Halfway through one of my first flights to Cozumel, I glanced down at the new Oceanic geo 4 dive computer on my wrist. The same dive computer that was working earlier that morning, and that I had recently reviewed user instructions for, reset the proper time on, etc.
Only now the screen just showed some digital dashes and a low battery signal. Crap! I just put in a fresh battery, and in an effort to pack light, left the spares at home.
Back then, I kicked myself for such a rookie mistake. (Will I always feel like a diving newbie?!)
Well, I’m far beyond newbie diver status now, but that lesson was learned. I always dive with a spare watch battery in my save-a-dive kit in my favorite dive gear bag, and I always start any dive travel with a few additional extra batteries in my luggage.
But you can’t pack a backup for everything. And what if you forget a crucial piece of gear, or one suddenly breaks or malfunctions, on your next dive trip to Cozumel?
First of all, like everything else in scuba diving, don’t panic.
There are several dive shops in Cozumel that carry dive equipment, spare parts, and accessories. If you forget to pack or need to replace some standard diving items like a surface marker buoy (SMB), dive booties, clips and lanyards, or even some of your main gear like fins or a full BCD, you can find what you need in Cozumel, albeit often at slightly higher prices than in the U.S., due to importation costs.
From spare parts to replacement gear, this guide will walk you through some ideas and locales for shopping for scuba gear and dive accessories in Cozumel, just in case.
Preparation and Packing Lists for Cozumel Diving
First off, we try to pack perfectly and never forget anything, but like my dive computer story, there’s also a lot of Murphy’s law when it comes to packing, it seems.
Start dive-trip packing with the essential basics, in order of critical to nice-to-haves:
- Diving C-cards and DAN diver insurance card (a must. click here if you still need to get it.)
- Mask / Fins / Wetsuit / BCD / Regulator (I mentally do a ‘head to toe’ review of my gear)
- Dive computer and extra batteries
- SMB, dive light, clips and lanyard for camera
- Camera and Housing / memory card / charging cable
- Sun protection – hat, SPF camp shirt, rash guards, sarongs, reef-safe sunscreen (Stream2Sea is best)
IF you want to review our recommended safety items packing lists – including SAFETY items for divers that are frequently forgotten – download it right here:
Cozumel Shops to Find Replacement Dive Gear and Accessories
OK, fine – you’ve done the checklists and checked everything in triplicate, and you still either forgot something, or something broke on the first day (happens way more than I’d like… )
Where do you go? What do you do?
Your Cozumel Dive Operator Can Usually Help
Cozumel has such a great dive culture and community, and that starts with your own chosen Cozumel dive shop.
Small shops may not have a storefront or tons of gear inventory, but when a diving customer needs help with a spare fin strap or to rent a BCD because theirs is suddenly malfunctioning, you can bet that the dive shop staff will be more than happy to help out.
They will either have a stash of rental gear, or will likely be able to source one from another dive shop.
Ask Your Fellow Divers for Help, Too
Since the beginning of my diving career, I’ve always noticed how helpful and generous your fellow dive buddies can be. This is especially true regarding spare gear or other amenities you might’ve forgotten to pack.
On my first dive trip to Roatan, for example, I exhibited some slight feelings of sea-sickness, which I had never experienced in my life around the ocean and boats, etc.
Before the words were even out of my mouth, everyone on the boat seemed to instantly retrieve something from their own save-a-dive kit to hopefully help me. In this case I was presented with: Dramamine, Bonine, an extra sea-sickness skin patch, and ginger candy, within 30 seconds!
And now I try to pack some of those extra things, too – “in case anyone else might need it.” Not just me. That tends to be the dive culture I’ve experienced. And that’s especially true in Cozumel, IMO.
So ask around – most of us have spares like extra zip ties, a spare mask strap, some decongestant pills, extra Stream2Sea mask defog (again, my favorite and less damaging to the ecosystems).
Don’t be afraid to ask. If it’s not on the boat, someone can surely get you sorted by the following day. Cozumel is a small island and everyone knows each other pretty well.
Shopping for Dive Gear in Cozumel – Bigger Purchases
What if you just need to fully replace something, or you want to go shopping?
Here are some of the best stores on the island for dive gear and accessories. Happy shopping.
(And if you just want to shop for local crafts and truly unique and authentic souvenirs, hit up this post, next!)
Cozumel’s OG: Scuba Repair
Cozumel Scuba Repair is THE place to go for regulator servicing in Cozumel (thank you, Javier!) and high-quality dive parts and consumer gear.
If you need to have your regulator serviced, need parts for it, or think your BCD might be leaking, etc., Cozumel Scuba Repair should be your first stop.
They also have limited space for storage of gear, so if you’re a frequent flyer to Cozumel, you might want to look into storing your equipment with Scuba Repair, and retrieving it when you hit the island to dive. This is especially great when your best flights are into Cancun and you have to do the Cozumel Bag Drag – see instructions, here.
Cozumel Scuba Repair’s retail store section has a pretty good inventory of items like masks, buoys, slates, wetsuits, fins and accessories, and is one of my favorite places to go for high-quality marine brass clips and hardware.
If you’re not sure if you’ll need to pack a full wetsuit for Cozumel, consult this related post with advice on wetsuits and thermal protection in Cozumel, right here.
Scuba Repair is a little hard to find if you aren’t familiar with San Miguel de Cozumel, but given the address, any taxi can get you there.
Cozumel Scuba Repair: 1st Street between 85th and 90th Aves.
Hours: M-F 10-5
**Please note: As always, it’s best to try and do a quick re-confirm all open hours on any shops and businesses here, if you can. Things change here a lot…
Cozumel ProDive Boutique Store
Not to be confused with the Pro Dive dive operation, this Cozumel ProDive Boutique store is found along the southern edge of Parque Benito Juarez, or the main plaza in the center of town (find the clock tower, and walk two blocks to the south).
The ProDive Store can be a little pricey, but they have a nice selection of things like fins, masks and neoprene, along with buoys, reels, marine ID books, dry bags, and more.
Cozumel ProDive Boutique: Rodolfo Salas and Av. 5 Sur (southern edge of zócalo)
Hours: not published
Studio Blue Cozumel for Computer Parts
Just up the block from the ProDive Boutique (above) is this neat dive shop, that had a good reputation for having a wide range of spare parts and o-rings for all kinds of dive computers, and the ability to replace them for you.
Beyond that, the store is fun to poke around, and chock full of dive gear, but also fun things like posters of the island, decals, and tons of gadgets and accessories.
Also on that southern edge of the main downtown plaze, aka Parque Benito Juarez, it’s pretty easy to stop by there on your way to a late lunch, drinks or dinner downtown, so you’ll have what you need for the next day’s diving.
Studio Blue Cozumel: Rodolfo Salas between Avs. 5 Sur and 10 Sur.
Hours: 7:30am – 9pm
Aqua Pro Cozumel
This store is close to the plaza, too, and carries a good variety of gear, from lots of masks and fins, so a range of wetsuits, and even full gear sets.
Aqua Pro Cozumel: Av. 5 sur between Calles Salas and 3rd St.
Hours: M-Sat 9am – 9pm
Básicos Mercadito Cero
Once you’ve got your gear sorted, maybe you forgot some eco-friendly shampoo bars, toothpaste powder, or packaging-free snacks and accessories.
This is a fun add, just because I love the store, and it’s no-plastic, no packaging-no waste commitment makes it a great choice for divers and lovers of the Cozumel reefs.
Try some of their store made kombucha, or buy a cute tote bag for a unique souvenir.
Another reason to love Basicos Mercado Cero is that they work with the Cozumel Ocean Research group (COR) to help them sell their (very cool) eagle-ray inspired T-shirts and rashies.
Money from the sale of all this great merch goes to support the COR team while they dive, increase our awareness of the local eagle ray population, and build a database of the specific eagle rays in the area.
Basicos Mercadito Cero: Av. 11 at the corner of Calle 25
Hours: M-F 9am-7pm; Sat 11am-5pm
Cerveceria Punta Sur
Shopping makes me hungry and thirsty, so I can’t resist putting in another plug for this awesome little brew pub and pizzeria on the island.
Once you have your replacement dive gear in hand, it’s time for some grub.
While I constantly hit all our favorite pizzerias on the island, Punta Sur is a special recommendation for Cozumel divers, since they have their famous Lionfish Pizza and the island’s only on-premises craft-brewed beers.
Lionfish are an invasive species, so eating them helps the reefs! So chow down.
Punta Sur has some pretty cool T-shirts, too, so if you didn’t find what you were after in our Cozumel shopping guide post, this might be your chance to get a unique souvenir from the trip.
Punta Sur Cerveceria: Av. 10 between Salas and Calle 3
Hours: Mon – Sun (7 days) 12pm-11pm
Keep the Dive Gear in Perspective
Even if you remember everything, there’s a good chance something will break or rip or go missing.
I’ve been on lots of dive trips, and there’s still often that moment after arriving at the far-off destination when I realize something pretty important needs to be upgraded.
If you face this on your next dive trip to Cozumel, don’t sweat it.
Between your dive operation, fellow dive buddies, and a handful of cool dive stores on the island, you’ll be A-OK in no time.