MAyan Ruins MExico

Tulum Ruins

This ancient walled city perched on the edge of a cliff in Quintana Roo overlooking the Caribbean ocean in Mexico is quite a sight in person. Here´s all you have to know about the spectacular Tulum Ruins and why tou should visit it!

tulum ruins

Table of Contents

Where are the Tulum Ruins?

The Tulum Mexico Ruins are located in Riviera Maya in the state of Quintana Roo. They are about 65 kilometers south of Playa del Carmen (30-40 mins drive) and 131 kilometers from Cancun.

Tulum is a bustling tourist destination, so don’t be surprised if you meet people from all over the world here.

Mayan ruins in Tulum Mexico.

How to get to Tulum Ruins

Cancun to Tulum | 131 kms | Around 1 hour and 50 minutes by car
Playa del Carmen to Tulum | 65 kms | Around 54 minutes by car
Tulum Town to Tulum Ruins | 4 kms | Around 15 minutes by car

BY BUS: TYou can easily reach Tulum from Cancun or Playa del Carmen on the ADO bus. Check the departures time at ado.com. Then, take a collectivo from anywhere along the main highway. They charge around 20 pesos (~ 1 USD) from Tulum town to Tulum ruins intersection. From the intersection, the entrance to the ruins is about 800 meters. You can either walk or take a tram for another 20 pesos (~ 1 USD).

BY CAR: From Cancun or Playa del Carmen, the drive is very easy and pretty direct following highway 307 south. Parking at the site costs about $160 MXN ($6 USD).

BY GUIDED TOUR:if you prefer the convenience of having all the logistics done for you, booking a tour from Playa del Carmen or Cancun to Tulum ruins is a great option for you. It is in general a 10-hour round trip, including Tulum ruins entrance fee, a stopover at the Gran cenote, buffet lunch at a local restaurant, and an exploration of the Coba village ruins. Pretty complete tour!

PRIVATE TRANSPORTATION: If you are a group or just want to not think about the transportation but still managing your time, book a private driver. You can set the pick up time and organize your day with more freedom than on a tour.

Tulum Ruins Site

The greatest attraction at the Tulum Ruins is its location. Built on a cliff facing the ocean, this mayan ruin site is the only Maya settlement located on the beaches of the Caribbean. The views is spectacular as millions of people visit this Maya ruin in the Riviera Maya.

In the Yucatec language, Tulum means “wall”, referring to the large barricade that surrounds the site. In the Mayan language, Tulum was called Zama, (pronounced zam-MAH), another Yucatan word that translates to “city of the dawning sun. There is no solid evidence for this name, however, it makes a lot of sense since this city faced the rising sun and was, therefore, among the first places to receive sunlight in the vast Maya kingdom.

The first thing visitors see when they arrive at Tulum’s ancient mayan site is the buildings where were the city’s main center. Around this wall were a number of  wooden houses that were homes to workers and a few residential homes.

City Square – El Castillo – The Castillo is the tallest building within the Tulum settlement and the most famous building of the Tulum ruins. It stands facing the ocean right on the edge of the cliff which gives a dramatic scenery for the visitor. The structure comes with several building stages with the lintels of its upper rooms carved with the serpent motif. A tiny cove lies at the foot of the Castillo where trading canoes would slip ashore.

Temple of the Descending God – On the façade of the Temple of the Descending God” is a figure sculpted with its head pointing down, the descending god. Tulum appears to be the center of this god’s cult with more descending god carvings found on other buildings. 

Tulum Ruins Entrance fee

The Tulum ruins are open to the public 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Tulum Ruins entrance fee is 70 pesos. If you are a resident or national it is free on Sundays.

Water and food are all more costly here, so plan ahead and bring a bottle of water if you can.

Tulum Ruins Guide

Arrive early. beat the crowd and heat

Be aware that, depending of the time of the year you are visiting the Tulum Ruins, you have to fight your way through the crowds, especially around noon. Your best chance to enjoy the mayan site is to arrive right before the gates are opened. Note that even before 8 AM, you’ll very likely find a queue of tourists, but you’ll still have an hour or so almost on your own.

Buy tickets at the entrance only

Do not buy tickets from the information booths along the road that leads to the gates as they aren’t authentic. Purchase your tickets at the gate only.

Bring water

Given its location along the Caribbean coastline, the site is in the sun all day and, especially at noon, the heat and humidity are extremely strong. There are no shades around the ruins, so, bring loads of drinking water to stay hydrated. Avoid Sundays as Mexican do not pay the entrance fee!!!

Bring pesos 

Ensure you get enough of these either at the bank or ATM before heading to the ruins and beaches. It is always better to have a few pesos in case you need to buy snacks or to take a taxi.

Respect the wildlife and local flora

While visiting the Tulum ruins and its beaches, you’ll likely spot different exotic wild animals and plants. As tempting as they may be, avoid touching the animals or plucking the flowers.

Other Mayan Ruins

The Yucatan Peninsula is home to a host of ancient Mayan cities waiting for you to discover them. Besides Tulum ruins, here is a list of other ruins near Tulum worth adding to your bucket list;

• Chichen Itza
• Coba
• Xel Ha
• Muyil Ruins
• Ek Balam

We hope that this information helps you to go and visit the spectacular Tulum Ruins from Cancun or anywhere in the Riviera Maya. 

Travel by pre-booked private transportation to move around and reach your favourite destination in the Riviera Maya.