Tulum is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, and for a good reason. It’s home to some of the best beaches in the world and incredible ancient ruins. But many people don’t know that Tulum is also an excellent place for scuba diving.
In this guide, we will explore everything you need to know about scuba diving in Tulum. From the best dive sites to recommended dive shops, we’ve got you covered!
What You Need to Know Before Scuba Diving in Tulum
Before scuba diving in Tulum, you should know a few things.
Tulum is widely known as a great place for Cenote diving. Cenotes are natural pits, or sinkholes, that result from the collapse of limestone bedrock. Underneath is water – and in many cases a huge system of caverns, tunnels and caves.
For that reason, all the dive spots mentioned below are about Cenotes, which is really the key attraction in Tulum for scuba divers. Cenotes are great for swimming, snorkeling, and of course diving. Due to the underwater caverns and caves, you should only enter them with an experienced guide and proper training.
As a result, the whole Yucatán peninsula and in particular the area around Tulum is perfect for advancing your training and taking a cavern or cave diver course.
Finally, be aware of the wildlife. There are stingrays, barracudas, and other animals in the waters around Tulum. For your own safety and that of the wildlife around you, always stay aware of your surroundings.
The Best Places to Go Scuba Diving in Tulum
If you’re looking for some of the best scuba diving in Tulum, you’ll want to check out these spots:
Those who are just learning to scuba dive may get their feet wet at Casa Cenote, a stunning natural cenote that serves as a teaching ground. Because of their elongated, snakelike form, the mangroves are sculpted into a beautiful landscape from above. Fish, algal gardens, and even Pancho the crocodile are just some of the sights to see in this cenote’s mix of saltwater and freshwater ecosystems. Deepest possible depth: between 20 and 25 feet (6 and 8 meters).
Carwash seems to be a big lagoon or pond from the outside, but it is really the entrance to a series of shallow caves that are perfect for novice cave divers. Cenote dives are beautiful because of the abundance of lily pads, aquatic life, limestone formations, and fallen trees. The deepest possible depth is 45 feet (15 m).
Cenote El Pit
For those who are curious, the cenote known as “Cenote Pit” is named after its literal appearance. As a large pit or underwater chamber, it is one of the top cenotes for diving in Tulum (for advanced divers). It is one of the deepest cenotes in Quintana Roo, with a depth of around 400 feet (121 meters). Amazing pictures may be created by light passing through the water. A maximum depth of 130 feet is allowed for diving (40 m).
The heavy cloud of hydrogen sulfide gas produced by rotting trees and flora at the cenote’s layer where fresh and saltwater mix makes it a favorite among expert divers in Tulum and has earned the name “Cenote Angelita” (halocline).
If you make it through this barrier, you’ll reach a deeper, more sinister section of Angelita. There is a 130-foot maximum depth for scuba diving (40 m).
Cenotes Dos Ojos
When visiting Tulum, many people go to the Dos Ojos cenote to either snorkel or dive. Dos Ojos, which translates to “Two Eyes,” is the name given to two adjacent cenotes that are connected by a massive underground river.
This river is part of the Sac Atun cave system, which is the longest in the world at 193 miles (310 km). Because you don’t go deeper than 30 feet, this is a fantastic alternative for novice divers (10 m). The two main routes for divers at Dos Ojos are known as the “Barbie Line” and the “Bat Line.”
Another renowned cenote in Tulum is the Gran Cenote. It used to be possible to go diving here, but now, maybe because of an influx of tourists, it is currently off limits. But who knows, this might change in the future.
You may still visit and plan a snorkeling excursion, however. One of the most expensive entrance fees in all of Tulum is roughly 350 Mexican pesos per person. On-site amenities include a garden and resting area, restrooms, showers, and equipment rentals.
Cenote Dream Gate
Cenote Dream Gate is a great place to scuba dive since the water is very clear and there is a lot of marine life and cave structures to explore (often written as Dreamgate).
In addition to the standard downstream dive, this cenote also offers an upstream option. It doesn’t matter which one you choose; you’ll have a great time in this cenote. It is often considered to be among Tulum’s finest cave-diving cenotes. You’ll need to be a certified open-water diver with exceptional buoyancy abilities to dive here. Maximum depth is thirty feet (9 m).
One large hole and two smaller ones make Cenote Calavera a fun cenote with a skull form (hence the name). What seems to be a large swimming hole is really the entrance to the Sac Actun caves. This dive takes place in a chilly cave system, and there is a foggy halocline layer to explore. Due to the presence of certain small and dark passages, only experienced divers should attempt to explore this area. Minimum depth: 50 feet (16 m).
Hidden in the forest to the south of Tulum lies the enormous pool-like cenote known as Cenote Escondido. You can swim, snorkel, and even dive here with ease! On the same trip, you should also visit Cenote Cristal, which is just across the street and excellent for swimming, snorkeling, and cliff jumping (but not diving).
The Dos Ojos Cenotes Park includes the Cenote Nicte Ha. This cenote is a cavern line as well as an open-water underwater garden dive. Although it is not as well-known as some other cenotes, this one may nonetheless provide divers with an exciting dive. Its maximum depth is about 25 feet (8 m).
Best Dive Shops in Tulum
If you’re looking to scuba dive in Tulum, you’ll need to find a good dive shop. Cenote diving should only be done with an experienced guide – so picking a good dive shop is quite important. There are many great dive shops in Tulum that can help you with all your scuba diving needs.
Here are some of the best dive shops in Tulum:
It is one of the most popular dive shops in Tulum. They offer daily dives, PADI courses, and equipment rental. They also have a retail store where you can buy scuba gear and souvenirs.
Kooxdiving is another great option for scuba diving in Tulum. They offer both group and private dives, as well as PADI certification courses. They also have a retail store where you can purchase scuba gear and souvenirs.
This one is a great choice for those who are looking for scuba diving packages. They offer daily dives, PADI courses, and equipment rental. They also have a convenient online booking system so you can easily schedule your dives.
The Best Time to Scuba Dive in Tulum
The answer largely depends on what you want to see and do while diving. For example, if you’re interested in seeing the famous Mayan ruins, then you’ll want to visit during the dry season (December to April), when visibility is at its best. However, if you’re more interested in seeing turtles and other marine life, then you should visit during the wet season (May to November), when the waters are warmer and there’s more food for the fish.
In general, though, we recommend visiting Tulum for scuba diving between December and March, when conditions are optimum for both beginner and experienced divers alike. The water is warm but not too hot, visibility is excellent, and there’s a wide variety of things to see and do underwater.
Some Interesting Facts about Tulum
- With over 2 million annual visitors, Tulum trails only Teotihuacan and Chichen Itza as Mexico’s most popular archaeological site.
- Zama, which means “sunrise,” was the ancient name of the location. The Mayan ruins were given the name Tulum, which means “wall,” once they were found.
- During its heyday, Tulum was home to an astronomical academy where the elite of the Aztec, Zapotec, and other cultures studied the heavens.
- It was one of the last Mayan towns to be inhabited before the Spanish came. The Spanish brought with them new diseases that were deadly and killed most of the indigenous population.
- Tulum, located on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, was an important link in the Mayan Peninsula’s communications network with Honduras and the rest of the world.
What To Do When Not Scuba Diving in Tulum?
When you’re not scuba diving in Tulum, there’s still plenty to do. You can explore the ruins of the ancient Mayan city, sunbathe on the beautiful beaches, or take a dip in one of the many cenotes.
For those who want to stay active, there’s plenty of hiking and biking trails through the jungle. And of course, no trip to Mexico would be complete without some delicious food. There are plenty of great restaurants in Tulum, serving up both traditional Mexican dishes and international cuisine.
Where is Tulum Located?
Tulum is a town in the Riviera Maya on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It’s known for its beachfront Mayan ruins, which sit atop 12-meter-high cliffs along the coast. The site, a former walled city, dates to the 13th century and features a temple and castle. Nearby is the Gran Cenote, an underwater sinkhole popular for swimming and snorkeling.
What is the best time of year to go scuba diving in Tulum?
The best time of year to go scuba diving in Tulum is from November to April. The water temperature during this time is a comfortable 86°F (30°C), and the visibility is excellent at over 100 feet (30 meters). There are also fewer crowds during these months.
What do I need to bring with me on a scuba diving trip in Tulum?
When scuba diving in Tulum, you will not need to bring your own dive gear. The dive shops can rent you a mask, fins, snorkel, and wetsuit or dive skin. However, especially if you want to proceed with cave or cavern training, bringing your own gear (e.g., sidemount) may be the better option.
How deep will I be able to dive in Tulum?
Many of the popular cenotes are quite shallow, often having a maximum depth of less than 10 meters. However, you will always find cenotes that are deeper, with some being as deep as 60 meters and more.
What kind of fish will I see while scuba diving in Tulum?
The most common fish that you will see while scuba diving in Tulum in the ocean are angelfish, barracuda, parrotfish, and triggerfish. You may also see dolphins, turtles, and rays.
Is scuba diving in Tulum good?
Yes, it is! The water is clear and there are plenty of fish to see. Plus, the dives sites are close to shore, so you don’t have to travel far to get to them. Next to diving in the ocean, there is of course cenote diving – which is a great experience you should not miss.
How much does scuba diving in Tulum cost?
The cost of scuba diving in Tulum depends on a variety of factors, such as the time of year, the type of dive you’re interested in, and whether or not you need to rent equipment. Generally speaking, a one-time introductory dive will cost around $50-$70 USD, while more advanced dives (such as night dives or cave dives) will cost closer to $100 USD.
If you’re planning on doing multiple dives during your stay in Tulum, you can expect to pay somewhere in the range of $200-$300 USD for a package deal. As for equipment rental, this will usually set you back an additional $20-$30 USD per day.
What is the water temperature in Tulum?
The water temperature in Tulum ranges from 77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (25 to 30 degrees Celsius). The average water temperature is 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).
What are the pros and cons of scuba diving in Tulum?
The pros of scuba diving in Tulum are that the water is crystal clear, there are many beautiful reefs to explore, and the diving is generally very good. The cons of scuba diving in Tulum are that it can be quite crowded, there are a lot of swimmers in the area, and the currents in the ocean can be strong.
Which is the better scuba diving destination, Tulum or Cancun?
This is difficult to answer, as it really depends on what you are looking for. If you are looking for Cenote diving, there is no way around Tulum. However, for everything except Cenotes, Cancun is a better scuba diving destination than Tulum. Here’s why:
- The water is clearer in Cancun, making for better visibility underwater.
- There are more dive sites to choose from in Cancun.
- Cancun has a longer diving season than Tulum, so you can go diving all year round.
- The prices for scuba diving in Cancun are generally cheaper than in Tulum.
After reading this complete guide, we hope you have all the information you need for planning your scuba diving vacation in Tulum! It is a great place to explore the countless Cenotes, which make for a very special experience.
We hope you enjoyed reading this guide and that it helped you plan your next scuba diving trip to Tulum. Have a safe and enjoyable dive trip!