Tulum’s Best Dive Sites: A Guide for Scuba Divers
Tulum is an ideal place for scuba diving, with a variety of dive sites suited to all levels of divers. Whether you’re an experienced diver looking to explore deeper waters or a beginner looking to do some shallow dives and get comfortable in the water, Tulum has something for everyone.
Cenote diving in Tulum
Cento diving in Tulum is a popular activity and is an experience you won’t soon forget. Cenotes are natural underwater cave systems, filled with crystal clear water and amazing wildlife. There are several cenotes located near Tulum, including Casa Cenote, Dos Ojos, Angelita, and Dreamgate. Each offers a unique dive experience and the chance to spot interesting marine life such as turtles, reef sharks, stingrays, moray eels, and more. Many of these underwater caverns are connected through long cave systems.
What makes most cenotes so special in Tulum is the halocline (where seawater meets freshwater). It looks as if two different waterfronts are stacked on each other. You can witness this natural phenomenon at El Pit or Cenote Angelita.
Due to its unique habitat of a mix of fresh and salt water, Tulum is also home to Moreletii crocodiles. While most people are afraid of these animals, these animals are quite friendly to divers. The Casa Cenote dive site has even its mascot, Panchito.
Do you need a cave diving certification to dive Tulum’s cenotes?
No, you do not need a cave diving certification to explore Tulum’s cenotes. Most of the cenote dives in Tulum are considered “open water” recreational dives, meaning that you can enter and explore them without any specialized training or equipment. They are mainly large, open cenotes. That being said, always dive within your limits and explore the cenotes in Tulum with experienced scuba dive operators.
Tulum is not just famous for cenotes
Tulum Reef is also a great destination for divers of all levels. Here, you can explore the vibrant coral reef system that runs along the edges of Tulum’s shoreline. You’ll find plenty of colorful fish and other sea creatures such as barracuda, grouper, and parrotfish. This dive site also offers some spectacular wall dives and deep-water exploration opportunities.
Reef diving in Tulum
Tulum doesn’t only offer cenotes, it also offers plenty of reef diving opportunities as well. For example, the beautiful Tankah Bay is covered in spectacular coral formations, making it a great place for both beginners and more experienced divers to explore.
Most dive sites are very close to Tulum, therefore you will often just have a short boat ride on small boats. You probably will roll backwards of the boats to enter Tulum’s stunning underwater world.
Top 11 dive sites in Tulum
Most dive sites in Tulum, Mexico have clear water and great visibility between 50 – 100 feet (15 – 30 meters). The water temperature is also pretty warm (avg. 86F/30C), and most people only dive with shorty wetsuits.
Additionally, they have an abundance of marine life, including turtles, eels, parrotfish, angelfish, rays, nurse sharks, as well as Moreletii crocodiles.
|Dive site||Type||Max Depth||What to see|
|Muyil||Cenote||Varies on the cave||Series of underwater cavesTurtles, eels|
|Casa Cenote (also called Cenote Manati or Manatee)||Cenote||26 ft/ 8 m||Crocodiles, turtles, schools of tropical fish|
|Tankah Deep||Reef||100ft/ 30 m||Shallow reef with a lot of coralsSchool of fish|
|El Pit||Cenote||130ft/ 40 m||Deep cenote, Acid layer at 88ft/27m; Turtles, tropical fish|
|Chac Mool||Cenote||39 ft/ 12 m||For novice cavern divers, surface air pocket.|
|Dos Ojos||Cenote||30ft/ 9 m||Series of underwater caves;|
2-tank dive: Barbie Line & Bat Cave
|Cenote Angelita||Cenote||130 ft/ 40 m||Unique cenote that features a halocline layer where fresh water and saltwater mix, creating a mysterious underwater world|
|Cenote Dreamgate||Cenote||16ft/ 6 m||Deep cenote; turtles, tropical fish|
|Cenote Carwash||Cenote||50ft/ 15 m||Very colorful cavern, schools of fish, turtles, eels|
|Chikin Ha||Cenote||52ft/ 16 m||Open cavern, only a few formations|
|Cenote Calavera||Cenote||50ft/ 15 m||Cenote with a distinctive skull-shaped entrance|
Muyil Cave Diving in Tulum
Muyil, also known as Chunyaxche to the Maya people, is an archeological site and settlement located near Tulum in Quintana Roo. It sits along the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula within the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve – only 20 kilometers away from Tulum City. It’s a vast system of caverns that divers can explore. However, most caves here are not your regular fun dive and require specialized training and guided tours.
On January 20th, 1986, President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado officially established the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and immediately enrolled it in UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) program. Just a year later, this remarkable ecological sanctuary was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization.
The Muyil cave system consists of many cenotes:
- Cenote Bambi
- Cenote La Bajada
- Cenote Bobcat
- Cenote Escamas
- Cenote Dzulo (Xulo)
- Cenote Doggi
- Cenote Style
How much does scuba diving in Tulum cost?
The cost of scuba diving in Tulum will depend on where you dive and the type of dive you choose. Typically, single dives start from around $50 – $60 USD for a one-tank dive with an experienced guide. If you plan on doing multiple dives, most operators offer special packages or discounts for multiple dives. Prices can also vary depending on what type of dive you choose (i.e., cenote vs reef dives) and the time of year you visit Tulum.
When is the best time to go scuba diving in Tulum?
The best time to go scuba diving in Tulum is typically between April and October when the water temperatures are warmer and visibility is at its best. This is also the peak tourist season, so prices may be higher during this time. The summer months (June to August) are usually the busiest and most crowded, so it’s best to book in advance if possible.
Explore other dive destinations around Tulum in Mexico
Tulum is not just an isolated diver’s paradise. Short trips bring you to Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Cancun or Akumal Bay for nearby diving. Some dive operators pick you up in Tulum for a day trip to the Playa del Carmen wreck, for example.
My take on scuba diving in Tulum
Tulum is an ideal destination for divers of all levels. Whether you’re looking for a thrilling cave dive or an easy-going reef dive, Tulum offers something for everyone. So grab your gear and get ready to explore! And, don’t forget to explore the nearby dive locations and swim with whale sharks in Isla Mujeres.