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The 12 Best Places to go Snorkeling Near Tulum

Want to do more in Tulum than just relax on the beach all day and party all night? How about snorkeling? Luckily there are lots of spots near Tulum to go snorkeling, with hundreds of cenotes, coral reefs, islands, and even lagoons; there’s no shortage of excellent places to go snorkeling in Tulum.

To help you manage your time wisely and choose the best spots, we’ve come up with this Tulum snorkeling guide so you can sort out the best spots among hundreds of choices.

Best Places to Snorkel Near Tulum


Only 30 minutes north of Tulum, this is probably the best spot to snorkel, and also the best chance at seeing the most diverse range of marine wildlife, including sea turtles! With perfectly blue, clear water, it’s the easiest place to snorkel with or without a tour.

Akumal actually means “Place of the Turtle” in the Mayan language and you’re almost guaranteed to spot one here. If you’re looking to go diving and get your PADI certification, it’s also a common thing to do here.

Check out our Akumal guide here.

Gran Cenote

With so many cenotes around Tulum, there’s an endless choice of these beautiful turquoise-blue pools, from open-air cenotes to underground cenotes in caves.

If you’re short on time, we highly recommend the popular Gran Cenote, as it’s quite close to Tulum and very beautiful with lots of fish and even a chance to see sea turtles. There are two spots to snorkel here, in the two main cenotes, connected by a wooden boardwalk.

Tulum Ruins

Tulum Ruins beach

If you’re planning to check out the spectacular Tulum ruins, be sure to bring your snorkel gear because the beach ‘Playa Ruinas’ right below the ruins with the temples looming up above you makes for a fantastic place to snorkel.

It just happens to be very close to Tulum town and is one of the nicest beaches in Tulum. Snorkel here and you’ll find all kinds of interesting fish and sea creatures.

Cenote Calavera

Relaxing inside the Cenote Calavera

Calavera means “skull” in Spanish based on the three cenote openings in the rock resembling 2 eyes and a mouth from above. This underground cenote, formed after the cave collapsed revealing the crystal blue water beneath is an excellent place to snorkel.

The entrance fee is 100 pesos (200 for foreigners) but is well worth it as there’s a whole ecosystem underwater to explore here, and what better way to cool off in the hot Yucatan sun?

Punta Allen

Far down the coast of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, you’ll find Punta Allen, a small little fishing town with amazing views and beautiful white, sandy beaches. The whole east coast of this reserve is actually a part of the second largest barrier reef in the world, the “Mesoamerican reef.”

Because of this, it’s no surprise that it makes one of the best places to go snorkeling near Tulum. Be prepared to see and swim with dolphins, sea turtles, and of course all kinds of amazing marine creatures. If you need to know how to get to Punta Allen, check out our guide here.

Casa Cenote

Underneath the Casa Cenote

Cenotes make for some of the best snorkeling in Tulum, with most of them being close to Tulum. Casa Cenote is a great place if you wanna see mangroves with little fish calling it their home. You may see cormorants diving in this cenote, as well as a little halocline (salt and freshwater mixing.)

If you want to take it a step further, this place offers underwater cave diving with scuba gear. It’s a spectacular experience but definitely requires certification and some skill.


Image courtesy of Xel-Ha

Xel-Ha is an eco-water park popular with snorkeling and, water activities and rides. Because the place has a cenote as well as being on the coast with a reef – it’s one of the best places to go snorkeling in Tulum.

The best spot to see all kinds of species of colorful fish and turtles, and it’s a family-friendly park. You can go ziplining, ride water slides, see dolphins and explore hidden caves and cenotes.


An island off the coast of Playa Del Carmen, it’s a very popular spot for snorkeling in its spectacular reefs. It’s also an excellent place to go diving or get your PADI certification.

There are several boat tours that include snorkel equipment, making it an easy and ideal spot to go snorkeling, as they cruise around the island finding the best spots.

It’s easy to do a day trip here, only an hour’s drive from Tulum and a 45 minutes ferry from Playa Del Carmen. It has some of the best beaches and reefs in the area, making it one of the best places to go snorkeling near Tulum.

Dos Ojos Cenote

Snorkeling in cenote Dos Ojos

Yes, another cenote, popular with divers and snorkelers alike. Dos Ojos Cenote features fantastic rock formations and an abundance of schools of fish. You can rent snorkel gear here for around 200 pesos if you didn’t bring your own.

Cenote Azul

Cenote Azul from above

A little further north near Puerto Aventuras is Cenote Azul, an open-air cenote perfect for beginners or those more serious. You have the option of just floating on the shallow surface, admiring the fish and marine creatures swimming around. Or you can dive down quite deep into the sinkhole and explore hidden wonders.

Snorkeling with Whale Sharks

This is a seasonal activity, between June and September during the warmest months of the year, where the whale sharks converge off the coast of the Yucatan to find partners and mate. If you’re here during this time, it’s definitely a must.

The best place to see them is further north, near Isla Mujeres or even Holbox. There are several boat tours you can take that will take you out far enough, giving you snorkel equipment so you can go below the water and enjoy this breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Cancun Underwater Museum

Via Wikimedia Commons

Also, a little further from Tulum, around 2 hours drive, off the coast of Cancun you’ll find the relatively unheard of but very unique Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA). It’s a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of reefs.

The idea was to place interesting art pieces underwater that tourists can explore, rather than harming the natural reefs nearby. They have 450 life-sized statues that have turned into artificial reefs over the years.

In total there are actually, 1,200 different art structures that they got permission to sink and turn into “underwater art.” Marine life isn’t as spectacular as other natural reefs, but it is slowly growing and adapting. It definitely makes for one of the most unique snorkeling experiences you’ll ever have!

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