For these vacations there is no better idea than to go to one of the beautiful beaches that Mexico has and what better if at the same time you could witness and be part of the great culture that is in the surroundings.
In the municipality of Tulum, Quintana Roo, you can live an experience that mixes culture, history and fun. The archaeological zone of Tulum is considered one of the most photogenic areas in the entire country.
Throughout this guide you will learn that Tulum is separated into 3 large sections: the amazing archaeological zone of Mayan origin, the hotel zone with modern and very diverse tourist complexes, and the ” Magic Town ” of Tulum.
What story does Tulum have to tell us?
The meaning of the word Tulum is “wall” in Mayan, although originally this city was called Zamá, which means “dawn” and was one of the most important settlements within the Mayan culture.
Tulum had a very transcendental role in the history of the Mayan people, since it was an important point of both maritime and land trade between the 13th and 16th centuries, having its great period of splendor at the end of the classic period.
The main buildings that you will be able to observe during your visit functioned as an astronomical observatory and as a defensive and commercial system. It is believed that this Mayan city had a certain autonomy with respect to the other localities.
Until the arrival of the Spanish in 1518, Tulum was inhabited, but it was abandoned as soon as the Iberians settled. The vegetation that grows in the area soon covered Tulum and left it in oblivion, and it took centuries to be found.
Where is Tulum located?
Tulum, in the state of Quintana Roo, is the largest pre-Hispanic coastal site in Mexico, and has beautiful beaches with delicate sand and turquoise waters of incredible transparency.
As for the climate that you will find on your visit, it is of the warm sub-humid type, similar to the one that is present in all of Quintana Roo, with an average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius.
You can find the town of Tulum south of Cancun; north of the municipalities of Lázaro Cardenas and Solidaridad; east of the municipalities of Solidaridad and Cozumel and the Caribbean Sea; south of the Caribbean Sea and the municipality of Felipe Carrillo Puerto and west of the area between the states of Quintana Roo and Yucatán.
To get there you just have to travel from Cancun through highway 307 to the end of the Riviera Maya, which is where Tulum is located. It is a route of 128 kilometers and offers incredible views of the vegetation and the most beautiful beaches in the area.
What are the main attractions in Tulum?
The main attraction for which most tourists come to this wonderful magical town is, without a doubt, the archaeological site in the area, which we will talk about in detail later in this guide.
The beautiful beach of Tulum is a place that will be of great attraction for you, since you will be able to descend a cliff by going down the stairs designed for it. Enjoy the wonderful view of the Caribbean Sea and its refreshing transparency, ideal for a hot day.
Another fantastic beach, and which is only 63 kilometers from Tulum, is Playa del Carmen, a very popular place among locals and foreign visitors. Stroll down 5th Avenue, an elegant thoroughfare lined with bars, restaurants, shops, and nightclubs. Excellent nightlife.
Visit the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a protected natural area, about 50 kilometers from Tulum, where you can see the beautiful mangroves or swim in the cenotes that are located in the area. Among its beaches, reefs and jungle you can see various types of fauna and flora.
Winner of recognition by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, in this area you can find more than 20 Mayan settlements. To fully observe the beauty of the place, we recommend you go to the viewpoint.
The name of this reserve has one of the most beautiful meanings you have ever known, since Sian Ka’an translates as “where the sky is born” and what better way to check it than watching a sunrise from one of its beaches.
This great reserve has an area of 520,000 hectares, making it the largest in the Mexican Caribbean, with archaeological and natural wonders. For more information on tours to this place: https://siankaantours.org/
The various cenotes that you can find in Tulum are favorite places so you can merge with nature, with a touch of mystery and the most beautiful views.
In Cenote Dos Ojos you will enjoy an incredible diving experience, since you will be able to take a tour in a small group accompanied by a guide, in a safe and very beautiful environment.
Something interesting about Cenote Dos Ojos is that its underwater cave systems are approximately 61 kilometers long, placing it among the ten largest in the world. For more information about the tour: https://www.cenotedosojos.com/
Other cenotes worth mentioning are the Cristal cenote and the Escondido cenote, very popular for their beauty and located just 5 km from Tulum; or also the Calavera cenote, 3.5 km away, ideal to explore and marvel at its mysterious air.
The archaeological zone of Cobá is another site near Tulum that will leave you fascinated, since with its 70 square kilometers of extension and a network of 45 paths, you will be able to observe structures that served as homes, temples, ritual zones and more unexplored buildings. .
What are the activities that can be done in Tulum?
You will find that Tulum is an ideal place to carry out all kinds of outdoor, aquatic, relaxation and entertainment activities, since its wild spaces, the Caribbean climate and its fascinating history make it a treasure for those who visit it.
Among the activities that you can enjoy, the most popular include diving in the sea, in cenotes or underwater caves, kiteboarding and fishing, as well as observing regional animals and plants.
Tulum is also the ideal place to enjoy excellent moments of physical and spiritual relaxation, so yoga and meditation are the order of the day. You can also take a temazcal bath, a unique and magical experience.
As for underwater activities, diving is of great importance, both in Tulum and throughout the Riviera Maya. You will find many places to snorkel, dive and cave dive.
A great place is the Great Mayan Reef, which is the second largest in the world, and where you can dive and observe thousands of beautifully colored fish and ancient coral formations that are more than 5 centuries old.
The cenotes near Tulum also offer excellent diving opportunities, with their structures full of stalactites and stalagmites, excellent for a mysterious and surprising exploration.
Among these cenotes, it is worth mentioning the Aktun cenote, at kilometer 3 of the Tulum – Cobá highway, or the Casa Cenote, 11 kilometers from Tulum, both very popular for diving, so we recommend you visit them.
What festivities take place in Tulum?
Although many of the celebrations and traditions of Tulum are only present in certain communities, the magical town has numerous festivals and traditions dedicated to visitors that you can enjoy during your visit.
One of the most important events occurs at the beginning of the year, which is the traditional carnival that is celebrated a few weeks before Lent arrives. Later, in the month of July, you can witness the Celebration of the Talking Cross.
If you happen to be present during the latter, you will be able to observe a range of Catholic and pagan cultural themes, whose origins are based on the discovery of a mahogany cross in a cenote in the community of Chan Santa Cruz, according to tradition.
This discovery occurred after the end of the Caste War, an indigenous rebellion against the yoke of Creoles and mestizos during the 19th century.
A festival that is a favorite among many visitors is the Sea Turtle Festival, celebrated since 2003. This ecological event has the participation and collaboration of the communities found in the Riviera Maya and Cancun.
This party will leave you with a beautiful experience, as it is full of color and fun, with a kite contest, other sand sculptures, a cleanup of the beaches in the area and various workshops that promote ecology, among other activities.
But the main reason you can be part of it is the release of hundreds of tiny turtles on the Xcacel beach, located 16 kilometers from Tulum, an unforgettable experience that will stay with you forever.
Another great festival that you can witness, if your visit occurs in the month of March, is the Alborada Maya, a religious festival that takes place in the ceremonial center of Tulum. The event is carried out by the founding families of the place, between March 7 and 18.
The purpose of this celebration is to thank God for the good harvests and that they continue like this for the rest of the year. Pilgrimages, prayers, novenas, bullfighting activities, offerings and traditional Mayan music are included.
For this celebration, the Church of Tulum is decorated and visited by the inhabitants of the nearby communities and also by the Mayan priests and leaders of other ceremonial centers, such as the communities of the Talking Cross, Chumpon and Chancah.
So set your calendar and get organized with your companions so that together you can enjoy one of these fantastic celebrations in the city of Tulum.
What wonders does the archaeological zone of Tulum hide?
Considered the greatest attraction of this magical town, the archaeological zone of Tulum has a transcendental history in the Mayan culture and in general in the entire region.
The state of conservation of the structures and wall paintings in Tulum has been the main reason for their popularity, as they give the feeling that you are in the time they were made.
As soon as you arrive in the area, you will be able to observe its famous walls, which delimit the main site on the north, south and west sides, while on the east it ends in an amazing view of the Caribbean Sea.
The most remarkable building in Tulum is El Castillo, where you can see a temple adorned with serpent columns and two animal-shaped masks that adorn the corners. In front of the building you will see a platform for dances.
In the area to the southwest of El Castillo, you can find the Temple of the Initial Series, in which the oldest date in the city of Tulum was found, dating from the year 564 AD
In the north of the archaeological zone you will find the Temple of the Descending God, which is a building with the image of said god. This image is an emblematic symbol of the city. To get to this building you must cross the main road.
On this causeway, you can see different buildings, such as the Temple of the Frescoes, with mysterious mural paintings that show a variety of supernatural beings found in the underworld.
Continuing on the road you will find the palatial buildings known as the House of Columns and the House of Halach Uinik, ideal for some beautiful and memorable photographs.
In the northeast area you will find the Casa del Cenote, where you can find out about the importance that the Mayans gave to the cult of the cenotes. Near this area you will see the Temple of the God of the Wind, in honor of the god of the winds, Kukulcán.
Where to eat in Tulum?
In Tulum, and in general, throughout the Riviera Maya, you can find a whole tradition of dishes made with fish, shellfish, wild boar, venison, and wild turkey. You will see that these dishes combine the best of pre-Hispanic roots with some European traditions.
A gastronomic tradition that is a symbol of regional cuisine is the preparation of various types of meat in pibil, by bathing the meat in achiote, wrapping it in banana leaves and baking it underground.
As for the dishes based on seafood, the most representative is the Tikinxic, which is a fish baked underground or prepared on the grill, bathed in achiote, accompanied by shrimp with garlic sauce, ceviches and balché.
The restaurants where you can find these delicacies, among many others, are found throughout Tulum and their menus vary according to your expectations.
At Pizzeria Manglar you can find the best pizzas in all of Tulum and at the best price, since each unit costs $100 and they are large and have incomparable flavor. You can find this place just 5 minutes from the center of Tulum if you travel by car or 10 minutes walking.
If you prefer something more traditional, at Antojitos La Chiapaneca you will find delicious meat al pastor tacos, with lots of meat and vegetables and very cheap, excellent for trying the best of local cuisine.
Other great places include taquerias like La Eufemia, with seafood and other meat tacos, Taqueria Honorio with its excellent pork tacos. At La Barracuda Tulum you can find delicious seafood dishes at a good price.
What are the cheapest hotels to stay?
The city of Tulum has a wide variety of hotels and inns to stay, which vary both in services and prices. We will present below some economical but very comfortable and satisfactory options.
Starting with Posada Luna del Sur, a very beautiful place, with very good service, very comfortable rooms and an excellent location. Breakfast is included in the cost of the room.
At the Mango Tulum Hotel you will find a very intimate and welcoming space, as well as being very close to the archaeological site of Tulum. The attention of the staff is very friendly and they can inform you about the activities or places that you can visit.
A more austere and economical option is the Om Tulum Hotel Cabanas and Beach Club, which has simple rooms, but with a beautiful beach in front of it, making it an ideal place to relax and fully enjoy the ecological environment of Tulum.
The Hotel Viva las Estrellas will give you the opportunity to enjoy great access to the sea, with spacious rooms, breakfast included and wonderful service. The experience that this hotel gives you will make you feel as comfortable as at home.
A great option if you are looking for comfort and a location very close to the tourist places of Tulum, is the Hotel Ahau Tulum, a place with a relaxed atmosphere, very friendly service, excellent food and the best views.
Other options to stay in Tulum include the Mezzanine Colibri Boutique Hotel, Hotel Nueva Vida de Ramiro, Hotel Azulik, Posada Margherita, Hotel Las Palmas Maya, Hip Hotel Tulum or Hotel La Luna Gitana, wonderful options and good prices. .
Tulum is an ideal place to spend vacations in the company of friends, family or partner, with its beautiful beaches, its admirable archaeological zone, its delicious cuisine, the beautiful and fascinating cenotes and its beautiful landscapes.
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