Updated on April 27, 2019 by Asher Fergusson
What do I need to bring to Cozumel?
Cozumel is a magical and thrilling place for beach-goers and adventure-seekers alike. Because of the wide range of activities, packing can be tough – we’ll help you learn what to wear in Cozumel, how to pack, and what NOT to bring. We’ll also answer top Cozumel FAQs.
Don’t forget that any trip will require patience and a little go-with-the-flow flexibility – let yourself enjoy the ride and have fun in this tropical paradise!
Other items to bring
What should I wear in Cozumel?
Cozumel Island is undoubtedly one of the ultimate beach destinations. Located right off the coast of Playa del Carmen, in Mexico’s Caribbean, it delivers pristine beaches, luxurious hospitality, fantastic diving experiences, archeological sites and fun for the young-hearted and adventurous.
When visiting a tropical island such as this one, casual, lightweight clothing is ideal. Think linen or light cotton items that will keep you feeling fresh in the humidity and sunlight. Obviously, beach attire is the go-to, but don’t forget to account for rainstorms, which may crop up at any time in the Caribbean.
Cozumel’s warm, tropical climate calls for comfortable, lightweight beach attire. Women will feel fresh and stylish in sundresses, linen shorts, and blouses, or maxi dresses. During the day as you’re exploring the beaches, archaeological sites, or riding your scooter around the island, you’ll be most comfortable in shorts a t-shirt, and hiking sandals. Be sure to bring a swimsuit coverup, or a long-sleeved t-shirt to avoid over-exposure to the sun. In the evenings, a sundress or maxi dress paired with flip flops or wedge sandals are perfect for strolling the streets of the town of San Miguel and dining out.
When visiting Cozumel, men should plan to spend most of their time in beach attire. Shorts and a t-shirt are perfect for day to day. In the evenings a resort wear styled outfit will add a little composure to your look as you enjoy dinner out on the town. Sensible shoes or sandals are ideal during the day as you’re liable to do lots of walking, but flip flops are perfect for the beach. Don’t forget to pack polarized sunglasses and a sunhat to protect yourself from the sun’s harsh rays.
Dry Season (February, March, April)
Cozumel’s dry season lasts just a few months. During this time, the daily temperature averages in the mid 80’s, and in the evenings it drops as low as 70. Packing for this time of year is pretty straightforward. Stick to lightweight, breathable fabrics, and ensure you have ample protection from the sun. Bring a light sweater or pashmina for a little extra warmth after the sun goes down.
Wet Season (May, June, July, August, September, October, December, January)
Cozumel’s wet season lasts for the majority of the year, but September and October are the wettest months. You can expect temperatures in the mid-80’s during the day. In November and December, the temperature can go as low as 65 degrees overnight. You can expect heavy rain showers, complete with thunder and lightning, frequently throughout these months. Your standard beach attire is perfect the majority of the time, but be sure to pack a compact rain shell or poncho in case you get caught in a shower.
What to wear for activities in Cozumel
Snorkeling/Diving – Cozumel’s Palancar reef is one of the most famous diving destinations in the world. If you book a tour to scope out the life below the sea, be sure to pack reef-safe sunscreen. It’s wise to bring a rash guard to protect you from the sun during snorkeling trips. Finally, don’t forget a waterproof action camera to help you capture memories from your trip!
Beach Club – There are many lively beach clubs along the coast of Cozumel. Board shorts and a t-shirt is the ideal uniform for a day of sand and surf. Meanwhile, women will feel great in a swimsuit and sundress or swimsuit coverup. Be sure to bring a beach bag to carry your reading material and water bottle.
Eco-Parks – Cozumel’s eco-parks offer an excellent way to experience the beaches, snorkeling reefs, and wildlife on the island. Be sure to quick-dry, active clothing as you’re bound to lots of walking, sunbathing, and venturing in and out of the water. A daypack is a great addition to carry a beach towel, snacks, and water.
Mayan Ruins – Some of the most important places of worship for the Mayan people are located on Cozumel. Visiting these sites makes a wonderful, educational day trip. Be sure to wear breathable clothing as you’re bound to spend lots of time in the direct sunlight. Sensible shoes are ideal as well; sneakers or hiking sandals will protect your toes while keeping your feet comfortable in the heat.
What NOT to bring to Cozumel
2) Heavy Clothing – While Cozumel can be rainy, it is almost never cold. Save space in your bag for souvenirs and leave your heavy layers at home. Instead, be sure to pack a rain shell in case of showers.
3) Don’t overpack – Overpacking just adds extra weight and expense to your trip. Hauling around a bulky suitcase is inconvenient on cobblestone streets. Streamline your packing to include only the essentials.
5) Books – Books are bulky, heavy, and don’t stand up well in humidity. Instead, bring a lightweight, compact Kindle. As a bonus, you won’t have to strain your eyes to read in the sun, as the brightness auto-adjust to fit the lighting in your environment.
6) Excessive Cash – There’s no need to carry a large amount of cash during your trip to Cozumel, as there are plenty of banks with reliable ATMs from which to withdraw money. Carrying large sums of money makes you vulnerable to theft, so avoid bringing more than you need.
What NOT to wear in Cozumel
Cozumel is the epitome of a casual, Caribbean beach destination. Casual, beach-friendly clothes are the most ideal option. Avoid packing heavy layers, as the temperatures in Cozumel are regularly in the 80’s, even during the wet season. You’ll feel uncomfortable and sticky in anything too heavy. Instead, stick to light, synthetic layers if you’re in need of a sweater. If you’re staying at a resort, be sure to pack a couple of dressier outfits, like chinos and a collared shirt for men, or a maxi dress for women. This will have you looking stylish during dinner at the resort restaurants.
FAQs about a vacation in Cozumel
When is the best time to visit?
The best time to visit Cozumel is February through April. During this time of year, the water is clear and warm, and the daily temperatures sit comfortably in the mid-80s. This is also the dry season, so the air is less humid, and rain showers are rare. You are almost guaranteed to have perfect weather during this time of year.
What are the best things to do on Cozumel?
Cozumel’s main attraction, by far, is the Palancar reef. Visitors come from all over the world to dive on this spectacular undersea landmark. If you’re not a diver, snorkeling is a close alternative. For landlubbers, there are plenty of beaches, eco-parks, and Mayan ruins to visit. You can also sample tequila, or take a surf lesson the east side of the island.
Do I need to speak Spanish?
Due to the large number of tourists that visit Cozumel each year (over 1 million), many of the locals, particularly those in customer-facing roles, speak English. That said, it is a nice gesture to learn a few courtesy phrases in Spanish. This will help you make an excellent first impression when interacting with locals.
What is the best way to get around?
The most popular method of transportation on Cozumel is by rented scooter. It’s a great way to zip around the island and see all the sights without spending a lot of money on gas. That said, a rental car is a great alternative for those who prefer a roof over their heads. You generally have the option to rent a vintage VW beetle, a jeep, or a typical sedan. During high season it’s important to reserve your car ahead of time, as there can be shortages.
How do I get to Cozumel?
The three most common ways to arrive on Cozumel are by plane to the Cozumel airport, on a cruise ship, or by passenger ferry from Playa del Carmen. The ferry ride from Playa del Carmen lasts about 45 minutes, and ferries depart every hour in each direction.
Is tipping expected?
Tipping is expected within Mexico, including on Cozumel. Tipping 10 to 20% in restaurants is standard. You should also plan to tip tour guides, and the cleaning staff in your hotel. There is no standard set amount to tip for those individuals, so it is ultimately left up to your discretion.
What is the currency on Cozumel?
Cozumel’s local currency is the Mexican Peso. Because of the large number of tourists from the US, some businesses will accept US dollars in addition to pesos. However, you typically get the best rate when you pay in pesos.