Tulum

< Tulum Temple >
Main temple

Tulum is the site of ruins of an ancient walled Mayan city. It’s only a day trip from Cancun or Playa del Carmen (Riviera Maya). It’s well worth checking out…and also worth getting a guide.

< Pyramid El Castillo >
Pyramid El Castillo – the Pyramid Castle

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.

< God of Winds Temple >
Mom found an iguana in front of the God of Winds Temple

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.

< Great Palace of Tulum >
Amazing that the Mayans, who lived in the 13th – 15th century, could build such things. The Great Palace

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.

< Tulum's Citadel >
Tulum’s citadel, 39 feet above the beach

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.

< God of Winds Temple >
Tulum’s beach in front of the God of Winds Temple

Tulum is popular for its picturesque view of the Caribbean. The beach is protected for nesting sea turtles.

< Tulum ruins >

< Tulum >Have you been to Tulum? What was your favorite part of the ancient citadel?

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