Catch it While You Can
are few places in the wolrd like Tulum Mexico.
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.
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
The ruins themselves perch dramatically on a cliff
overlooking the ocean, with a small beach belowthe 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
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
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
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.