Tulum Ruins, or ‘Ruinas Tulum’ are situated right on the cliffs of the Yucatan Peninsula overlooking the ocean in Tulum.
The site is fully excavated, unlike other sites such as Coba, and is very popular with tourists.
Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya, it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to have resulted in very high fatalities, disrupting the society and eventually causing the city to be abandoned.
Our hostel, Posada Los Mapaches, was literally directly across the road from the site so we jumped on our bikes and headed over after breakfast one day.
The grounds are immaculately landscaped and maintained, and pretty much all of the structures were roped off so that you couldn’t touch or climb them, which was great to see and a big contrast to some of the other sites we visited throughout Central America.
A highlight of the day was seeing a few Yucatan Woodpeckers hanging out on the ruins!
However the most impressive part of this ruin site, and arguably the reason why it’s so famous, is the fact that it’s perfectly situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
Apparently, Tulum used to be referred to as ‘Zama’, meaning ‘City of Dawn’, because it faces the sunrise.
We spent half a day here and saw pretty much everything, you really don’t need as much time here as some of the other ruin sites in the area.
Definitely don’t skip this if you find yourself in the area!
Here is a video from the day we visited.