Visiting the Mayan Ruins of Tulum and One of Riviera Maya’s Best Beaches

I decided to return to the Mayan Ruins of Tulum during a recent trip to the Riviera Maya. Spending time in both Soliman Bay at Casa Corazon and also at Dreams Tulum, the Mayan Ruins of Tulum were so close. And this visit became my first to walk the site as a adventure travel photographer.

the mayan ruins of tulum in q roo, mexicothe mayan ruins of Tulum in the Riviera Maya of Mexico.

the Mayan Ruins of Tulum

Of all the ruins on the Yucatan peninsula available to visitors, Tulum may not hold the most impressive architecture, size, or even significance to the Mayan civilization. Yet, the walled trading post city built on a bluff, was one of the only inhabited Mayan civilizations recorded by the Spanish in the early 1500s.

the pyramid of el castillo, tulum, mayan ruins in mexico

Pyramid El Castillo

the Great Palace at the Mayan Ruins of Yulum in the Yucatan of Mexico

The Great Palace

column inside the Mayan Ruins of Tulum in MexicoGod of Wind Temple inside the Mayan Ruins of Tulum in Mexico

Being such a small site, one can wonder why these Mayan ruins of Tulum are one of the most visited ruins inside Mexico? The answer is simple – access. And that includes not just its proximity to highway, but its access to  one of the Riviera Maya’s most beautiful beaches.

One of Riviera Maya’s Best Beaches at the Mayan Ruins of Tulum

the view of the Caribbean Sea from the ruins of Tulum in Mexico

The view of the Caribbean Sea from the Mayan Ruins

Tulum, an “ancient” beach town, provides not just amazing views of the crystal clear Caribbean Sea, but also the opportunity to dive in and swim. Be prepared to walk down (and then up) stairs, take on “aggressive” Iguanas (looking for your snacks), and surf not the just the waves, but the crowds (depending on when you arrive) to get your piece of the sand and sanity along the coastal cliffs.

the crowded stairs on the way down to the public beach at the mayan ruins of Tulumthe iguana attracts some people at the mayan ruins of Tulum in Mexico

beach reserved as a Turtle Nesting Ground at the Mayan Ruins of Tulum

This beach, a Turtle Nesting Ground of limits to humans

Tulum Travel Tips

1) Pack for the beach

So as I mentioned on Tips for Visiting the Big 3 Mayan Ruins of the Yucatan, pack a bathing suit and a towel, because with the heat, the Caribbean Sea will be calling your name more than the God of Winds temple.

2) Prepare to Walk

walking the ruins of Tulum

Regardless of how you arrive, whether by taxi (if local to Tulum), a public bus from Playa del Carmen, or a rental car there is a walk from the parking lot to the actual gate entrance and the site itself. Just because the ruins are close to the highway and accessible, don’t make the mistake thinking you will not be walking in the tropics.

3) Be Mindful of the Sun and Heat

The open ruins site will be sunny and hot most days. A chance for a cerveza and or a cold water will be available near the entrances and exits (I stopped for a beer after my visit), but not much is available on ruins itself. Make sure you pack accordingly, apply sunscreen, take a hat, etc… It goes double if bringing the whole family.

4) Learn the Mayan Mysteries

ruins of Tulum in the Riviera Maya of Mexico

If you are staying locally in Tulum or have limited time (or interest) for making Mayan culture part of your trip, Tulum is the best place to capture a bit of the ruins and combine some beach time too. For those wanting a more detailed experience, definitely consider other sites, there are plenty across the Yucatan peninsula. Popular ones like, Chichen Itza or one my favorites (and close to Tulum) Coba are great options for a fully guided tour with more extensive details about the mysteries and magic of the Mayan culture.

Stay adventurous, Craig

this is part of the #MexMarchMadness and #BeachThursday for 2016; enjoy all the Madness at Mexican March Madness and stay warm with Beach Thursday Series all winter.

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  • Bill Kaliher

    Simply great photos—thanks for the info–bill

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Gracias Bill, Tulum is a beautiful spot…. no doubt. Stay Exploring, Craig

  • http://chocolatour.net/ Doreen Pendgracs

    Tulum is such a magical place. Thx for sharing your great pics and reminding me of that amazing beach.

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ craig zabransky

      Gracias Doreen, glad you enjoyed the post and the magic of Tulum. Stay magical, Craig