Tulum is the ancient Mayan city overlooking the fabulous blue waters of the Caribbean, with a fantastic beach, beautiful views and fascinating history. Tulum is an easy half day trip that you must see. It is also probably a good idea to join this trip with a stop at Xel Ha. David's dad rented a car for the week so we did a day trip to Tulum and Xel Ha. Tulum was built in the Early Classic period (AD250-600) and developed into an important city in the years AD1200-1530. Tulum is quite a small site and unlike Chichen Itza has a beach that is just an amazing sight. The beach is also good for a dip to cool yourself down in the heat. Tulum is one of the most visited of all Mayan ruins, and it's also the only major Mayan ruin to be found along Mexico's Caribbean coastline on the "Riviera Maya". It would be a shame to miss it. Tulum is surrounded by three walls and with the ocean forming the fourth boundary the city was designed to be defensive. A warning and danger tip would have to be the many Iguanas found all over the place. The best part about Tulum is that it is never too crowded. One of the big spectacles at Tulum is the voladores, or flyers located close to the entrance. They dress in brilliantly colored traditional costumes, climb up a 150 foot pole, tie their ankles to ropes wound around the pole and then jump off. They fly gracefully around and around as the ropes unwind until they reach the ground. As the voladores "fly," another performer balances at the top of the pole and plays haunting tunes on his wooden flute. Overall we all loved Tulum and would recommend it to anyone who visits Cancun.
Tulum is the only oceanfront city the Maya ever built, also the only one that is walled. Located on incredibly beautiful Caribbean beach, Tulum is small, it can be toured in about two hours, but offers some incredible insight into the life of the Maya. Tulum may lack some of the grandeur of Chichén Itzá, but its stylised designs and the incredible setting more than make up for the lack of major pyramids. A small admission fee is charged. Multilingual guides are available. An early trip to Tulum, combined with lunch in Playa del Carmen, and an afternoon of snorkelling make for a perfect day out.
Go to see the ruins at Tulum. It is hot and dusty, but it is worth the trip. The tours are given by real Mayans who share lots of information about the culture; both past and present.
Bring a bathing suit as well, there are amazing beaches there too.
From the resort row, it'll be worth it to rent a car and take a pleasant 3 hr. drive to the ancient Mayan temple complex of Tulum where you can soak in the historical sight as well as the amazing view of the sea!
Yup this temple sits at a cliff overlooking the carribbean sea! If you feel like taking a dip, a small beach by the alcove can be host to your 40degree heat break.
I believe that if you have the courage to get behind the wheel of a vehicle in Mexico, that you should focus that courage and use it to venture down the highway from Cancun to Tulum. The clifftop ruins by the sea are a breathtaking sight and the drive down there is truly scenic. Plus there's the opportunity to stop by Playa del Carmen and enjoy the laid back alter ego of Cancun.
From Cancun it is not far to Tulum, the only fortified Maya-City at the coast. The ruins are not as impressive as the ruins of Chichen Itza, but it is overwhelming to see the temple above the beach and the blue ocean.
As it is easy to reach from Cancun or Playa del Carmen, there are also millions of tourists.
For more photos and impressions of Tulum please see my travelogue!
Tulum is great. It's close to Playa del Carmen and it's the only piramid by the sea. It's quite amazing how these mayan guys built all these, and the landscape is great. If you're going to Tulum, BRING ON YOUR SWIMSUIT. There's an AMAZING beach right next to it. Impossible not to get in the water. You'll thank me afterwards.
Close to Cancun are Mayan ruins that stir the immagination. While Tulum, Chichin Itza, and Coba have well-deserved reservations, I also liked less traveled sites, such as Muyil.
If you go to Tulum, get there in the morning before the tour buses -- the site is compressed in a relatively small area and fills up fast. We got there around 8:30 - 9:00 and things were still relatively quiet -- but by the time we left the parking areas were full and more were coming in.
Muyil is just south of Tulum -- a relatively small site, but one that has some impressive buildings and gives a sense of discovery.
The Grand Pyramid is impressive at Coba, rising 12 stories above the jungle. The guidebooks mention that bikes are availble to rent because the sight is so spread out. They should be more emphatic: rent a bicycle if you go there.
Chichin Itza has a well-deserved reputation. Stay for the Light and Sound show if you can -- we took a tour bus to avoid driving late at night (and considering the cost of the toll road it was well worth it). Be sure to get the headphones unless you speak Spanish. Our guide was kind enough to arrange headphones for us, but we heard many people say that they wish they had gotten them.
I will always remember a large, orange-colored, full moon rising next to the great pyramid at Chichin Itza.
Ek-Balam has the most impressive artistic work -- well preserved statutes that defy description in this page.
Snorkeling is wonderful around Cancun. We were somewhat disappointed with Aquaworld's snorkeling tours -- both at Punta Nizuc and the Isla de Mujeres. Both of these tours took you out on boats with a guide in groups of 10 or so. It got a little crowded, but the reefs were great. You might want to consider a tour with Scubamex in Paamul instead.
There are lots of snorkeling areas south of Cancun: Paamul, Akumal, and Xpu-Ha all have beautiful beaches with access to reefs. Be sure to wear BIODEGRADEABLE sun block - and don't touch the reefs. We need to protect them for our children.
One of the ancient Maya Indians cities... or naturally ruins of it. Maybe not so impressive than some other ruined cities but a landmark of very old civilization. If you go to Cancun, I think you should also visit one day, or half of it in Tu-Lum. Actually we did Xel-Ha and Tu-Lum in one day and I think it was quite okay schedule for that.
As we were leaving the site, I took this photo from the landward protective wall, looking back over the main area of Tulum's buildings toward the ocean cliff. This site is much newer than Chicen-Itza, springing up in the 1200s, and it was still inhabited when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the 1500s.
An interesting fact about Tulum is that it is the only ruin located directly on the coast. There is a very nice beach located directly below the cliff on which Tulum is situated. Our bus tour was too short to allow us time to explore it, but we had a good view from above!
the ancient Mayan city of Tulum on the coast of Quitana Roo dominates the Caribbean from its clifftop vantage point.
the impressive walled city is located on the coast and dates from the Post Classic period (A.D. 900-1521) A wall surrounded the ceremonial and political center of the city, while the common people settled on the perimeter.
The most noteworthy structures in Tulum are El Castillo , built on a 12-meter tall cliff facing the sea; the Temple of the Descending God, with a bas.-relief carving of the god Itzamna on the facade; and the Temple of the Frescoes, elaborately painted on the inside and decorated with masks on the four cornices