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During our vacation in Playa Del Carmen, one of the days we were able to remove ourselves from the comforts and relaxation of the RIU Palace Resort and expose ourselves to a little culture.
As I’m sure you already know, the Yucatán Peninsula is peppered with ancient Mayan ruins and the Tulum ruins are some of the most exquisite that Mexico has to offer. The Tulum ruins are about a 45 minute drive south of Playa del Carmen and are situated on a 39 foot tall cliff butted up against the eastern coastline of the Caribbean Sea.
You’ll see breathtaking views of ancient mayan temples exotically positioned in the foreground of the blue turquoise clear water of the Caribbean. I’ve been to Tulum two times already but this historic site is always a must see. Tulum and Chichen Itza are my two favorite Mayan ruin locations located on the Yucatán Peninsula.
What Tulum has that the ruins of Chichen Itza do not, are the incredibly beautiful Tulum beaches. When visiting be sure to wear your swimsuit because these amazing beaches are open to the public and its definitely an attraction hanging out on an awesome beach next to some ancient Mayan ruins.
For about $60 dollars each, my wife and I, and about 7 other people, took a short van ride to the ruins with our own personal tour guide. Our guide was a proud descendent of the ancient Mayans and filled our curiosity with magical stories of ancient wars, mysticism, and compelling theories on the descent of the great Mayan civilization.
Our guide made it quiet clear many times that Zama is the true Mayan name of the site and not Tulum, which is the name given by foreign discoverers. Zama means, City of Dawn, because the site faces the sun as it rises.
Our Tulum tour was a short 3 hour exertion, which is exactly what we were looking for. Beware of some of the tours in this area because you could be setting yourself up for an all day exhausting tourist trap. The tour guides are great and I understand they’re trying to make a living but I always feel like I’m being hustled a little to buy merchandise of “authentic mexican souvenirs”.
If you want to make most of your time when visiting places like Tulum, do your own research on the site in advance, then visit the place on your own. This way you feel free to see and experience everything you want on your own terms without feeling like you’re being marketed.