Bright pink tour bus from Xcaret near Cozumel in a rain storm.

Packing for Cozumel: Don’t Forget the Rain Gear

Are you ready to take on the tropical beaches, jungle trails, and downtown fun of Cozumel?  Get out there and explore the Mayan ruins, scour downtown San Miguel for the island’s best tacos, and then just relax on the beach any chance you get. 

The extra good life in Cozumel is lived outdoors. 

So don’t let a surprise rain shower ruin your day!

Most of the time, the forecast here is sunny, blue sky, about 85 degrees F.  But facing facts, this is a tropical locale. A little rain here and there kind of comes with the territory. 

To make sure you’re prepared for wet weather, or for what to pack for a day at a Cozumel beach or out on your dive boat, check out this personally tested list of quality rain gear I keep going back to – including some excellent waterproof luggage, day bags footwear and clothes to pack for your next trip to Cozumel.

You don’t have to go overboard. But a few upgrades in the performance-wear department, and a pro-level waterproof bag or two, will keep you right on going and making the most of every vacation day with no worries or discomfort.  

Essential Cozumel Rain Gear

As we all know, the right gear for the weather makes all the difference. 

Once I finally invested in a really good rainy weather jacket, the random Cozumel rain doesn’t really get in my way.  You can kind of just gear up and get on with life, without the elements ruining your plans. 

Well, the same goes for a few critical items you’ll want to pack for Cozumel.

Rain squalls here are usually quite short in duration, but they can be strong and heavy and come out of nowhere. 

If you are out walking around downtown Cozumel with no poncho or jacket in your backpack when the skies open up, you’re going to get soaked.  And truly? It’ll be fun and no big deal.

But if you’re wearing your one pair of soggy, slow-drying sneakers? Or the rain soaks through your purse and gets your phone and valuables all wet? Kind of a bummer. 

The good news is, it’s easy enough to duck into the nearest cool bar in downtown San Miguel or one of the island’s unique shops and stores.

But it’s even better to wear and pack a few good pieces of rain gear for Cozumel.  Just in case! 

So let’s get to it.  First up?  

A High-Quality Rain Jacket With a Hood  

I’ll be honest. I used to cheap out and settle for the water-resistant jackets, figuring the odds of my really getting stuck in a good rain were pretty slim. That was before moving to Cozumel. 

Look for a good one that’s truly waterproof, with taped seams, good zippers or snaps, the right pockets in the right places, and a hood that will stay in place.  Insulation is not required, and underarm vents are a nice bonus. 

Invest in the right one now, and it will keep you dry for years

They work great alone on a dive boat or layered with (quick-drying) fleece jackets underneath for the plane, and on trips to colder climates. 

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

I usually wear mine as my outer layer when traveling, so it actually doesn’t sacrifice any of my packing space. 

But in the odd times I do pack my rain jacket, I use it almost like a tarp to wrap around the clothes and items inside my suitcase, providing another layer of rain protection in case my suitcase get stuck in any weather while being loaded on and off various planes.)

BEST Overall and Good Value
MARMOT Precip Eco Jacket

You never know!

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07/23/2024 10:13 pm GMT

Rain Poncho – Most Versatile Rain Gear

Rain ponchos are awesome in Cozumel, or anywhere else in the world.

I have a few, and I stash one in the car, and store one in my go-to carry-on bag so it basically always comes with me on any trip.

They really just work and can be worn over any outfit – including over a backpack or a purse, etc. – so they’re priceless when you’re suddenly caught in the rain.

You could also use it as a tarp for a picnic, or to cover a wet bench if you’re out and about and need to sit for a while. And you can use it inside your suitcase as a protective layer in case your bags get left out in the rain (see below).

I also love to buy a few extra quality rain ponchos for gifts as stocking stuffers, grab bag / white elephant gifts, back to school items for college students and commuters, and the list goes on and on.  

A rain poncho is like the swiss army knife of rain gear.

Pack for ANY trip or outing!
Waterproof Rain Poncho Lightweight Reusable Hooded w/stow pouch
  • One size fits all (adults)
  • Wear over any outfit
  • Double duty as tarp or rainfly; versatile
  • Easy to pack
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07/23/2024 10:13 pm GMT

All-Terrain Sandals Great for Cozumel

Walking around in squishy wet shoes is the worst, especially if they’re the ones you have to wear on the plane going back home.  

Material technology has come a long way in recent years, and there are a lot of great performance shoes and sandals that can stand up to a good rain in Cozumel, but then dry out quickly and keep you moving. (And do so without stinking to high heaven!)

All-terrain sandals that pack easily, and can take you from walking around town to snorkeling in the water, and then back to lunch at a cool cafe.  Keen’s are my best-fitting brand, but there are lots of similar hiking-style sandals on the market. 

KEEN Women's Closed Toe Sport Sandals
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07/23/2024 09:57 pm GMT

Another pair that are fantastic to pack for Cozumel’s lifestyle, but not quite as sporty looking, are the classic and more stylish Birkenstock Gizeh, but be sure to supplement your wardrobe with the ones made from the waterproof EVA material (think Croc-esque, but IMO better). 

I bought mine out of desperation on a rainy dive trip to Australia, and it was some of the best travel money I’ve ever spent. 

They look cool, they stand up to travel and weather, and they weigh nothing. The traveler’s packing hat trick! 

They’re awesome, and perfect to pack for your Cozumel vacation. 

Birkenstock Gizeh EVA Sandal
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Weather-Worthy Athletic Shoes

If you’re not into sandals, or need a closed-toe pair for traveling and doing more intensive fitness walks around the island, invest in a pair of trail hiking or running shoes made from performance materials that are light and quick to dry. 

These you can wear on the plane with socks, and they’ll serve double duty down here if you hit any rainy days in Cozumel, or you find yourself wanting to go to the gym, opting to do some fun off road excursions, or wading into a nice rocky shore area for some worldclass snorkeling

Whatever happens, you’ll be ready, and that’s worth everything when you’re on your hard-earned vacation. 

Ready for anything!
Merrell Waterproof Hiking Shoe
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07/23/2024 09:57 pm GMT

Water Shoes or Diving Booties – Handy for Various Cozumel Activities

If you’re a diver who packs dive booties with your dive gear already (also pretty key if you’re looking to do some Cozumel shore diving), OR you took my advice above and already plan on bringing really water friendly all terrain sandals or footwear, thank you can skip this. 

But if you want to pack super light, and you don’t foresee being that outdoorsy (some vacations are meant for a pool chaise lounge and a good book, amirite?), then at least consider sacrificing a small nook in your luggage for a pair of dive booties or better yet, a pair of water shoes that have a decently protective sole and will securely stay on your feet. 

These might never get used, but they’re perfect to stuff in your beach bag or day pack if you’re out exploring, or decide to try some snorkeling or want to use them as slippers on the plane.  Versatility!

Water Shoes Quick-Dry Lightweight for Outdoor Sports Swim Beach

Check out their whole rainbow of colors and prints

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07/23/2024 10:12 pm GMT

Biion Golf Shoes

Like Crocs, but for stylish people.  

Haha, sorry. Just kidding. I appreciate Crocs, and even had one pair of pretty nice looking flip-flops, once.  (But they broke on me!)  Anyway, the point is, you should all take a look at these Biion shoes! 

Biion started primarily as a golf shoe brand, but people quickly realized how stylish and versatile the Biion shoes really are. 

I learned about these shoes from a very well-dressed male friend who was visiting Cozumel. He sold me on them. 

I started with one. I now have 3 pairs. (Honestly, they have sales all the time!)

And I get compliments every single time I wear them. 

They excel as travel shoes, or shoes to pack light with, and have for the odd day at the museum or night out to dinner or a game. They’re basically unisex, but I love the cheeky little saddle shoe or wingtip styles they have, the range of bold colors they come in (along with more understated ones), and that the EVA material is similar to Crocs.

That is to say, they’re soft, they’re flexible so they won’t give you blisters, they’re impervious to rain and water, they dry in minutes, and they’re as light as a feather, so your luggage weight limit doesn’t take a hit! 

Honestly, this is a special side shout out, just because I love this brand.

Check out the Biion Website right here

Best Dry Boxes and Waterproof Bags for Cozumel

Packing for Cozumel is pretty easy: bathing suit, shorts, bathing suit, t-shirts, flip flops, another bathing suit, sun hat, polarized shades, and the shoes you just ordered, above. 

BUT there are a couple little things I never knew about until I started scuba diving many many years ago, and those are waterproof dry bags.  And now also dry boxes. 

Dry Bags Come in Handy in Cozumel

If you have been around boats, especially canoes or kayaks, OR you go camping, or travel great distances by motorcycle, then you’re probably familiar with truly hearty dry bags. 

Meanwhile, I grew up near the beach and on a swim team, and had never encountered them! So they’re more for outdoor life, and in Cozumel, that means they’re good boats. And RAIN. 

If you’re here for the awesome scuba diving, or you’re going to try some snorkeling in Cozumel – and you definitely should – grab one of these inexpensive dry bags to make sure you’re valuables stay valuable.

Put your phone, wallet, and that fresh change of clothes in a good quality dry bag, and it. will. stay. dry. 

Dry Bag, Waterproof Backpack wPhone Case

For smaller items and light excursions.

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07/23/2024 09:56 pm GMT

Dry Boxes are Perfect to Protect Your Phone

Dry boxes come in all different sizes, and are ideal for holding your mobile phone, electronic key fobs, sunglasses, cameras, and anything else you want to keep dry, but also want to protect from getting crushed. 

Between diving tanks on a boat, or the general wear and tear our luggage goes through on an adventure trip, having these valuables stowed in a water-tight crush-proof box is an easy and cheap insurance measure to keep your prized possessions safe. And dry! 

Geckobrands Waterproof Dry Box Storage Case, Medium
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07/23/2024 09:52 pm GMT

Waterproof Luggage for Travel to Cozumel

I’ll never forget when I was on a plane once, excited for departure to a new destination, and watching the airport staff loading all of our luggage onto the plane. But there was a delay in their process.  AND it was pouring rain. 

I could see my own not very robust nylon suitcase just sitting out there.  Getting absolutely soaked, along with all the stuff I had packed inside.

You want to make sure that you have all the clothing and gear you need to make the most of your trip, but you also want to make sure that everything you pack for Cozumel stays protected from the elements. 

It can be hard to predict the weather, especially when traveling abroad, so the best way to ensure that your belongings stay dry is to invest in some quality rain gear and waterproof luggage and backpacks. 

Suitcases and Duffles the Stand up to Rain

As with clothing, there are many to choose from and tastes vary, but here are my favorites for traveling back and forth to Cozumel – and really any destination where I want my stuff to stay dry enroute.

Holds Everything!
Eagle Creek Cargo Hauler Duffel 130Liter
  • Water and abrasion resistant
  • Great volume for dive gear and clothes
  • Durable skate wheels (self-replaceable!)
  • Backpack straps
  • Collapsible, great for stowing
  • Eagle Creek's generous warranty
  • Heavy if you fill this sucker!
  • Less structure and compartments than other models
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07/23/2024 10:14 pm GMT

Weather-Worthy Day Bags

Once you’ve arrived, water activities or rainy days call for truly waterproof day packs to keep all your stuff nice and dry. 

Investing in quality waterproof bags may be pricey, but it’s worth it if you don’t want all your stuff to get drenched or have your belongings ruined. Plus, it should be a one-time expense as the good quality ones really last. 

Here’s my top list of some great adventure travel bags, and waterproof duffels and backpacks I’ve used during many years of diving travel. Here are the favorites.

Roll Top Waterproof Backpack 25L/45L, Dry Bag
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07/23/2024 09:52 pm GMT
Skog Å Airtight & Waterproof Floating Waist Bag - Boating, Swimming, Camping, Beach

Great for passports, phones, keys and wallets!

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07/23/2024 09:52 pm GMT

Best Packs for Camera Gear and Digital Nomads in Cozumel

I take a lot of underwater photos when I dive, and while my UW camera gear is nice and simple, I still make sure to protect it and all my other tech gear, like my Macbook, iPad, and my also inherently waterproof and eye-friendly Kindle.

The Nomatic bags that are everywhere on Instagram right now are pricey. That’s for sure. But they’re also good quality, and cost far less than the electronics, so the splurge was worth it for me.

Protect the Tech
Nomatic McKinnon Camera/Tech Pack - 35L
  • Great for photographers and digital nomads!
  • Pricey but great specs and reviews
  • Protect your expensive electronics
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Cozumel’s Great Weather Sometimes Changes

Forgetting the best rain gear and waterproof bags for your trip to Cozumel definitely won’t ruin your vacation. You’ll have fun in Cozumel, no matter what.

But packing them will give you peace of mind and the assurance that you are prepared for any weather. 

Packing the right rain gear can make all the difference in comfort and convenience when the fast showers roll in, and yet still serve your needs when it’s nice out, too.  

It might also make your trip home more enjoyable since you won’t be wearing soggy stinky shoes. 

So go find your old Tevas and rain jackets, and make sure you’ve got one that still fits and still has its waterproof properties intact. 

But if you need to,  use this rainy day reference list and invest in some effective rain gear to keep you and your prized possessions safe and dry – on your travels and on your commute to work. 

If you do get hit with iffy weather, look to this related post for some ideas on what to do around the island on a rainy day in Cozumel.

Otherwise, you can forget about bad weather, and enjoy the hot sunshine in Cozumel.  

Bien viaje!

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If you’re going to protect your clothes and gear, you should probably protect your body, baggage, and bottom line, too!

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