I visited the Riviera Maya with my family for Christmas one year and instead of going into Playa del Carmen and walk down La Quinta every night, we decided to find something new and exciting to do. I don’t remember whose idea it was to go to Tulum, but I’m glad we did. The only two things I would have changed would be to wear a bathing suit to enjoy the beautiful beaches below the cliffs of the city, and to bring a guide so we knew what we were looking at.
It’s obvious that we were looking at ruins hundreds of thousands of years old, but the explanations, if there were any, were in Spanish. We ended up just walking through the park looking at ancient stones. Luckily, my mom is a Spanish teacher and could translate, but it was asking too much to translate every sign. It would have been much easier with a guide.
Many of the structures were amazing. I’m sure they had been restored over the years, but it’s impressive that people without the technology that we have today were able to make some of these buildings. Tulum is one of the best preserved coastal Mayan sites.
After doing some research on this ancient city, I can give a better account of what we were able to see here. Tulum was originally named Zama, or City of the Dawn, because it faces the sunrise in the east. Tulum is the Yucatan Mayan word for fence or cliff. Because the city stands on 12-meter (39-foot) high cliffs overlooking the Caribbean Sea, it became a fort easy to be defended. It also was an important trade hub because of its land and sea access. From depictions around the ancient city, Tulum was the site of worship for the Diving God. It had an estimated population of 1,000 – 1,600 people.
Tulum is popular for its picturesque view of the Caribbean. The beach is protected for nesting sea turtles.