Tulum Mayan Ruins

Address:Tulum Mayan ruins, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Today:8 am to 5 pm   Show all

About Tulum Mayan Ruins

The Tulum Mayan ruins are what now remain of a once very active port city, the foundations of which have been dated back, due to a deciphered stele inscription, to 564 A.D. The majority of the buildings, still standing and quite well preserved, are dated to the last period of the pre-Hispanic occupation, between the 13th and the early 16th century A.D., which is to be considered its' heyday.

Zama, the original Mayan name of the city (meaning "dawn", as it faces East), had been built on a steep cliff facing the ocean, and is surrounded on its' other three sides, by massive defensive walls up to 6 meters high. Tulum Mayan Ruins had been the most important crossroads of sea and land trade routes in the whole area.

Many artifacts, found in or around the Tulum archaeological site, suggest that Zama/Tulum (or Tulu'um, which means walled, the Yucatec name in use since the 18th century), had strong commercial relations with the mountain residing populations of central and western Mexico, as well as with the ones of Guatemala. This had the effect of making it an "international hub" for the distribution of goods into the rest of Yucatan through to Coba and Chichen Itzá, which, at the time, were the two main cities of the region.

Sadly, and according to the most accredited theory, the city was abandoned by the end of the 16th century, due to the new diseases introduced by the Spanish conquerors, which practically destroyed the native population. Built, as said, on a steep cliff in front of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, the ancient ruins of Tulum are visited every year by more than one million of tourists, which make it the 17th world's most visited site, as well as the 3rd in Mexico.

The entrance is located on federal highway 307, less than 1 kilometer before the city limits of Tulum, on the left side heading South. An ample and safe pay and display parking area (50 Mexican Pesos), is located just 1 kilometer before the entrance to the ruins, which you can reach on foot or by taking the little train (10 Pesos fee).

After paying the 59 Pesos admission fee (guides are available for around 300 Pesos), and within a few minutes’ walk, you reach a little tunnel in the massive walls - this is the entrance to the Tulum ruins. A very well cured lawn surrounds the sixty buildings, and the many iguanas, lazily lying under the sun, will welcome you to this ancient jewel.

A detailed visit to Tulum Mayan Ruins will take about one hour and is more than enough time to see, among others: The amazing Temple of Frescoes, the internal walls of which are decorated with colourful paintings honoring the Descending God and the Goddess of corn. This building used to have a great religious and social importance, as also shown by the beautiful stucco decorations of the front columns.

The Castillo of Tulum ruins, the largest and tallest construction on the site, is built right on the edge of the cliff, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. It used to have mainly religious purposes, although researchers say that it also had a lighthouse functions too, in order to guide the Mayan merchant ships in navigation along the Yucatan coast.

In order to preserve Tulum ruins, it is unfortunately not possible to climb up the stairs, nor to walk in front of it. The Palace, which is beautifully decorated with carvings and images of deities, is the site's largest building for residential purposes, and is thought to have been inhabited by Zama's spiritual leaders and dignitaries. Composed of several small chambers, the windows of one of them still have the rings that used to hold the curtains.

It is advisable and preferable to take your tour in the early hours of the morning, and to have fresh water with you, as the heat gets stronger during the day. Having finished your tour around the only Mayan city on the sea, a stairway close to the Castillo, leads down to the beach, giving you a priceless chance to take a swim in the refreshing Caribbean Sea waters, in a unique and amazing setting, thereby providing you with a heartwarming moment that will make your day.

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Reviews (4)

Tulum ruins are the best located ruins in Mexican Caribbean for me that love see and nature.
They are not the greatest ruins. Nothing like Uxmal, but definitely a place to check if you have opportunity. Tulum Ruins are located by the coast, actually with a 'private beach', where you can enjoy some sun and refresh yourself in the water. Excellent :)
Tulum ruins is one of the historic places in Riviera Maya that you should visit. For me it was very interesting to get to know about the Mayan history. But it was TOO HOT. It was one of the first excursion during my vacation in Cancun and I haven't got used to the local heat yet and that was the only thing that spoiled my mood. I advise you to take with you a lot of water, a hat and a sun protection cream. I never got burned before but after 2 hours passing on ruins I got burned and it wasn't too pleasant:( What was the pleasure to swim in the sea and to cool down after the excursion!!! Oh! If you travel alone by car I advise you to come to Tulum ruins before 11AM. First of all, it isn't so hot in the morning. Secondly, after 11AM there are a lot of tourists and you won't get total enjoyment of visiting Tulum Ruins.
I went with my family and was outstanding. Tulum ruins is one of the many archaeological ruins of the Maya civilization that's scattered throughout the Yucatan peninsula. It might not be huge and the best preserved, but its location with overlooking to the Caribbean Sea, and how close are from the tourist resorts of Playa del Carmen make them one of the most visited archaeological sites in the area. If you go to Riviera not hesitate to stop in Tulum ruins, it is a good option. And, I recommend a good sunscreen protection, because I got burn all my skin :o.
I had fantastic time visiting this beautiful Tulum ruins. There is breathtaking little beach, which is real pleasure for the eyes and its great for the swim. I would highly suggest visit this place, if you are in Riviera Maya.

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