Best Time to Visit Cozumel: 3 Ideal Months
The best time to visit Cozumel is during three months of the year in the late winter and early spring when rainfall reaches its lowest point.
Temperatures are warm but not too hot. The same can't be said for the sometimes-scorching summer months with daytime temperatures often going above 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
People flock to Cozumel because of its white-sand beaches, snorkeling reefs, Mayan ruins and easy access to the fabulous shopping and dining district across the water at Playa del Carmen.
It is one of the most popular cruise ports in the Caribbean and the most visited port among western Caribbean cruises.
December through May make up the dry season for this hugely popular port that lies just south of Cancun.
This time of year is not only the dry season for Cozumel. It also is a time for northerners from the U.S. Canada and Europe to escape the cold and snowy winters.
Even though December through May is the dry season, February through April are the driest months of all during the year.
Are those months the only best times to go? Just as importantly, when are the worst months to go?
Caribbean Weather Video
Rankings of Best and Worst Months
The following list shows the best to worst months to go to Cozumel. The two best are March and April. The two worst are October and September.
The list is the author's opinion based on a combination of rain days, total rainfall and most comfortable temperatures. It also considers the best weather for both land and water activities.
It is important to note that these estimates use averages from years of historical data. An individual month may be better or worse than the average.
Hurricane Weather Impact
Cozumel Hurricane Season
The Cozumel hurricane season is the worst time to go for obvious reasons.
A hurricane may not hit Cozumel or even come close. But hurricanes and tropical storms affect the weather for many hundreds of miles around them. Cozumel often experiences spikes in rainfall as a result.
Rainfall drenches the island during the fall months, especially in September and October. June also is a bad month historically.
The bad weather is the result of the Caribbean hurricane season, which officially starts June 1 and ends on Nov. 30.
Most Caribbean islands have a fairly dry June, but Cozumel is an exception. The island gets a break in July and August before bad weather hits hard in the fall, according to data from the National Water Commission.
The high point of 10 inches in October is one of the heaviest rainfall averages for any month in the Caribbean.
September rainfall is almost as bad at nine inches on average over the last 30 years.
People who go in September and October either don't know that they are the worst months for rain or they are taking last-minute vacations.
Last-minute vacationers have the advantage of seeing a short-term weather forecast that may indicate fewer chances of rain.
The high point of 10 inches in October is one of the heaviest rainfall averages for any month in the Caribbean."
Cozumel Travel Poll
What month do you want to go to Cozumel?
Cozumel Dry Season
The perfect month to visit Cozumel is March, according to 30 years of historical data from Mexico's National Water Commission.
Over that 30-year period, rainfall averages a little more than one inch during the month, although the actual amount will vary from year to year.
April is next and followed closely by February at about two inches apiece.
March and April have another advantage: each month averages only four days of rain, the fewest rain days of the year.
May and December fall into their own category as transition months between the wet and dry season with about four inches each.
These totals are slightly above the averages for many other Caribbean destinations.
So anyone planning a week-long vacation in one location in the region may want to consider places other than Cozumel.
But cruise visitors shouldn't make other plans if they are going in May because of what the chart below will show.
Cozumel Rain Days: More Dry, More Drenching
Total rainfall isn't the only factor to consider when planning a Caribbean vacation that includes Cozumel.
The number of days that it rains during the month also is important, especially for people who like to spend time on the beach.
The chart above using data from the National Water Commission shows that May has only seven rain days on average, which is less than January and about equal to February.
March ties with April at first place with four days each. Both months have the lowest rainfall and fewest rain days combined with warming temperatures. For anyone planning a Cozumel vacation far ahead of time with the freedom to choose when to go, March and April are ideal months for a vacation.
June through October have the most rain days ranging from 12 to 16 with October being the highest.
Even though December has the same total rainfall as May at four inches per month, it has three more days of rain.
Cozumel Temperatures: Too Cool or Too Hot?
Summer is not always the best time to go to Cozumel because of higher rainfall, more rain days and hot temperatures.
The average high temperatures in Cozumel throughout the year range from the low 80s Fahrenheit or high 20s Celsius to more than 90 degrees Fahrenheit or 33 Celsius.
Late winter to early spring has moderate temperatures with a lower risk of rain. Temperatures reach into the mid to high 80s Fahrenheit during that time.
Even though winter temperatures in the low to mid 80s are good for walking around, the nighttime temperatures drop into the 60s Fahrenheit or less than 20 degrees Celsius.
Lower nighttime temperatures, cool water currents and strong trade winds will often make swimming in the ocean too uncomfortable for some people.
Summers have the opposite problem. Daytime temperatures often exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit or more than 32 Celsius.
Swimmers may not mind the heat, but land activities are often uncomfortably hot.
March and April have both daytime and nighttime temperatures that are often suitable for both water and land activities.
They are two of the best months to visit Cozumel, although past weather does not the same will be true in the future. But knowing the historical weather patterns increases the chance of choosing a good month to go.
Cozumel Monthly Climate
Cozumel climate begins a dry season in January that attracts western Caribbean cruise visitors. The average rainfall is about three inches, but later January is often drier than early in the month. High temperatures historically hover about 84 Fahrenheit or 29 Celsius. Low nighttime temperatures will make seawater cool in the mornings.
Temperatures in February are similar to January. Rainfall declines to about 2.5 inches and days with rain decreases to seven. It is a good month to visit for low risk of rain, but once again it is not a good month for swimming.
Cozumel weather in March offers the best climate of the year. Average rainfall drops to about one inch. It rains four days during the month. The average high temperature is 88 degrees Fahrenheit or 31 Celsius. Seawater temperatures are usually cool in the mornings and comfortable in the afternoons.
April does almost as well as March. The average high temperature climbs to 90 Fahrenheit or 32 Celsius. Total rainfall increases slightly, but days with rain stay at a yearly low of only four. April is a good month for beach lovers.
The dry season ends with the arrival of May. Western Caribbean cruises that visit Cozumel start to drop off. Average rainfall increases to four inches. High temperatures remain around 90 Fahrenheit. It is still a good time to visit.
Rain historically jumps in June to an average of eight inches. The average days with rain jumps as well to 13. It is a high-risk month to visit.
Rain takes a slight break in July with an average of less than five inches. It is still a risky month to visit because the rainy season has begun, and the temperatures are hot.
It’s another rainy month with an average of nearly six inches of rain and 13 days of it. The heat doesn’t let up. Anyone thinking about a Caribbean vacation in August should look at other destinations.
The Caribbean hurricane season reaches a peak of activity for storms and hurricanes. Cozumel gets plenty of the wet stuff with an average rainfall of nearly 10 inches. If there are any two months to avoid Cozumel, it is this one and the next.
October won’t be outdone by September. Average rainfall stays at 10 inches and the days with rain reaches a yearly high of 16. But at least it is warm. Daring vacation planners may want to go now if they find great hotel rates for a last-minute vacation. Just check the 10-day weather forecast before buying anything.
Cozumel weather in November starts a transition between the wet season and the dry season. Average rainfall is less than five inches. The average high temperature is 86 Fahrenheit or 30 Celsius. Tourism begins to pick up again.
The drying trend continues in December with rainfall averaging about four inches. Visitors to Cozumel climb from people wanting to escape northern winters. But temperatures are not friendly for beaches and swimming. They reach a low point of the year that lasts through February.
© 2016 Scott Bateman