in Cancun and Tulum
The Yucatan Peninsula, which includes Cancun and Tulum, is one of the world's most beautiful, and definitely the world's most unique, place to freedive.
What makes the Yucatan peninsula unique is that you don't dive in the ocean - you dive in "cenotes", deep freshwater pools carved into the limestone from which this peninsula is formed.
The water in these cenotes is warm and clear, filtered by the dense canopy of trees above which draws on them for water.

These cenotes can be anywhere from 5m to over 100m deep. Some are found near Mayan ruins like Coba and Chitzen Itza, some in the middle of cities like Valladolid, and many more lie deep in the jungle, yet to be discovered.

Below are some of the cenotes that freedivers in the Yucatan visit regularly for teaching or their own training, along with their locations on the map. Note that in the cenotes around Tulum, you are only permitted to freedive with a local instructor, because they have gotten so popular.

Cenote Angelita
A favorite cenote for freediving classes.
Cenote Angelita
Cenote Angelita is the #1 choice by freediving schools around Tulum and Playa for their classes. It is a typical "jungle cenote", a warm clear pool of water surrounded by dense rainforest.

Angelita began as an underground cavern, until one big tree in the jungle above drank so greedily from its water that its roots cracked the limestone ceiling of the cavern, opening the cenote to the world and plunging the tree to its doom. Today, this tree can still be seen, lying petrified in the middle of the cenote about 30 meters down.

At this same depth of 30 meters, fresh water above meets salt water below, and in between them lies a sulphur layer, the by-product of vegetation breaking down. This sulphur layer creates an eerie underwater cloud from which the tips of the tree's branches emerge. Part of the short film about freediving One Breath is set here.

On any given day you can find classes from several different freediving schools training here. The water is warm, visibility is great, it has 30m of freediveable depth, plus it is only a 15 minute drive from Tulum.

Kaan Luum (Laguna)
A great cenote for deeper freediving classes and supervised training.
Cenote Kaan Luum
Kaan Luum is the #2 choice by Tulum-based freediving schools for their classes. Rather than a typical jungle cenote, it is more like a lagoon.

Kaan Luum has the warmest water, so it is great for relaxing freediving. But visibility here is not as good as in jungle cenotes, because its openness to the sun allows algae to bloom in the top layer of water. Once you get past this green top layer, however, visibility opens up and you can see the underwater cliffs surrounding you.

Kaan Luum has 70m of freediveable depth and is only a 15 minute drive from Tulum, so if you want to make Tulum your home base, Kaan Luum is a perfect spot for regular morning freedive training. You must be with a local instructor to train here.

Yum Kin
The best cenote for deep freediving training.
Cenote Yum Kin
Freedivers have only started visiting Yum Kin in the last couple of years, but it has quickly emerged as the most popular cenote for deep training.

As an open cenote, it is very warm, yet has fairly good visibility even on the surface, and excellent visibility below. With 85m of freediveable depth, it is the top choice for competitive freedivers in training. It has a freediving platform plus some helpful infrastructure, like bathrooms and palapas for changing. The entrance fee is a couple of hundred pesos.

This cenote is not as conveniently located next to a nice home base like Tulum or Playa as some of the others on this list, but at less than an hour's drive from Cancun International Airport, it could be a great stop for the first (and last!) day of your trip.

Most magical jungle cenote.
Cenote Maravilla
Maravilla is another cenote which has only recently become known to freedivers. Located on "La Ruta de los Cenotes", it is close to the other freediver favorites of Kin Ha, Siete Bocas and Yum Kin, so all of these together could make an awesome day trip from Playa, Cancun or Tulum.

Although Maravilla's opening is small, it opens up like a bell below. There is 30m of freediveable depth, and far away cavern walls that are tempting to explore. It also has a resident turtle.

If you visit this cenote with a local freediving school, they will book it privately for the morning or afternoon, so that you have the cenote to yourselves.

Deepest cenote in Bacalar.
Cenote Azul
Azul is the deepest cenote in the southern town of Bacalar, which is often billed as the "next Tulum". Five hours drive south of Cancun, it is not a good cenote for a day trip, but if you make Bacalar your home base, it is a perfect cenote for training. It has 70m of depth, 15m visibility, and a balmy surface temperature of 29C. Freediving is permitted without a local instructor, and the entrance fee is only 25 pesos.

Stay anywhere to the right of the mooring line all the way up to the treeline, where the bottom is a smooth 70m. Around the mooring line and to the left of it, the bottom is more uneven, with rubble and petrified trees that could pose an entanglement hazard.

Bacalar has more salinity than the more inland cenotes, so you might need a heavier neckweight to freefall at the same speed.

Underworld cavern.
Cenote Palomitas
Palomitas is a spooky cenote because it is entirely underground. There is one small opening in the top of the cavern, through which a ray of sunlight shines. If you catch it at the right time of day, you can freedive down and up through this light ray.

Palomitas is a bit colder than other cenotes (23-25°C) so you might want to consider a 5mm wetsuit. It has 50m of freediveable depth. Visibility is excellent, albeit dark. There is a fun knotted rope that you can try to climb to the ceiling on at the end of your session.

Know a cenote to add to the list?
New cenotes are being discovered all the time.
If you know of one that is good for freediving that isn't on our map,
let us know and we'll add it!