Tulum – Mexico – Ruins
The ruins of Tulum lie three kilometres northeast of the town centre, and sit dramatically between the jungle and the Caribbean sea.
Built around AD 1200 by the Maya (indigenous inhabitants of present day Mexico), the walled settlement is an extremely important site and major point of interest in Mexico. Not only is it one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya but it is also one of the best preserved Maya sites.
At its height (between the 13th and 15th century), Tulum was a flourishing commercial trade port, however by the end the 16th century the site was abandoned completely. A mystery which, along with the decline of the Maya world, still puzzles historians and archeologists today.
While the architecture resembles that of other Maya sites, the scale of the city is far smaller and not as grand. That said, the structures that remain are truly impressive and provide a valuable glimpse into the living conditions of the Maya civilisation.
The area where the ruins lie is relatively compact, so you can gain a fair appreciation of the historical buildings in about an hour or so. What will make or break your visit however, is your arrival time.
The site is open between 8am and 5pm. From 9am tour buses fill the car park, dropping off a constant stream of visitors. Therefore, I strongly suggest heading to the site at 8am when the gates open.
The early start will almost certainly guarantee an empty lot. Well, apart from a handful of other early risers and a colony of sun seeking iguanas. Otherwise, wait until the end of the day when all the tour buses have left.
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