Tulum sums up pretty much everything I love: clear blue water, palm trees, archeological ruins and amazing sights.
You have probably seen (or even better, been to) a picture perfect beach with Mayan ruins sitting by the cliffs of turquoise caribbean waters. That’s Tulum (or Tuluum), an ancient pre-mayan site in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. As part of a Series on major Mayan archeological sites in Central America (to come: Copan Ruins in Honduras and Tikal Site in Guatemala), let’s go straight to mayan travelers paradise: Tulum.
When our beautiful friends decided to get married in Mexico, we couldn’t but grasp the opportunity to visit this beautiful archeological site. We thank them for sharing with us this little piece of heaven. Tulum is absolutely unique, both because of the site’s historical importance and its incredible paradise-like location.
So how’s like visiting Tulum? Great, definitely. Is it worth the visit? Absolutely. Is it touristy? Of course. Is that beach the most beautiful you’ve seen? Yes. Should I go back? ASAP please.
A little bit about Tulum Mayan Ruins
So, without doing the whole archeological-mayanmania thing, let’s say – in (very) short that Tulum was one of the last cities inhabited by Maya people between the 13th and the 15th centuries. With Spanish occupation came along a lot of diseases that ended up to be deadly to Maya people and with increase of fatalities, they abandoned the city, leaving it to the ruins we get to visit today.
Visiting Tulum Ruins
Because these ruins are so great and beautiful, the site is basically a tourists MAGNET. Try avoiding the crowds and tourist buses by getting there really early (opens 8 A.M). Compared to other Mayan sites like Cobá or Chichen Itzá, Tulum might seem smaller (6km) so it makes a great trip for the day or half a day.
From the road you can walk 500m to the site entry or pay extra for the Disney-like touristy little train from the road entrance to the site entrance. once you go though the ticket booth and security check, you’ll go through the visitor’s center where you can book a guide, learn more about mayan civilization and then go for it: hit the ruins!
OK, so what else is there to know?
Preparing your visit…what to bring:
– Sunscreen, a lot of sunscreen: there is no shadow and the sun will definitely hit your skin
– Comfortable shoes, you can not actually climb on the ruins (thankfully!) but the site is pretty big and you will do a lot of walking
– Snacks: I don’t recall seeing a restaurant or a snacks shop so I’d recommend bringing your own (warning: no alcohol admitted!)
– Your bathing suit + towel, YAY! : best part of visiting Tulum is getting to dip into Mayan turquoise waters. There is a little beach access right by the main ruin (the Castle or Castillo) access is free and it’s absolutely stunning. There are no bathrooms/changing rooms so prepare wisely. The stripy beach is not so wide so it usually gets pretty crowded but hey, you’re in Tulum!
How to get there from Playa del Carmen:
– Try the very comfty ADO Buses, they’ll drop you right by the site entrance. Safe, air-con comfortable buses for tourists. You can check departure schedules online. ADO buses also run from Cancun International airport and you’ll get %OFF when buying round-trips.
– Try hitching a colectivo straight from the Highway, cheaper option than the ADO bus. You’ll have to walk from/to the highway to the site entrance (yikes, it’s hot!) but these little vans are very convenient since they are very regular, air-con and felt quite safe. They’ll drop you at Playa del Carmen central park, run safely until 8 P.M, pay cash and tell the driver where you want to be dropped.
Otherwise, ENJOY ! Visiting Tulum is one of my favorite souvenirs from my Maya Riviera visit and it’s perfect for a day-trip. Just get there early, put your bikini on and you are set to be amazed.
Have you been to Tulum? How do you like turquoise waters? Did you say hi to our little dragon friends up here? Share in the comments box below 🙂