Tulum Mayan Ruins

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Mayan Ruins Tulum - 2023 Complete Visitors Guide

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No visit to the famed Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is incomplete without a visit to Tulum’s legendary Mayan ruins. This is a really unique and stunning archaeological site that attracts many visitors from around the world. With its majestic walls towering above the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea and lush greenery, this ancient city will for sure take your breath away

We have been traveling to Tulum for the past 6 years and we’ve got all the tips and answers you need to make your visit to Tulum’s Mayan ruins an unforgettable experience. 

Tulum Ruins - Mayan Ruins Tulum
Tulum Ruins – Mayan Ruins Tulum Overlooking the Caribbean

Tulum’s Mayan archaeological site is one of the most captivating in Mexico, similar to other renowned ruins like Chichen Itza and Coba. Tulum was once a major trading post and a spiritual center between 11th and 16th centuries. 

Get immersed in the captivating history of these incredible ruins with the practical tips we have for you.

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🇲🇽 Mexico Travel Resources We Use:

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A bit of Tulum History

The Mayan people built Tulum and lived in the city between the 13th and 15th centuries. Back then, Tulum was a place of worship of the Mighty Descending God whose figure adorns many of the ancient temples. In addition, Tulum’s location was an ideal ocean trading port for obsidian. Various tribes throughout Mexico and Central America made their way here for specifically for commerce. According to the legend, the surrounding walls of the ruins were built as protection against attacking traders and pirates hoping to steal away the trade and goods.

Tulum Ruins - Mayan Ruins Tulum

How about Tulum Today

Tulum is today a very popular destination with visitors from all over the world coming here for its fascinating ruins, stunning beaches and beach clubs, magical cenotes, fancy restaurants, luxury hotels, and vibrant nightlife.

From sprawling gardens and rugged cliffs to a variety of historic architectural styles from centuries past, Tulum Mayan ruins are a must for travelers seeking stunning landscapes and an immersive experience in Mexican culture and Mayan history. 

So let’s start exploring! 

We can’t wait to hear about all your adventures in the comments below.

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Where are Tulum’s Mayan Ruins?

Tulum Mayan ruins are nestled on the east coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, in Quintana Roo state. This breathtaking is breathtaking site and location right next to the Caribbean Sea in Riviera Maya and can be easily accessed from Tulum’s two neighboring cities: 

  • Playa del Carmen (45 minutes north) and 
  • Cancun (90 minutes north), both accessible by car or taxi (no uber available in Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen. 

If you are staying in Tulum then keep reading as the ruins are a short bike or taxi ride south of Tulum.

Tulum Ruins - Mayan Ruins Tulum

How get tickets for Tulum Ruins

Before visiting the Tulum Ruins, it is important to know that tickets can only be purchased at the entrance of the site. There will be various characters in or around the parking lot attempting to sell you tickets and tours … Ignore them! Instead, simply head straight towards the entrance where you can buy your tickets. 

Tickets to the Tulum Ruins cost $70 MXN (about $3.50 USD) per person

Opening hours for Tulum ruins

Tulum’s Ruins are open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, inviting you to explore and immerse yourself in this stunning site and the fascinating ancient culture of the Myans!

Tulum Ruins - Mayan Ruins Tulum

What makes Tulum Mayan Ruins a fascinating site?

The ancient ruins of Tulum were erected by the Mayans as a secure seaport fortress for ocean trading. What makes Tulum Mayan Ruins special is the location, as to, the East the site was protected by steep ocean cliffs and the other three sides were enclosed within an impressive limestone wall. The views from the top of the ruins and from the beach right below the ruins are just spectacular. Once populated by over 1,600 residents, Tulum served as an important trading hub and spiritual city for Mayan culture. Here commodities like turquoise, obsidian jade, and cotton were exchanged along with food items such as copper bells and cacao beans.

Mayan Archaeological Sites

Tulum’s ancient stone sites are enveloped by an alluring natural beauty. From the soaring palm trees to the cactus blooms, towering cliffs, and large sun-tanning iguanas wandering among visitors. While climbing pyramids is not permitted anymore, there is still much enchantment to be found at this archaeological site and its rich and profound history.

Tulum Ruins - Mayan Ruins Tulum Iguanas
Tulum Ruins – Mayan Ruins Tulum Iguanas

Tulum ruins offer a stunning scene and are unlike any other Mayan site in Mexico as the ancient ruins are perched atop the breathtaking 12-meter (39 ft) cliffs, overlooking the shimmering turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

When To Visit The Tulum Ruins

The weather and climate of Tulum are quite consistent with temperatures that remain pleasant at approximately 83 degrees F (26 Celsius) throughout the year. Your only concern when planning to visit this site should be rainfall which is quite frequent during hurricane season (June-October). 

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January – April

This is a great time of the year to visit the site. However, this is also peak season for Tulum so expect very big crowds on a site that is already crowded throughout the year. If crowded areas aren’t your cup of tea, then you may want to choose a different time to visit or an altogether different location.

May – October

Despite the heat, humidity, and frequent rainfall, days are still filled with plenty of sunshine during these months. It is also hurricane season so be vigilant when it comes to weather forecasts … even though the area very rarely sees any hurricanes. With fewer travelers visiting due to the heat, you can take advantage of discounted rates and deals at hotels, resorts, and tour companies!

This is a great time to visit if you are ok with heat and the daily quick showers that are followed by sunshine autumn-winter season is an optimal time to explore Tulum. 

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Tulum Ruins - Mayan Ruins Tulum at night
Tulum Ruins – Mayan Ruins Tulum at night

November – December

This is the best time to visit Tulum and the area as the hurricane season is over, humidity is more bearable – although evenings can be a bit chilly – and the crowds haven’t still arrived.

How far are Mayan Ruins from Tulum

The Mayan Ruins are 2.5 miles (4km) away from Tulum Town (Pueblo).

 There are many ways to get to the ruins depending on your location. The ruins are:

  •  2.5 miles away from downtown Tulum 
  • 45 minutes away from Playa del Carmen and 
  • approximately 1.5 hours away from Cancun. 

To help you plan your journey keep these are some great options to travel from your accommodation to Tulum’s Ruins!

Rent a Car

If you are looking to explore the region, renting a car is definitely one of your best options. Rent one as soon as you land at Cancun International Airport. The drive to Tulum is around 90 minutes (expect some traffic) to reach Tulum Town. 

Take one of the many Tours

The perfect way to explore the ancient Tulum Ruins and all its wonders is by joining one of local tours! From Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum center you can book and tour and tour guide that will tell you all you need to know about the site and its incredible history. 

By Bicycle

If you’re looking for an incredibly immersive experience and you are staying in Tulum then you should absolutely bike to Tulum’s ruins. We highly recommend it because you can see everything on your own time. You can rent the bicycle for only $8 USD per day in Tulum town or beach and get ready to explore!

Just don’t forget to check how far you’ll need to bicycle with your hotel. Sadly, cycling within Tulum ruins is not permitted, but there are bike racks conveniently located just outside of its gates. 

By Taxi

One of the easiest ways to explore the ruins. Ask one of your hotel staff for a taxi driver recommendation. Make sure you negotiate the price and how long you will spend at the ruins before you set off. 

Best Day Trips to Tulum from Cancun: Tulum Mayan Ruins
Best Day Trips to Tulum from Cancun: Tulum Mayan Ruins

What To See At Tulum Archeological Site

El Castillo

El Castillo is located at the heart of Tulum, and was not only used as a lighthouse and a sacred Mayan temple. Cleverly built with two windows on top of its pyramid shape, the lighthouses lit up during dusk, enabling sailors to easily navigate the bay and avoid crashing into any of its hidden reefs beneath

Temple Of The Frescoes

The Temple of the Frescoes is right at the entrance of El Castillo. Peek inside to witness a vibrant mural with hues and pigments that still remain vivid!

House Of The Columns

The House of the Columns is a majestic structure boasting 4 impressive chambers and an array of towering columns that support its robust roof.

House Of The Halach Uinic

Every Mayan settlement was overseen by an esteemed high priest called Halach Uinic. What is amazing is that the ancient House of the Halach Uininc in Tulum is incredibly intact and can still be visited today!

Swimming At Tulum’s Secret Beach

Make sure you have your swimsuit on and take a dip at the secluded beach nestled beneath the ancient pyramid. Imagine taking in views of these majestic ruins while swimming! Getting there early is highly recommended as this spot can quickly become packed with tourists.

When the ocean’s conditions allow, the beach will be open around 10:00 am. As you make your way down from the cliff tops on those wooden steps, keep a watchful eye out for some of the locals – iguanas!

When To Visit The Ruins Of Tulum

Exploring the Mayan ruins in Mexico can be quite an overwhelming adventure, particularly if you are visiting Tulum from another city. This destination is a hot spot for travelers and draws around 2000 people daily! To capture the most enchanting experience to this ancient site, try to arrive at 8:00 am when it first opens or venture there just before closing (normally 5:00 pm). You’ll have plenty of time to savor the beauty without having hundreds of other visitors jostling about.

How much time to spend at the Mayan Ruins of Tulum?

Plan to spend at least an hour or two of exploration and discovery at the ruins. Then add another hour if you plan to visit the beach. Despite its relatively small size compared to other Maya sites around Mexico, this spot is full of wonders!.


 The Best Tulum Hotels in the Pueblo

Una Vida     Hacienda     Hotel Tiki Tiki


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Getting To Tulum

Rental Car

Cancun – Tulum is a one-hour and forty-five minutes road trip from Cancun – 81 miles  (131 k,) away.

Playa del Carmen – The ancient ruins of Tulum are a mere 40 miles (64km) away. It should take you no more than 45 min to get to Tulum from the beautiful Playa del Carmen, and you can easily access them by taking Highway 307 from Cancun or Playa. 

Parking at the site is reasonably priced too; only $100 MXN ($5 USD). 

By Bus

ADO buses are a good way to quickly and conveniently from Playa del Carmen to Tulum. For just $4 USD, you can be transported straight away to either the ruins or the bus station in town for only 80 pesos one-way! Not only is it a cost-effective solution but also fast so that your journey will be over before you know it.

Colectivo

If you are really on a budget save money and discover the beauty of Tulum by taking a colectivo (group taxi) from its stand on Calle 2 Norte between Avenida 15 and 20 in Playa del Carmen. The ride takes approximately 45 minutes and costs only 60 pesos ($3 USD per person). It can get a little uncomfortable thought.

By Taxi

Taking a taxi from Playa del Carmen to Tulum will set you back 600 pesos, which is equivalent to around $30 USD/

Where To Stay In Tulum

Tulum has three main areas for guests — the city center (Tulum Town), the Tulum Beach area, and the newly developed residential area of Aldea Zama. The entrance to Tulum Archaeological Site is closer to the city center.

All the beautiful & popular resorts in Tulum are a 5-10 minute drive away down at the beach area.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Mexico near the Tulum Ruins read our full hotel and resort guide.

Tulum Mayan Ruins

Tulum Ruins Travel Tips & Advice

  • If you want to avoid the big crowds and tourist buses that typically show up around 10:15 am, try to be at Tulum’s ruins before they open their doors at 9:45 am. Afternoon visitors may also have a good experience as well since it is open from 8 am-5 pm Monday through Sunday. 
  • For Mexican citizens and residents planning on visiting Sunday, admission is free. This is why Sundays are also busier
  • Don’t buy any tickets from various characters trying to sell you tickets around the parking lot. Take a short walk down the road for about half a mile until you reach the actual entrance and get your tickets there.
  • Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit if you’re planning on swimming or sunbathing at the gorgeous beach under the cliffside of the ruins. Plus, it opens up bright and early around 10 am.
  • Pay an additional $4 to be able to use your camera to take videos at the site. 
  • As the ruins don’t offer much shade, we would highly recommend wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunblock to combat the scorching heat!
  • Make sure to stay refreshed and hydrated with plenty of water and liquids. Remember that it is not safe to drink tap water in Mexico

Traveling to 🇲🇽 Mexico soon?

I recommend these travel resources for Mexico that I personally use:

🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and Booking.com consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Mexico. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!

✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Mexico, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.

🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.

🚙 Cancun Airport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.

🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Mexico, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.

🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Mexico. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.

📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.

☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.