This is a list of 4 awesome places to visit in Tulum, Mexico found in the middle of the eastern coast of the state, Quintana Roo and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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In Tulum, there are many worthy spots to visit and take in the sights.

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Archaelogical Zone of Tulum – 4 Awesome Places in Tulum

One of the biggest ones on the 4 awesome places to visit in Tulum list is the Archaeological Zone of Tulum. This an ancient walled Mayan city built on the top of a cliff facing the Caribbean Sea. This means that when you are looking down and out from the cliff there is a beach with beautiful turquoise water washing up on white sands.

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‘Tulum’ means wall and the original local name ‘Zama’ refers to dawn, since the site faces the sea.

The ruins date back to the 13th century and are well preserved to this day, thanks to the jungle surrounding the site. The walls are 6-7 meters thick and extends to almost 785 meters long around the site.

The Mayans traded Jade and Turquoise in the port of Tulum, among other bartering items such as cacao beans, axes, cotton, food and copper bells.

Tulum Ruins
Tulum Ruins

We parked the car to the left, outside of the entrance. It was the cheapest we found in the entire lot and funnily enough, the closest.

Once you enter, there is a wide pathway that you will need to walk through to get to the ticket office and entry to the ruins.

At the start of this wide pathway, there are markets with local souvenir items you can purchase. An alternative to bypass the walking is cycling to the ticket office and then lock up your bicycle just before you enter the ruins. It can be considered quite a long walk on a hot day.

The line for the tickets was very long. It took 45 mins to get our tickets. As we had two small babies, my husband went to get the tickets while kept them under shade on some benches 2 mins away. This gave us three an opportunity to bond while we were in one spot with each other.

Stairs to the Beach

There are a few pathways once you enter the site so you can choose what you want to see. After you walk past the main ruins towards the coastline, you can take some stairs down to the beach and take a dip in the crystal clear, turquoise Caribbean water. On the way down you might spot some Iguanas, which look like large lizards, if you’ve never seen them before.

Iguana

Pyramid El Castillo – 4 Awesome Places in Tulum

Pyramid El Castillo or castle, is a temple that overlooks the Caribbean Sea and it is the biggest building in Tulum archaeological site. This structure was restricted to the rulers of Tulum.

El Castillo

It is a prominent structure as it exhibits architectural design aspects from the Mayan and Toltec civilisations, such as the stucco sculpture and serpent columns respectively.

Playa Paraíso – 4 Awesome Places in Tulum

Playa Paraíso or Paradise Beach made the 4 Awesome Places in Tulum list because of the white sands and overhanging palm trees that can make you feel like you are on the cover of a travel magazine. You can relax on the sand, swim in the beach or surf in the waves and once you have worked up an appetite there are some great restaurants along the beach you can tickle your taste buds with.

Playa Paraiso

If you are feeling more adventurous, there are boats in the area that can take you on snorkeling excursions to well-known spots in Tulum.

Gran Cenote – 4 Awesome Places in Tulum

Another place in the 4 Awesome Places in Tulum list is a Cenote (pronounced Se-no-tay). A Cenote is the result of a collapse of porous bedrock made of limestone exposing a body of water underneath. This pit or sinkhole can expose a beautiful water feature, sometimes ones you can swim in, other times an oasis that attracts wildlife. In some cases both.

This particular cenote, Gran cenote, had a little bit of everything.

There is plenty of free parking outside the entrance. There are only a couple of booths if that’s even the case (only one was open for us) at the ticket office and this could take some time if there are crowds, but we had ventured to the ruins of Tulum earlier, and reached this Cenote at 3.45 pm, with only one hour to closing. It was pretty pricey for an hour but we decided that we would continue as we had heard very good things about this particular Cenote and as it turns out we were not disappointed.

Once you got inside, you are not allowed to get into the Cenote until you have a shower. There are outdoor showers just outside the restroom but be warned if it is not a warm day, you are going to feel very cold from the shower.

There is a guy at the top of the stairs that leads to the Cenote, who checks that you have had a full shower. Just mostly wetting yourself is insufficient and he will send you back to the showers, which is what I did since the water was so cold, but there are no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ in this case.

This is required as there is wildlife at the Cenote and swimming in this wearing a whole lot of products, oils or perfumes on yourself will upset the natural biodiversity in the water due to the chemicals.

Gran Cenote

Once you’re in the water, navigating yourself by stepping through could be quite challenging as there are sharp stones and some jagged rocks that you can’t sense in any other way apart from feeling for it.

Make sure you feel the surface that you are about to step on before you put your whole weight on your feet as there could be sudden drops from the rock and nowhere to grab and catch a hold of yourself on.

If you are a strong swimmer and able to tread water for long periods, then you should be fine.

You can spot some tiny fishes swimming around you and if you are lucky enough, some turtles too. As we were carrying our babies, keeping our heads underwater was not really feasible, so it is not easy to get a good look at turtles unless you are snorkeling or keeping your head under water, especially because there were a lot of people in the water at the time.

Our time in the water came to an end quickly, but we enjoyed it thoroughly. Our babies might as well be called water babies, as they love playing in the water, slapping the water and having it splash all over their face. It didn’t even phase them a little bit that the water was cold and they were screaming with delight and laughing – that’s how much fun they were having being in the water. When we showed them the fish in the water they went very quite and watched with wonder. This was their first time seeing fish up close and personal within reach with no glass in the way, unlike a fish tank.

We were all having so much fun and did not want it to be over. Fifteen minutes before closing time, the guy at the top of the stairs told us to start wrapping up. He is quite the insistent fellow and will keep going until everyone is out of the water, no exceptions, just like showers.

When we got out of the water and got to the top of the stairs, we turned back to the Cenote to get one last good look, we saw turtles emerging from the back and wading through the water. It was easy to see them now through the undisturbed waters.There were at least 20 turtles in the same place spontaneously and there were more coming. We were so lucky to catch a glimpse of this before we left. Turtles, I feel, are quite the secret creature and they tend to glide around without anyone noticing, minding their own business if they are quite adventurous, but most turtles stay out of the way completely. It may be the result of a bad experience from an encounter in the past, but if they let you see them, it is a truly special moment!

Should the Cenote stay open after you get out of the water, there is plenty of lawn space for picnic blankets, if you brought one along, to warm yourself up.

Things to Bring

Camera – Waterproof if possible

Swimwear

Towels

Water shoes

Snorkeling gear

Goggles

Change of clothes

Picnic blanket

Snacks

Costs

Gran Cenote: $25 USD per person

Location

Quintana Roo 109, 77796 Tulum,

Quintana Roo

Mexico

 

 

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