alert Network (DAN), it can also be dangerous.
Feeling chilled when scuba diving adds unnecessary stress as a baseline condition, which in turn could make you a little less able to handle other potential issues that may arise during your dive.
TIP! If you’re not familiar with DAN and Insurance plans as well as their excellent dive medicine and diver safety resources, Click HERE to compare their membership tiers. DAN membership is often considered standard issue dive equipment, so please stay with this post until the end and get yourself signed up as a member.
For this and more diver safety advice, including a checklist for what to pack to stay safe, head over to this post on diver safety, next.
We all know from our training that adding any unnecessary stressors is never a good idea.
So Cozumel wetsuit recommendation #1 – don’t be a hero.
If you are comfy cozy diving in Cozumel in a bathing suit and rashie, go for it!
I’m never way too warm on any dive, and if I were, I could always flush a little cool water into my warm-water wetsuit. You’ll pretty much always find me covering my arms and legs and head, preventing any jelly stings, and staying as warm as possible. Done.
Other Reasons to Wear a Full Wetsuit While Diving in Cozumel
Wearing a wetsuit is pretty standard in diving, and mostly we do it for thermal protection. Scuba divers need to make sure our core body temperature doesn’t dip too low as a result of being submerged in water that is colder than our internal body temperatures.
But there are other good reasons to wear a wetsuit while scuba diving, too.
The main one is to protect your bare skin from minor irritants that could be floating in the water column – namely, translucent and perhaps even microscopic organisms, like jellyfish, etc., that could cause a sting or other irritation on your skin.
When diving in Cozumel, the visibility is incredibly clear most of the time, but you still can’t always see the often translucent little critters being carried by the current.
Every now and then I feel a weird point of stinging on my face or hand, and am grateful that I’m pretty well covered up, otherwise.
(I also keep a small tube of Stream2Sea’s reef-friendly sting gel in my dive kit, just in case.)
It’s a good idea to wear long pants and long sleeves to protect you from brushing up against any fire coral, or certain marine life that might sting – but that also might be camouflaged so you don’t see it until it’s too late.
Now, of course, we should never be close enough to the coral reef or the sandy bottom to touch anything, especially in Cozumel’s protected national marine park.
However, it’s also true that accidents happen, especially with new divers.
Best Scuba Wetsuit Guide for Colder Cozumel Diving Water Temperatures
The high tourism season in Cozumel is traditionally from December through March. That is also when we start getting some of the coolest Cozumel diving water temperatures of the year, bottoming out at around 77-78F/25C.
After a few consecutive dives at 77 degrees, your core temperature will likely have a tougher time bouncing back.
Also, if you want to add in a night dive or two, or an extra tank here and there, chances are you’re going to want to step up to a warmer wetsuit.
You could also just have a hooded vest or an added layer of dive socks or thicker booties waiting in the wings, as the days (or weeks) move along, so you could add thermal layers to your dive kit, as needed.
By December, I’m usually trying to stay warm in a full 3mm, but have broken out my warmer dive socks and am starting to rotate in my Frogskin hooded vest (similar to Lavacore, but better IMO) or a 2mm neoprene vest to layer underneath my wetsuit.
By late February, I gear up with thicker socks, a serious 5mm hood, and my 5mm Henderson thermoprene-pro (which is, btw, the MOST comfortable wetsuit I’ve ever worn in my life – read on for more specific product picks), and sometimes even my battery-powered Thermalution heated tank top!
Yes, I get some light ribbing from folks who’ve just arrived from the snowy lands of the Northern US or Canada.
As stated above, that’s totally understandable!
But also… so be it! Who cares? There’s no shame in wearing the proper thermal protection for YOU.
When in doubt, I highly recommend packing a good 3mm-5mm wetsuit for a trip during the high “winter” season, and thermal protection for your head and feet, at least.
Cozumel Diving: Winter Wetsuit Guide
Best Wetsuit Guide for Cozumel Warm Diving Water Temperatures
Ahhhhh, the warmer months in Cozumel are HOT on land, but the diving is terrific.
You can definitely ease off on the thermal! No more bulky layers, and a much lighter dive bag.
No matter how warm the water is, I’m still never really hot by the end of a nice looooong drift dive in Cozumel, so I stick with the long pants and long sleeves.
During the hot days from June through October, I usually reach for a long-sleeved shorty wetsuit with simple leggings or running tights underneath.
I also thoroughly dry and store that more substantial hood for next winter and swap in my favorite light beanie hood.
Cozumel Diving: Summer Wetsuit Guide
When the Cozumel water temps are extra-warm, this modified kit of lighter thermal dive gear is so much easier and less bulky, I love it.
Remember: Please try to hit up your local dive shop to try wetsuits on for size and to support your LDS.
And don’t forget to have the right layers to keep warm on your breezy Cozumel surface interval, as well!
Best Layers to Keep Warm on Cozumel Diving Surface Intervals
It’s the surface intervals in Cozumel that can really get you. If you know, you know. It can get downright chilly zipping along in your dive boat, especially in those winter months.
Most scuba diving in Cozumel consists of two-tank boat dives, where you go out in the morning for your first dive, and then stay on the boat or a nearby beach during the surface interval, and then immediately suit back up for dive #2.
On a clear sunny day, the surface interval may be a perfect time to take off your wetsuit and let the sun warm you up for a little while, though without exposing yourself to too many tropical UV rays.
But when you’re dripping wet and have just been immersed in the way-lower-than-body-temperature ocean water for over an hour, the awesome island breezes can start to feel a little chilly. Especially when you’re crusing along to your next dive site on the boat.
But in Cozumel from Jan-March especially, it may also be the time to throw on your diver’s boat coat and a warm fleece or knit hat – especially if it’s a little cloudy and/or windy that day.
Most of the time, Cozumel’s weather is spectacular, but packing for diving is all about anticipating potential problems and heading them off at the pass, right?
Often it’s the surface interval that really gets divers chilly, here, especially when they haven’t packed a light rain jacket (see below) or a handy swimmers’ towel or anything dry for in-between dives.
Cozumel Diving: Surface Interval Gear Guide
Do We Really Need Wetsuits for Cozumel Diving?
As a general rule, yes, most of us do. And plenty don’t.
Cozumel is a really nice warm place to vacation, and a nice warm place to scuba dive in Cozumel’s warm diving water temperatures that grace the place, year round.
But many divers still get chilly after several days of repetitive diving, and it’s always better to err on the side of too warm than too cold, especially when it comes to diver safety.
Most Cozumel regulars (including local divemasters) dive in a 2-3mm wetsuit in the Summer months, and upgrade to a 3mm-5mm long suit in the Winter months.
There are not many hazardous animals in the Cozumel reef system, but you also never know when you might accidentally brush up against fire coral, a bristle worm, or a few small jellyfish-type critters near the surface.
Full coverage with your wetsuit or a long-sleeved dive skin and rash guard can go a long way, not only to prevent any stings but to keep you protected from the strong Caribbean sun without introducing sunscreen chemicals to the coral reefs, which tops our list of the most eco-friendly things you can do when visiting the beautiful, but vulnerable, island of Cozumel.
I also have a general list of Cozumel packing recommendations for divers that includes some other water-worthy items I always pack on a dive trip – just in case. If you need some recommendations on the best rain gear and dry bags to pack for Cozumel, click here next.
If you’ve never been here before, check out this post all about Diving in Cozumel (hint: it is always a great diving destination).
For some new information specifically about shore diving in Cozumel, this post is for you.
To learn more about Cozumel’s unique splendid toadfish, click here.
And to help plan a trip here and check out all the other things the island has to offer, including all about where to find the best eats on the island, and some more of the fun stuff to do in downtown Cozumel.
The pool is open! Have fun.
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