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Tulum Mexico

Catch it While You Can

Tulum Mexico There are few places in the wolrd like Tulum Mexico.

Just 80 miles south of busy, boistrous Cancun, this little village with its famous nearby ruins is fast becoming one of Mexico's most popular tourist destinations.

Sadly, it seems inevitable that this charming area will soon be overrun with resorts, shopping centers and tacky tourist traps. In fact, the entire stretch of coastline between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, now sporting the posh soubriquet “Mayan Riviera,: is the fastest growing area on the Yucatan Peninsula. So if you want to enjoy Tulum's still unspoiled enchantment, go soon.

The village of Tulum itself is a little settlement along highway 301. There's not much here in the way of attractions, but it's peaceful and a welcome break from the pretentiousness of the nearby resort areas. There is also a wonderful little boutique hotel, the Posada Luna del Sur, which is definitely worth checking out.

The Mayan ruins, of course, are the big attraction. The word “tulum” in Mayan means fence or wall, became in time the name of the site, whose original name is unknown, because unlike most ancient Mayan cities, Tulum was a fortified settlement with an encircling wall.

The ruins themselves perch dramatically on a cliff overlooking the ocean, with a small beach below—the original port of the ancient city. The sand is powdery white and the water on most days is calm as the surrounding shoulders of coral form a natural shelter.

There is a poignancy about this spot. Unlike most ancient Mayan cities, it was still occupied when the Spanish arrived, though the classic Mayan period was long past, and the inhanitants were living out twilight days of a vanishing civilization.

Nevertheless, it isn't difficult to imagine what it must once have been like: the castillo perhaps once a lighthouse, and the little beach below crowded with dugout canoes and bustling with trade.

There are probably few places on earth where the sunrise is more spectacular than in Tulum Mexico; well worth the sacrifice of a couple hours of sleep.

The best time to visit is probably mid-autumn, late September through the end of October.



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