Tulum, mexico

the gateway to your underwater adventures

location

Once an ancient Maya trade port, modern-day Tulum is the only city on the Mayan Riviera built inland to preserve the natural beauty around the remnants of its original coastal location. These ruins are among the best-preserved and most visited in Mexico.  

For proximity to amazing diving, we based ourselves in this vibrant city that still retains its laid-back Maya-Caribbean vibe. We love that we can drive you within 15 minutes to the best cenotes and the most interesting sites on the local reef. 

The town is also just a short bike ride away from pristine beaches and the archaeological site. You’ll still have daylight for exploring on your own after we return from diving. 

cenotes

The entrances to the maya underground rivers

Through the millennia, these natural sinkholes in the limestone earth have remained the distinguishing feature of the peninsula. “Cenote” comes from a Maya word that means “well of water”. The ancient Maya believed these cenotes to be entrances to the underworld. Cenotes were important sites for prayer and sacrifice and necessary for survival too: even today, the rain filtering through the limestone into the flooded underground cave system is the only freshwater source in the Yucatan Peninsula.

cenote tulum
Caribbean Tulum Ruins

Caribbean sea

Where Tulum sparkles

Shades of turquoise blend into white sandy beaches and the low jungle grows out of the bedrock. This color palette and the calm, warm Caribbean waters make Tulum a tropical paradise and a renowned tourist destination. Inside a 1,640-acre national park, the only seaside Maya city known to the modern world provides a striking contrast with its wild and unspoiled surroundings. 

going Underwater

What most people don’t know is that these two ecosystems, the cenotes and the ocean, are inextricably linked. You have to go below the surface to see that for yourself.

Millions of years ago, the Yucatan Peninsula was a huge coral platformThe geological structure we see today is the limestone remnants of that ecosystem, the result of its exposure to the atmosphere

Through several glaciations and ocean level changes, a vast system of caves formed underground. When the sea rose after the last Ice Age, some 11,700 years ago, these caves flooded and became the largest system of subterranean rivers in the world.  

Both rain and ocean permeate the limestone, the lower-density fresh water settling atop the saline water. The various depths at which salt and fresh water meet are called “haloclines”.  

Cenote Angelita Tulum
Freediving Coral Reef

If you cross a halocline, you’ll experience a unique oil-like visual effect and a noticeable change in your buoyancy. In some cenotes, a white gaseous cloud emerges from the bottom and settles around the halocline, creating, in places, the illusion of a misty sky.

As the rainwater from the cenotes flows out into the ocean, it cools down the tropical sea water, allowing nearby coral ecosystems to thrive despite rising global sea temperatures. 

Tulum’s two treasures, the cenotes and the Caribbean Sea, are also perfect freediving education tools: We use the distraction-free environment of the cenotes to focus on technique, but freediving among the vivid coral gardens and marine fauna brings the practice to life.