February of 2017 found us in Mexico touring the Tulum Ruins. We were staying in Cancun and booked a day trip of both the Coba and Tulum Ruins. Last week I wrote about the Coba Ruins which we visited in the morning and you can read about at this link, Coba Ruins. We booked the tour from our hotel which included an informative guide.
Location of Tulum Ruins
The Tulum ruins are located in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico along the Caribbean Sea about 80 miles south of Cancun.
Information on Tulum Ruins
Built in the 13th century, the Tulum Ruins were an ancient seaport and one of the last Mayan cities built. Tulum has a wall surrounding the city on three sides. The fourth side sits on a cliff overlooking the beach and Caribbean Sea below. The city deteriorated in the 16th century after the Spanish invaded the area. With them, the Spanish brought diseases unknown to the Mayans, which took a devastating toll on the Mayans. Unfortunately, resulting in many deaths. Eventually the remaining Mayans left the area.
El Castillo Pyramid
The Castillo stands on the bluff and is the largest building among the ruins. Because you can see for miles from the top, it could be used for a watch tower, guardhouse and lighthouse.
House of the Halach Uinic
This was the house of the Supreme Leader who also functioned as a High-Priest. He basically held all the power. The position passed down from father to son through generations.
Temple of the Frescoes
The Temple of the Frescoes was most likely used for religious purposes. The temple was given its name after the remnants of murals found painted on the interior. The murals were of different Mayan gods and goddesses and also of Mayan people. Two of these gods have been identified as Chaac, the god of rain, and Ixchel the goddess of the moon. In addition, we were told the top floor may have been used as an observatory.
House of the Columns
Also known as The Great Palace, this building was home to the VIP’s of Tulum.
The Temple of the Descending God
If you look for it, you will find the Descending god on several buildings around Tulum. You will see him more frequently in Tulum than in other ancient Mayan cities. His image is depicted upside down but our guide did not know the significance of this. You can see him above the doorway in the photo.
The Temple of the Wind God
The Temple of the Wind God is the small building setting at the edge of the cliff which you can see from the beach below. This building possibly served as a watch tower or observatory. Our guide told us that when winds start approaching hurricane strength there is a hole in the temple that starts to whistle. This whistle would then alert the Mayans to go inland and seek shelter.
Tulum was spectacular! I especially loved the location and would have liked to tour more of the area, but when with a tour group, I found they usually just show you the highlights. I have also found out they don’t like you wandering off on your own!
We snorkeled one of the days on our trip and really enjoyed it. I did’t want to do an entire post on this, but wanted to include it for those who like to snorkel. We snorkeled at Puerto Morelos which is south of Cancun. Not the greatest pictures as my underwater camera is older, but it really is an excellent spot to snorkel.
Where We Stayed
While in Cancun this trip we stayed at the all inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Peninsula. We had a nice time here. There were 5 restaurants on the premises, all of them good. The beach had both rocky and sandy areas which was nice.