Tulum has in recent years become one of the main tourist spots in Mexico. Tulum was actually one of the main highlights back when Nicky visited around 10 years ago, but has now become much more of an overcrowded and touristy spot. Beaches, nightlife, shopping… it’s pretty much all there. We don’t intend to cover much of this and will be mainly focusing on cenote diving in Tulum in this post. If it wasn’t for our diving experiences, we would have probably spent less time in Tulum, and more time in the less crowded Bacalar.  

Tulum and Cenote Diving in Riviera Maya

Getting from Bacalar to Tulum

Bus tickets to get to Tulum from Bacalar were purchased using the ADO app and cost MXN 324 each. Travel time was around 3 hours.

Cenote Diving in the Riviera Maya

Cenotes are natural pits or sinkholes. Many cenotes in Yucatan are linked to the largest known system of underwater caves on Earth. This makes the Yucatan Peninsula home to the greatest number and variety of cave and cavern diving sites in the world.

Cenotes consist of freshwater in the top layers and salt water further down. Due to the difference in salinity, the two layers do not mix. The boundary between the two is called halocline. It is located in most cenotes at a depth of between 10 and 20 meters and is clearly visible. Your vision will become slightly blurred when going through it but everything goes back to normal once deeper and in sea water territory.

Cenotes generally offer a completely different scuba diving experience with overhangs, limestone caverns and light rays piercing through crystal clear waters. You won’t see many fish, but the cave formations and the light rays are quite dramatic and magical. Other highlights are limestone caves decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, as well as some Mayan bones and pottery.

The water is cold. It will start out refreshing, but can quickly get cold without the appropriate wetsuit (we wore 5.5mm suits and still felt a little cold at times).

We went on 3 dives in Tulum: 2 at Dos Ojos and another at The Pit (El Pit). All dives were booked a day in advance from Flying Fish Tulum. It was a little tricky to book us in due to our short notice but the dive center managed to get us the slots. We strongly recommend you book a little more in advance than we did 🙂 

All 3 dives were done on the same day and cost us a total of $193 per person.

The Pit (El Pit)

Cenote El Pit is the deepest cenote in Quintana Roo discovered so far. The light effects in this cenote are spectacular; a wide round hole offering the clearest water with a natural light show piercing down to 30 meters. Halocline is encountered at around 15 meters and a sulfide layer at around 30 meters. 

Tulum and Cenote Diving in Riviera Maya

Dos Ojos

Dos Ojos is one of the more popular cenote dive sites. We did 2 dives here: The Bat Cave and  the Barbie line. Both dives were truly unworldly and nicely decorated with stalactites and stalagmites. Perfect visibility, clear water, amazing formations, and beautiful colors. Both dives were at a depth of around 8-10 meters. 

The caverns can get a little tight at times and we could understand how some may feel claustrophobic. There were also points throughout the dive where we switched off our torches and it was literally pitch black!  

Finally, we were lucky enough to have a great instructor (Mario). He was passionate about the cavern systems and was more than happy to go into the details of the systems themselves and their history, together with what it takes to become a certified cave diver (quite intense in case interested in reading more). 

Playa Paraiso

Playa Paraiso was one of the few beaches we spent some time on. We got there on bicycles our hotel provided for free. It’s a 25 minute bicycle friendly ride. The beach itself was nice but we weren’t particularly impressed mainly due to it being quite overcrowded. We went on a short boat tour while there to see the Tulum ruins from the sea and did some snorkeling (saw a few turtles and stingrays). This short tour cost us MXN 150 each.

Tulum and Cenote Diving in Riviera Maya

Where to eat in Tulum

We did enjoy a few good restaurants in Tulum which offered great vegetarian options:

  • La Hoja Verde Vegan Restaurant.
  • Onyx Tulum
  • Il Bocconcino
  • Bonita Tulum’s Burger Bar
Tulum and Cenote Diving in Riviera Maya
  • Il Bacaro Tulum Trattoria Italiana
Tulum and Cenote Diving in Riviera Maya

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