On the Caribbean Coast of the Yucatán Peninsula lies one of the best-preserved coastal Mayan cities… the walled City of Tulum.
Smaller than its famed cousin Chichen Itza but similar in architectural style, this city was one of the very last built by the Mayans and was primarily occupied from the 13th to the 16th centuries when Spanish occupation of the Peninsula caused the city to be abandoned.
It’s an incredible series of buildings all containing their own mythologies and legends. So while Hubby and I were in Mexico for our friend’s wedding, we all took a day to visit the site and enjoy Tulum’s stunning buildings and beaches. Many of the buildings still stand almost in their entirety, unchanged by the ravages of time except for the colorings that used to decorate the walls.
The Great Palace is undoubtedly one of the most impressive structures located at the heart of the city with its tall pillars and magnificent entrance.But each building has its own character and story.And the views of the city from the taller points are impressive with massive structures peeking out from the dense jungle.We even spotted a few reptilian friends sunbathing on the warm stone ruins.And scaling the massive protective walls.
But Tulum is first and foremost a coastal city and the warm waves of the Caribbean Sea can be heard echoing throughout the ruins.Tulum’s beach is located right underneath the Mayan city and offers the perfect opportunity to jump in the surf to cool off in the intense heat.That cool water felt amazing in the harsh Mexican sunshine!
And there are plenty of interesting rocks on the coast in case you’re looking for an opportunity to live out any mermaid fantasies…After a cooling dip we took the opportunity to explore the ruins further and more of the dense and incredible jungle surrounding.We saw an incredible variety of plant-life.And so many different flowers in bloom! I especially appreciated all of the wild Hibiscus flowers we found.After leaving the ruins we were, as expected, forced to exit through an enormous shopping area complete with actors in traditional Mayan garb, a Starbucks, and plenty of little shops stocked with tourist wares. We did find one aspect of the tourist-y exit amusing though… for a few bucks you can hold and play with an enormous iguana. How could we say no?
If only for the hilarious photos of all of us trying to kiss our iguana…which we found substantially more amusing than he did…
It was a stunning experience… though tempered with the expected onslaught of vendors trying to sell you everything under the Mayan sun. But ultimately our visit to Tulum only increased my desire to visit more ancient ruins in the Americas (perhaps Machu Picchu next?) and ignited my interest in Pre-Colombian American history.
Because the truth is there’s an incredible world of diverse history that reveals itself best when seen in person… and WOW can traveling to new places ever be addicting!