Wetsuits in caribbean in march?

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#1
608 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
We have wetsuits and we also have rash guards. Which would we be likely to want for snorkeling in Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Roatan in mid-March? I get cold very easily and then can't relax and enjoy myself - I'd rather be too warm than be cold. The flotation of the wetsuit is also nice, since I'm not a strong swimmer. We also like to "cover up" so we don't need to use sun screen.

Any advice? Thanks very much.
#2
Tucson, Arizona and San Carlos, Mexico
4,230 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
The water temp will be high 70s, at least. It was that warm over New Year's when we were there diving. I wore a 1 mm suit and was comfortable down to 140 feet deep where the "sun don't shine."
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#3
lake lanier,ga. & lake worth, fla.
1,241 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
You said you get cold easy. I do too and last month I was in Curacao for a week with an 81 degree water temperature all week. I took a 3M wetsuit and a small hood. I was almost always cold and wished I had taken a 5M wetsuit.

Bottom line you can`t wear it if you don`t take it. I recommend taking the wetsuit.
#4
Tucson, Arizona and San Carlos, Mexico
4,230 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
OMG, a 5 mm in 81 degrees? You do get cold!
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#5
608 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Thanks for the replies. I'm with you, G.C. Water temp of 70's isn't warm to me. [We have a pool and my family teases me because I don't get in unless it's 80 or warmer!] We have 3mm wetsuits and used them in Hawaii in May and were glad we had them. Guess we'll take both [since we're flying on an airline that doesn't have baggage fees!] and play it by ear.

I like having the wetsuit [especially in Hawaii, because of lava] to protect against not only sun, but also any critters or rocks, etc. Not having to use sunscreen is a HUGE plus for me.

I'm a bit worried about feeling self-conscious wearing a wetsuit on a Caribbean beach, but, hey, I don't know anyone there, except my DH, and he'll be in one, too!!

Any further input anyone has will be welcomed.
#6
Tucson, Arizona and San Carlos, Mexico
4,230 Posts
Joined Jul 2009
I'm lucky that the cold doesn't get to me. I was just diving in Mexico where the water temperature was 58 degrees and I was in a 5 mm. I did goof the day before and grabbed the wrong wetsuit so I ended up diving in the 3 mm. Lasted 15 minutes that day!
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#7
318 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
Our pool at the gym is maintained at 81 degrees for lap swimming so you can dissapate heat, and that feels cool to me when i get in.

I am about to do b2b caribbean cruise and am wondering the same things you are.

I "THINK" I will be ok with a rashguard top and maybe shorts under swimwear. That way I dont look full on wetsuit snorkling (not diving this time) and still have some extra warmth (plus of course the SPF 50 protection)
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#9
Greater Columbus, OH area
144 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
Two weeks ago snorkeled in Grand Turk and Trunk Bay. Water temps were 79 - 81F which is doable, but still cool for me. I was good for about 45 min; wished I had worn something for a bit of warmth.
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#10
SF Bay Area
1,467 Posts
Joined May 2007
We just got back from diving in Cozumel and Roatan last week and it was 80F in both. I wore a 3mm full, although we saw everything from a guy diving in just a speedo to a DM with 2 full wetsuits and a good.

I'd say an "average" person would be comfortable in a 3mm or 5mm full suit and maybe bring a beanie because that will add a lot of warmth with just a little bit of neoprene
#11
608 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Just to update:

We did take and use our wetsuits at all three ports we snorkeled in - and were glad we did. The water was fine if you just wanted to take a dip to cool off, but it was pretty chilly if you were going to stay in for any length of time. We snorkeled at Eden Rock in Cayman, Chank in Cozumel, and West Bay in Roatan. By the time we got to Costa May, we were "snorkeled out".
#12
Alabama, United States
259 Posts
Joined Sep 2001
I went diving in December and I wore a 3mm wetsuit and was warm enough.
#13
Melbourne, FL
7,919 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
a difficult issue from some angles

I recently arrived at a Key Largo dive shop to check in and they asked me if I wanted a wet suit.

No, I replied since I had a full 3mm suit of my own.

They encouraged me to take a 3mm shorty to wear OVER my 3mm full "because it was so cold"

I foolishly listened to the dive shop

I aborted my first dive since by the time I got in the water for the first dive I was panting
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#14
Houston, Tx
9,651 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
Originally posted by Archaegeo
Our pool at the gym is maintained at 81 degrees for lap swimming so you can dissapate heat, and that feels cool to me when i get in.

I am about to do b2b caribbean cruise and am wondering the same things you are.

I "THINK" I will be ok with a rashguard top and maybe shorts under swimwear. That way I dont look full on wetsuit snorkling (not diving this time) and still have some extra warmth (plus of course the SPF 50 protection)

I've snorkeled darn near every Caribbean cruise ship port there is. My rash guard shirts have been quite adequate. Unless you're especially temperature sensitive, your rash guard top will be fine.
I wear a long sleeve for the added UV protection. It's a loose fit, too.
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#15
Michigan
1,204 Posts
Joined Feb 2004
We have snorkeled in the Carribbean in various months and never even thought to wear a wetsuit. Bathing suit was just fine even when we snorkeled in December. We just finished up a week diving in Cozumel and we only used a 3 mil shortie and was just fine and we dove to 90 feet.
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#16
Oregon
251 Posts
Joined Nov 2000
Originally posted by Laurie S.
I'm lucky that the cold doesn't get to me. I was just diving in Mexico where the water temperature was 58 degrees and I was in a 5 mm. I did goof the day before and grabbed the wrong wetsuit so I ended up diving in the 3 mm. Lasted 15 minutes that day!
58 degrees F is drysuit temp for me. Yes, some people do dive wet at that temp, I'm just not one of them. For me, it's 5mm between 70 to 80/82. I've worn 3mm at 85 and still wasn't too warm. Actually, I've never, ever been too warm on a dive, but I definitely have been too cold, but that was in British Columbia in February. California Channel Islands in a drysuit in September is very nice.

Summary: ALWAYS wear a wetsuit, especially if you get cold easily like I do.
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