Tulum Ruins

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Tulum, Mexico

Tulum Ruins Reviews

mebernier mebernier
30 reviews
An enchanting location, a load of iguanas, but also a LOT of people! Jul 04, 2013
The Tulum Ruins site is very well setup, on the side of the turquoise waters of the Carribean Sea.

The site is pretty vast but the path system makes the visit efficient. You will be surrounded by brightly colored flowers, exotic plants and palmtrees here and there. Below the cliff, there is a beach that you can access via (rickety) stairs; bring your swimsuit if you plan on freshening up in the sea before leaving! (This stretch of beach is very popular, don't be surprised if it's packed, especially around noon.)

I recommend you go very early in the morning (which I should have done!); less tourists, less heat too. There are not much place to sit down and/or relax in the shades on that site. When there's no cloud and no wind, it becomes really hot under the mid-day sun! Nevertheless, you will be able to enjoy this well organized (too organized?) attraction.

Getting a cab to get there will most likely cost you less than a cab to leave as the price is fixed (check for the sign near the cabs at the exit of the site) to get out of there.
The beach below the cliff. The co…
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frivolousat25 frivolou…
16 reviews
Not the best of the Mayan Ruins Apr 16, 2011
After Chichen Itza, Uxmal & Ek Balam - Tulum was not as amazing. The main attraction is the backdrop of amazingly clear blue water.

If you want to give a miss to any of the ruins, this should be it.

Having said that, this town has a lot of cenotes & water related adventures & activities. I feel its a much better place compared to Cancun for beach & water activities
geokid geokid
146 reviews
Tulum Mar 03, 2009
Tulum "Wall or Fence" a fortified Maya site was originally named Zama "City of Dawn". Located on Highway 307 about 30 miles south of Playa de Carmen. It sits at the edge of a limestone cliff high about the Caribbean. It is walled on the other 3 sides.

The architecture of Tulum is typical of the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Structures of the architecture usually have a step running around the base that sits on a low substructure of platform. Doorways are usually narrow and columns would be present for support if the building was massive or had multiple levels. The exterior wall are typically plain with one or bands of molding at the top. Each room usually has one or two small windows with an altar against the back wall. The roof can be either a wooden beam and rubble with a flat ceiling or an all stone Maya vaulted ceiling. This type of architecture resembles some of the structures at nearby Chichen Itza just on a much smaller scale.

Some archaeologist suggest that Tulum was dedicated to the Diving or Descending God. There are numerous example of images of this god in the stone carvings and murals of Tulum.

Things not to miss are the defensive wall, Temple of the Frescoes, niched figures of the Maya “diving god”, the Temple of the Diving God, the Castillo and the landing beach.

Tulum is located at the seaward edge of a tall, steep limestone cliff and is protected on the landward side by a defensive wall that varies from about 10 feet to 16 feet in height and 24 feet thick. The wall parallel to the sea is about 1,300 feet long with the 2 side portions about 550 feet long. On the southwest and northwest corners there are small structures that have been identified as watch towers. There are a total of five narrow gateways through the wall, with two each through the north and south walls and one through the west wall. This wall is massive. The total volume of material is more than 27,700 cubic yards. This is a considerable expenditure of man hours and materials. Defense of Tulum must have been a primary concern. Located within the defensive wall in the northern portion of the site is a small cenote that could have provided the city with fresh water. It is this impressive well engineered defensive wall that makes Tulum one the most well known fortified sites of the Maya world.

The Temple of the Frescoes is the central platform of the ceremonial precinct and is one of the more spectacular structures at Tulum. This structure has both an upper and lower galleries. The lower gallery contain 13th century Maya murals that depict both the rain god Chaac and Ixchel,the goddess of women, the moon, weaving and medicine. Entry is no longer permitted. The west facade has a frieze with 3 niches. In the center niche is a carved stucco sculpture of the Diving or Descending God and in the other 2 niches are carved stucco seated figures with tall elaborate Maya style headdresses. Between the niches is a human figure intertwining with a serpent. The cornice of this structure depicts the head of Chaac in relief.

The Castillo is the tallest structure at Tulum at 24 feet in height. The Castillo is the largest structure in the eastern complex. The Castillo was built on a previous building that was a colonnade in design with a beam, rubble and mortar roof. There is a small raised platform that appears to have been used as a beacon fire for incoming sea traffic. This platform beacon actually marks a break in the barrier reef just offshore from Tulum. At the water level just below the cliff that supports Tulum is a cove that is ideal for landing small vessels.

Coastal and land routes converged at Tulum which is well documented in the artifacts found in or near Tulum. These artifacts include manufacture copper objects and obsidian from the Mexican highlands, obsidian from Ixtepeque in northern Guatemala, gold manufactured objects from Panama and Oaxaca , Mexico,jade from Guatemala, and a wide variety of ceramic objects from all over the Yucatán.

It may have been one of these seafaring canoes that Christopher Columbus first encountered off the shores of the Bay Islands of Honduras.

There is little to no parking at the site of Tulum. It is typically necessary to park your vehicle at the shopping center for a 30 peso fee.

The access fee is 40 pesos (video cameras extra 30 pesos). Open daily 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

The city was first mentioned by Juan Díaz, part of Juan de Grijalva's expedition of 1518. The first detailed description of the ruins was published by John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood in 1843 in the book Incidents of Travel in Yucatan. Work conducted at Tulum continued with Sylvanus Morley and George P. Howe beginning in 1913. The work was continued by the Carnegie Institution from 1916 to 1922, Samuel Lothrop in 1924 who also mapped the site, Miguel Angel Fernandez in the late 1930's and early 1940's, William Sanders in 1955, and then later in the 1970's by Arthur Miller.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Glynnes says:
Whenever I'm in Cozumel I take a side
trip to Tulum. Thanks;-D
Posted on: Aug 08, 2010
Andy99 says:
Tulum--Very cool and at the same time very hot!
Posted on: Feb 24, 2009
barduini barduini
20 reviews
Jun 24, 2007
Although some consider it smaller and less interesting architecturally than other sites, I found Tulum to be quite beautiful. Within the three-sided outer wall, the site has many buildings and paths. The fourth side of the complex is a cliff above the ocean, which is very scenic, in my opinion. There are wooden stairs down to beach, and many people go swimming. The path outside the north wall is also particularly pretty. While I was there, unfortunately, the buildings were roped off and could not be viewed closely. Really, though, it's the vistas and the overall feeling of the place that make Tulum a worthwhile stop. It's 2.5 hours south of Cancun by bus, the fare is around $7 or $8 US.

There seem to be hotels within walking distance of the ruins, although I did not go this route. Tulum's hotel zone on Punta Allen is _very_ long, and many of the hotels look similar from the street (but may be very different in price and quality). It's probably a good idea to look into hotels via internet before showing up.

At the south end of Punta Allen is the Sian Ka'an Biopreserve. Hotels close to the preserve are eco-friendly: they generate their own electricity, which is available usually after 7pm, and the tap water for showers, etc. is slightly salty (the hotel I stayed at provided bottled water for drinking). There are various ways to tour the biopreserve (see www.siankaantours.org, www.cesiak.org, or Alltournatives), some tours include visits to a Mayan ruin site and a traditional meal in a Mayan fishing village.

Coba is 1 hour west of Tulum, along Highway 307 with a direct bus route. The fare is $2.80 US. Buses seem to run from Tulum to Coba in the morning, and return at 3:30pm and 4pm (although I would double check at the bus station).
Ruins at Tulum, the only Maya city…
Andy99 Andy99
621 reviews
The Mayan Coastal City of Tulum Aug 23, 2006
The Mayan city of Tulum was the only Mayan city built along the coast. It's perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean. The Mayans had quite a view! Today, Tulum is open to visitors as a Parque Nacional of Mexico.

Unlike the majority of the popular Mayan sites, Tulum dates from the Postclassic era, the period after 800-1000 AD. I find it most interesting that Tulum was still an inhabited city when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived in the 16th Century. After the city was finally abandoned, Tulum was overgrown and lost until rediscovery in the mid-19th Century.

The site is in fairly good repair today and many excavated structures are visible. Archaeologists continue to debate the interpretation of the structures, however. It's thought that by the time Tulum was active, the Mayan culture had been heavily influenced by the Toltec culture from central Mexico. Thus, the main structure, El Castillo, is thought to be a temple to the Toltec deity Kukulcan.

Tulum is a walled city, also unique among Mayan sites. One enters the site through one of the original gates. There are several main structure to see: El Castillo, House of the Cenote, Temple of the Frescoes, and the Watchtower Temple. There are also ceremonial platforms and other structures. (Climbing on the structures is not permitted.)

Not to be missed is the view of the ocean from the cliff at the back of El Castillo and from the temple called "structure 54" further along the cliff. There is a public beach as the base of the cliff. Use the stairs behind El Castillo to reach it.

I highly recommend a visit to Tulum. If you have seen Chichen Itza and Uxmal, this site is quite different, if smaller. Cruise ships calling at Cozumel offer shore excursions to Tulum. There are also tours from Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

Please see my Tulum blog for additional photos of the site.
Closeup of El Castillo and Temple …
Tulum structures
Ceremonial platforms and El Castil…
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
bernard69 says:
informative review!
Posted on: Aug 09, 2010
huibdos says:
Getting my inspiration:)
I liked this site from all Maya ruins best.
Posted on: Aug 08, 2010
Glynnes says:
Whenever I'm in Cozumel I take a side
trip to Tulum. Thanks;-D
Posted on: Aug 08, 2010

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