Welcome to the ultimate guide to cenotes in Tulum! There are a lot of cenotes in the area, mainly in the Yukatan, and even more commonly in Tulum that are incredible for scuba divers and even swimmers to explore.
These intricate cave systems offer something for hard core cave explorers, to every day divers in beautiful caverns, so cliff jumpers and snorkelers.
Every cenote in Tulum has different features and things to see, but each are incredible in their own rights. Some are open-air sink holes, some are part open-air and part over-head environment caverns, while others are pure caves systems winding through the ground.
This guide is all about cenotes in Tulum, especially for divers. If you are thinking about heading to Mexico for some incredible cenote diving, this guide is all the information you will need for an awesome dive trip!
What is cavern diving?
The Cenotes around tulum offer an opportunity for divers to experience the thrill of cave diving without the usual dangers associated with the sport.
The unique geology of the Yucatan has created a vast underground network of tunnels.
Underground tunnels run all throughout Mexico, varying in size, from the size of a golfball, to the size of a church. Caverns are formed (and discovered) when, sometime in history, parts of the ceiling has collapsed, exposing the clear water to the sun.
Some times that is a small hole/opening, even though the cavern below might be huge, which makes for incredible light shafts beaming from the hole all the way through the water to the bottom. Its a pretty site for divers below.
Is cavern diving in Cenotes safe?
There are thousands of Cenotes over the Yucatan, but only about 15 that it is safe for full cave trained guides to take trained divers through, because we;
- Always stay close, 60m maximum linear distance, to the exit.
- Can always see the light from the exit.
- Follow and stay close to the guide line.
- Are always very conservative with our air, respecting the rule of thirds at all times
- Carry diving lights and have backups.
What is the best Cenote for me?
With a range of different Cenotes to suit all skill levels it’s important to go to the right one for you, so you get the best out of your experience. Cenotes range from super-easy to very advanced.
It’s important to note that even the easy sites are still awesome Dives for an advanced diver, some of the more challenging sites would be too much for someone who doesn’t have the skill or confidence.
*Iso = Isotherms, Stalagtites & Stalagmites
Fos = Fossils of shells and coral
Las = Laser beams of light
Hal = Halocline
Bon = Bones
Pot = Pottery
What am I going to see?
Rocks and light, no fish, no corral, well we have fish but most people wouldn’t pay all this money to see fish that aren’t as big as the fish they have in their goldfish bowl back at home.
And we see coral, but it’s millions of years old fossilized coral. We are going to see;
- Cave passages
- Stalactite & Stalagmite formations
- Laser beams
- Cool effects of the dive light
And other cave features.
- Hydrogen sulphide cloud
Do we get on a boat?
No there’s no boat. We drive through the jungle to the Cenotes. There is a conveniently placed platform for us to do a giant stride, or small step as the case may be, into the water.
How cold is the water?
It’s 25/26 degrees Celsius. A little bit colder than the sea. It’s fine for snorkeling but when we dive we can be in the water up to an hour, so after 30 – 40 min we start to feel chilly.
Do I need special equipment?
We dive with full wetsuits and lights. Apart from that we use normal recreational scuba gear. The same as you used on your open Water Course.
What’s the difference with fresh water diving?
It’s great, no salty skin after diving. As well as feeling nice and clean after diving we also need less weight for the dives, so we get a real sense of flying through the water.
How many weights do I need?
Probably the wetsuits we are using are bigger and more buoyant than those you have used before in the sea, so we need more weight to get those down.
But we are diving in fresh water so we need less weight because of that. How do we know how much weight you need?
Do a weight check at the beginning of the day and adjust as necessary.
Also read: 62 of the Best Cenotes in Mexico
About the author:
Dominic Evans is a Technical Diving Instructor and Cenote Guide. He lives in Tulum Mexico with his wife and four dogs and spends his days teaching and guiding divers through the most beautiful caves and caverns in the world. Contact them at BestCenoteDives.com to come and enjoy this awesome experience with us.