Ruinas de Tulum Travel Guide

  • Ruinas de Tulum
    by goodfish
  • Ruinas de Tulum
    by goodfish
  • Things to Do
    by goodfish

Ruinas de Tulum Highlights

  • Pro
    kyoub profile photo

    kyoub says…

     Very interesting 

  • Con
    TempNomad profile photo

    TempNomad says…

     Mosquitoes! 

  • In a nutshell
    vlsmith profile photo

    vlsmith says…

     Relax and enjoy the fact that you are in a timeless place. 

Ruinas de Tulum Things to Do

  • House of the Columns

    This is one of the largest secular buildings at the site, and another I was able to find very little information about. Tulum’s nobility - who probably lived in the house across the street - were thought to have used it as an office but it could have have served as a residence. It was L shaped, had its own shrine, and the columns for which it’s...

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  • What's it all about?

    I mentioned in my intro that there are signs in English throughout the site but as you can see from my photos, they’re not long on content. While probably enough for the casual tourist more interested in the beach or the scenery, visitors with a deeper interest in Maya history will either want to book a tour (available at the entrance) or do some...

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  • Why should you go?

    It’s not the biggest, oldest or most important of archaeological sites in Mexico but its proximity to busy seaside resorts, ease of access and picturesque setting on the coast make Tulum the third most-visited in the country. There may have been a settlement here 2000 years ago but most of what you will see dates to around 1200-1500 AD: the...

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  • Temple of the Descending God

    This funny, lopsided little temple was my favorite. It isn’t all catawampus because it’s falling apart but because it was built on the tilted roof of an older structure. Like the Temple of the Frescoes, this one was also decorated, inside and out, with murals of which only those on one interior wall survive, and which are off-limits to visitors....

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  • Temple of the Frescoes

    The most valuable part of this temple is the part we're unfortunately not really allowed to see: the murals for which it’s named. Just as unfortunately, the part that you, the reader here, won’t see until you go is what’s missing from this photo as I somehow neglected to get a shot of the entire thing. DOH! So use your imagination here...It was...

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  • If they could talk...

    You enter the park through one of five narrow, tunnel-like openings in the wall - the “tulum” - from which the ancient city acquired its more contemporary name. It is a doozy: nearly 1,300 feet on the longest side, 540 on the shortest, 10-16 feet high, and 26 feet thick in places. This fortification runs along the north, south and west sides of the...

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  • El Castillo: Stairway to the Heavens

    “The Castle” is the elephant in the room: a formidable mountain of of grey limestone that dominates the eastern side of the site. Similar to pyramids in other ancient Maya cities, Tulum’s focal point has a central stairway rising to a ceremonial platform and shrine at the top. While it’s by far the tallest structure in the park, it’s not as...

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  • Bee aware

    Look for this fellow above the doorways of several buildings. He’s alternately called the “Descending God”, “Diving God”, “Wasp Star” or “Bee God”, and theories about just what he's all about are just as many. Fact is, no one really knows so I’m going with the insect - although we may be dealing with two different deities here as some of them look...

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  • Know Before You Go:

    • Entry fee is 57 pesos (about $4.25 U.S.) at time of this writing but prices could change so check the website below for any updates. Credit cards and foreign currency are not accepted, and although some tourists have managed to use U.S. dollars, I wouldn’t count on it. You may want some pesos for shopping afterwards anyway so exchange/withdraw...

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  • El Castillo

    Th most dominant building in Tulum was called El Castillo by the Spaniards because it looked like a castle, it must be one.Wh knows for sure, perhaps they were right.For sure, El Castillo was on fantastic lighthouse..

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  • Tulum

    The ruins of Tulum are on top of a sheer cliff, high above the shimmering waters of the Mexican Caribbean.Tulum, Maya for "wall", is protected by three massive walls and a 40 ft cliff with a sandy cove at its base.From this beach, the seafaring inhabitants launched fishing and trade boats establishing Tulum as the principal port on the coast.

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  • Cliff side...

    Here we can see the beach side of the city. All other 3 sides were, are, protected with walls. There were only 5 small doors to access the city.

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  • The Walled City by the Sea

    Tulum would not be a huge attraction if it not were for its extraordinary location look over the vast blue sea. The temples hang off 40 meter cliffs as the turquoise water crashes below. The Tulum is Mayan for wall. There is a wall that completely encloses this tiny city whose occupants were barely hanging on to their civilization in the Late...

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  • A stone-face of Tulum.

    It's amazing that the detail is still visible. This corner is a face...the nose is made up of the corner.

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  • El Castillo

    The perfect picture "el Castillo" makes for a kewl contrast between the beautiful light blue colors of the Caribbean sea, and the impressive craftsmanship present on the Mayan ruins, which are located atop a cliff.

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  • To visite Tulum

    Tulum is a small, but exquisite site. In front of every structure there is a plaque with the name and the description of the building. You can easily visite the site even without a tourist guide.If you want know more about the site please, go to my travelogues.

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  • neither pyramids,nor gigantic palaces...

    in the foreground:frescoes temple (today no frescoes!)in the background:el castillo,as called by the spanish,for it's the greatest...a very important religious site:every 52 years,mayas considered the world was arriving to the end of a period.then,a ceremony took place here:all the fires were out and...the debts canceled!!!!

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  • The most laid-back ruins

    Tulum is a wonderful destination for some relaxing ruin visiting. It has a beach right on the site and the ruins can be approached, and in some cases, stood upon.

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Ruinas de Tulum Transportation

  • Getting there

    If you are staying at a Riviera Maya resort, they’ll do their level best to book you onto a bus tour. As those fall, for me, into the same category as a tot with a very runny nose (to be avoided at all costs) we got there the way many of the locals do: on a colectivo. These little vans scoot up and down Highway 307 between Cancun and Playa del...

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  • Getting there and around by bus

    There are plenty of buses that head to Valladolid, Playa del Carmen, Cancun, Coba, and many other places in the Yucatan peninsula. There are two bus stations: one for immediate cities/towns around the Mayan Riviera coast, and the other for inland destinations such as Valladolid.

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  • Cheap and fun

    To reach Tulum it's easy. You can take a bus or a taxi from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. Otherwise you can easily find a lift waiting on the main road. There are many buses that run through the Riviera Maya from Cancun to Tulum. Surely they'll stop when see you make a wave. This can be cheap and fun!

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Ruinas de Tulum Local Customs

  • selket_20's Profile Photo
    Swing anyone?

    by selket_20 Written Jul 13, 2006

    Images aren't all free.

    Keep an eye out for costumed displays, it may look like part of the entertainment but you are expected to pay a little something for photographing people in Mayan costume.

    Also, if you bring a video camera into the park you will have to pay a video fee at the door.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Photography
    • Archeology

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Ruinas de Tulum Warnings and Dangers

  • Iguanas!

    This isn't a real danger, but if you don't like iguanas, be carefull where put your feet! In Tulum there are many iguanas. You can see them while they are basking in the sunshine. However they aren't dangerous. I like them very much.

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  • Beware the timeshare sales promoters!

    Easy to get sidetracked in Playa del Carmen by timeshare sellers, who roam the main tourist areas offering free meals or cheap car rentals in exchange for attending a "brief" informational meeting. The meetings aren't brief, and the sales tactics once you get to their site are unscrupulous. DON"T GET TRAPPED!

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Ruinas de Tulum Tourist Traps

  • cbeaujean's Profile Photo

    by cbeaujean Written Nov 2, 2002

    on the speedway from chichen itza to the carribean coast (to cancun,xelha,tulum) ...the only direction signal....and not a single way out on more than 205km!

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Ruinas de Tulum Off The Beaten Path

  • Ruinas de Tulum by yourself

    If you use local tranportation (see below for details) you go by yourself visit Tulum for a lot cheaper than organized tours. When we went, it was around 5 pesos for each to visit the site without a guide, and 2 pesos for the transport. Guided tour was $50 US per person. 7 times cheaper for getting around by ourselves... And you can go early before...

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  • silence

    There is very little silence or solitude to be had in Tulum these day when the tour busesarrive, but the setting is still stunning.Mounted on the edge of the cliff, this abandoned city towers above one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.Try to find a quiet corner and think about the mysteries of the Mayan world.

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  • A plunge into the sea

    If you are hot and tired, take time out for a swim. You can plunge into the Caribbean right at the beach that fronts the site.

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Ruinas de Tulum Favorites

  • A magic place

    Even though Tulum is not one of the most important Maya cities, visite it if you want to find out the fascination of an ancient site built in a marvellous place. Tulum is a magic place. Here I felt the sensation to be in a place where time and space don't exist. Here the beauty of a wild nature meets the fascination of ancient temples.

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  • a lookout on the caribbean sea...

    what makes tulum(=fortress) so special?its situation on a sea cliff.four sides,three with thick walls,the last one open to the ocean.what's bitten the mayas to leave a so superb site?in 1518,came here the first spanish caravels.... a very romantic site

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