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Diving in Tulum Cenotes: Special Restrictions, Conservation Measures and Diving Rules to Follow
The Yucatan Peninsula, our home, is where some of the world’s most unique natural wonders – the cenotes are. As natural sinkholes filled with crystal-clear freshwater, they definitely offer a truly unique scuba diving experience for those willing to explore underwater caverns. One of the best places to experience cenote diving is in the town of Tulum, where the vast network of cenotes offers a completely different kind of adventure. The water in the cenotes is so pure, it is almost completely transparent and also surprisingly warm, with temperatures averaging around 75°F (24°C) year-round. Cenotes are the water reserves of the Yucatan peninsula, they are an important part of the local ecosystem and are also protected by the government. Here is how to be part of the conservation measures and what cenote access rules to have in mind before visiting our natural pools for swimming or scuba diving:)
Conservation Measures in Cenotes
The government of Mexico has introduced some common measures valid for all cenote sites – you would see them as signs or posters with instructions. Most of them are as follows:
Limited numbers of visitors allowed in each cenote.
Use of shower gels, soaps, and shampoo in the cenote area is prohibited
Encouraging the visitors to take a shower before swimming, snorkeling, or diving to rinse any cosmetic product residues that can still be on their skin.
Encouraging the visitors to use biodegradable natural insect repellents and sunscreens only if they really need to. Wearing rash guards and UV sun-protective clothing is preferred.
Important things to consider before going to a cenote: Access restrictions
1. Private ownership: Many cenotes in Tulum are located on private grounds, which means they have owners who manage and maintain them. As a result, access to these cenotes often requires permission and may involve an entrance fee.
2. Entrance fees: Most cenotes in Tulum charge an entrance fee for visitors. The fees can vary depending on the cenote and its popularity. These fees contribute to the conservation and maintenance of the cenotes and their surrounding ecosystems.
3. Working times: Cenotes in Tulum typically have designated working times or operating hours. This means that there are specific hours during which visitors are allowed to enter and enjoy the cenotes. It’s important to check the operating hours of the cenote you plan to visit to ensure you can snorkel during the designated times.
4. Guided tours: Some cenotes in Tulum require visitors to be accompanied by a guide or participate in guided tours. This is done to ensure the safety of visitors and to provide educational insights into the cenote’s natural features and wildlife. Booking a guided tour can be a great way to explore the cenotes while receiving expert guidance and learning about the cenote ecosystem. Snorkeling in Dos Ojos caverns can be done with a cenote guide only.
5. Local regulations: There may be specific rules and regulations in place to ensure the preservation of the cenotes’ ecosystem. These regulations may include restrictions on snorkeling techniques, the use of sunscreen or other chemicals, and guidelines for interacting with wildlife. It’s crucial to respect and follow these regulations to minimize the impact on the cenotes and their fragile ecosystems.
What to consider before scuba diving a cenote: Plan your Dive Trip
When to go?: Scuba diving in Tulum is possible almost all year long – due to the fact that there are sheltered cenotes with waters of around 75°F (24°C) year-round, calm, and with good 100m visibility. The best visibility in the cenotes is during the summer months: between April and October.
What mm wetsuit to bring?: Equipment-wise we will provide you with a full set of top-quality dive gear as part of our all-inclusive cenote dives. If you want to use your own wetsuit, we would recommend a 5mm thick full one.
What certification is needed?: In order to go cenote diving, you would not need a cavern or cave diving certification. Having an open-water diver certification is the required minimum. You must have a certified full cave diver guide to lead you in the cenote. You’d be diving in the cenote areas where there is natural light and easy exit, allowed to access just some parts of the cavern.
What Rules Apply to Guided Cenote Diving – [VIDEO] – basic rules of cavern and cenote diving
Check the basic rules of cavern and cenote diving: regarding equipment allowed, group size, rule of thirds, safety reel and more. General scuba diving rules also apply at all times.
Some cenotes are for advanced divers and would require really good buoyancy skills or experience doing deep dives: the Pit, cenote Angelita or Zapote for example.
For adventure divers that would like to explore the caverns beyond the limits of natural light, we offer cave diver courses.
Ready for Cenote Diving – Ko’ox!
After learning about cenote diving, it’s time to decide which cenote to explore. Are you interested in diving beneath the mangrove roots? Or perhaps you’d like to witness beams of light piercing through the jungle and reaching the bottom of a 30m/100ft cenote? Maybe you want to navigate through a dense hydrogen gas cloud or experiment with mixing fresh and saltwater. Alternatively, maybe you prefer shallow water where numerous formations await your admiration, leaving you wondering just how old they are (hint: thousands of years!).
Whatever your preference may be, there is a special cenote waiting for everyone with its own unique atmosphere and ambiance.
Our cenote guides are among the most skilled and seasoned dive explorers in the area. Some of them have even helped discover and map some of today’s cenotes. Join us for a cenote diving adventure of a lifetime.
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