One of the things that you must do while you are in Cancun or the Mayan Riviera, is a visit to the Tulum Mayan Ruins. There you will experience the culture and history of the Mayan civilization while you also admire the beauty of the Caribbean Sea. Tulum is the third most visited archeological site in Mexico, just behind Teotihuacan (near Mexico City) and Chichen Itza (in the state of Yucatan).
Tulum was a fortified Mayan coastal city, it was constructed by the Mayan civilization in the thirteen century, during the Mayan post-classic period and it survived 70 years after the Spanish Conquest of Mexico. This archaeological site is located 130 km south of Cancun in Quintana Roo state.
The word Tulum means fence in the Mayan language. The site where Tulum is located was known as Zama, which means City of Dawn, because it faced the sunrise.
Tulum was an important coastal trading port with a lighthouse on a cliff which guided sea going canoes though an open channel in the coral reef located in front of the city. Trading mainly in turquoise and jade. It is the only Mayan city built in front of the sea and was one of the very few that was fortified. Tulum has typical Mayan architecture.
There are three major structures of interest in Tulum. El Castillo (The castle), the Temple of the Frescoes (carved wall temple), and the Temple of the Descending God . Some of the buildings were used for the study of astronomy. For example, the Temple of the Frescoes was used as an observatory for tracking the movements of the sun. The construction of the Castillo building seems to have been built in stages.
The Tulum tourist destination is now divided into four main areas: the archaeological site, the pueblo (or town), the zona hotelera (or hotel zone) and the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an.
There are large number of cenotes (cave systems) and underground rivers that are located near the Tulum area.
Also every year, from May to October, thousand of turtles lay their eggs along the Tulum beach. The two main kinds of turtles that lay their eggs on the beaches of the Caribbean Sea are the Loggerhead and the Green Turtle.
If you are in the Mayan Riviera or Cancun don’t miss the opportunity to visit this magnificent site full of history, wonders and nature.