A tour of the Mayan ruins of Tulum in Mexico
The first time you hear the word “Tulum” you will probably think of the sun, the sea and the beaches, and you will no doubt start fantasizing about visiting all the famous cenotes in the area. You may also soon dream of fruity cocktails and delicious Mexican food to go with it all.
But another major attraction in the heart of Tulum is the ruins of Tulum. While, for some reason, they may not be as famous as some other ancient sites, visiting this ancient and significant Mayan site will not only be a self-made postcard to send people home, but can easily become one of your best memories of visiting Tulum.
So what exactly do you need to know about the Mayan ruins in Tulum before your visit? I’ll let you know below!
What are the ruins of Tulum
The original purpose of the ruins of Tulum was to serve as a kind of sea fortress and a means of protection for the people of the city, so it was walled on three sides, the Caribbean Sea functioning as the fourth wall. In Mayan times, Tulum was an important trading post, especially the trade with Chichen Itza, Ek Balam and Cobá, which was of great importance to them. Especially once its largest rival city, Mayapan, came to collapse, Tulum became an incredibly powerful city and state during the 13th and 14th centuries. Unfortunately, the Mayans left the city once the Spaniards arrived in the early 16th century.
Interestingly, the Mayans were not the ones who actually built these ruins. According to archaeological finds made in the ruins of Tulum, there has been some kind of room even at the beginning of history as in the year 564 AD. From that moment until the arrival of the Spaniards, the city was also occupied by a group of people, although it never exceeded 1600 inhabitants at a time. When the Spaniards arrived, along with the diseases, most of the inhabitants died sadly.
Ruins of Tulum vs Chichen Itza
The most famous ruins of the Riviera Maya and its surroundings are Chichen Itza, part of which has even been designated as one of the 7 wonders of the world. It offers an incredibly complete view of Mayan history and culture, and like the ruins of Tulum, you can’t miss it as part of your itinerary.
However amazing Chichen Itza may be, and deservedly considered more magnificent than the Ruins of Tulum, the only thing that stands out about the Ruins of Tulum is the time spent traversing it. If you have little time, the Ruins of Tulum are the way to go, as visits to Chichen Itza make you forget about a whole day.
However, if you have time, here are the best tours that will take you to Chichén Itzá:
About guided tours of the ruins of Tulum
Maybe in order to get the most out of Tulum’s ruins, you may want to hire a guide to teach you. Most visits take about 2 hours to complete, which is a perfectly adequate amount of time to see the best parts of the ruins. Hiring an on-site guide costs about $ 30.
There are even a couple of different excursion options, which often combine ruins with another attraction.
Here are some of the best tours that include a stop at the Tulum Archaeological Site:
Sure, they’re more expensive, but they can offer you a day of exceptional fun in the ruins and beyond! For example, you can combine your tour of the ruins of Tulum with a visit to the huge and famous Xel Ha Ecological Park, where you can enjoy a variety of water activities and other fun in the jungle.
You can also combine a visit to the ruins with an excursion where you can snorkel with the turtles on the beautiful reef barrier of the Caribbean. You can even take a more extreme tour along with the ruins, which will include zip line, abseiling and more.
Where are the ruins of Tulum?
The ruins of Tulum are located next to the Caribbean Sea on the Riviera Maya in the Quintana Roo region of Mexico. It is the closest to Playa del Carmen, but is also easily accessible from Cancun. In addition to the ruins, the city of Tulum is also popular with tourists, especially for its beach life, not to mention its many cenotes.
In essence, the city of Tulum is divided into four sections: one for the archeological site which are the Mayan ruins of Tulum, one for the main part of the city, one which has been labeled as a hotel area and the fourth is Sian Ka. ‘a biosphere reserve.
Other Mayan ruins near Tulum
In addition to the ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza, there are other archeological sites from the Mayan period nearby to visit. There is Muyil, which was one of the longest occupied cities in the Mayan era. There is Ek Balam, another place of incredibly important Mayan ruins. There is Chacchoben, within which the Mayan calendar can be found.
There is Cedral, which is a fertility temple from the Mayan era. There is the archeological site of Cobá, where you can step on the tallest ancient pyramid in the region. There is also Xel Ha, which is now better known as an ecological park. In addition to these ruins, there are a couple of others, if you are interested in seeing them all.
If you live abroad, you can visit the site free of charge every Sunday. However, since most of us are probably just visitors to Mexico, we have to pay some kind of fee to enter.
You can download it for 80 pesos ($ 3USD- $ 4USD) if you want to visit the site without a guide. With a hired guide, the price will end up around 600 pesos (30 USD).
In addition, there is some walking distance between the ruins and the car park, but there is a folk train that you can take for 20 pesos ($ 1 USD), especially during the hottest times of the year, you may want to opt by train instead of the 15 minute walk. The parking lot next to the ruins will bring you an additional 120 pesos ($ 2USD- $ 3USD) from your wallet.
How to get to the ruins of Tulum from Playa del Carmen:
It takes less than an hour to reach the ruins of Tulum from Playa del Carmen by car. The route is almost entirely coastal, so you can enjoy picturesque coastal scenery on the way back and forth. You will also pass by the Xel Ha Ecological Park on your way. If you do not want to rent your own car, of course you can join an organized tour, as recommended above.
Alternatively, it is also possible to reach the site by public transport. In this case, the best option is a group. It’s a kind of minibus, and it will always leave when the bus is full of people, which usually doesn’t take long! They all leave Juárez.
. . .
Now that you know these amazing Mayan ruins of Tulum, don’t miss them on your trip to this part of Mexico! Especially if you enjoy visiting historical and archeological sites, this is a must-see for you. Even if you are less of a history buff and prefer modern city life to old places, you may have a great time.
To get the most out of the ruins, you can combine it with another place, like the Xel Ha Ecological Park mentioned above. And since these ruins are not as famous as other similar places in the regions of Mexico and Latin America, you can add a unique attraction to your list of visited places. Diversify and complete your visit to Tulum with these ruins!
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