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Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico

What to Know Before Visiting The Ruins of Tulum

by Tsvete Popp

This post is part of the series Yucatán

Other posts in this series:

  1. Day Trip to Uxmal and the Pyramid of the Magician
  2. The Best Things to Do in Merida, Mexico
  3. Exploring the Mayan Ruins of Coba in Mexico

Tulum is a coastal town located in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula that has become a very popular tourist destination during the last couple of years. Tulum got its name from the ancient Mayan ruins located on the edge of a cliff in Quintana Roo, overlooking the Caribbean ocean in Mexico. “Tulum” simply means “Wall” or “Walled City”.

 

Did you know that ...
The word “Tulum” means “wall” in Maya. However, its original name was “Zamá ” (zam-mah) which translates as “Place of the dawning sun.”

 
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
 

The archaeological ruins are one of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites in Mexico and probably, it won’t be the best idea to visit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula without seeing the Mayan Ruins of Tulum. The ruins of Tulum is very (and probably too!) popular day trip from Playa del Carmen and Cancun.

 

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Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
 

If you cannot come as early as possible (which means before opening!) you will have to share the experience with hundreds of people and tons of guided groups. And it gets overcrowded! But it is a beautiful place to visit and still the most preserved coastal Maya city which makes it so interesting for tourist to visit. Back in the days, it was possible to climb the pyramids, but that’s no longer the case. If you want to climb a pyramid visit Coba (50 minutes by car from Tulum) or Ek Balam (2 hours by car from Tulum).

 

Visiting Coba in Yucatan, Mexico

Exploring the Mayan Ruins of Coba in Mexico

This post is part of the series Yucatán Other posts in this series: Day Trip…

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Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
 

History Of The Tulum Ruins

 

Between the 11th and 16th centuries, Tulum was one of the most important trading and religious centre in Yucatan Peninsula. Nowadays, the Ruins of Tulum are one of the most important archaeological sites in Mexico.

 

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Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
 

The main difference between Tulum and other archaeological sites in Yucatan, such as Chichen Itza or Coba, is that Tulum was built to be a seaport fortress and not a Mayan settlement. The walls and the steep sea cliffs of Tulum provided protection from the East during the centuries.

 

Did you know that ...
Only 1600 people ever lived in Tulum at one time as the place was more like a religious centre and not a Mayan settlement.

 

Tulum served as a major connecting point between the Yucatan Peninsula and the Gulf of Mexico with the Mayan peoples of Honduras and Central America.

 

Did you know that ...
Goods like salt, cotton mantels, slaves, quetzal feathers, flint, chert, obsidian, jade, coloured shells, honey, cacao, copper tools, and ornaments were traded here.

 

Some of the most important structures that you can see in Tulum nowadays are the El Castillo (Tulum’s main pyramid that was used as an ancient lighthouse), The Temple of the Frescoes (the best-preserved building of the complex), The House of the Columns (building with 4 rooms and a series of large columns), and The House of the Halach Uinic (the house of the high-priest of Tulum).

 
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
 

Things to Know Before You Go

 

Getting to the Mayan Ruins of Tulum by Car: The Mayan Ruins of Tulum  are located on the eastern side of the Yucatan peninsula, about 1 h 45 min drive from Cancun (130 km), 60 km south of Playa del Carmen (50 min drive), and 105 km southeast of Valladolid (1 h 35 min drive).

 

Opening Times: The ruins are open daily all year round from 8 am to 5 pm. I’d recommend arriving before opening so that you are among the first to enter as it is much quieter and cooler in the mornings. You may also avoid (if possible) visiting The Mayan Ruins of Tulum on Sundays, as the admission is free for citizens and residents of Mexico – it will get much busier!

 

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Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
 

Entrance Fee: The price for visiting The Mayan Ruins of Tulum is 70 MXN (about 3.25 €) and for parking, you have to pay 30 MXN (1.40 €).

 
Time for Visiting: You can stay as long as you like, but I guess that 1.5 to 2 hours of stay would probably be the average.
 
Ideal Clothing & Footwear: This region of Yucatan is very hot and humid all year-round, so dress for hot weather.
 

When is the Best Time of Year for Visiting The Mayan Ruins of Tulum?: The best time of the day to visit The Mayan Ruins of Tulum is in the early morning or in the late afternoon. During the first hour, there were almost no people there and the temperature was about 22°. It was absolutely lovely having almost the entire ruins site to ourselves! The only way to avoid the crowds and beat the vendors is to arrive at the ruins as early as possible and close to their opening time of 8 am. Many of the tour buses make their way from places like Cancun and Playa in the morning and arrive at The Mayan Ruins of Tulum around 9:30 a.m. The busiest and the hottest time to visit the ruins is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

 
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
 

Why You Should Choose The Mayan Ruins of Tulum over Chichen Itza?: You should not! Just visit both archaeological sites 🙂 To be honest, I do even prefer visiting Chichen Itza over the Mayan Ruins of Tulum as there is much more to see and experience.

 

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Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico
 
Visiting The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico

At 9:45 …

 

Mexico Accommodation:

 
Ready to visit Mexico? Start looking at your Mexico accommodation now while it’s fresh in your mind.
 
Want stylish accommodation you can afford?. Find the cheapest prices for the best accommodations possible:

 


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Mexico Flights:

 
If you are flying to Mexiko it is beneficial to use a flight comparison site to find the cheapest flights. I recommend and use Kiwi.com.
 
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Rental Car in Mexico

 
RentalCars.com searches all the big car rental companies in Mexico and finds the best price for you. This is probably the easiest way to rent a car in Mexico and around the World.
 

Mexico Tours

 
If you are the type of person who prefers joining a tour, there are all kinds of guided tours around Mexico including Tulum.
 


 
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