A Day in Tulum

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My day with the Mayans.

Welcome back to Mexico! As part of my trip to Cancun with my boyfriend Riley, we went off “plantation” (aka, our resort) to explore some of the ancient Mayan ruins. During my first trip to Cancun with my family seven years ago, we went to Chichen Itza, a 6.5-sq.-km. ancient city known mainly for its massive step pyramid El Castillo.

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Now that I was back in the Yucatán Peninsula, I was hoping to explore other Mayan ruins, specifically Tulum. On our third day in Cancun, we set out at 7:30AM for a day in Tulum.

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We arrived and started the half mile walk to the entrance of the ruins. We passed dozens of people returning to their tour buses, all looking exhausted, with their sweat-drenched clothing matted against their skin. Riley and I looked at each other, confused. Although it was already hot and humid at only 9AM, it wasn’t that bad yet. Why was everyone so sweaty?

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We started our day in Tulum with a tour and learned some interesting facts:

  • There are 23 Mayan dialects
  • There are over five million living Mayan descendants today
  • Tulum means “wall,” and it was built to divide the social classes and protect the rich
  • It was inhabited from 1100 A.D. to 1500 A.D.
  • They worshiped Ah Mucen Cab, God of Bees and Honey

We also learned that compared to Chichen Itza, Tulum is 20 times smaller! This made it very easy to see the entirety of the ruins within a limited time frame.

It was a gorgeous day out and the ruins were not overly crowded. Riley and I walked from structure to structure, taking in the beauty of the clear waters beneath us.

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The majority of the ruins are low to the ground, as the Mayans are not tall people. At one corner of the archeological site, we were able to walk into one of the ruins. Needless to say, Riley barely fit.

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I also loved spotting all of the iguanas everywhere! There are hundreds of them throughout Tulum and I often asked Riley to quickly snap my picture with one.

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Like those that had come before us, we were really starting to feel the humidity and found that our clothing too stuck to our bodies like paper on glue. My single biggest tip is to pack water! You can bring food and drink into the site, so Riley and I packed up my travel backpack with three bottles of H2O, some fruit, chips and sandwiches we ordered from hotel room service. Ultimately, we had to toss the sammies because there was no way the meat and cheese had maintained temperature in this 90+ degree weather. But the water and fruit were life savors. I probably could have finished five bottles myself and it still wouldn’t have been enough liquid to replace what I was loosing in sweat.

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We knew it would be humid so we both dressed accordingly. I wore a loose-fitting shirt and Riley opted for a Nike Dri-Fit tee. In hindsight, I would have been more comfortable in an exercise t-shirt and sports bra, but what I wore fit the bill pretty well too. Riley was also smart to bring a hat. Although we had both doused ourselves in sunscreen, I could still feel myself cooking. Final tip, closed-toe shoes are a great idea. You will be climbing up and down old steps laced with iguana poop in crowded conditions. If you are hitting the ruins, be sure to dress accordingly!

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Tons of people were stripping down to bathing suits and hitting the beach to cool off. It was fun to watch people old and young frolic around in the water and everyone said it was extremely refreshing.

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Frizzy hair and wet t-shirts aside, we had an awesome time exploring. Everyone was friendly and the sky was as clear as the ocean. If you are looking for a half-day activity while in Cancun, I would highly recommend coming to Tulum!

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-TM

Have you been to Tulum? What are your thoughts? Let us know below.

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