Snorkeling in Tulum, Mexico

Snorkeling in Tulum

Snorkeling in Tulum is always an exceptional experience and can take on various facets depending on your desires.

This activity, which involves swimming with a mask and snorkel, is accessible to everyone, whether you’ve never done it before or you’re experienced.

Snorkeling in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula will constantly surprise you with the diversity of locations and marine animal species.

Tulum is full of extraordinary spots for snorkeling, whether out at sea, in cenotes, or in underground caves.

If you want to explore the best snorkeling spots in Tulum, then follow the guide to discover all my recommendations!

Snorkeling in Tulum is a paradise for observing the world’s second-largest coral reef located off the coast of the city.

In addition to seeing corals of all colors and shapes, you’ll encounter schools of dozens of multicolored fish.

1. Sian Ka’an Biosphere

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere is a paradise for nature and animal lovers.

Indeed, the Sian Ka’an nature reserve is home to incredible fauna and flora.

You can observe hundreds of birds, with over 300 different species living in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere.

It’s also possible to take a boat tour in the nature reserve to encounter dolphins living in complete freedom.

❤️ I recommend this excursion with a guide and transportation from your hotel, including a boat tour in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere.

Sian Ka'an biosphere

During this boat tour, you can also encounter turtles and crocodiles enjoying the tranquility of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere.

Off the coast of the small fishing village of Punta Allen, snorkel on the coral reef and discover a rich marine life.

The numerous colorful fish swimming among the corals are a sight to behold.

Finally, enjoy some free time in the paradise waters of the natural pools off Punta Allen.

Sian Ka'an biosphere

Sian Ka’an Boat Tour

Discover the wild beauty of Sian Ka’an by boat! Sail through turquoise lagoons, spot dolphins and turtles, and explore the mysteries of this preserved natural reserve. An unforgettable adventure in Mexico!

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2. Tulum’s Paradise Beaches

The paradisiacal beaches of Tulum such as Playa Paraiso and Playa Pescadores are also starting points for snorkeling in Tulum.

By visiting the beaches of Tulum, you’ll find boat captains offering to take you off the coast of the beach for snorkeling.

First, they’ll take you in front of the Tulum ruins for a unique view of this exceptional archaeological site.

Take the opportunity to take some photos in front of the ruins with the help of the captain before heading to the snorkeling spot.

You’ll then have plenty of time to explore the area for about thirty minutes to observe the fish, turtles, and rays swimming on the coral reef.

The price of the snorkeling activity varies between 250 and 500 pesos MXN per person. Remember to negotiate.

Tulum Beach

3. Playa Xpu-Ha

Playa Xpu-Ha is a beautiful beach located halfway between Tulum and Playa del Carmen.

It’s easily accessible by car or colectivo from Tulum.

Playa Xpu-Ha is a paradise beach with white sand and coconut palms facing the Caribbean Sea.

Here, the water is transparent, and it’s ideal for observing many fish swimming among the corals.

To access the coral reef from the beach, I recommend starting in front of the massage stand located on the left side of the beach near the restaurant.

You’ll quickly come across the first corals by swimming towards the open sea. They are close to the edge of the beach.

By swimming a little further, you’ll encounter schools of fish swimming among the corals of the coral reef.

I even saw rays and a nurse shark when snorkeling at Playa Xpu-Ha.

Playa Xpu-Ha is one of the best snorkeling spots to explore from the beach on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Snorkeling Xpu-Ha

Snorkeling in cenotes in Tulum

Another snorkeling experience to enjoy in Mexico, specifically in Tulum, is snorkeling in cenotes.

Cenotes are geological formations specific to the Yucatan region. Underground water pockets formed with rainwater infiltration over millions of years.

The collapse of the ceiling made of friable rocks then gave way to open-air lakes, which are called open cenotes.

This type of cenote is ideal for snorkeling because the local fauna has developed, and you can observe numerous fish.

To go snorkeling in cenotes in Tulum, I particularly recommend the Azul, Cristalino, and Jardin del Eden cenotes.

These three cenotes are located next to each other, so you can visit several in a single day.

Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul is arguably the most popular cenote near Playa del Carmen for a good reason: the water is a stunning turquoise blue.

At Cenote Azul, you’ll find numerous fish swimming around, and you might even encounter small turtles.

If you don’t have your own snorkeling gear, you can rent it on-site for a price of 70 pesos MXN.

🐟 Natural Pedicure

The small fish that feed on dead skin offer a natural pedicure experience at Cenote Azul!

Even though it tickles a bit at first, you’ll love the experience!

The two small pools located at the entrance of the cenote are very beautiful with their electric colors.

Don’t forget to stop by, it’s an ideal spot for incredible souvenir photos!

  • 💰 Prices:
    • Adults: 180 pesos MXN
    • Children (4 to 7 years old): 120 pesos MXN
  • 🕐 Hours: Daily from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm
Cenote Azul

Cenote Jardin del Eden

Cenote Jardin del Eden is a paradise for snorkeling and scuba diving.

In addition to the rich marine life, you can see the incredible geological formations that make up the cenote floor.

You can rent snorkeling equipment at Cenote Jardin del Eden for 50 pesos MXN if you don’t have your own.

Towards the bottom of the cenote, you can venture between the walls and access small hidden areas where the sunlight plays with the water’s color.

During my visit to Cenote Jardin del Eden, I saw many fish, a small turtle swimming, and even two crayfish.

Don’t forget to visit the second part of the cenote located at the back.

Here, you’ll discover a long strip of water between vertical and parallel walls, allowing you to explore this lesser-known part of the cenote.

The dense vegetation and fish in the water make the place unique!

For the more adventurous, it’s even possible to jump from the top of a wall or even from a tree located above the cenote, about 7 meters high!

You can also practice scuba diving with tanks in this cenote. Many diving baptisms are organized at Cenote Jardin del Eden.

  • 💰 Prices:
    • Adults: 200 pesos MXN
    • Children (4 to 11 years old): 100 pesos MXN
  • 🕐 Hours: Every day except Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Cenote Jardin del Eden

Cenote Cristalino

Cenote Cristalino is the third cenote in the area where you can snorkel to observe the fish that have made it their home.

This cenote consists of a main pool as well as a second pool at the back of the cenote.

If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, I recommend heading to this second pool, which is more tranquil.

Here too, you can enjoy a natural pedicure in an exceptional setting provided by the small fish.

There’s also a small section that passes through a cave with some stalactites descending from the ceiling.

  • 💰 Prices:
    • Adults: 200 pesos MXN
    • Children: 150 pesos MXN
  • 🕐 Hours: Every day except Saturday from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm (last entry at 5:00 pm)
Cenote Cristalino

Cenote Nicte-Ha

Cenote Nicte-Ha is a splendid open-air cenote with hundreds of water lilies and fish living in this paradisiacal place.

Snorkeling at Cenote Nicte-Ha allows you to observe the water lilies underwater, see the fish, and even observe the entrance to an underground cave.

The sunlight creates fascinating light patterns underwater at the underground part of the cenote.

  • 💰 Prices:
    • Adults: 300 pesos MXN
    • Children: 150 pesos MXN
  • 🕐 Hours: Every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm (last entry at 4:00 pm)
Cenote Nicte-Ha

How to get to the cenotes from Tulum?

Getting to the first 3 cenotes from Tulum is very easy, whether you have a rental car or not.

Renting a car in Cancun is the easiest way to explore cenotes around Tulum as some of them are located far from the main road.

These cenotes are located 30 minutes from Tulum. By car, head towards Tulum and stop at the cenote of your choice.

Signs will guide you to the entrance of each cenote. They are located along the road connecting Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

Exploring cenotes are a great activity to do during a road trip in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

If you prefer to go by public transportation to the cenotes, you an use the colectivos (shared minivans).

Take a colectivo between Playa del Carmen and Tulum and tell the driver to stop at the cenote of your choice. The fare is 45 pesos MXN from Tulum.

Cenotes Cristalino and Azul are located along the road. As for Cenote Jardin del Eden, you will have to walk about ten minutes to reach the entrance.

The Cenote Nicte-Ha is located inside the Dos Ojos Park. If you don’t have a car, you can access the cenote by colectivo and walking for 15 minutes.

colectivo Tulum

Snorkeling in an Underground River

Another extraordinary way to snorkel in Playa del Carmen is to explore an underground river.

Strolling amidst stalactites and stalagmites to discover geological formations dating back millions of years is a magical and awe-inspiring experience.

You can then don your mask and snorkel to catch glimpses of underwater cave entrances.

❤️ If you’re interested in experiencing exploring an underground river, I highly recommend this excursion.

You’ll be accompanied by a guide who will explain the history of the place, its geological formations, and guide you through this breathtaking underground labyrinth.

Rio Secreto

How to Protect the Reef and Cenotes?

During your snorkeling session in Tulum, protecting the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is crucial.

Adhering to basic rules to contribute to the conservation of the coral reef is essential.

The primary rule, which is non-negotiable, is to refrain from touching the corals. These are highly fragile living organisms that should be left undisturbed.

If you’re using fins, be mindful of your feet. In any case, always stay horizontal when you’re above the reef.

Avoid applying sunscreen, even if it’s biodegradable, before entering the water. Sunscreen accelerates coral bleaching and the development of diseases.

Similarly, it’s best to avoid using mosquito repellent, especially in cenotes. Although mosquitoes may be present, they won’t bite you once you’re in the water.

Do not eat or drink in the water to avoid polluting it.

Do not feed the fish and animals in general. We’re dealing with a wild fauna here. Feeding them disrupts this ecosystem.

Is it Safe to Snorkel in Tulum?

Snorkeling in Playa del Carmen is a safe activity.

The only danger you may encounter during a snorkeling session in open water is boats circulating around you that may not see you.

That’s why I always recommend equipping yourself with a safety float to signal your presence to the surrounding boats.

In cenotes, you have no worries about snorkeling with a mask and snorkel. Just avoid going under the jump platforms.

I also recommend having travel insurance for Mexico. It will always be useful if needed.

Snorkeling in Tulum

What Equipment to Bring for Snorkeling in Tulum?

👉 For snorkeling in Tulum, I recommend bringing with you:

👙 Swimsuit


🤿 Mask and snorkel or full-face mask

📱 Waterproof case for smartphone or waterproof camera

Having a waterproof camera or a waterproof case for your smartphone will allow you to take underwater photos and videos of the incredible animals you encounter.

👉 For snorkeling in open water, I also recommend taking:

🛟 Safety float

👕 Wetsuit

The safety float is essential for signaling your presence.

I also recommend taking a wetsuit if you tend to get chilly.

Indeed, prolonged snorkeling sessions can cool you down if you venture into deeper waters, potentially spoiling the rest of your session.

A neoprene wetsuit will prevent you from getting cold and allow you to enjoy the experience for longer.

👉 If you plan to snorkel in cenotes, you can also bring:

👟 Water shoes

Where to Buy Snorkeling Equipment in Tulum?

You can find snorkeling gear in Tulum at Chedraui supermarket.

However, the selection there is rather limited and somewhat expensive.

Other Snorkeling Spots in the Yucatan Peninsula

  • Snorkeling in Cancun: Explore two incredible islands: Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres.
  • Snorkeling in Playa del Carmen: Discover a hidden spot facing downtown Playa del Carmen.
  • Snorkeling in Cozumel: Explore the underwater world of this paradise island, perfect for snorkeling enthusiasts.
  • Snorkeling at Caleta Yal-Ku: Explore an extraordinary cove inhabited by hundreds of fish.
  • Snorkeling at Playa Xpu-Ha: My favorite for snorkeling from the beach and discovering extraordinary marine life.
  • Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos: Located near the coral reef barrier, Puerto Morelos offers many spots for snorkeling.
  • Snorkeling in Holbox: Swimming with whale sharks is a magical experience to have from the island of Holbox.
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