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Tulum Ruins Visitors Guide

Mayan Ruins by the Sea

January 2021

Tulum Ruins, one of the best things to do in Tulum
Tulum Ruins

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Welcome to Tulum

For decades, travelers of all ages have been enchanted by one of Mexico’s most unique tourist locations, Tulum. The stone ruins of the ancient Mayan city sit perched over the Caribbean sea and are a mesmerizing combination of history and beauty. Dating back to 1,200 BC, the city had access to both land and sea trade routes, making it a vital Mayan trade hub, especially for the volcanic glass, obsidian.

Today, numerous structures remain, spread out of groomed lawns and oceanside cliffs. The site’s buildings are an evolution of architectural styles that showcase the growth of the area over the centuries.

Whether seeking a scenic holiday or the chance to dive into rich Mexican culture or Mayan history, Tulum is a pretty epic travel destination. Here is our visitors guide to the Tulum Mayan Ruins.

Tulum Ruins Mexico, The Tulum Mayan Ruins
Iguana at Tulum

Where is Tulum?

Located just an hour south of Playa del Carmen and two hours south of Cancun, Tulum is right in the middle of Mexico’s Riviera Maya – on the eastern shores of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. The Tulum ruins are a few minute ride from the nearby town, also called Tulum, where many people choose to stay when visiting the area.

Island Life Mexico Map
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When to Visit Tulum

Being in the Caribbean, Tulum tends to have comfortable, sunny weather all year round, with highs typically within the 70’s and 80’s. The rainiest months are usually June and September, and October to December is the best time of year to visit, when hurricane season is over and the weather is warm but not oppressively hot. January through March are tourist peak season, so avoid that time if you don’t love crowds.

The Tulum ruins are open from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, seven days a week. As it is a popular tourist attraction, the ruins do get busy with around 2,000 visitors each day. The best time of the day to visit the Mayan ruins is around opening time. This is typically the prime time to explore with fewer crowds.

Tulum Ruins, Mexico, The Tulum Mayan Ruins
Tulum Ruins, Mexico

How to Get to Tulum

There are package day tours to Tulum from Cancun or Playa del Carmen if you are based in one of those two cities, but it is typically recommended to stay in Tulum Town for a night or two to fully experience the ruins and the surrounding area.

From Cancun or Playa del Carmen to Tulum Town

By Taxi: Taxis are the most expensive but easiest way to get to Tulum Town from Cancun ($100-$150) or Playa del Carmen ($60-$75).

By Shuttle: Group Shuttles are also available from the Cancun airport or hotels in Cancun or Playa del Carmen. This shared option is less expensive and can be arranged by your hotel or at the airport.

By Rental Car: Renting a car is another option and driving down to Tulum Town. The coastal highway is straight and fairly easy to navigate. Car rentals are typically $45-$75/day.

By Bus or Collectivo: Buses and Collectivos are also available. Air-conditioned ADO buses are cheap and run with relative frequency. Confirm locations of bus stations and timetables with your hotel in Cancun or Playa del Carmen. Collectivos are the cheapest option, and these open air group transports are far and away the least comfortable, but it’s quite the experience if you have the time and savvy to make the journey this way.

From Tulum Town

The ruins are around 2.5 miles from Tulum town center.

From Tulum town, you can take a rental car, a tour bus, a public bus or a taxi to the Tulum ruins and then explore on foot.

Another popular option is to bicycle to the ruins from local hotels. Exploring the area by bicycle is often recommended by locals as it gives you the chance to get around at your own convenience. You can rent a bike for around $8 US a day anywhere in Tulum town and explore at your leisure.

Note: You cannot ride within the Tulum ruins site, but there are bike racks outside the gates.

Bicycles at Tulum
Bicycles at Tulum

Wear Cool, Comfortable Clothes

Wearing the wrong outfit to the ruins can ruin your time (pun intended). You should wear loose-fitting or light-colored clothing that is comfortable. You are likely to sweat as you walk around the ruins in the hot Mexican sun. In addition, wear comfortable trainers enabling you to walk around the site. Some visitors come in their swimsuits as they go straight to the beach after seeing the ruins.

Exploring the Tulum Ruins, The Tulum Mayan Ruins
Exploring the Tulum Ruins

Bring Plenty of Water

You are likely to visit the ruins when the temperatures around Tulum are at or near their hottest. The weather on the Yucatan Peninsula is humid and can zap you of moisture. Carry a large bottle of water with you to sip as you explore the ruins to keep you hydrated in the heat. There is very little shade from the hot sun around the ruins.

Ruins at Tulum, The Tulum Mayan Ruins
Ruins at Tulum Overlooking the Caribbean Sea

Bring Your Swimsuit

The beach is part of the ruins and your admission to the site allows you to swim in the sea. Travelers in the know bring their swimsuits and dive into the cooling waters after exploring the ruins. It typically takes around 45 minutes to an hour to view the ruins. Adding a dip in the sea to your trip can extend the visit and make it even more worth your time.

Swimming At Tulum Ruins, one of the best things to do in Tulum
Swimming At Tulum Ruins

Only Buy Tickets at the Information Booth

Upon arrival to the Tulum Mayan ruins, you may see several individuals selling tickets away from the site. Do not be fooled as these tickets are not authentic passes to enter the Tulum ruins. You should only purchase your tickets at the site’s gate.

Tulum Ruins from Above, The Tulum Mayan Ruins
Tulum Ruins from Above
Tulum at Sunrise, The Tulum Mayan Ruins
Tulum at Sunrise

     Yucatan Highlights Map

This map shows many of our Mexican Caribbean highlights. To open the table of contents, click on the icon in the top left corner of the map. This will allow you to sort through the different types of highlights! Click on the points of interest or the icons on the map itself to access additional info.  You can open the map in its own window to make it larger if you’d like.

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  1. The Tulum ruins are extraordinary. We never would have thought to bring our swimsuits, excellent tip. Our kids loved swimming at the ruins.

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