Even the Mayan builders knew that it’s all about location, location, location!
Perched on a cliff overlooking the clear, turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, the Mayan Ruins of Tulum are a stunning sight to behold. While they may not be as large or important as other Mayan archeological sites, like Chichén Itzá, they’re still worth visiting for their historical significance and unique setting.
The last time I visited Tulum Ruins was over a decade ago and although I’ve been to the Yucatan Peninsula several times since then, I never had a chance to go to the ruins. If you know me, you know I love beautiful views, and photography, so while on vacation in Tulum, I was eager to revisit the ruins, Nikon in tow.
I was somewhat prepared for the hordes of tourists and over-commercialization, as I had read that Tulum receives thousands of visitors each day. In fact, it is the most frequently visited Mayan ruin in the Yucatan Peninsula and the second most visited in Mexico, only behind Teotihuacán near Mexico City. But, sometimes destinations are touristy for a good reason – Tulum is such a place. Just make sure you pack your patience if you go!
Tulum is surrounded by a wall on three sides, which was used for defense and to designate areas of religious ceremony. There is a theory that it was also used to separate the elite from the peasants. We walked through one of only five openings in the rampart, to enter into the main area, where the most important buildings are located.
During its peak, between the 12th and 16th centuries, Tulum served as a major trading post for neighboring city-states such as Chichen Itza, Cobá, and Ek Balam. It also dealt with other communities to the south in what is now Central America.
Throughout that period, it was the largest fortified Mayan site on the Quintana Roo coast. It rose to prominence when non-Mayan immigrants repopulated the Yucatan Peninsula after the decline of the Mayan civilization. It was during this era that most of the structures were built.
El Castillo (The Castle) is Tulum’s largest building and sits on a 40 foot (12 meter) cliff overlooking the Caribbean. If you bring your swimsuit you can cool off at the beach below. There are stairs leading down.
This view is one of the reasons Tulum is a “must see” despite it’s popularity.
Iguanas are ubiquitous and since they blend in with their background its entertaining to actually try to spot them.
Hours: Tulum is open from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. Admission closes at 4:30 pm. The earlier you arrive the better, not only to beat the hordes, but also to avoid the midday sun. In fact, bringing an umbrella is a good idea, either for rain or sun.
Cost: $70 pesos when we were there (about $3.50 US). Foreign currencies are not permitted.
Bring plenty of water, as there is no one selling water inside the wall.
For practical details on visiting Tulum check out my post: What to Expect When Visiting Tulum
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Please note: All images are (c) Anabela Salvador George. All Rights Reserved.
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