From visiting archaeological sites in the lush jungle to diving or snorkeling in limestone cenotes, Tulum is the ultimate getaway destination. A backpacker hideaway for decades, the town that has gradually evolved nearby is a boho-chic paradise and a bucket-list destination for many Mexico-bound travelers. At only 3 miles from the Caribbean coastline, the area is known for its pristine beaches and well-preserved ruins of an ancient Mayan port city. Near the ruins is the Parque Nacional Tulum, a coastal area with mangroves and cenotes (natural limestone sinkholes).
Roughly 80 miles south of Cancun, Tulum was historically the former coastal capital for the Mayan empire that extended throughout southern Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. The site was the hub for international trade and responsible for the distribution of goods into the Yucatan through Coba, Chichen Itza and connecting settlements. Tulum was thought to also be a religious center for priests with the walls protecting the sacred leaders. Protected by the jungle of Quintana Roo, the site survived the general Maya collapse and was largely left untouched by the Spanish. Its location right beside the beach makes for an enchanting experience; one of its most important structures (and a visitor favorite!) is a large stone structure called El Castillo (The Castle), which rests on a rocky cliff above the white sand beach and turquoise sea.
The Tulum beach strip is a small road that runs the length of the beach and leads you to the arch, which is the access to the Sian Ka’an biosphere. You can find accommodation on both the beach side and across the road. This area has a very relaxed, bohemian feel to it. Almost everything is accessible on foot in the main area, and bicycles are available for rent.
Diving in Tulum is a unique mix of cenotes and reefs, with easy access to inland and open sea dives. For ocean diving in Tulum, a short speedboat ride from town will grant you access to mind-blowing reefs, full of elkhorn coral, turtles, lobsters, eels, and reef fish.
There is no bad time for diving in Tulum as water temperatures remain constant year-round (82°F/28°C) and cool only slightly in winter (78°F/25°C). In Tulum, diving is possible 300 days of the year - even more for sheltered cenotes which are always calm with 100m visibility. The water temperature in the Cenotes varies between 25 and 26°C (78°F) all year round and despite being so hot outside, the underground environment gives them a cooler temperature than the ocean. Thus, most divers will use a long wetsuit for these dives to protect them from the colder temperatures.
July and August are the best months for swimming. From November through to May underwater visibility is good, and the water is warm. Water temperatures are at their lowest in January and February, and at their highest from July to October. This is when the most gorgeous light streams into the cenotes, so underwater photographers dive then for striking images. However, the place where the visibility is perfect, up to 190 ft, is in a cenote, since there are no sediments, waves or swell.
Cenotes offer a unique diving experience, as each one of them has distinct characteristics, the scenarios you can find are always spectacular and filled with crystal-clear water.
These natural underground caves will take you on a journey that you won't forget, places of great calm, and a relaxing experience that changes the perspective of traditional scuba diving in the ocean.
Only certified divers are allowed to dive into cenotes, so don't forget to check our scuba diving courses to get prepared!
Tulum is located approximately 80 miles (120 kilometers) south from the Cancun International airport, approximately a 1.5-hour drive along Highway 307. Local bus transportation is available directly from Cancun through ADO Bus lines, or you can choose from either taxi services or arrange to rent a car at the airport. It lies about 1 hour drive south of Playa del Carmen and only 30 minutes south from our shop, just get on the Tulum - Playa del Carmen highway (Highway 307) and enter the Hotel Sirenis, we’re located inside its complex.
Another possibility - and one of the most convenient - is to arrange a packaged tour with us! Take all the guesswork out of the experience and focus more on enjoying the moment. For more information about booking a Tulum full day tour, ask about the land tours we have available through our partners.