South of the Border - Yucatan Bound travel blog

The Tulum Tram

Tulum Site Map

Sea View from Ruins

The Castle

Beach Below the Ruins

Tulum Ruins

Another View


We ventured further on south from Cancun to our new home for two nights in the parking lot at the Xel-Ha Water Park. Here's another one of those "X" words; this one is pronounced "shell-haw". We thumbed our noses as we passed Paamul and the RV park which ungraciously bumped us.

We are in a nice, large, paved parking area with plenty of room for slides, awnings, chairs, etc. I also forgot to report Joe's "fix" for the door awning worked; now, we ride without that annoying rumble.

Tulum Ruins is our venue for visitation. We car-pooled to the site and were whisked to the ticket office area in a tram pulled by a large tractor similar to what my Dad used on the farm. After Phil purchased our tickets, we were free to roam on our own.

After Uxmal and Chichen-Itza, Tulum was unimpressive except for its setting on the seashore. It was charming in that there seemed an easy harmony between the ruins and the sea. It was very, very crowded. Since it's within easy distance from Cancun and the other local cruise ship ports, mass humanity was the order of the day. In contrast to the hordes of tourists of today, it is believed that, at its height, Tulum's population was no more than 600.

From what we could gather, Tulum was one of the few enclosed settlements built by the Maya, a walled city, it was likely a port, and may have served as a fortress to protect sea trade routes. The word Tulum means wall in Mayan

Perched on the edge of a cliff is the tallest structure, El Castillo (the Castle). Resembling a watchtower, some archaeologists believe it could have been a lighthouse or a navigational tower. Some of the Toltec-style serpents similar to what we had seen previously adorned these buildings too.

The Temple of the Frescos had masks extending around the corners of the facade that looked like those representing the rain god, Chaac. The Temple of the Descending God had a decorative relief thought to represent the Mayan reverence for bees. We read that honey and wax were some of the products the Mayans used for bartering.

Almost all the area was roped off preventing us from getting very close. We didn't have a guide so we were dependent on signs and our own initiative to learn about what we were seeing.

We stopped for lunch, pizza and a cold drink; did a little shopping at the vendor stalls and headed back to our coaches. Some of our group went on to Coba. That's our 'reason to come back'. When we travel, we always leave something to come back to see.

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