The Beachfront Ruins at Tulum
Tulum Travel Blog› entry 4 of 15 › view all entries
October 22nd, 2009 – by: lrecht
The architectural ruins of Tulum are one of the best-preserved coastal Mayan sites in the Yucatan and are about an hour or so easy drive south of Playa del Carmen. Actually, once we got through the long debacle of getting the car, we were pleasantly surprised with how good the roads and generally the signs were and we arrived early prior to the hordes of tour buses that descend from Cancun and Playa.
Tulúm is actually the Yucatec Mayan word for fence or wall and the walls surrounding the site allowed the huge fort to serve as a defense against invasion from enemies. Tulum is protected on one side by steep sea cliffs where you can take a dip in the incredible, multi-hued blue and turquoise waters after the hot, tromping around the largely shadeless site.
The site is relatively compact and probably only takes 90-120 minutes to walk around at a slow pace (a good idea in the heat) not counting stopping for a swim if you are so inclined.
There are a number of buildings on the site, some more impressive than others such as the temples and El Castillo in the center of the site. Humorously, one of the most intriguing sites to most of the visitors (me included) wasn't the ruins themselves (which at the end of the day are old rocks...) was the iguanas which freely roam around the site eating, crapping and sunning themselves on the rocks. The view from the cliffs is pretty spectacular and has a nice breeze going to cool you down. Even in the morning, people were dripping sweat and most of the men were walking around with unbuttoned or no shirts at all.
After walking around the site, we had some very tasty fish tacos and a beer at one of the many restaurants in front of the parking lot before climbing back in the cushy Dodge Avenger for the drive to Coba. Tulum is definitely touristy but definitely worth a visit. We just hope that we don't hit the wall with Y.A.F.R (see a similar definition of this acronym in our Laos 2006 blog from our Aussie friends Rosemarie and Brent here
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