Tulum, Mexico has become one of the most popular destinations in the world. The main reason is the marvelous archaeological Site next to the Caribbean Sea. This is why I want to share The Best of Tulum Ruins what I need to know and all the tips to have a wonderful experience.
Mexico is a country with great and spectacular archeological zones, but Tulum is definitely unique, the location, the weather, the incredible Oceanview and of course the eco-village.
Tulum Ruins What I Need to Know
Where are the Ruins located?
The archaeological site of Tulum is located on the eastern coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico, in the region known as the Riviera Maya.
Just around 40 min from Playa del Carmen and around 1 hour 30 minutes from Cancun.
The Tulum National Park covers an area of 664 hectares.
How to get from Cancun or Playa del Carmen to Tulum Ruins
The best way to get from Cancun or Playa del Carmen is with ADO buses. It is very simple and cheap and you can choose whether to go directly to the ruins or to the town.
From Cancun, you can take the bus from the airport (just make sure you buy the tickets at the authorized stands inside the airport, ask for your receipt and choose the time that suits you). Or you can go to the ADO terminal located near the center of Cancun (15 minutes from the hotel zone).
From Playa del Carmen you can take the ADO bus from the terminal located on 5th avenue. There is another option, there are some small vans (colectivos), but in my opinion, the bus is more comfortable.
What time do Tulum ruins open?
The National Park schedule is Monday to Sunday from 08:00 to 17:00 hours.
Tip: To enjoy the ruins and the beach, it is best to arrive as early as possible. I arrived at 8 am and I could enjoy the beach, take pictures and go around the area without any hurry.
But for being such a popular place, around 10 am the arrival of tourists begins, and it gets a little crowded.
Tulum admission price and parking
The entrance fee is just 70 pesos.
If you want, you can hire a guide at the entrance to explain to you all about this amazing site. Of course, this depends entirely on you; just check that the guide has the authorized badge. I always prefer a Self-Guided Tour!
You have to buy the tickets at the entrance of the site; a few meters before is the kiosk where you can buy tickets with credit or debit cards.
The archaeological zone does not have its own parking lot, but there is one in the commercial zone at the entrance. The price is a little expensive about 180 pesos, in case you need to use it. If you arrive by bike, of course, it will not be necessary to pay for it.
The entrance to the ruins is at an approximate distance of 1 km. There is a train that can take you for a small price, although the truth is that the distance is very short, and it is not necessary to pay for the small journey by train.
In this same area where you pay for the train ticket, you can ask for a free map of the place.
Beach at Mayan Ruins
The ruins have one of the most beautiful beaches of the Riviera Maya.
That unique combination of the archaeological zone and the Caribbean Sea make it a delight and a place that you have to visit. You can make the tour of the archaeological zone and in the end, go down to the beautiful beach. It is definitely a place you can’t miss.
You can also admire the ruins by boat, some tours can take you to enjoy the beautiful view of the archaeological zone from the sea.
What to wear and what to bring to Tulum ruins
Wear comfortable clothes and swimsuit, sandals or shoes that can get wet if you want to access the beach area. Hat, sunscreen, and water it’s necessary, especially during spring and summer. You’re not allowed to get in with big backpacks or food.
Where to eat near the archaeological site
In the commercial area, which is located at the entrance next to the parking lot, you can find several places to have breakfast, lunch or just have something refreshing. In this area are the toilets, shops where you can find beverages, snacks, souvenirs and more.
There is a Starbucks, Subway, Mexican food or maybe you can drink tequila, beer or cocktail at the end of the tour.
Of course, if you want a better option you can go to the town to enjoy an exquisite meal in the charming Tulum Town.
Tours from Tulum and the best activities
If you are staying in the town or the area near the Riviera Maya, there are hundreds of activities you can do, everything depends on your preferences.
The best and my favorite.
- Visit some more of the many archaeological sites in the area. Chichen Itza and Coba are nearby and can be visited the same day.
Uxmal is located a little further, therefore, it may be better to take advantage of the visit to Uxmal ruins to explore Merida and the other wonders that are in Yucatan, Mexico.
- Something that you cannot miss is the visit to one (or several) of the ecological parks. There are many options Aktun Chen, Kantun Chi, Rio Secreto or maybe one like Xcaret, Xel Ha or Xplor.
These eco-parks have a combination of exciting beauty attractions and ancestral mysticism of the caves, cenotes and important places for the Mayans thousands of years ago.
- Visit Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. This biosphere reserve contains tropical forests, mangroves, as well as a large marine section crossed by a barrier reef.
- And of course the best aquatic activities, snorkeling, diving, visiting one of the thousands of cenotes, boat trip, kayak or some more.
- Of course one of the favorite activities is to go through the beautiful streets of Tulum and enjoy the shops, restaurants, and bars, which have a very special charm. A mix of Boho Chic and Hipster décor, in my opinion, that makes the town a place you fall in love with.
History of Tulum Archaeological Site
The city was known as Zama (which in Maya means sunrise) and now is known as Tulum (which in Maya has the meaning of wall or fence). It is believed that this site was an important center of worship for the descending god.
The Mayan ruins are located on a cliff facing the Caribbean Sea, and the city is walled.
Inside the city, you can see public, civic and religious buildings. And also, inside the walled city used to lived astronomers, mathematicians, priests, architects, engineers, and the ordinary people lived outside the walled city.
The strategic location and its location in an elevated area made the site one of the main Mayan cities of the 13th and 14th centuries.
The Main Buildings
It is one of the main buildings of this Mayan city, built facing the sea and probably one of the oldest buildings. At El Castillo, you can see references to the Sun, Venus and the Underworld. The main function of El Castillo for the Mayans was a lighthouse. Since the coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico has one of the largest coral barriers in the world, for the Mayan navigators, it was very difficult to access the coast without being shipwrecked.
The Mayans found a channel that crosses this barrier and allows access to the coast safely. But to locate it, they built El Castillo building, with two windows on top, which at night were lit with torches and make it visible from the ocean.
Temple of the Descending God
The Temple was decorated inside and outside, with numerous mural paintings of gods. Unfortunately, we can no longer admire it.
In the niche located at the top of the door, stands a sculpture with a god that seems to descend from the sky.
Temple of the Frescoes
It was an observatory, the inner walls are impressively decorated with feminine and masculine figures; serpents and offerings dedicated to the gods.
The city was still inhabited in the early years of the Spanish colony but at the end of the 16th century, there were no longer residents.
Of course, there is still much to discover in this wonderful place, but these are the most important about this beautiful site in Mexico, the rest is up to you!
If you have already visited these wonderful Mayan ruins don’t forget to share your experiences with me.
Other fantastic Archaeological sites in Mexico: Palenque Chiapas, El Tajin Veracruz, Teotihuacan State of Mexico and Paquime Chihuahua.