The Mayan Ruins of Tulum

The Tulum Ruins are situated in a dramatic cliff top location on the beautiful coastal peak of the Mayan Riviera.

The commanding archaeological site offers a captivating insight into the history of the region. Tourists flock to the area to explore the iconic ruins in all their glory.

There are many Mayan sites throughout Quintana Roo and the Yucatan Peninsula. However the main factor that really sets Tulum apart, is its coastal setting and the panoramic views from the beautiful beach below.

Visitors travel from their resorts throughout the surrounding localities to visit the area, which is undoubtably one of the most popular attractions in the region. The site provides a great introduction to the cultural developments throughout the country. The trip offers an insightful and enjoyable experience for all travelers. It could also be described as a less intense experience than when visiting Chichen Itza.

Coastal beach at Tulu

The Origins of the Ruins

Tulum is known as the 'Walled City'. The reason for this name is fairly simple, the City was built with substantial walls surrounding each side. The construction formations within the site show a very similar pattern to the type of building methods used in a traditional English Castle.

It was very rare for the civilizations of the time to build their cities and villages in this way.

It was also a rare event for important cities and dwellings to be built in a coastal location.

The Mayan people constructed many impressive cities in this part of the map of Mexico, but they would generally always build inland.

The walls and structures were initially painted, evidence suggests that they would have been painted in a vivid shade of red. You can still see a few traces of depicted colour as you examine the site today. It is thought that the walls were built as a protective measure for times of battle and conflict and the location was chosen for its good links as a trading post.

The beach itself would have been used as a dock and the dock would have been used primarily for trade. That's kind of ironic, because when you think about it hundreds of years later, the site is now used primarily by the tourist trade. Now that's what you call forward planning!

Mayan Ruins at Tulum

Our Experience at the Archaeological Site

We were really impressed and inspired after visiting the Tulum Ruins. There are many structures to examine and explore at the site.

The most notable constructions include the Temple of the Diving God, the commanding Castillo pyramid and the historically significant Temple of the Frescoes. Some people spend hours, examining every detail and carving, whilst others rush around just glancing at the major architecture.

Personally, I enjoyed taking my time examining the fascinating history and analysing some of the rare Mexican murals in the Temple of the Frescoes. I also discovered that the Castillo Pyramid was once used as a lighthouse by the early Mayan population.

The site offers a great day out and is well worth the trip on your vacation. Watch out for iguanas gazing up at the sun, there are usually plenty of them around, often camouflaged into their surroundings.

Iguana hiding on the Mayan Ruins in Mexico

How to get to there and when to go

It takes just under an hour to travel to the site from Playa del Carmen.
If you are traveling from Cancun then the trip will be around two hours.

The route is fairly simple, you just follow Highway 307 along the Riviera Maya coast and you will see signposts leading you to the site entrance.

You can pay for your admission tickets at the entrance, however if you're driving there is also an additional fee for using the car park at the site.

There are also many pre-bookable coach trips and tours that visit the area.

The organised coach tours will generally pick you up directly from your designated resort or hotel.

If you're planning an extensive excursion and looking to enjoy a full day out, then you could visit the mysterious Gran Cenote which is only a short journey away. Many tour operators offer combined package excursions to Tulum and Xel-Ha. History enthusiasts, may also enjoy exploring the ruins at Coba.

As usual with this kind of site it is best to get there as early as possible and beat the crowds. The site opens at 8am and closes at 5pm daily. You can take advantage of the cooler temperatures if you arrive early.

When it does get hotter of course then you can always stop exploring the Tulum ruins and descend the steps to the beach, to have a refreshing swim in the Caribbean Sea.

Tulum ruins and beach

If you would like to book, then you may enjoy one of the following options;

Tulum and Xel-Ha (Combined Experience) - $128.99

This excursion offers a great way to enjoy two of the must-see attractions in the Mayan Riviera. You can enjoy a guided tour of the archaeological site before heading off to the ecological park where you can snorkel, swim and explore. Food and transportation are included for the trip.

Yucatan Adventure Tour - $98.99

The tour offers a fun, exciting, action-packed experience. After visiting the ruins, you can cool down by snorkelling in the Takbelum cenote, ride an exhillerating zip-line through the jungle and pedal your way through the trees on a sky cycle.

Compare visitor reviews for the archaeological site.

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