Tulum is both a busy resort feeling town a 5 mins drive from the beach and the Mayan-Toltec ruins set on the rocks above the beach.
The town of Tulum is not very big and consists of one main road where all hotels and restaurant can be found, interestingly though the town seems over run by Italians who decided to settle here about a decade ago, to the point where you can pretty much speak Italian to anyone. A great perk of this phenomenon is the array of restaurants offering great tasting home-made pasta and pizzas. Guess it could be worse!
Apart from the Tulum ruins other nearby attractions include Coba, a partially unearthed Mayan site in the jungle, numerous cenotes and the beach.
The Tulum ruins themselves can be easily reached by collectivo and are a 10 mins drive away from the town. Alternatively, you can hire a bicycle for the day from one of the many rental places along the road.
What makes Tulum so special is the equinox. The Mayans had designed Dzibilchaltun, Chichen-Itza and Tulum to align for the spring and autumn equinox, with Dzibilchaltun being the initial door and Tulum being the final alignment, causing in essence the ray of sunlight to pass through the 3 sites in a straight line.
The Tulum ruins are not as big as other sites we have visited but the setting is stunning, with wide open areas and palm trees.
As you make your way through the ruins you are suddenly greeted by a view of the castillo on the edge of the cliffs above a stunning stretch of beach, which is breath-taking.
Ensure you pack your swimming gear as access to the beach is included in the ticket. The beach is not very big so try to arrive early if you plan on spending some time there, also note there are no beach facilities so make sure you bring drinks etc.
Our visit coincided with Tom’s birthday so he got to spend the day at the site he most wanted to visit followed by swimming and relaxing on the beach, not his worse birthday I think.