Tulum, the only Mayan city facing the Caribbean Sea

What you need to know

  • It’s the only Mayan city built by the sea. It has more than 60 restored temples.
  • El Castillo, the main building, is the most photographed place in the Riviera Maya due to its location atop a cliff.
  • Tulum was a strategic maritime port to trade with other cities, from the Mexican state of Tabasco in the Gulf of Mexico to Central America.
  • The archaeological site is surrounded by walls, each as a symbol of the elements (earth, water, air, and fire). The reef in front of the coastline is the fourth wall, and it was nearly inaccessible.
  • Some of the buildings also were points of reference to show the safe access route to the merchants entering by boat through the reef.
  • Only the aristocracy, priests, and astronomers could access the city. The rest of the inhabitants lived outside the walls.
  • Some of the frescoes have their original colors, and the oldest inscription in Tulum is dated 564 AD.

Where is Tulum located?

This famous Mayan archaeological site is in the south side of Riviera Maya. It’s 39 mi (63 km) from Playa del Carmen, and you can take the Tulum - Xel-Há Tour to visit both places on the same day! You can also take a tour to visit Tulum and Cobá on the same day.