Mother nature has a mind of her own. But figuring out the best time to visit Cozumel goes beyond scheduling your vacation around hurricane and seaweed season.
Yes, seaweed season is a thing. But it’s not as big of a deal in Cozumel as in other parts of the Riviera Maya.
Other considerations include knowing the high and low tourist seasons, when local holidays fall, and juggling the ideal temperature for basking on the beach.
I’ve visited Cozumel several times over the course of a year and will share my takeaways.
Accessibility Note: If you’re a wheelchair user, check out our guide on accessibility in Cozumel.
Month-by-Month Breakdown of When To Visit Cozumel
I don’t know about you, but I’m a visual person. So, I put together the following chart to showcase Cozumel’s weather by month and other important considerations as you work on deciding the best time to take your trip.
|Month||Temperature (High/Low)||Precipitation||Hurricane Season||Seaweed Season||Tourist Season*|
|January||81°F / 69°F||3.1 inches||No||No||High|
|February||82°F / 70°F||2.4 inches||No||No||High|
|March||84°F / 72°F||1.2 inches||No||No||High|
|April||87°F / 74°F||1.8 inches||No||No||High|
|May||89°F / 77°F||4.3 inches||No||Yes||Shoulder|
|June||89°F / 78°F||7.5 inches||Yes||Yes||Low|
|July||90°F / 78°F||4.5 inches||Yes||Yes||Low|
|August||90°F / 78°F||5.5 inches||Yes||Yes||Low|
|September||89°F / 77°F||9.4 inches||Yes||Yes||Low|
|October||87°F / 76°F||9.6 inches||Yes||Yes||Low|
|November||84°F / 73°F||4.9 inches||Yes||No||Shoulder|
|December||82°F / 71°F||4.1 inches||No||No||High|
*The tourist season doesn’t take into account local holidays. So, you can expect to encounter more crowds if you travel over a holiday during the low or shoulder season.
With that under our belt, below is a more detailed explanation of the weather and circumstances you can expect to encounter in Cozumel by month.
Cozumel Weather in January
January is one of the most popular times to visit Cozumel because it has the coolest temperatures. But with average highs of 81°F, you won’t have to worry about getting cold. I recommend packing a sweater, though, since the nights can get down to the upper 60s.
If you stay in Cozumel for a week or more, you’ll likely encounter small amounts of rain. The rain is usually in the form of short showers, as wash-out days are rare in January.
Although you won’t have to worry about hurricanes or excessive amounts of seaweed in January, crowds flock to Cozumel. The island is especially packed during the first days of the month when New Year’s vacationers abound.
Cozumel Weather in February
February in Cozumel brings weather that’s a touch warmer and has even less average rainfall than in January.
It’s still the heart of the high tourist season, but since kids are back in school, you’ll encounter more retirees and fewer family vacationers.
Cozumel’s water is the chilliest in February, having just come off the coldest month of the year. But I doubt you’ll complain about the ocean’s 78.8°F average temperature.
Cozumel Weather in March
Many people consider March as the best time to visit Cozumel, given that it has the lowest precipitation all year. The 1.2 inches of rain occurs on an average of four days of the month, giving you lots of wiggle room for fun in the sun.
As with February, you can expect a higher ratio of retirees to families than in December, January, and the summer months.
As is the case with all months during the high season, hotel and tour prices will be at their highest.
For divers and snorkelers, March is the last opportunity to have a good chance for bull shark sightings.
Cozumel Weather in April
April marks the last month of the high tourist season in Cozumel. the temperatures warm up at this point—an average of 87°F for highs compared to January’s 81°F.
People who shiver in 60-degree weather will appreciate that the lows hover around the mid-70s.
The average rainfall increases by 0.6 inches from March to April. But April is the second lowest rainfall month in Cozumel, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity for dry, sunny weather.
Cozumel Weather in May
May is a coveted shoulder season in Cozumel. It’s a time when there are fewer tourists without you having to battle excessive heat and humidity.
Cozumel’s weather warms up significantly by the time May comes around. Its rainfall also increases—4.3 inches compared to 1.8 inches in April.
But that’s a far cry from the 9+ inches of rain Cozumel gets in September and October.
Divers and snorkelers appreciate that May marks the start of relatively calmer water. That, coupled with fewer people in the ocean, makes it easier to spot marine wildlife.
The downside to traveling in May is that this is when higher amounts of seaweed called sargassum land on Cozumel’s eastern shores. Hang tight because I’ll talk more about seaweed season shortly.
Cozumel Weather in June
If you thought Cozumel has a big jump in average rainfall between April and May, the difference is even bigger from May to June. You can expect 7.5 inches of rain in June, which is 3.2 inches more than in May.
Part of the reason for this dramatic increase is that hurricane season starts in June. It’s more common for nearby hurricanes in the Caribbean Sea to dump copious amounts of rain and bring wind to Cozumel rather than directly hitting the island.
But weighing the possibility of a hurricane affecting your trip is still essential when choosing the best time to visit Cozumel.
On the positive side, June is the first low tourist month of the year. So, you’ll have more beach space to yourself in between dodging rain showers and thunderstorms that will come and go between breaks of dry weather and sunshine.
Hey, there! If you’re on the fence about where in the Yucatan to pitch your beach umbrella, read my guide on the best Yucatan beaches. There’s a bonus in there you won’t expect.
Cozumel Weather in July
July, coupled with August, is the hottest time in Cozumel. You can expect average highs of 90°F.
If you’re from the southwest in the U.S. and are laughing at that “low” temperature, you’ll likely change your tune when you feel the heat coupled with 80% humidity levels.
Interestingly, the amount of rain decreases by three inches between June and July. You should still expect passing thunderstorms and be prepared for a hurricane interrupting your trip, though.
But if history is any indication, you’ll have a better chance of drier weather in July than in June. Seaweed season will be in full swing, but you’ll only see it on the east side of the island.
Cozumel Weather in August
You can expect essentially the same weather in Cozumel in August as in July, except for a slight increase in rain.
It’ll be hot and muggy. A combination of sun and thunderstorms will also put on a show for you throughout your stay.
Not only do these features make August the very lowest of the low tourist season in Cozumel, but it’s also a time when the chance of hurricanes increase, and the seaweed has had enough time to build up multiple feet high on the eastern side of Cozumel.
Many people aren’t fans of visiting Cozumel in August for these reasons. And I 100% get it.
But if you love hot weather, hate crowds, and are seeking bargain prices, August can be a fantastic time to visit.
Cozumel Weather in September
The water temperature in Cozumel is at its warmest in September, being in the mid to upper 80s. And although the air temperature in September isn’t Cozumel’s hottest, the one-degree drop in average temperature between July and August offers little relief.
Furthermore, the amount of rainfall almost doubles from August to September.
These factors, combined with it still being the heart of hurricane and seaweed season, make September one of the least attractive times to travel to Cozumel.
On the bright side, you won’t have to worry about a waiting list at restaurants, and you can often negotiate great tour deals.
Cozumel Weather in October
Cozumel’s weather in October is as unappealing as in September, assuming that September’s forecast made you shudder.
The island is still hot, with highs averaging 87°F. Hurricane season is also still rearing its ugly head throughout the Caribbean, and the seaweed is in pile-up and rotting modes on the east side of the island.
Yet again, the biggest advantage of traveling to Cozumel in October is the few tourists and low prices you’ll encounter.
Cozumel Weather in November
Cozumel’s weather drastically changes for the better when November rolls around. November is one of the best times to visit Cozumel if you’re seeking a shoulder period in terms of tourist crowds and weather.
Yes, hurricanes can still happen in November. But it’s the last month of hurricane season, and the later in November you travel, the lower the chance you’ll encounter one.
The average monthly rainfall also drops from 9.6 inches in October to only 4.9 inches in November.
And, perhaps best of all, most of the seaweed will have moved offshore or been removed by locals.
Cozumel Weather in December
December marks the start of another high tourist season in Cozumel. The average high temperature drops to a tropical but comfy 82°F, and rainfall continues to decline.
You can still expect bursts of rain and thunderstorms, but wash-out days are rare.
Hurricane and seaweed seasons are blissfully distant memories when December comes around.
While December starts getting crowded in Cozumel regardless of the date, you can expect extra tourists, tight hotel availability, and exorbitantly high prices leading up to the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
All About the Rainy Season in Cozumel
Here’s the cold-hard truth: Cozumel receives rain every month of the year.
Nevertheless, people refer to Cozumel, like all of the Yucatan Peninsula, as having a rainy and dry season.
The Cozumel rainy season runs from May to October or December, depending on who you ask. But the rainy season isn’t as straightforward as you might expect.
Instead, June has significantly higher average monthly rainfall (7.5 inches) compared to its neighboring months of May (4.3 inches) and July (4.5 inches).
The month of August receives a modest 5.5 inches of rain. But then the average rainfall jumps up in September and October, with 9.4 and 9.6 inches of rain, respectively.
November and December then taper off to having only 4.9 inches and 4.1 inches of rain.
Despite the high chance of encountering rain from May to December, some of these months are among the best time to go to Cozumel.
I’ve spent lots of time in and around the Cozumel area during the rainy season. The rain often comes in bouts, with greater chances of it happening in the afternoon.
While there are undoubtedly days that are complete wash-outs, it’s more common for short bursts of rain and thunder to happen between periods of dry, sunny spells.
Weighing Hurricane Season
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th.
That’s not to say a hurricane can’t happen before or after these dates, but it’s rare.
Furthermore, September is the month with the highest probability of a hurricane hitting Cozumel. Between 1842 and 2022, 40% of all tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean happened during that time.
So, if you’re concerned about Cozumel’s hurricane season, you might want to avoid traveling there in September (at the very least).
The good news is that it’s rare for Cozumel to take a direct hurricane hit. Instead, it’s more common for the island to receive rain and wind effects from nearby hurricanes.
Dry Season in Cozumel
The dry season in Cozumel is from January to April. During this time, sunny or partially sunny days far outweigh rainy weather.
That’s not to say you won’t encounter rain during the dry season in Cozumel; you can expect anywhere from 1.2 to 3.1 inches of average monthly rainfall.
Of those months, March is the driest, and January is the (relatively) wettest.
Cozumel’s dry season is the most popular time for tourists to visit, as it also falls outside of hurricane and seaweed season.
The Low-down on Seaweed Season in Cozumel
Cozumel didn’t always have a seaweed season.
And, unfortunately, it’s not a unique feature of the island—a seaweed called sargassum strikes all coastal areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, most of the Caribbean, and even parts of Florida.
But unlike most of the Riviera Maya, the east side of Cozumel serves as a net, capturing the seaweed. That means the western side of the island is mostly unaffected, remaining essentially seaweed-free year-round.
National Public Radio (NPR) reported that 24 million tons of sargassum swept through the Atlantic Ocean in June 2022. That doesn’t even count the over 18 million tons that arrived the month prior.
Scientists still debate the cause of increasing levels of sargassum in Cozumel and neighboring destinations. But it appears to be a combination of one or more of the following:
- Rising sea temperatures
- Fertilizers from agriculture
- Sewage waste
So, what does sargassum mean for your visit to Cozumel?
If you travel from approximately May to October, you’ll encounter mounds of sargassum along the eastern shoreline and a thick blanket of this seaweed floating in the water.
It won’t hurt you, but it’s unpleasant for swimming. Not that you want to swim on Cozumel’s east coast; that side has the roughest waves.
As sargassum rots, it releases a nasty odor akin to rotting eggs.
Because sargassum is bad for business, oceanfront hotel workers around the Yucatan do their best to cart it off the beach. They often need to rent bulldozers to get the job…eh, not done.
Removing sargassum is pretty much a thankless task until it stops blooming in November.
The bottom line?
If you plan to travel to Cozumel during seaweed season, book a hotel on the west side of the island. The silver lining is that most of Cozumel’s hotels call its west shores home, so you’ll have plenty of options.
Best Time To Visit Cozumel to Avoid Crowds
The best time to visit Cozumel to avoid crowds is from June to October. These months fall during the island’s hottest and rainiest times, making people shy away from visiting.
June to October is also peak seaweed and hurricane season in Cozumel.
That said, if you’d like to travel to Cozumel when you’ll have the chance to encounter better weather but before the mass crowds arrive, the shoulder months of May and November are excellent times to visit.
If you’re trying to figure out the best time to visit Cozumel when you can milk more daylight hours on the beach, that’s June.
The longest days in June average 13 hours, 22 minutes. The sun rises a little after 6:00 am and sets around 7:30 pm.
You read that right: 7:30 pm-ish is the latest you’ll ever see the sun in Cozumel.
If it’s any consolation for those traveling in the winter, you’ll have around 11 hours of sunlight each day. The latest the sun will rise is around 7:20 am, and the latest it’ll set is around 6:15 pm.
You can check out this nifty chart to see when the sunrise and sunset times will be during your travel dates.
Best Time To Visit Cozumel for Snorkeling
The best time to go to Cozumel for snorkeling is from January to April.
During this time, visibility is at its best since mostly rain-free days minimize the amount of debris that kicks up in the water.
You also won’t have to battle with excessive amounts of seaweed.
The ocean temperature will be in the upper 70s during these winter months. But if that sounds too chilly, you’ll get to enjoy water in the 80s if you snorkel from July to October.
Best Time To Visit Cozumel for Diving
Like snorkeling, the best time for diving in Cozumel is from January to April.
During these months, you’ll enjoy the clearest water, little seaweed, and comfortable water temperatures.
Weather for Crossing to Cozumel by Ferry
Many people choose to arrive in Cozumel by ferry from Playa del Carmen. But even if you arrive by plane, you might want to take a day trip to Playa by sea.
I’ve taken the ferry several times and managed to squeeze by without encountering weather-related delays.
But weather delays on the ferry to and from Cozumel are common.
Especially during the rainy season.
By law, the ferries must temporarily shut down during inclement weather for safety reasons. Trust me, you’ll be glad they do—the water can get choppier than some people (AKA me) are comfortable with, even when you’re not cruising through a thunderstorm.
On the bright side, weather-related delays often last less than an hour. But you should prepare yourself for major delays just in case.
I’ve even heard stories of people getting stuck in Cozumel or Playa del Carmen overnight because the ferry couldn’t run.
The bottom line?
Don’t take the ferry to or from Cozumel on the day you have a flight.
Psst! If you decide to stay in Playa instead of Cozumel, check out my 14 must-know tips on taking a day trip from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel.
Cheapest Time To Go to Cozumel
The cheapest time to go to Cozumel is from June to October.
During these months, you can often snag cheaper deals on accommodation and tours.
But as a warning to the budget traveler, Cozumel is outrageously expensive compared to most destinations in Mexico. You can expect to pay U.S. prices for meals, tours, and accommodations.
Since I was counting my pesos while in the Yucatan, I was glad I took day trips to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen because Playa is significantly more economical.
Holidays and Special Events in Cozumel
Some people love traveling to a destination during holidays and special events, while others want to steer clear of them.
Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, the chart below highlights some of Cozumel’s most notable holidays and events.
Keep in mind that you’ll likely encounter more crowds, less hotel availability, and potentially higher prices on and around these dates.
|January 1st||New Year's|
|First Monday of February||Constitution Day|
|Third Monday of March||Benito Juárez’s birthday|
|February or early March||Carnival|
|May 1st||Labor Day|
|May 5th||Cinco de Mayo|
|September 15th||Independence Day|
|September 21st - 29th||San Miguel Arcangel Festival|
|November 1st - 2nd||Day of the Dead|
|Third Monday of November||Revolution Day|
FAQs About the Best Time to Visit Cozumel
If you’re still on the fence about the best time to go to Cozumel, take a peek at the questions below.
When is the worst time to visit Cozumel?
The worst time to visit Cozumel is from June to October. During this time, the beach has lots of seaweed on the eastern side, hurricanes can happen, and rain and thunderstorms are frequent.
However, the benefit of traveling to Cozumel from June to October is that you’ll encounter fewer crowds.
Can you swim in Cozumel in December?
Yes, absolutely! Cozumel’s water stays warm year-round, so you can expect ocean temperatures in the upper 70s in December.
When does Cozumel have the most crowds?
Cozumel has the most crowds from December to April. This is the best time to go to Cozumel for comfortable temperatures and little rain. You also won’t have to worry about hurricanes or seaweed season.
Choosing Your Ideal Cozumel Travel Dates
Now that we’ve covered Cozumel’s weather by month and explored other aspects that can make or break your vacation, I’ll hand things off to you.
The best time to go to Cozumel varies according to personal preference and interests. Personally, the warm weather craving part of me loves traveling during Cozumel’s low season.
I’d love to hear about your experience traveling to Cozumel and if there’s anything you’d add or change to the information here based on your trip.
Psst! Are you wondering if Cozumel is safe? Check out my guide on safety in Cozumel. I write from the perspective of statistics and my personal experience as a solo female traveler.