Do the Tulum Ruins Deserve the Hype?

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My expectations for Tulum Ruins were not high, when people rave about the Mayan ruins they don’t mention Tulum.

Luckily my hostel has a bus that takes you 10 km to the beach. A

nd it turned out that the ruins were only a kilometre from that so I jumped off the bus planning to spend the morning at the ruins and the afternoon on the beach.

Quick history lesson:

Tulum is a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city. The name Tulum actually means fence or wall in Mayan. It was a major port for the nearby city of Cobá and the walls defended against invasion. The draw for these ruins is that they are located on 12-meter cliffs.

I arrived to a pleasing $5 entrance fee and was set to shoot the ruins all morning. But once I reached the crest of the hill I noticed that these ruins were a bit different.

I knew that I wouldn’t have the monstrosity that was Angkor Wat but I was surprised to see a neatly groomed path flanked by ropes to file hordes of tourists past the ruins in an orderly fashion. I’ve never been to Disney World but I imagine it would be similar to the It’s a Small World.

I cursed myself for not listening to advice to get there at 8am before the resort buses arrived.

But rather than be disappointed I decided its compact size would be nice for an hour or so of shooting and went on my merry way.

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Thirty minutes in I looked at my display screen to see that I forgot to put the memory card back into my DSLR, I had been shooting blanks.

A tough lesson to learn but at least I learned it here.

I whipped out my point and shoot and decided it would have to do. After all I only paid $5 so it was a nice hour or so walking around enjoying the morning sun.

If you’re contemplating Tulum Ruins please don’t let my indifferent attitude deter you from coming here as I’ve raved about the town to others.

The beach is beautiful and far superior to Cancun with its soft white sand that is so powdery it becomes a second skin.

On Easter Sunday there was a volleyball tournament, but a few meters away I had idyllic solitude.  

The vibe is also very different to Cancun, while there are many tourists due to its hippie heritage, the atmosphere is much more relaxed.


Authors Note: It seems that Mr. Bacon liked the sandy beaches of Tulum so much he decided to stay so there will be a 7 week lapse until his twin, coincidentally also called Mr. Bacon, will appear in any photos.

Join the Conversation

  1. Mr. Bacon got “Punky Brewster’d?” How sad.

  2. Sofia - As We Travel says:

    I could really need a beach like that right now…

  3. Carmie Brogan says:

    Ahh, you have parted ways with Mr. Bacon….somewhat like the Philippines and Mr. Visa and Mr. Driver’s License….

  4. 1) ahahaha…. you said you were “shooting blanks”.

    2) that’s all I’ve got… 🙁

  5. Mr.Bacon has very saucy eyebrows – he looks like he’s gotten up to no good in Tulum!

  6. Carmie Brogan says:

    Thank you for the obligatory picture…I know you did that with me in mind….

  7. No more Mr.Bacon????? Well he did look kinda sketchy! lol

  8. I missed out on Tulum when I was there, went to Chichen Itza instead! But I kinda wish I had seen it now. Sigh.

  9. Ayngelina Author says:

    Candice – seriously you didn’t miss a thing, it was heard to make these shrimpy things good look. I just went to Chichen Itza (post tonight!) and it was 100 times better.

  10. Nice shot of the ruins.

    As for your “shooting blanks” problem, there’s probably a setting to disable shooting without CF card.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Rob- thanks the Sony does some weird thing to the photos though, feels HDRish, which I don’t like.
      As soon as I got home I disabled shooting without a card, won’t make that mistake again.

  11. Hey Ayngelina. Hope you’re having fun. Trust me the best is yet to come. Do not miss Tikal. And please make the effort to go for sunrise. It is well worth it.

    PS: I like that photo of the small ruin with rocks in front of it. Simple but for me has that “makes me want to be there” feel to it. Not sure why, but it does it for me.

  12. The GypsyNesters says:

    Completely agree with you about all the tourists at Tulum! It really is an amazing place, but I spent most of my time trying to get pictures of the site without any people in it (or, rather, of people taking pictures of other people in front of the ruins – not that Mr. Bacon doesn’t look fabulous!). Great idea to get there early – to have some time to reflect on the place!

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