Cozumel in February and March: Spring Breaks and a Break From Winter

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Since many schools have a winter recess or spring break during these months, lots of people ask – what is Cozumel like in February and March?  Cozumel has great weather and fun activities year-round, but when you’re planning your hard-earned vacation, you want a little more detail about what you can expect, beyond just the weather. 

February and March are the peak of Cozumel’s high tourism season, with many visitors taking advantage of school spring break vacations. Divers will be happy to visit during Spotted Eagle Ray season, and February is also the time of Cozumel’s spectacular Carnaval parades. Cozumel at this time is typically sunny and very warm (mid-80s F) with nice breezes during the day, and cool, comfortable temps in the evenings.

If you and your family choose to take your spring break in Cozumel, you won’t be disappointed.

Travel to Cozumel in February and March

Next up in the seasonal series (see our main blog page for other highlighted monthly articles) with the height of the high season in Cozumel:  What is Cozumel like in February or March? 

Cozumel diving or dining prices don’t rise during high season necessarily, but demand does – your favorite hotels may command higher nightly rates, and dive shops will be busier and potentially booked up, so it’s wise to book in advance. 

Otherwise, though, things in Cozumel in February and March are lively, but never truly overcrowded – especially at night. 

February and March in Cozumel are ideal for a sunny break from the cold weather in the US, Canada, and even Mexico City. This time of year also offers some specific pros and cons, which I’ll cover here.  Mostly positives, though!  

Clearly, it is “high season” for a reason, and if you visit Cozumel during the late winter, you won’t be sorry.  Escape those cold and snowy regions!  

Cozumel Air Temperatures in February and March

A Cozumel trip in February or March offers a very sunny and warm escape from winter, with an average high temperature of 82-83F/27C (sometimes much warmer), and about 72F/22C in the evenings.  

This is the one time of year that you might occasionally want to wear those jeans and a long-sleeved shirt even once you’re off the plane.  But usually only at night, or in an air-conditioned restaurant or movie theater in the evening. 

The water is plenty warm enough for swimming and snorkeling comfortably. See more on this, just below. 

Cozumel Diving Water Temperatures in February

Cozumel diving water temperatures in February and March stay at about 78-80F/26C, with February probably being the coolest of the whole year.  

Locals and/or frequent Cozumel divers start to find that a bit chilly, and are donning 5mm wetsuits, often with hooded vests and heavier socks or booties. 

Many scuba divers coming to Cozumel on vacation in February and March still find the water nice and warm – especially if they only dive a few times a year. 

Divers in March with full length wetsuits

Some hearty scuba souls feel fine just diving in shorts and a rash guard, but most people are more warm, comfortable, and protected (from accidental brushes with small jellies or fire coral) in a full 3mm wetsuit, or perhaps a 3mm shorty wetsuit over a dive-skin, or maybe Lavacore or Sharkskin garments.  

For a full write-up on whether or not you’ll need a wetsuit when diving in Cozumel, read this post next!

The time lots of divers do feel chilly is in-between dives, during your surface interval on the boat. 

Usually, Cozumel is nice and sunny, but it can be pretty windy also, so after a long drift dive, it’s nice to spend your surface interval warming up in a windbreaker or fleece, and some kind of hat.  I’ve even been known to bring a thermos of hot tea! 

Honestly, I would recommend having a light rain jacket or windbreaker on any trip to Cozumel, because tropical showers are very quick but to be expected.   **See all of our recommended rain items in the feature text box at the end of this post…just in case!

This same jacket will cut the windy chill after you come up from your dives, as well.  Well worth the small space in your dive bag.  Alternatively, divers who get cold easily (like me, now) sometimes pack a fleece “boat coat” or hoodie during winter months, to take the edge off. 

Once March is well underway, Cozumel’s air and water temperatures typically start to rise by a degree or two, so it will get warmer, but the same general advice still applies. 

This is not the rainy season in Cozumel, though. You may experience the fleeting showers that are somewhat common in the tropics but relax – those are few and far between at this time of year, barring some kind of major weather front passing through.  

On the off chance it does rain, we’ve got you covered with some fun, local rainy-day suggestions, here

Cozumel Diving Marine Life in February and March

Diving in Cozumel is great year-round, but in February and March, the primary benefit is that you are still catching the Spotted Eagle Ray season in Cozumel. Consider yourself lucky, and cross your fingers that you encounter some of these beautiful rays during your dives. 

The Spotted Eagle rays in Cozumel tend to show up in good numbers each year, starting in November and definitely December, and stay around until the middle or end of March.  

Divers in Cozumel will often get a glimpse of 1 or 2 gliding eagle rays in the blue, off the walls in the more southern dive sites, like Columbia Deep or Palancar Caves.  This is an amazing visual, with their crisp white markings in stark contrast to their black skin and the deep blue of the Caribbean. 

spotted eagle ray gliding through blue Cozumel water

Very often, however, the real show is encountering the spotted eagle rays on the shallower dives, where they’re often hovering above sandy areas, and searching for crustaceans under the sand to get a good meal. 

When diving in the sandy flats of Cozumel, keep an eye out for broken conch or heart urchin shells, and/or a series of medium-sized divots in the sand. Chances are you just missed a spotted eagle ray on the hunt.  

These strikingly spotted pelagics can be seen on truly any dive in Cozumel, but I think my best luck has been on dives at Dalila, Cedral Pass, and Santa Rosa Shallows. 

eagle ray close up of face and beak hunting in sand

Diving with the spotted eagle rays is worth coming during the winter. They’re amazing. 

Beyond eagle rays, you’ll find your typical Cozumel marine life suspects, namely Atlantic nurse sharks (see more about diving with nurse sharks in our companion article, here), three types of sea turtles, macro life including flamingo tongue sea snails, nudibranchs, and blennies, a range of moray eels, and Caribbean lobsters the size of small children!  

And of course, any dive trip to Cozumel will hopefully include a glimpse (or more) of our special mascot, the endemic Cozumel splendid toadfish, seen below. 

Read all about the Cozumel splendid toadfish in my feature post, right: HERE

Cozumel splendid toadfish face up close

What Wetsuit Should I wear in Cozumel During February or March? 

As mentioned above, the water temperatures in Cozumel during February are around 78-79 degrees (26C), so it’s usually our coldest month (lucky us!).  

Many certified scuba divers who come on their dive trip to Cozumel during this time are happy with a 3mm wetsuit, socks, and maybe a hood. 

But if you have diving experience, you know that our tolerances for cold vary greatly. 

I myself start wearing a full 5mm wetsuit (like this one from Henderson) in November or December, even if the water is 80F/27C or so.  I add a hooded vest – like a Lavacore, Sharkskin, or even a 1mm neoprene – as we move into late December and January.  

If you have a higher tolerance, or you don’t get to do as many repeated dives (so your core temperature remains pretty constant/normal), you might feel fine with just a 3mm full suit, or even a shorty.

But the main rule is, don’t be a hero.  For some reason, lots of divers like to “tough it out” or even mock those who choose to bundle up. (um…why?). 

But here’s the thing:  being cold on a dive is not only ruining a good time, but it may cause you to come up earlier than necessary. Suffering through cold dives may even be dangerous, as prolonged exposure to cold can dull your thinking, reflexes, and eventually put you at risk for hypothermia.  

I honestly don’t know anyone who is “too hot” during a nice long, hour dive – even in 85-degree water! (do you?)  So just be prepared, and make sure you have the appropriate thermal protection for your body. 

If you’re just not sure what to pack for Cozumel diving, this guide to wetsuits and thermal layers will help you narrow things down and have the right gear for your dive trip.

Carnaval in Cozumel – Mexico’s Mardi Gras

The Carnaval celebration in Cozumel is one of the largest in Mexico and is quite a spectacle of costume, music, joyous performance. 

In typical years, the Cozumel Carnaval is worth scheduling your visit around.  

Every year (while dates are subject to change here and there) the event – like its counterparts in Rio, Mexico City, Italy, Spain, Trinidad, and of course New Orleans’ Mardi Gras – is filled with weeks of rambunctious run-up performances and preparations. 

Cozumel has bedazzled competitions for the King, Queen, and various ‘court’ members of the annual Carnaval, amazing dresses and costumes, and impressive public performances of song and dance in the weeks before the main parades. 

Then, of course, these culminate in multiple huge, boisterous public parades.  

Carnaval float in Cozumel 2016

In Cozumel, candy and beads are thrown, partying is widespread, and the biggest and final parade along Cozumel’s “Malecon” (Melgar Avenue) happens on the evening of “Fat Tuesday.”  

The final Cozumel Carnaval parade is always the Tuesday before the beginning of lent, so it is the last blow out before lent and the more reverent coming of the Christian high holy days leading up to Easter. 

Check your calendars, accordingly – while Cozumel’s Carnaval season often happens in February, it can also run into March, depending on when Easter falls on that particular year.  

Valentine’s Day in Cozumel 

In addition to Carnaval, Cozumel also shares another “holiday” with the United States and other parts of the world – St. Valentine’s Day. 

And like elsewhere, it does have the cute, if cheesy, feel of a sweet day to remember those you love, and especially your special someone…or your best friends. 

If you’re here in Cozumel specifically for Valentine’s Day or perhaps a romantic getaway, be sure to review our related post about Cozumel for Couples HERE, first. (And if you’re here as a hard-core diver, this post on mating marine animals in Cozumel might be more up your alley!)

There are also many lovely restaurants and shops on the island that do special menus or gift options for you and your Valentine. 

Look for prix-fixe dinner specials or “date-night” menus at some of Cozumel’s most romantic restaurants, like Buccanos at Night, Kondesa, Kinta, Hemingway, Sorrisi, Rolandi’s, and he perennial favorite, Guido’s. 

For more details and contact links for some of these restaurants and more, click HERE

K’ooben Laab – Last but not least, this pretty gem is fast becoming the island’s favorite restaurant for intimate (and homemade) Italian.  This is one restaurant where I would definitely recommend arranging a reservation for Valentine’s day, and they’re sure to have some specials to make it a delicious dinner. 

 ( **another reminder, however, as of January 2021 you should still check ahead for COVID-19 seating capacity limits and/or take-out options.)  

assorted handmade chocolate truffles from Cozumel craft shop

For a classic “valentine” tradition, don’t forget the chocolates!  There are many local chocolate makers on the island of Cozumel, but perhaps the current winner for beautiful, hand-made chocolate treats at Chocolateria Isla Bella for the perfect Valentine’s gift. 

Or go for the super romantic move and split a pizza and a bottle of wine on a moonlit Cozumel beach!  

Check out THIS POST for the best pizza places in Cozumel!  

Cozumel’s High Season for a Reason

Although February and March are perhaps the height of the high season in Cozumel, you will still have no trouble finding reasonable accommodations, great dive operations, and countless restaurants and shops to fill your days with all the charm, cuisine, and culture of Mexico.

Cozumel is very accessible, and English is widely spoken.  

While known by many as “just” a cruise ship destination, that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

The real heart of Cozumel is its scuba diving, snorkeling, and the beautiful people who live and work here all year-round.  

It’s SO much better to spend more than one day here!  Stay awhile, experience Cozumel at Night, and really soak in all the fun and friendly faces this beautiful Caribbean island has to offer.

The local Cozumeleños – and the local economy – will be grateful, and will be sure to show you a good time. 

Cozumel Packing Advice: Rainy Any-Day Gear

Like all gorgeous tropical islands, Cozumel has blue skies, hot sun, lush foliage, and palm trees.  

Occasional and short bursts of rain come with the territory.  

BTW: Don’t worry if you see rain each day on your weather forecast app!
Usually, if it even happens, it’s very brief (and often followed by a rainbow).

Here are CozInfo’s top water-friendly items to always pack for your trip to Cozumel (or anywhere!): 

Light Rain Jacket with a hood like this one.  

These jackets don’t take up much room in your bag, but provide great protection from sudden showers, sun (especially on a dive boat), and can even serve as a warm layer on the airplane.  

Truly waterproof dry bag(s) for your phones, wallets, and important papers. 

All-terrain tennis shoes that are hip and stylish enough take you from walking around town, to snorkeling in the clear blue Caribbean, and then back to lunch at a cool cafe. 

I love mine, but note that these are wildly popular right now, so best to order in advance.

Water-tight dry box for your phone, keys, and wallet, especially IF you’re diving and might find yourself on a small fast boat, without tons of protected space on board.  These boxes will withstand immersion, so they’ll be fine with some rain.  The quality ones are also crush-proof – just in case.  (I think of it as a pretty cheap insurance policy for my iPhone…and all the information that’s on my iPhone!)

CozInfo’s Recommended UW Camera Gear

If anyone wants to get started with underwater photography and dive photos, here’s all my favorite UW camera gear I use on every dive (*includes affiliate links).  

This dive photo kit of parts is easy and relatively inexpensive, and can also fit in your carry-on bag – a big consideration these days.   

This is the exact same setup I’ve used for years (including all the underwater images you see on this website), and the same setup I’ve seen being used by thousands of Cozumel divers over the years.  

It’s accessible and simple when you’re just starting out, but it can grow with you if you really get into the hobby – both through some manual controls, and compatible accessories, lights, etc.  

My Tried and True Dive Photography Kit: 

  • Olympus TG-6 compact camera
    Olympus’ “tough” series is inherently waterproof and dust/dirt proof, so it’s also great for other outdoor activities, or as your everyday point-and-shoot camera for weddings and events.  Small but strong. 
  • Olympus PT-059 Marine Housing. 
    Olympus’ own marine housing allows the camera’s on-board flash to operate without additional cables or added strobes. This is important.  The housing is needed for diving, but not for snorkeling or swimming depths. 
  • 64GB Memory Card. 
    I’ve used this exact card for years, and it hasn’t failed.  I bought a backup, but haven’t needed it, yet. 
  • Memory Card Reader. 
    I find this memory card reader a dead-simple way to save my photos to my MacbookPro at the end of each dive day.  I don’t want to rely on wifi during dive trips, and while I’m using the card in the card reader, I can be recharging my camera for the next day.  
  • Camera lanyard!!!!! 
    I’m not kidding – if I had a dollar for every time someone posted on social media about losing a camera on one of Cozumel’s dive sites, I’d have…hundreds of dollars.  Plus, I’ve lost my own camera and housing…TWICE!  Lesson learned.  Now I never go in without this simple coiled lanyard clip that attaches to a D-ring on my Cressi BCD, and give me plenty of range of motion, yet the security of knowing I won’t throw another camera and housing down the drain.   The best 20 bucks you’ll spend on this hobby. 

    *These are my honest opinions on products I use every day. The links above are affiliate links, where I may receive a commission on referred visits and purchases.

Rachel

Rachel runs and writes CozInfo.com when she's not diving, taking underwater photos, or trying a new local restaurant. After decades of project managing some mighty fine exhibition design projects in NYC, she took an adult gap year to pursue her divemaster training in Cozumel...and never made it back.