The Riviera Maya is known for its rich history of the Mayan culture, with several interesting places visitors can tour and learn more about. One of the most spectacular attractions full of rich history is the Tulum ruins.
Located on an eastern-facing bluff, the Tulum ruins are representative of the only Mayan settlement located on Mexico’s Caribbean beaches, as well as one of a few Mayan cities enclosed with walls. The earliest known date of the site, found on a stelae inscription, is A.D. 564. Tulum is considered a “fortress city” and features an expansive set of walls that surround the former settlement. Tulum served as a central location for the Mayans’ maritime and international trade network, confirmed by the discovery of artifacts, such as copper rings from Mexico’s highland region and jade from Guatemala. The city was also a distribution center for the Yucatan region, with goods dispersed to Coba, Chichen Itza and other Mayan towns.
The most prominent structures among the Tulum ruins include the city square, or El Castillo, and the Temple of the Descending God. El Castillo, which is often referred to as “the lightouse,” is the tallest building within Tulum and provides many miles worth of coastal views. The Temple of the Descending God features an interesting sculpted figure of the descending god, positioned with its head down as if it were diving. With many other carvings of the descending god found throughout Tulum, it’s believed that the city was the home of the god’s cult.
Other interesting features of the Tulum ruins include:
- The House of Columns – A building reminiscent of a palace with six support columns.
- Temple del Dios del Viento – A structure dedicated to the god of the wind.
- Tulum’s Port and Beach – Swim, walk and catch some sun where the Mayan ships docked.
The ruins at Tulum are open daily from 8 am to 5 pm. The concierge at Playa Palms can make arrangements for your visit when you book your stay.