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TULUM, TACOS & ANCIENT RUINS: TAKE ON MEXICO

To the surprise of many, Mexico is not just tequila, tacos, and Cancun. There is so much history to be discovered in the land across the border and Tulum is just one of the many gems that Mexico has to offer.

Looking for a little escape, I took a week-long vacation to Tulum which is located along the Yucatan Peninsula. As I wanted to relax on some amazing beaches but also explore some of the world’s best ancient Mayan Ruins in the process.

Old Chichen Itza

Getting to Tulum is its own little adventure as you must first fly into Cancun. From there you will need to make your way down the Peninsula by either Bus, Taxi, or car. The choice is yours and each offers its own pros and cons.

How to get to Tulum

Bus

  • Moderate trip time
  • Sometimes pretty crowded
  • Requires a transfer
  • Very cheap

Taxi

  • Fast trip time
  • Ride alone or with a small group
  • Better if booked before arrival
  • Can be expensive

Car

  • Travel at your pace
  • Just you and the road
  • Moderate to low cost
  • Beware of traffic laws and signs

Bus Ride – Playa del Carmen

Personally, I choose the bus route as the cheap ticket prices and convenience matched my needs perfectly.

Taking the bus does require a transfer that occurs in Playa del Carmen. Overlay times here vary but buses leave for Tulum basically every hour. Playa del Carmen is the perfect place to relax, fuel up and start taking in the culture that is Mexico.

Music, beer, tacos, and vendors are at every corner with the beach just steps away from the bus station. I would highly suggest spending some time here if you can squeeze it into your trip. It is well worth it and you may even want to spend the night.

The actual bus ride is about 2 hours but before you know it, you will be arriving in Tulum.

Fish Tacos in Tulum

Upon arrival, the rest is up to you, simply slum it on the beach or do some exploring. I opted for both with the latter being my main focus. The Mayan culture has always been something that has interested me and this trip was my opportunity to experience it firsthand.   

The main way of traveling in Mexico is by taxi or collectives. If you don’t plan on renting a car, taxi drivers will become your new best friends.

Pro tip if you happen upon a driver you like, be sure to ask if they have a card. This way you can call them whenever you are in need of a ride and if you were as lucky as I was it did not matter if it was day or night.

Ancient Ruins – The Mayan Culture

Coba Ruins

With these ruins being located in the dense jungle be prepared for humidity and mosquitoes. Coba is a must-see as it has one of the tallest pyramids in the Yucatan.

Coba Ruins

Nohoch Mul, the ancient pyramid is open to the public and can be climbed so I took the trek. It’s 130 steep steps to the top, and the view is more than worth it, trust me. Restoration is ongoing at this dense jungle site.

Tulum Ruins

Tulum was the only Mayan city built on the coast and it offers a mesmerizing oceanfront view built upon limestone cliffs.

Coastal view of the Tulum Ruins

These well-preserved ruins served as a seaport in the Mayan era and are now a calling card to this up-and-coming area. It would be a waste to only come for the beaches and miss out on this unique site which just happens to be a short taxi ride from the city center.

Chichen Itza

This ancient site is one of the seven wonders of the modern world and it more than lives up to that title. This was one of my main reasons for picking this area to visit. As there is so much to see, a guided tour might be the best way to explore this for your first trip.

Chichen Itza

This site contains many extremely well-preserved structures that you will be able to see up close. First, the Temple of Kukulkan which unlike Coba ruins these steps can not be climbed. The Great Ball Court is beyond impressive. The Temple of the Warriors (along with the group of a thousand columns), the El Caracol (the observatory demonstrating their knowledge of astronomy), and many more.

Tulum – Take It All In

After I explored to my heart’s content I always ended my day at the beach, pool, or even better a Cenote which is found all over the area.

These sinkholes offer a break from the heat with cool waters in a usually shaded cave that attracts locals, tourists, and cave divers all the like.

Om Tulum Beach Club

Cenotes are great but you should still take in the beach clubs and nightlife that Tulum has to offer. As this area has begun to grow and become more popular so have restaurants, clubs, and bars.

With amazing food, views, beaches, and culture Tulum offers a unique vacation experience that anyone could enjoy.

Who knows where I am heading next; I’m always on the hunt for a new adventure. If you are looking for a change from your typical beach locations but still want to dive deep into some history. Be sure to check out my trip to Italy. It’s a country that serves up amazing food, history, beauty, and culture to boot.

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