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Tulum Mayan Ruins Guide

The Great Mayan City By The Sea

Updated February 2021

Tulum Ruins Visitors guide. The ruins of Tulum. Visit Tulum Ruins.
Tulum Hotel Guide

Welcome to Tulum

Breathe it in… the salty air, the wafting of floral incense, the deep sweetness of tropical flora and fauna…exhale slowly. You have arrived in Tulum.

The magic of Tulum and the reason it has become such an extraordinary destination on the Yucatan Peninsula lies not only in the history of the nearby Mayan ruins of the same name, but in the energetic pull the city and sea have over those who come to visit.

Breathe it in… the salty air, the wafting of floral incense, the deep sweetness of tropical flora and fauna…exhale slowly. You have arrived in Tulum.

The magic of Tulum and the reason it has become such an extraordinary destination on the Yucatan Peninsula lies not only in the history of the nearby Mayan ruins of the same name, but in the energetic pull the city and sea have over those who come to visit.

Tulum Ruins
Tulum Ruins Visitors Guide. The Ruins Of Tulum. Visit Tulum Ruins.

A Bit Of History

Tulum was the last great city constructed and inhabited by the Mayan people between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. It was a site of worship to the Great Descending God whose image adorns the temples within the site. Tulum was also of great importance for sea trade, most specifically for the trading of obsidian. Tribes from all over Mexico and other Central American countries would travel here for commerce. It’s said that the great wall around the city was erected to protect it from envious traders and pirates who wanted to steal the prime location for themselves.

Tulum Ruins Visitors Guide. The Ruins Of Tulum. Visit Tulum Ruins.

Tulum Today

Today, numerous structures remain, spread out over 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 an epic travel destination. Below is our guide to making the best of your visit to Tulum. We hope you enjoy!

Where Are The Tulum Ruins?

Island Life Mexico

The Tulum ruins are located on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. They are in the heart of the Riviera Maya on the Caribbean Sea. Tulum is approximately 45 minutes south of Playa del Carmen and 90 minutes south of Cancun by car.

The Tulum ruins are a few minute ride from the nearby town of Tulum Pueblo, often just called “Tulum” as well, where many people choose to stay when visiting the area.

Tulum By The Sea

When To Visit The Tulum Ruins

The tropical climate in Tulum is quite predictable and easy to make plans around. Without much of a temperature difference throughout the year, (the average temperature lingers around 83 degrees F) it’s the rainy hurricane season that most travelers need to pay attention to.

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.

January – April

Perfect weather-wise, but sees the highest influx of tourists. If you are not a people person, consider this.

May – October

The hottest and most rainy months of the year but still plenty of sunshine. Also, this is the hurricane season so keep an eye on the forecasts. Fewer tourists so you can typically expect lower rates at hotels, resorts and tour companies during this time.

November – December

The autumn-winter months are considered by many to be the best times to visit Tulum. The hurricane season has passed by this time and the humidity is low. Can be a little “chilly” in the evenings.

How To Get To Tulum Ruins

From Tulum Town

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. The ruins are around 2.5 miles from Tulum town center. Here are directions from Tulum town, also known as Tulum Pueblo.

Island Life Mexico

By Vehicle

The ruins are just 2.5 miles from town center. It is easy to take a rental car, a tour bus, a public bus or a taxi to the Tulum ruins and then explore. Any hotel can arrange a ride for you, or you can easily grab a taxi from town center.

Beach Near Tulum Town, One Of The Best Things To Do In Tulum

By Bicycle

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.

  • If you are staying by the beach, the bicycle rides can be much longer so check distances with your hotel.
  • You cannot ride within the Tulum ruins site, but there are bike racks outside the gates.
  • In the summer months, the bike ride can be too hot. Save your energy for walking around the ruins.
How To Get To Cancun

For more transportation information, check out our Getting Around The Yucatan Guide

Exploring The Tulum Ruins

Tips For Visiting Tulum

The Inside Info

There is so much to do in Tulum. Here are some helpful tips to make the most out of your visit to the ruins.

Exploring The Tulum Ruins, The Tulum Mayan Ruins

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.

Ruins At Tulum, The Tulum Mayan 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.

Swimming At Tulum Ruins, One Of The Best Things To Do In Tulum

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.

Tulum Ruins Visitors Guide. The Ruins Of Tulum. Visit 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.

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This Post Has 4 Comments

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

  2. Bring a lot of water and money for souvenirs. The temples are so interesting. Not as big as Chichen Itza but it is in a much more beautiful location.

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