The site (open daily from 8am-5pm) is about one km from the main road, so be sure to get off the bus at the turnoff to the ruins and not at the village of Tulum
a few kilometers farther on.
You enter through a breach in the wall which protected the city on three
sides-the fourth was defended by the sea. This wall, some 5m (16ft) high
with a walkway around the top, may have been defensive, but more likely
its prime purpose was to distinguish the ceremonial and administrative
zone (the site you see now) from the residential enclaves, which were
mostly constructed of perishable material.
At The Templo de los Frescos (temple of the frescoes) the partly restored murals that can be seen inside the temple depict Mayan gods
And symbols of nature's fertility: rain, corn and fish. They originally adorned an earlier structure and have been preserved by the construction around them of a gallery and still later (during the fifteenth century) by the addition of a second temple above it with walls which, characteristically, slope outwards at the top. On the corners of the gallery are carved masks of
Chac, or perhaps of the creator god Itzamna.
Aside from its role as a temple, it may well have served as a beacon or lighthouse; even with out a light it would have been and important landmark for mariners along an otherwise monotonously featureless coastline. You climb first to a small square, in the middle of which stood an altar, before tacking the broad stairway to the top of the castle itself. To the left of this plaza stands the Templo del Dios
The diving or descending god-depicted here above the narrow entrance of the temple-appears all over Tulum as a small, upside-down figure. His exact significance is not known; he may represent the setting sun, rain, or lightning, or he may be the bee god, since honey was one of the Mayan's most important exports.
Opposite is the Templo de Las Series Iniciales (temple of the initial series), so called because in it was found a stela bearing a date well before the foundation of the city, and presumably brought here from else where.
Further interesting places to explore are strung out south along the coast.
If you simply want to take time out for a swim, you can plunge into the Caribbean straight from the beach fronting the site.
What to do in Tulum?
Planning a trip to Tulum, but not sure how many nights to stay? Wondering if
you´ll be bored by the second day? Check out this list of ideas for a fun-packed
Scooters are also available for rent here in Tulum pueblo, as well as bicycles,
which can be rented on the coast within walking distance from Copal, at Punta
Scuba gear and snorkeling equipment is also available for rent here at Copal, in
case you do not have or do not bring your own gear. One of the most popular
activities that are specific to this area is cave and cavern diving in the
various cenotes (natural freshwater pools) of the region. We also recommend
swimming straight off the coast at Copal to see the coral reef.
Tulum is an excellent place to just relax or to fill your visit with activities.
Make a beautiful to The Tulum archaeological sitewalk along the beach to the
north. Bring your swimsuit, because there is a beautiful swimming place just in
front of the ruins to cool off in the afternoons.
The Cobá ruins are located about 45 minutes from Tulum along a quiet highway
through the jungle and are well worth visiting by either car or bus.
The ruins are located near the pueblo of Cobá, which has developed around a
beautiful quiet lagoon. There are several small restaurants with open terraces
with a view of the lagoon where you can have breakfast before visiting the ruins.
It is also possible to make daytrips to Chichén Itzá from Tulum, by either bus
or car. The trip takes about two hours in a car, more by bus. Don´t forget to
visit Chichén viejo, which is one kilometer south of the ruin known as "the
nunnery," down a dirt road. Follow the signs near the nunnery.
Also on the way to Cobá is the monkey sanctuary of Punta Laguna, which is a
small island in the middle of another lagoon and is one of the best places in
the world to see spider monkeys in their natural habitat. It is not a natural
park, but rather the home of the monkeys with a small station for biologists to
research the communities. Canoes can be rented to cross the lagoon to the island.
The Sian Ka'an biosphere reserve is another favorite destination of visitors to
the area, and the entrance is located just 5 km. south of Copal, along the road
to Punta Allen. There are several groups here in town that take visitors on a
guided tour of the reserve with an explanation of all the natural highlights.
Sian Ka'an Tours also offers several options to visit the biosphere reserve,
either by boat, jeep, or air conditioned van. They also offer tours to Xel-Há
and Aktun Chen, which is a large cave system just north of Tulum along the main
Félix Nieto of Punta Piedra, just a short walk down the beach from Cabañas
Copal, also offers daylong trips through the jungle, including visits to up to
eight secluded cenotes. He also offers boat trips out to the reef for snorkeling.
Bicycles and snorkeling gear may also be rented through Félix.
DO NOT MISS THE FREE SHOW OF VOLADORES DE PAPANTLA
AT TULUM ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE ENTRANCE:
And take your photo with the mayan dancers:
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