Looking to go snorkeling in Tulum?
With over 6,000 cenotes scattered across the Yucatan Peninsula alone, you’re not short of wonderful spots.
But, with so many places, how do you decide which ones are worth your time (and more importantly… money)?
We’ve got you covered with this guide to snorkeling in the Tulum area – and we’ve even recommended our favorite guided tours to make your life that little bit easier.
Only got time for one tour during your Tulum trip? Make it this Tulum Ruins Snorkeling Tour.
Best Places to Snorkel in Tulum
If you’re looking for a spot that’s right on your doorstep and easy to get to, the Tulum Ruins are the best place to snorkel in Tulum.
Not only does this archaeological site boast impressive insight into Mayan history, but one of Tulum’s best beaches sits below with the Caribbean Sea lapping at its edge. It’s here you’ll want to don your snorkeling gear and brave the water.
We love this guided tour that combines a private snorkeling and sailing experience around the Mexican Caribbean, getting up close and personal with the sea life below.
Grand Bahia Principe Tulum
Looking to go snorkeling at Grand Bahia Principe Tulum? You’re not alone – the beach that runs along the front of this hotel is one of the most popular snorkel spots in Tulum.
Top tip: head to the Akumal end of the beach and you’ll find a protected cove that acts as a windbreaker from the heavy winds often found in this area.
Aside from the brilliant snorkeling opportunities, this resort is also an excellent place to stay in Tulum.
If you’ve only got time to visit one Tulum snorkeling spot, make it the verdant Gran Cenote.
This open-air pool is made up of a network of caves and caverns, connected by wooden boardwalks.
There are two main snorkeling spots separated by a wooden bridge – it’s a great family-friendly cenote, and you’re likely to spot turtles and schools of fish floating by.
It may be lovingly nicknamed the Temple of Doom, but Cenote Calavera is one of our favorite snorkeling spots near Tulum.
Located on the main road outside of Tulum on the way to Coba, this quiet cenote is also perfect for swimming and diving. This is a Cantaro (or jug) type of Cenote, where the roof has fallen away revealing the water.
You’ll need to brave a small cliff jump to get inside, though, if you’re anything like us, dangling over the edge and lowering yourself in slowly works just as well.
We guarantee that you’ve never experienced anything like Cenote Angelita.
Underneath this cenote lies a flowing river. This natural phenomenon occurs due to the amount of hydrogen sulfide in the area, depositing at the bottom of the river bed and creating a current.
You’ll need to travel through the jungle to get to this cavern, though snorkeling amongst the colorful foliage and schools of fish make it well worth the effort.
Dos Ojos Cenote
To the north of Tulum lies the Two Eyes Cenote – otherwise known as Dos Ojos. Primarily a divers haven, the fish at this cenote are small but in abundance.
The first platform can get very crowded, so don’t be afraid to wander a little bit further down to the second platform and explore this part of the water if you’re after something a little less hectic.
Don’t have your own kit? You can rent snorkeling gear at Dos Ojos Cenote for around $10, which is fairly reasonable considering you can jump between both eyes.
As one of Mexico’s coolest water parks, it’s only right that Xel-Ha makes it into our guide of the best snorkeling spots near Tulum. Part park, part ecological education center, this is the perfect place to bring the whole family.
Alongside snorkeling alongside colorful marine life, you’ll also get the opportunity to explore via a floating donut, zipline over the water, and peek inside hidden caves.
Crystal clear waters, white-sand beaches, and an abundance of sea life await you in dreamy Akumal.
Easily one of the best places to snorkel in Tulum, Akumal actually means “place of the turtle” in the Mayan language – and you’ll be surrounded by these adorable creatures as you explore the water.
We recommend this guided snorkeling tour, where you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of three out of seven species of turtle, as well as explore two nearby cenotes with the help of a knowledgeable guide.
It’s vital to remember that although they’re (VERY) cute, it’s important to resist touching the creatures you spot.
Tours at Akumal were actually stopped for many years because of the risk to marine life, but they were restarted in recent years on the proviso that tourists respected the animal’s habitats.
If you’re in Tulum and want to snorkel for the first time, head to Cenote Azul’s calm, open-air pool. It’s the perfect place for newbies to give it a go.
Whether you want to dive deep into the sinkhole or snorkel on the shallow surface amongst the fish, the friendly staff are on hand to help you out – they also have plenty of life jackets available to rent if you’re traveling with little ones (or just want a bit of reassurance).
FYI, Cenote Azul also makes for a breathtaking shot for the ‘Gram.
With crystal-clear water and tropical plants, Cenote Cristal is one of the best snorkeling cenotes Tulum has to offer. It’s also right next to the neighboring Cenote Escondido – so it’s a great way to see two beautiful sinkholes in one trip (both are included in the entrance fee).
Jump straight into Cenote Cristal off a fun ledge, or unleash your inner Tarzan and swing across the water on a rope. You’re welcome to swim, snorkel, and free dive at this pool, though scuba diving isn’t recommended.
If you opt to snorkel, you might just be able to catch a glimpse of some of the adorable turtles swimming about (remember not to touch them!) – this is one of the best family-friendly cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula, so the whole family is safe to get involved.
Situated halfway between Tulum and Cancun, the west coast of Cozumel is filled with multiple dreamy spots that look like they were made for snorkeling.
Once you’re on Cozumel, head to the Marina Caleta – around here are the bulk of scuba diving companies and, arguably, the best snorkeling spots on the entire island. Chankanaab Beach and Park is another brilliant spot for the entire family.
If you’re a regular on Pinterest, you’ve likely seen an image of Cenote Zacil-Ha pop up on your home page. Cool blue waters and hordes of happy tourists leaping from the cliff edges ring a bell? Thought so.
Dare to ride the zip line and jump off whilst you’re above the cenote. Aside from turtles, it’s surrounded by tropical jungle, so those who want to spot plenty of wildlife will LOVE it here.
Cenote Jardin Del Eden
If you’re looking for paradise, look no further than Cenote Jardin Del Eden.
This open-air sinkhole bears a striking resemblance to the Garden of Eden. For this reason alone it’s often visitors’ favorite cenote to explore and go snorkeling.
The water is completely clear so you can see straight to the bottom, though some parts of this pool can be deceivingly deep – so unless you’re a pro at swimming, it’s worth wearing a life jacket to be on the safe side.
Looking for a Sian Ka’an adventure from Tulum including snorkeling? This boat tour is your best bet.
The Punta Allen area is actually a beautiful bioreserve within Sian Ka’an stretching out on an arm. This three-hour tour allows you to experience its breathtaking beauty from the nearby lagoons and coastal spots. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to take a peek at dolphins and turtles from the boat floating above.
As well as this, you’ll be invited to snorkel in the world’s second-largest coral reef – better yet, it’s still thriving and is filled with colorful fish and coral.
Snorkeling is hungry work; you’ll round off the trip nicely with a tasty Caribbean lunch overlooking the coast.
Chichen Itza is one of the top archeological sites near Tulum, and the nearby Cenote Ik Kil is one of the most idyllic in the region.
Surrounded by cascading vines and a steep drop (have no fear – there’s a handy staircase located to one side), this cenote is best tackled by those who are more experienced at snorkeling.
Aside from stunning views and beautiful marine life nearby, the sunlight streams through the cave and warms the water up, making it a great cenote to chill out in.
Practical Tips for Finding the Best Snorkeling in Tulum
- Taking a guided tour can help you get the most out of your snorkeling experience – friendly guides will be able to show you the best spots to see wildlife and gorgeous coral, as well as showing you hidden gems you might not be able to find on your own.
Any of the Cenotes we’ve mentioned in this guide are excellent snorkeling spots, though we particularly love Cenote Cristal and Cenote Calavera.