Tulum Mayan Ruins Tours and Tips

Mayan ruins of Tulum

With so many things to do in Cancun, it can be totally overwhelming trying to plan your days to get the most out of your precious vacation time. There are a few “Cancun must do’s” and the Tulum Mayan ruins are definitely on that list.


A Little History of Tulum

Tulum ruins by Catherwood

Ancient Tulum engraving by Catherwood

Explorers Catherwood and Stephens gave the site the name of “Tulum”  (meaning “walled city” in the Yucatec language) in their travels in the 1840’s. Long before then, it was known to the ancient Maya as “Zama”, “the place where dawn is born” for its eastern setting on the shores of the Mexican Caribbean Sea. This is one of the very few Mayan settlements found on the coast and it was a major port for trade and communication for the ancient civilization. The earliest date found on the site is 564 AD, though the city thrived much later, 1200-1520 AD.


Why Visit Tulum?

Tulum archaeological site

The Tulum Mayan ruins are located in the Riviera Maya and are easily accessible for a quick Cancun day trip. The structures are well preserved and reveal interesting insights into this ancient culture. The spectacular setting atop a 12 meter cliff on the sea makes Tulum one of the most beautiful Mayan sites to visit and definitely one of the most “photo friendly”. Guided tours of Tulum are recommended for sure, seeing the site without a guide is like watching a movie with no sound! Your Tulum guide will educate, entertain and immerse you in a world of history and culture.


Tulum Travel Tips

Tulum Mayan ruins

Our number one recommendation is to be prepared! Comfortable walking shoes are a must, you will be doing a lot of walking on uneven terrain so those sweet high-heeled strappy sandals that look SO CUTE are just not going to cut it. Light cotton clothes are recommended, the heat can be extreme! A hat or umbrella can keep the sun at bay, there is very little shade at Tulum and you’ll want to protect yourself from the intense rays, sunblock of course and sunglasses without a doubt. Leave your heavy bags on the bus and carry only what you need. Be sure to enter the site with a full bottle of water, you may dehydrate quickly and you’ll be glad to have the refreshment with you. Bring you swimwear and towels so you can have a swim in sea at the base of the main “castle”, it’s UNREAL!


Tulum AND….

Mayan ruins of Tulum archaeology

With Tulum’s convenient location so close to Cancun, it’s easy to combine a visit to the Tulum Mayan ruins with other Cancun activities in the same day or do a “Tulum Express Tour” which will have you back at the swim up bar by the afternoon. Tulum combined with the nearby Coba Mayan ruins is a great way to see two unique and very different archaeological sites in one great day, add a spectacular cenote to the trip in our Tulum, Coba, Cenote tour and it’s GOLD. A Tulum and Playa del Carmen tour gives you a look at two distinct worlds in the Riviera Maya, the ancient and the modern. 


So many ways to see Tulum, you just have to pick the right Mayan ruins tour for you and we’re happy to help! Contact us today to arrange the perfect Tulum day trip for you and your loved ones, you don’t want to miss out!


Kelly McLaughlin
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