Cancun is one of the biggest and best party destinations in the world, and it has made Mexico famous in many senses… but there’s so much more to do and see in and around Cancun than just bars and the party scene. There are, for example, many gorgeous Mayan ruins such as those found at Tulum. The peace and tranquillity of Tulum is only 80 miles from the vibrant hustle and bustle of Cancun, but it feels like a whole new world.
Cancun Attractions – Tulum Ruins
The ruins of Tulum occupy a unique position upon a 12 meter high limestone cliff which overlooks the crystalline, turquoise waters of the Caribbean sea. In the time of the Maya this would have been the hub of wealth and sea-based trade within the Yucatan peninsula as it remains the only known coastal Mayan city. Most likely this was a seaport from which Tulum traded Turquoise and Jade. Sources indicate that this city reached its peak between the 13th and 15th centuries, but that it lasted a good 70 years into the Spanish conquest before the Spanish settlers brought fatal diseases with them.
A rare example of Mayan architecture Near Cancun
The buildings within the ruined city of Tulum stand as rare examples of Mayan architecture. The city itself is unique in that it is coastal, but also because of the huge wall which surrounds it. This limestone wall is nearly 800 meters long, 7 meters thick, and is between 3 and 5 meters tall. As a centre for trade and wealth Tulum would have been important, and so it seems that this wall was meant to protect the city and its people from attack. It could also have been in place to segregate the wealth and common folk.
Highlights of Tulum
Of all the wonderful sights and experiences to be had in this area there are two building which stand out as must-sees. The Temple of Frescoes might not look like much from the outside, but the artworks inside have lasted hundreds of years. They are a beautiful and colorful look into the distant past. The Castillo (castle) is a great and rare example of Mayan fortifications which cannot be seen in such a complete state anywhere else. Walking amongst the shells of these black and grey stone buildings will give you only a small inkling of what it might have been like to live in Tulum all those years ago, but it is a memory you’ll treasure for life.
When the heat of the day becomes too much you can always slip down to the beach in Tulum and cool off in the waters of the Caribbean Sea. If you pack a picnic you could even enjoy your lunch in one of Mexico’s most historic locations. What could be a better activity while staying in Cancun? Tulum is certainly one of the top Cancun attractions.