The only Mayan site with all-inclusive beach
The only archeological site by the sea, Tulum is the most photogenic spot in the region, maybe even the country. For the Mayans, it was an important ceremonial center that was inhabited for a long time, even by the time the Spaniards arrived. The Mayan city is within the Tulum National Park.
Tulum means “wall” in the Mayan language, a reference to the wall around the city. It was devoted to the planet Venus, considered a dual deity named Kukulkan, whose worship was first introduced in Chichen Itza. Because of its location on the coastal flatland, at a height where the natural horizon could be seen in every direction, it is believed to have been an astronomical observation point. According to historians, the construction of the buildings dates from the Mayan civilization Post Classic period, that is between 1200 and 1450 AD. The city was so comfortable, European conquerors settled in the area, though the site was abandoned in the late 16th century. An interesting fact: for a long time, the Tulum archeological site remained unnoticed by tourism, as locals knew of the place and even held traditional ceremonies and rituals in it, until it was named among Mexico’s Cultural Heritage sites and the work toward making it the third most visited archeological site in the country
You can enter the zone by foot or on a small train (ran independently from the Mexican Institute for Anthropology and History, which manages all archeological sites) that costs 20 pesos for the round trip. The use of videocameras costs 30 pesos. You’ll have to park your car at a shopping square by the site’s entrance, for another 30 pesos. The distance between the main gate and the archeological
How to get there
From Merida take the Merida-Cancun road, be it the highway or the toll road. If you’re on the toll road, exit at Valladolid to take the highway to Cancun. Once on it, when you get to a village called Chemax, about 30 km (20 mi) from Valladolid, you’ll see a detour that will take you first to Coba and then to Tulum.
Monday through Sunday from 8 am to 5 pm; you can go in at 4:30 pm at the latest.
Suggestions and Information
Make sure to wear lightweight clothing, a hat, sunblock and comfortable shoes, and bring bottled water. The use of videocameras costs an additional 30 pesos. You have to park your car at a shopping square at the main entrance of the site. The distance between the main gate and the archeological site is 1 km (less than a mile), which you can walk or cover on a small train. Check the weather in advance so your visit won’t be ruined by rain. Remember, it’s important to respect the area you’re visiting and keep it clean.
The services offered in the archeological site are a store, a ticketing area, restrooms and certified guides who offer tours during opening hours. In the village and surrounding area there are several hotels and restaurants, as well as handicraft shops.
Caleta Tankah is a beautiful cove on the Mexican Caribbean, 4 km away from the Tulum archeological site, and an ideal place to go snorkeling. Muyil, also known as Chunyaxche, is an archeological site hidden in the jungle by a lagoon of the same name, located 30 minutes south of Tulum; it’s the largest archeological site found in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve to date. There’s also Bacalar, two hours away from Tulum, where you can enjoy a beautiful lake and other attractions.