Tulum Ruins, Tulum
Tulum is probably best visited in the morning before all the tourist buses show up and before the scorching sun starts beating down on you since most of it is uncovered. It's hard to find official information about anything in the Yucatan but I believe it's open from 8am to 5pm and I'm sure it currently costs 59 pesos or $6USD as of December 2014. We arrived around 9:30 or 10am and the place was crawling with tour groups, even more were coming in as we left.
In terms of the structures still standing at Tulum, they are not as impressive as other Mayan ruins in Mexico such as Chichen Itza, both in size and the amount of detail you can still see. But the location on the Caribbean is spectacular! There are some explanatory panels but if you opt to not hire a guide, you might want to print out a little information so you know what you are looking at.
From Playa del Carmen it took about 45-50 minutes to get there, we were quoted a round trip fare of $120 the night before, on that morning a one way fare of $55US and then once we arrived persuaded to keep the taxi around for the whole day, better than lugging towels and snorkel gear around!
Does not take long to explore and easily combined with other excursions in the area. I was in and out within an hour. I saw everything but I am not one to stand and gaze so I am sure that is why it was a short stay for me. This visit, (Oct.2013) the beach was roped off and no was one allowed to get close. Views from the ridge are gorgeous looking up and down the coastline.
If you turn left after entering the complex, Casa Del Cenote can be seen at the top of s small hill to the left. Another well restored structure. It has a small cave/cenote under the structure that you can see on the left before arriving at the top of the path.
Once on top there are also good views of the ocean and you will see an exit/entrance through the complex wall to the north. It is worth while to take a moment to walk through as the view up the coast is beautiful.
From Casa Del Cenote, looking southeast is Templo Dios Del Viento. Translated this means Temple of the Wind God. It is a smaller structure than most others at the complex. During my several visits to Tulum over the years, I was always able to get very close to this temple. However, now everything is roped off.
The Castle is the located in the center of the complex and at the highest point. The Castle only stands 25 feet high but it appears much larger because of its location. Again with the other structures, you can no longer get very close at all to any part of this area.
There is an alter inside the Castle that is said to act as a beacon for canoes that were coming ashore. There is a beach for easy landing to the north that has a natural break in the cliff wall. Makes this a perfect location.
The entrance to Tulum is now located to the north. Upon entering, the first structure that you encounter is Casa Del Noroeste. It is fairly well restored and in good condition relatively speaking. You are permitted to walk off the pathway here onto the grass but you cannot go into or on the structure.
Here you have two options. Proceed straight on the path or turn left before passing Casa Del Noroeste. Turning left will take you to the coast. The next structure is Casa Del Cenote.
I loved the history of these ruins on the ocean so we had to visit when we were in the area. It is very picturesque and interesting. More interesting because we hired one of the tour guides to show us around. The ruins themselves are quite a walk from the parking lot and there is no water available past the entry gate so make sure you take water with you as well as swimming gear if you want to take advantage of the beach at the bottom of the cliffs. It was very windy when we were there so nobody was swimming. However, it was very hot so we were glad we took water and the breeze was welcome.
All sorts of effort, restoration and neat gravel pathways does not make a Mayan ruin for me. It was hot, crowded and sterile. I wanted to see and touch and experience, but it was a sterile pile of stones - I'd sooner see it on TV. To me ruins are worth seeing if you can hack through the jungle, climb the stairs and smell a charcoal brazier as the sun drops beneath trees and vampire bats take to the skies. Well if the train around the grounds and the huge fee to go on the beach appeals to you, then add Tulum ruins to your list.
There is a wall that surrounded the city on three sides, the fourth having been left open to the sea. The wall, sometimes 16 feet high, may have been built with defense in mind, but it is more likely that its prime purpose was to enclose the ceremonial and administrative zone, thereby distinguishing it from the residential enclaves that spread out along the coast towards the north and south.
Open from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. - winter
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. - summer
Entry fee ---38 pesos or $3.80 U.S.
Video camera fee - 30 pesos or $3.00 U.S.
Train to ruins --20 pesos or $2.00 U.S.
Definitely visit the ruins. They are an amazing site and so beautiful. Visit early before the crowds of tours get there. It can get really really crowded and the place is not that big. The ruins are located on top of a hill right next to the Carribean. It is a picturesque place. Bring a lot of water because there is not a lot of coverage and it can get REALLY hot. But definitely visit and bring your camera, you will be glad you did.
2 march 2008
After i checked out my "hotel" i put my bags in a storage at the busstation and took a taxi for 40 pesos to Tulum Ruins and then about 7 minutes walking (1km) there is also a small "train"going to the entrance you have to pay for it.
Entrance 48 pesos video 35 pesos train think 10+ pesos
open 8.00 - 17.00?
If you come by car i think you have to pay for parking it. 30 pesos?
tourguide $20 pp?
Good site with info http://wikitravel.org/en/Tulum
More pics at my travelogues.
Make it a daytrip with beach.
There is a beach you can walk to at the ruins. It looked very nice.
So dont forget to put on your swimming gear and sunprotection. water
It was a hot HOT day, we were sick, but I was determined to see one of the ruins before we left Mexico. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. The ruins itself was beautiful but I wasn't expecting a massive amount of tourists.
On entering the ruins, the feel is the same as walking into a large amusement park. Tons of tour buses and souvenir shops. Think Niagara Falls!
Entry - 40 pesos
to video - 30 pesos
parking 30 pesos for a car or 60 pesos for a jeep/van. (I don't get this part. Car, jeep or van all take only one spot)
Hours: 8am to 5pm
The main reason you will want to stop or visit Tulum is because of the ruins. While the ruins are fairly preserved, the location is the real draw. The ruins are perched on a cliff overlooking the beautiful turquois of the Caribbean Sea, contrasted against the vibrant green of the grass and plants of the grounds. While there are no large impressive buildings, the buildings that are there give an understanding of how this ancient city was laid out. Along the way, there are numerous descriptive placards that provide decent explanations of the buildings and life of the Mayan inhabitants.
Time to Visit:Go early or later in the day. As with many tourist spots, especially those near resort town, the ruins can fill up with loads of day trippers from Cancun and the area. The ruins open at 8AM. When I arrived about 7.45AM, there were less than twenty of us standing in line to get in. By 9.30, it was evident that the first of the buses were beginning to arrive, and by 10AM, the full invasion was underway :-)
Cost: 45$MX for the entrance fee.
Shops: At the main entryway to the ruins, there is a collection of shops and restaurants (reminiscent of strip mall) where you can buy various crafts and souveniers. Here you can hire a guide in several languages to show you around the ruins. Also, here there is demonstration of the Danza de los Voladores. If may have seen pictures of these guys as they twirl around in the air, suspended by a rope attached to their feet and a high pole. This ritual represents the yearly calendar with the four men spinning thirteen times to reach the 52 weeks of the year. One of the guys will come around to collect donations a little insistently. I hear him say to a couple who did not initially want to pay that they should pay if they are watching the performance.
Restoration work is still underway in Tulum. Everyday, several restorationists and archeologists are at work in the site, stablelizing frescoes, checking building conditions and so on.
Unfortunately, the work requires a lot of concetration so they can't stop and chat (not to mention the fact that they are not tour guides!).
Tulum ruins are nicely preserved and beautifully landscaped.
The views are really magnificent.
We went to Tulum at around 11 am and it was unbearably hot (see my beach tip).
The tickets were 45 pesos per person. There is a large toilet facility at front of the ticket office. Give the lady 30 pesos when she handles you the napkin. Toilets are very clean, however the water to flush them has dark brown color. It is normal. The water to wash your hands is clear, and there is plenty of soap. Most faucets in public bathrooms have sensors so you don't have to touch anything after you wash your hands.
Tulum is a small site. Just follow the path and there is no way to get lost.
Lots of paths have stairs, or rock stairs so it is better to wear sport shoes. I have seen people in flip-flops landing on their bottoms. However is you are careful you can wear flip-flops for the most part.
There is a beach in Tulum and it is really worth climbing the stairs to get to it ( see my beach tip)
Be aware of all the touristy stores around the parking lot.
We did not parked on the first lot to the right. We preceded straight until there was nowhere to go. We parked on the smaller parking lot on the right. It was closer and no need walking through all the stores.
We ate at small place across the road where all the Mexican taxi drivers eat.
It was not very good but much better than the touristy places by the main parking lot.
We had eggs for breakfast and the fruit salad.