Tulum is a pretty special place to visit whilst in Mexico and one of the best preserved coastal Maya sites in the whole world! From the very moment we planned our trip to Mexico, I knew we had to make a stop at this beautiful sight.
Tulum can be easily done on a day trip (or a little longer) whilst you’re in Cancun or the general the Yucatan Peninsula area, meaning you can enjoy some of the very best sights that Mexico offers in a relatively short distance most of the resorts in the area.
Take a look at some of the top tips that I discovered from our recent visit to Tulum below…
Where is Tulum?
Tulum is situated on the eastern coast of Mexico, within the Quintana Roo state. If you’re not familiar with the geography of Mexico, it’s about 2 hours south of Cancun (by car or transfer), perched overlooking the beautiful Caribbean Sea that, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to jump right into!
What’s to see in Tulum?
As mentioned, Tulum is a pretty important (archaeologically speaking) and one of the last built Maya cities before their decline around 500 years ago.
Tulum was historically one of the most important trading cities ever built by the Maya people and a thriving trading hub, thus making for a whole heap of architectural beauties to explore, from; Pyramid El Castillo, God of Winds Temple, The Great Palace, Templo Dios del Viento, Temple of the Frescos to the beautiful Tulum beach.
Each site within Tulum is situated within the walls of this historic city… except for a little beach area which– is (rightfully) reserved for some of the cutest nesting sea turtles that still call Tulum home!
Should I visit Tulum?
Short answer, yes!
Although Tulum isn’t as tall as the likes of monuments in Chichen itza, it’s no less dramatic. One of the biggest things I realised, from our trip, was that it’s hard to even compare these two distinct Maya sites.
One of the best things about Tulum is that it’s within easy reach of places like Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, or Riviera Cancun which allows us travellers to discover some of the beautiful history of this very special region, whilst also dipping into to some of the luxurious hotels or epic parties that go on in Cancun itself (if that’s your kinda thing of course).
Things to remember…
One thing to note is that anyone carrying a DSLR or GoPro camera may be subject to a licensing fee charge (on top of entry fees) so do factor in the cost to get your camera inside, though, our official guide told us to just pack it into our rucksack and not to worry! *gulp* (Apparently no one checks once you’re in anyway…)
Also, have a hearty breakfast before heading out to Tulum, we found our day to be action packed and were rather thankful that we ate our weight in delicious Mexican yumminess at breakfast! 😉
How to get there?
There are a number of ways to get to Tulum, with the most convenient being either a self-drive tour from your accommodation or a private excursion, which can tends to be higher in price but is very helpful if you want to relax and not worry about driving.
What’s the weather like in Tulum?
The weather is hot and can get incredibly humid so don’t let that sea breeze fool you – sunburn is painful and real… as I can attest to after this trip! 🙂 Make sure to pack a hat and dollop on that SPF sunblock onto your skin. Some sun is lovely…skin damage is not!
I’d also recommend visiting early in the morning, before the midday sun or late afternoon once the sun’s strength has dissipated and the large crowds have gone.
Swim with turtles!
This region of Mexico is well known for its local population of sea turtles that frequent the shores. There are a number of protected bays where you can actually swim with these majestic beauties, getting up close and personal with them…
Just remember, no touching and keep a fair distance not to disturb or stress them in their home. After all, you wouldn’t want a stranger doing the same thing to you in your home. 😉
*A good place to swim with the turtles near the area is Akumal Beach where the waves aren’t quite as fierce and the turtles are a-plenty!
We paired our visit to Tulum to coincide a swim with wild sea turtles in the ocean and it was a rather refreshing way to end the day… especially as we’d managed to overheat in the sweltering humidity of Tulum itself.
What does it look like?
Take a look for yourself below… Also, if you’re interested in what it’s like to visit Mexico for the first time, then take a look at our post here. 🙂