Just 80 miles (131km) from your Club Caribe home away from home, the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum are a breathtaking example of Mayan architecture and the fabulous mystique of one of Mexico’s most celebrated pre-Columbian cultures. What sets Tulum apart from all other Mayan archeological sites that you can visit today is its location right on the shoreline, boasting its own stunning beach and turquoise waters. Tulum is also among the best preserved Mayan vestiges that you can visit while enjoying your Club Caribe membership at Villa del Palmar Cancun. Whether you decide to rent a car or arrange an organized tour, Tulum is a day trip you will never forget.
It is believed that Tulum’s original title was Zamá, like Villa del Palmar’s restaurant, which means “sunrise,” or in this case, City of Dawn in Yucatecan, suitably named because the trading post faced the rising sun. “Tulum” on the other hand means “fence” or “wall,” having taken its name from the fact that it is one of the few Mayan communities that was a walled settlement . Being that Tulum is located directly on the coast, it is assumed that the wall was intended as defense against invasion, protecting the strategic seaport which served the important settlement of Cobá some 30 miles (48km) away between the 13th and 15th centuries. However, another theory suggests that Tulum’s peasants were separated from the priests and nobility by the city wall.
It is claimed that part of Tulum’s notably well-preserved condition comes from the fact that it was one of the last inhabited settlements of the Mayan empire, surviving almost 70 years after the Spanish began to occupy Mexico and other parts of Central American. According to many guides at the ruins, the reason for Tulum’s demise was due to the European diseases brought by the Spanish Conquistadores to which the Maya had had no immunity. What is known is that by the end of the 16th century Tulum was no longer a functioning port and was completely abandoned.
The archeological structures that you will explore when you visit Tulum on a daytrip from Villa del Palmar Cancun are positioned atop a 39 ft (12m) cliff with ocean and beach below. The ruins are often compared to the style found at the famous archeological site at Chichen Itza, only smaller. Surrounded by a thick limestone wall that rises between 10 and 16 ft (3 and 5m) with 5 entrances, there are three major buildings among other structures to explore, which include El Castillo (the Castle), the Frescos Temple and the Temple of the Descending God (God of Diving). In a number of the buildings, frescos are still visible on the walls depicting Mayan gods as well as images of the dead, the living and the heavens.
If you are choosing to spend some time in Tulum, don’t forget to take your bathing suit and towel as the ruins boast one of the most beautiful beaches in the Riviera Maya. Spending the day in Tulum can be both culturally stimulating as well as relaxing.