The ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, Mexico

Mayan ruins of Tulum: El Castilo
El Castillo, Tulum.

The ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, the walled city, stands on the Yucatán Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico on the Caribbean Sea. The site is 130km away from Cancun running in the Riviera Maya.

Tulum is surrounded by a spectacular coastline and on top of 12 metre tall cliffs, it has the perfect advantage point.

Mayan ruins of Tulum: The Temple of Wind.
The Temple of Wind

The Mayan people were great observers of the stars and had a profound relationship with the cycles of the earth.  As well as these they were also expert mathematician’s, architect’s and artists.  They held great secrets in agriculture and created a calendar to assist governing harvest and sowing times throughout the year.

The Mayan’s are one of the best known classical civilisation’s of Mesoamerica. The Mayan’s covered the region’s of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala.  Originating in the Yucatan 2600 B.C. coming to power in 250 A.D.  Only to be rivalled by the Spanish conquistador’s arriving in the early 16th century. The Mayan’s lost many of their people not only in battle but to disease’s brought by the Spanish.

The Mayan’s were renowned for their building skills, thought to be inherited from the Olmec civilisation along with building the pyramid temples and ceremonial alters. All done without the use of metal tools!

Mayan ruins of Tulum: See the intricate stone carvings.
See the intricate stone carvings.

The Ancient Mayan Ruins of Tulum

Tulum is thought to have been constructed in the late 13th century and be the best preserved ruin in Mexico and the only Mayan ruin built on the coast, with a surrounding stone wall.  Not much is known about the wall, it is thought it was built for protection. Each of the Mayan centre’s is thought to have had a purpose and Tulum’s was, a sea port trading mainly in turquoise and jade. It is said that the Mayan’s sailed as far as the current day Honduras.

Mayan ruins of Tulum: The house of columns with its small thatched roof.
The house of columns with its small thatched roof.

The site once surrounded by tropical jungle is now open to the elements.  The Castle/El Castillo known to be used as a watch tower and lighthouse, Temple of Wind overlooking the powerful Caribbean Sea, in front, the Descending God Temple, and the Fresco’s Temple.   Like most Mayan cites and temples they were constructed in stages. The Fresco’s temple was created in three stages each said to represent each realm, the living, the underworld of death and heaven where the gods lived. It can get extremely humid, please remember to take plenty of water, sun cream and a hat. If time allows why not take the stairs down to the beautiful sand beach below and enjoy a refreshing dip in the cooling waters of the sea.

If visiting Mexico by cruise ship, there are some great options for shore excursions to where the Mayan ruins of Tulum are located.  Or why not take a stay vacation and explore more of what Mexico has to offer.  There are some great accommodation options available in the nearby area.

Have you visited the Ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum ? What were your highlights? Please comment below. Thanks.

About MichelleDeansHarding


 Michelle has a love of travel and photography, which has currently taken her to six continents. Experiencing other cultures/history and food both independently and while working on-board luxury cruise ships. Discover more about Michelle, her enthusiasm for travel and photography via:

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