Found less than 10 miles off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is the island of Cozumel. Also known as the Island of Swallows, this island has gained a reasonable amount of popularity recently as a great diving destination. It has everything you’ll want from a holiday getaway: great food, a thriving nightlife, hospitable people, white sandy beaches, and of course, dive spots in its pristine, warm waters that can rival the world’s best.
Scuba diving Cozumel certainly is an experience to remember but making the most out of your diving holiday requires you to know when the best time it is to dive there.
To help you find that elusive sweet spot, we’ve listed down the things you need to watch out for so you can decide when the best time is for scuba diving Cozumel.
The Diving High Season
Source: SCUBA Cozumel 2020
Scuba diving Cozumel anywhere between May and November ensures that the dive spots, and all the tourist spots in general, are less crowded. It is worthy to note, however, that hurricane season in this part of the world begins in August and lasts all the way until November, so if you don’t want your diving trip cancelled because of rough seas, it’s best to avoid these months.
The winter months, especially between December and April, are considered to be the most popular times to visit Cozumel and Mexico in general. Because Cozumel remains warm the entire year, people from all over the world congregate here to escape the cold in their respective countries. If you plan on scuba diving Cozumel during the winter months, you should consider booking your flights and accommodations early to get the best rates. Naturally, winter is also when Cozumel is most crowded.
Many believe that the best months to visit are between the months of May and September. You’ll get to enjoy less crowded dive spots, calmer waters and better visibility.
Source: Cozumel Dive Trip May 2017
Because of its tropical climate, Cozumel enjoys near-constant warm temperatures all throughout the year, even in the middle of winter, with water temperatures going from 78ºF to 83ºF. It gets a little cooler in the winter months between December and April, but not as much. The waters around the island and Mexico are generally calm, especially on its northeastern side, making it a perfect destination if you’re a beginner, though winter winds do tend to make the surrounding waters choppy.
During the fall months, the waters begin to warm up to as high as 85ºF, but this is also a time when hurricanes are most frequent. The currents also get a bit choppy during the transition between seasons. To make the most out of your scuba diving Cozumel, it’s best to contact local dive coordinators to see if the conditions are just right for diving.
Cozumel has a rich diversity of marine wildlife, with as many as 500 species of fish congregating in its coral reefs, many of which are tropical species. Though many of these fishes can be seen throughout the year, one of Cozumel’s most popular attractions, the Bull Sharks, are more commonly seen between November and March. Eagle Rays are another common site when scuba diving Cozumel, with sightings of them being more common during the later summer months and early fall.
Sea turtles also visit the island every year, with each species having their own nesting seasons. Loggerhead turtles are more commonly seen between April and July, while the Green Turtles commonly visit the island between June to September. Turtle eggs tend to hatch 2 months after they are laid, so if you want to see baby turtles swimming about, or making their way to the beach, you can visit Cozumel at least 2 months after the turtles have had their nesting season.
Do note, however, that both these turtle species are endangered, so try not to bother them. Observe, but don’t touch.
Another rare animal that can be seen in Cozumel are the enigmatic whale sharks. They tend to migrate to the Yucatan Peninsula between May and September, right when the diving spots aren’t as crowded. This means that if you’re scuba diving Cozumel during this period, you might be lucky enough to have the whale sharks all by yourself.