The beautiful Mayan ruins of Tulum are found on the Caribbean coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Here’s how to beat the crowds & see them on your own.
Visiting the Mayan ruins of Tulum during the day can be a bit hectic. It’s a very popular attraction in Mexico. Tulum is quite different from other Mayan sites in that the ruins are situated on steep cliffs overlooking the ocean.
During the day, there are hundreds of other tourists milling about.
Not a very enjoyable experience at a stunning ancient site like this. Wouldn’t it be much nicer to have the whole site to yourself? If you arrive early enough, right before they open at 8am, you can be the first one in line.
Ancient Mayan City
Getting to Tulum is an easy day trip from Playa del Carmen via bus or Colectivo, or you can spend the night in the town of Tulum like I did. If you spend the night in town, you’ll be able to wake up early and arrive before they open.
Walking around alone in the ancient Mayan city during early morning light was pretty surreal. I visited the ruins on two different days, and decided to sneak in early before they opened to get some better photos.
Mayan Ruins Of Tulum
The site’s main structure, El Castillo (the Castle), was actually used as an ancient lighthouse! Two small windows at the top allowed sailors to navigate the ocean reef at dusk. If the captain could see daylight through both windows, that meant they were on the correct course.
Below the castle is a secluded beach that you can actually swim at while you’re visiting the site. Make sure to bring your swimsuit! Swimming under the old ruined castle on the cliff above you is a pretty cool experience. ★
Location: Tulum, Mexico
Cost: $3 USD
Accommodation: Posada los Mapaches
Useful Tips: If you want to avoid tourists, visit Tulum as soon as it opens at 8am. The site is about 1km away from the parking lot, but it’s an easy walk.
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