Planning to go scuba diving in Tulum? You’re lucky – this gorgeous spot is filled with brilliant diving places.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a total newbie, Tulum’s cenotes and dazzling coastline offers plenty of opportunities for you to brush up on your skills.
But where do you start? Choosing a dive center and a location can be challenging, especially if you’ve never dived before.
Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered with this total guide to scuba diving in Tulum.
What to Expect From Scuba Diving in Tulum
There are two types of diving available in Tulum: reef or cenote diving. Each offers something a little bit different and we recommend you try both during your Tulum vacation.
Reef diving in Tulum is incredibly popular as the incredible Mesoamerican Barrier Reef sits just meters off the Caribbean coastline. This is the second-largest reef after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and is just as impressive.
This means that the Tulum coastline is dotted with plenty of fabulous reef diving sites and is teeming with fish, crabs, lobsters, turtles, and stingrays. It’s no surprise then that this draws in thousands of divers each year.
Tulum’s cenotes are as famous as they are beautiful. These sinkholes are made from limestone rocks that have resulted in water-filled caves over the last thousand years – in fact, the Yucatan Peninsula boasts more than 6,000 cenotes alone.
They are wonderful places to go scuba diving in Tulum (particularly for nervous divers or beginners) as they are often contained in pond-like spots. Cenote Angelina is, without a doubt, the most famous place to go diving in a cenote in Tulum.
Note that even if you’re diving in a small cenote, it is crucial to have a diving instructor with you at all times.
Top Scuba Dive Sites in Tulum
If you’re only taking part in one scuba diving session in Tulum, make it a reef dive to Cuevitas, or the “Little Caves.” It’s one of the most magical experiences we’ve ever taken part in and is situated around ten minutes from Casa Cenote.
On the dive, you’ll come across a series of small arches (or little caves, hence the name) and spot an array of colorful reef fish. If you’re lucky you might also see lobsters and blowfish.
This is a great dive for beginners as it’s an easy 30ft max and doesn’t require too much knowledge or expertise.
Feeling nervous about diving? Casa Cenote is the perfect place for newbies to get a feel of Tulum scuba diving. This cenote is long and winding, but it’s very easy to navigate with a guide.
The maximum depth you’ll need to dive is 25ft and you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of freshwater and saltwater wildlife, fish, and even Panchito the friendly crocodile. Yes, really.
For more experienced divers, Cenote Angelita is the best spot.
The famous hydrogen sulfide cloud that marks the entrance to the dive has been created by decaying trees and wildlife, but once you pass through that into the deeper waters, the visibility is pretty great.
The water is a green-ish color, similar to that of a pond, while the maximum diving depth is around 130ft. Look up and you’ll feel as if you’re swimming underneath the clouds.
This is a great option for those looking to undertake more technical dives.
Tankah Deep is a dive site for intermediate divers, beginning with a back roll off the boat and a descent to 99ft. This is a particularly beautiful dive site, with colorful coral formations and an abundance of large fish in the area – in winter it’s also common to spot bullsharks.
Situated around 20 minutes by car from Tulum, Dos Ojos is a cenote that is named for it’s two eye-like holes that peer up at the sky – offering two fairly shallow dives.
This cenote offers the beauty and reward of a technical dive without the need to be extremely experienced. During the dive, you’ll pass through a series of caverns and tunnels that lead to beautiful open spaces and clear, turquoise waters.
On a diving trip to Coquitos, the starting point is just in front of the Tulum Ruins, not far from the palm trees lining the front of the site. The coral structures here are huge and varied, and there is plenty of marine life to admire whilst you’re underwater.
When the sea is calm, visibility can be as much as 90ft, though on rougher days visibility can be significantly reduced to 30ft. This is a great dive for beginners and intermediate divers alike.
Recommended Tulum Dive Shops
Agua Clara Diving Tulum
Agua Clara is the best dive shop Tulum boasts and is a PADI 5-Star center. They specialize in eco-friendly tours with smaller groups of people and pride themselves on their zero-waste approach.
Agua Clara offers scuba diving in the reef or multiple cenotes in Tulum, or you can even head over to Cozumel with them to scuba dive there. This tour with Agua Clara takes you to some of the best cenotes in Tulum.
If you’re serious about scuba diving you can take a PADI accredited open water course, or opt for a simple reef dive with them if you’re (quite literally) just dipping your toes in the activity.
Price: 2 dives for $130 USD
La Calypso Dive Center
Particularly popular with French-speaking tourists, La Calypso Dive Center is another brilliant school in Tulum. With instructors speaking English, French, Spanish, and more, it’s no wonder that this dive center attracts a global audience.
La Calypso offers PADI courses as well as simple dives, beginner-friendly dives with very reasonable prices, and a choice between reef and cenote dives.
La Calypso’s beginner course is particularly brilliant for nervous first-timers. This dive takes place at Casa Cenote and begins with an in-depth orientation that covers the basics: how to dive, the correct equipment, and essential techniques. This is followed by a short dive of around 30ft to get you used to diving.
Price: 2 dives from $130
For more experienced divers, Koox Diving is perhaps the best center for Tulum diving.
With courses on technical and deep sea diving, this diving school enables you to hone your skills and take part in more challenging dives – though, it has to be said that Koox’s prices are a little bit steeper than Agua Clara and La Calypso’s.
Koox offers both reef diving in multiple locations along Tulum’s coastline, as well as cenote diving in places such as Dos Ojos, Angelita, Gran Cenote, and Chac Mool in Playa del Carmen nearby.
As well as scuba diving, Koox offers freediving, swimming with whale sharks, and fishing tours. We’re eyeing up the Croc Night Tour, which sees you visiting a Tulum cenote under the night sky in search of friendly crocodiles.
Price: 1 dive from $174, 2 dives from $204
Another excellent Tulum diving shop is Infinity2Diving, who offer PADI courses, simple diving lessons, and both reef and cenote diving excursions.
If you’re looking for something a little bit different, this diving center also offers shipwreck diving to the likes of General Felipe Santiago Xicoténcatl’s wrecked ship near Cozumel and the Mama Vina wreck in Playa del Carmen.
These are for more experienced divers and offer a fascinating alternative to your regular reef dive.
Price: 1 dive from $120, 2 dives from $170
Scuba Diving Tulum: Practical Tips and Map
- Choose your instructor wisely and ensure you have the correct certification needed for your dive. We’ve recommended the top dive centers in Tulum, but you’ll need to decide where you want to dive and whether you want to take a PADI course or an introduction to diving.
- Check that your travel insurance covers this kind of activity – scuba diving isn’t often covered automatically and so you may need to take out extra cover.
- Ascend slowly after your dive – make sure you breathe normally and come up out of the water gradually to avoid “the bends”. Your instructor will cover this before you head into the water and it is important to pay close attention to their instructions.
- Don’t touch anything! Your instructor will make you aware of any rocks you are able to touch during the dive, but resist touching any animals or corals as you do not know if they are poisonous and you could harm them.