You know how much we love those day trips. Being that there are so many interesting things to see within a day’s range of Cancun, the opportunities to get out for the day are ample and nearly endless.
With that, we decided to head down the coast of the Riviera Maya to check out some of the most famous Mayan ruins at Tulum.
Once you arrive, you can take a little trolley or just hoof it for a mile or so. We decided on the latter, dodging hawkers of lucha masks featuring your favorite sports teams…
…but getting to see random things like these people, just hangin’ out.
These may not be the grandest or most impressive ruins, but it’s all about location, location, location.
While most ruins are located in the middle of the jungle somewhere, the folks who built these decided the right place for their community would be on the beaches of the Caribbean.
Who can argue with that?!
Pictures from Tulum are consistently used in advertising for Quintana Roo and the Riviera Maya, so you may have seen a shot like that before.
As I said: Location, location, location.
In all honesty, the ruins aren’t much to look at. But they’re awe-inspiring because they’re a gajillion years old and people were actually able to make things like this back then.
That alone is cause for pause.
The one thing that drives me bananas is that all of the ruins are now closed off to tourists. You cannot walk around, up, or down them anymore.
Back in the day, you were allowed to climb the pyramids and play hide-and-seek within the walls of most archaeological sites in Mexico.
That is no more. Because of the wear and tear and harm that comes from doing such things, most ruins in this country are now off-limits. That’s sad, but understandable.
But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t come with a bit of sadness, for my fondest memories of visiting Teotihuacan outside of Mexico City a few years ago are from climbing the pyramids and surveying the entire site.
So it goes…we modern folks tend to screw things up and this is just part of the effort to preserve what’s left.
We did find ourselves a bit lucky while we were here, though. We made our way down to the beach, where countless tourists like to laze among the surf and history and get all romantic in their thoughts and feelings about being here or whatever.
The two of us went down the rickety stairway to do just that. When in Rome.
As soon as we got down there, the sea got a bit rough with the high tide and all, and the lifeguard began evacuating the entire beach.
While everyone else was dawdling to leave or acting like they didn’t hear him, we sort of stood at the edge of the water on one end of the beach. After tireless coaxing from the lifeguard, there was virtually no one left.
And this gave us the opportunity to get photos of the beach…completely empty.
It sure feels a lot better when you can stand there, alone, enjoying the serenity for a brief moment before you, too, are kicked out of the area.
Also closed was the turtle beach, which is sometimes open to tourists but not so at this time of year.
The sea turtles are doing their thing, and they have rights to the beach when they’re in action.
We unfortunately didn’t see any turtles as they were all out at sea, but we got some nice views of the empty cove that is a land of action for these guys during the night.
After roaming around the ruins for a while and dodging tourists at every turn, we walked back to the entrance of the park and jumped in a cab for town.
Tulum is split up into two towns, sort of. One part is along the beach and full of eco-reserves and eco-resorts.
The other part of town is just called the pueblo, and is inland just a bit.
That’s where we headed to walk around for a bit and get some food before jumping on a bus back to Cancun.
Being this is a small haven for expats and visitors to the ruins, there are quite a few international dining options. Because we don’t get much Asian food in Cancun, we headed straight for the nearest joint we saw.
We ended up at Chang, which is on the main drag in town and is part restaurant, part café, part internet café.
The food was excellent. Really, really good Thai food.
I wanted a beer with my food, but our waiter told us they don’t have a license to serve beer. Not a problem though, as he’d be willing to pour one in a coffee mug for me.
I guess that’s how you get around the rules or something. Cold beer, served as a latte. So be it!
After stuffing ourselves with curry, beer, and iced coffee, we moseyed down the street to the ADO bus station and made our way back to Cancun.
While walking by various shops filled with both pointless tchotchkes and really cool artwork, we also ran into some models of us.
The only question is, Who’s who?
All in all, this was a day trip well worth our time. Ang had never seen ruins before, so that was a treat for her.
And we both got to experience the magnificence of this prime Mayan real estate, which is certainly something to behold.
While Tulum won’t blow you away like a lot of other archaeological sites, it’s a must-see if and when you’re staying in the Riviera Maya.
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Have you ever been to Tulum? Any thoughts about it? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!