Tulum Ruins, Tulum
Exploring the Tulum ruins should be an all day adventure not a two hour guided tour that hustles you through the ruins so they can take you to Xel-Ha, which is nothing but a half rate water park. (Though it has its charms) Exploring Tulum by land doesn't involve a whole lot of walking as the site itself is small but to fully appreciate the charm and dignity of one of the most uniquely situated Mayan sites in the Yucatan it does require your full attention and the time to take it all it. As you stroll around the site you will be entranced by the layout of the building and the swaying palm trees that surround them. You will be awed by the picture perfect views of the ocean and the beach that runs up against the cliffs. Tulum can also be enjoyed by sea. Bring your swimsuit and snorkeling gear and enjoy the cool blue water and the soft white sand. The back end views of El Castillo from the beach and from within the water are awe inspiring. Tulum deserves an entire day to explore. If you only plan on doing the two hour guided tour, get yourself a tourist guide book and don't waste your time. After all that extra two hours could be spent in the joyless wonder of Xel-Ha!
Ruins with the view! Has anyone noticed how Tulum views have been featured in many movies and shows lately?
Go there with some knowledge about ruins, because nothing is labeled there. Bring a book to read what is what. Or I believe you can get a guide.
And don't forget your bathing suit and a towel. There is a walk down to the beach where you can swim in the "ancient" beach.
The Ancient Mayan weather is tricky, the sun is super hot so be prepared. Bring SPF, hat, long sleeve cotton shirt.
The Ruins at Tulum are a big draw, however, I did not get a chance to see them! They close at 5pm (in 2007), and they stop letting people in about a 1/2 hour before that. Allow yourself plenty of time! There's a long walk from the entrance where you park to the actual ruins, or you can take a little shuttle bus.
Parking at the ruins is also not free - it's about $4 or so.
Also, the temperatures at the Ruins are A LOT higher than down by the beach. It's best to go early in the morning to beat the heat.
If you get a chance, I would recomment getting a guided excursion that brings you to an authentic Mayan village. It is fascinating. We had a Mayan guide that spoke the language and allowed us an imtimate glimpse of their way of life.
Some of them do not even speak spanish, and they have such a close-knit community. Most guides take you into a house and around the community. Some village members make crafts that can be bought at the end of the tour.
If you stayed in town, like myself, its probably wise to visit the Ruins and then go to the beach, as the ruins are a nice walk from the beach (the ruins have their own beach themselves!)
Entrance to the ruins is 45 pesos and takes less than an hour to see.. then spend some time sunning yourself and dipping in the cool waters of the breathtakingly stunning Tulum beach
Not surprisingly, the ruins are the main attraction in Tulum. Settled around 900-1200, the City of Dawn is a smallish settlement without any major pyramid or sights - mainly as it is the result of the Mayan civilisation in decline. In many ways it resembles more of a fortress than any of the other major sites - it is surrounded on 3 sides by thick walls (the 4th side being the natural defence of the sea). It's its location that makes it a major attraction, but the ruins themselves are still worth 2-3 hours pottering around (and you can always go to the beach once you have finished!)
You have to walk about 10 minutes from the car park to the entrance of the ruins, but anyway there's a shuttle service for those who may need it. Close to the car park there are some mexican souvenirs shops, bars, telephones and toilets.
The site is smaller than Chich?-Itz?, it was built when the Mayan civilization was declining. Tulum in Mayan language means "wall", but someone told me that Tulum really means "badly scent stones" but as it isn't a "nice" meaning nobody would go to visit a site with such a name.
The main building is El Castillo- The Castle that is a temple situated on the highest point of the site, so it would also have been used as a lighthouse, nowadays it's not allowed to climb it.
About three kms north of town are the ruins of Tulum. This well-visited site is apparently the only Mayan ruin directly on the ocean. It served as a place of trade with the sea. You can hire a guide (many of whom seem to speak at least five languages), or you can go self-guided like I did. If you bring your videocam, there is an extra fee to use it. Admission is around $5 if memory serves. There is also a tractor that pulls a train to take you from the mall to the ruins, but only the most debilitated of us needs to take it.
Several things to keep in mind. Get there as early as possible, as the tour buses from the resorts seem to get there around 0930 or 1000. Another good reason is to beat the heat. There is a "mall" where you can find cheesy tourist shops and we even saw some sort or supposedly Mayan things where guys in brightly colored outfits swang from ropes about thirty feet up in a sort of merry-go-round effect. Finally, one of two ATM's in town is in the mall, so avoid the lines and go here if you are already in the neighborhood and save the lines downtown.
Tulum ruins are one of the most interesting pre-hispanic sites in Mexico. They owe this to the fact that the town was built right on the Carribean coast. The remains of the buldings are not that spectacular, but the setting is the one that attracts visitors. Although Tulum has one feature, other sites don't have - the town is surrounded by defensive wall from 3 sides. The forth side is guarded by a cliff on the beach.
The name Tulum acctally means ''wall'' in Mayan and the place got that name in 20th century. Before it was known as ''Zama'' (dawn) by Mayans.
The site is rather small. It can be seen in 1 hour, but many combine sightseeing with swimming in the seam as there is a nice beach right in front of the ruins.
I went to the ruins already two years ago and noticed that this times the ruins are closed to walk on because of the hurricane and also the small beach in the middle of the ruins I went swimming two years ago.
But there is still another one which is just beautiful - so don´t forget your swimsuit when you visit the ruins.
The Tulum Ruins were a walled-in city state fortress that developed around 564 AD. It is a fascinating site because the main building (the Castillo) looks spectacular as it sits perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean. It's the one they use in all the commercials for Mexican travel. "Tulum" means "wall" in Mayan, and you can still walk the outer edges of the wall around the site.
The beach area inside the walls is where Maya ships and canoes used to come ashore when the fortress acted as a seaport. The primary god here was the diving/descending god.
The architecture and designs are not as impressive or intricate as those at Chichen Itza, less strong materials and somewhat crude designs, but Tulum is definitely worth the visit if you're in the area. They say Tulum's the most visited of the Mayan ruins, but I don't believe them. There's always been more people at Chichen Itza from what I've seen.
The admission was only about $5 USD.
There are guides available on site if you want to pay for that. The washrooms (which used to be pay bathrooms) are now free.
You will probably save about $60 USD per person by doing his trip on your own with coach buses instead of through a tour from your Cancun hotel. (It's not a full day excursion, like Chichen Itza.)
If you are visiting the Cancun/Mayan Riveria area, Tulum is a must in things to see. Tulum holds Mayan Ruins set upon a hill looking down on beautiful beach. The ruins cost only $3.80 US dollars to enter and you have access to the beach as well.
This is probably the main atraction within the Tulum area.
There is something special about each of the ruins I saw in Yucatan. The thing with Tulum is that there is a cliff behind them and you get to see a paradisiac beach, beautiful colors and pristine, clean and clear water. White sands...
As soon as you finish your tour on the ruins, which are not very big, go to the cliff and there are some stairs that will take you to this beach.
The moment when you get by the cliff and actually get to see the sea is undescriptible. You can see many pictures but none of them will make you feel the way you feel when you see this place...
I wish I knew what this is all about it looks a bit scary ,that's what a kid walking by said
I think it just a rock with some holes in it
It does look like two eyes and a mouth do.
I just think this is a Must See ( two eyes ).
As the song says ," I am still standing "
Well this applies to this Archway ,it is standing and it looks great ,it is just below the Castle ,I am not sure where it leads to .
Many pictures were taken in this spot .
I will have some in the travelogue later on.