Two hours south of Cancun, lies an ancient Mayan masterpiece. Built between 1200 and 1500 A.D., the limestone ruins of Tulum sit upon a cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. “Tulum” literally translates to “wall”, which is no coincidence when you see the walls that surround it on 3 sides.

The views are breathtaking and the history is amazing. In its hay day, it was a major trading hub by sea and by land. Tulum was thought to once be home to thousands of Mayans. What happened to them is still unknown.

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Mayan Temple at Tulum

You have the option to roam the grounds yourself or take a guided tour. I highly recommend the guided tours, since the guides are very knowledgeable about Mayan history and the types of business and ceremonies that took place in Tulum. They will even describe how and where the Mayans performed their sacrifices!

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A guide explaining how the Mayans performed their sacrifices at Tulum.

Things you need to know before you head to Tulum:

  • Bring a bathing suit. There’s a beautiful white sandy beach where you can swim once you’re done with your tour. Note: There really isn’t a good place to change, so make sure you come with your suit on and don’t forget a towel!
  • Bring cash. Before you take the 1/2 mile walk to the ruins, you’ll walk through the market area. It’s filled with shops with homemade items to sell and snacks. They also have people walking around with monkeys, snakes, birds and iguanas for you to get your picture taken with.
  • Bring water. It’s hot, it’s humid and there’s not a lot of shade. Always remember to stay hydrated.
  • Watch the weather. We were here during Mexico’s rainy season. It’s a good idea to carry a small rain poncho with you if it looks like it might rain.

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The setting, the ruins and the powdery sand beaches are a real treat for the imagination, the paths throughout the ruins are easy to traverse, so it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities.

 

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