Tulum, Mexico: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Tulum is the site of one of the best preserved coastal Maya cities and the most accessible archeological site in Mexico. Situated on a tall cliff along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, the ruins of Tulum are swarmed every morning by buses from Cancun, full of visitors, making it the most popular archeological Maya site. Tulum’s coastline also offers snorkeling, diving, fun cenotes, a variety of accommodations and restaurants and one of the top beaches in Mexico.
Before the Spanish conquest, Tulum was a commerce center most likely used by the upper class of merchants. Its residents worshiped the “Descending God”, also known as the bee god, which is depicted on several buildings as an upside down figure. The main structure on site is El Castillo, which served as both a fort and temple. Right in front of it lays The Temple of Frescos, containing depictions of many Maya gods and goddesses, while to the left stands the Temple of the Descending God.
To the south of Tulum, the Maya built a system of canals leading to many sacred places. Today, their work is preserved and protected, being included in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reservation. Standing as the last unexploited patch of land on the Caribbean coast, this ecosystem is home to hundreds of species of birds and animals, as well as around 2000 people, most of which reside in Punta Allen.
The area surrounding Tulum is also famous for its caverns, or cenotes. The Yucatan Peninsula has very few rivers and lakes making it dependant on the wildly distributed cenotes for a source of potable water. These pools played a vital part in Maya culture and rites. The Cenote Dive center is an establishment that provides guided cavern dives and snorkeling trips.
To the north of Tulum, the Xel-Ha Park is home to a large variety of colorful tropical fish. The park offers snorkeling lessons, bilingual guides and several restaurants.
For the more adventurous type, Tanakah Eco-Adventure Park is a unique experience that includes exploring lush jungles, kayaking and zip-line tours over cenodes. The full-day tours include a regional lunch buffet with handmade tortillas and fresh fruit beverages.