Tulum is a town located on the Yucatan peninsular of Mexico, about an hours’ drive south of Playa del Carmen. Tulum is most famous for its Mayan ruins which occupy a spectacular coastal setting overlooking the sea. Of many Mexican and Central American Mayan ruins, Tulum was the only Mayan city built on a coast.
The Mayan civilisation dates back as early as 1800 BC with many Mayan structures built in pyramid shapes and decorated with elaborate inscriptions. Mayans were excellent mathematicians and with their astronomical skills developed a complex 365 day calendar system.
Tulum ruins and beach are between 3-4 km from the town of Tulum and while it is possible to walk between the town, ruins and beaches (very hot), hire a car for a day (slight overkill for these distances) or get taxis (readily available) we hired bikes for the day.
This proved ideal for us as bike hire for the day was only 50 pesos each (£2), the bikes were reasonable quality and we were provided with a strong bicycle lock. Many bike rental shops require you to leave ID as a deposit however they should accept a driving licence which saves you the worry of leaving them with your passport!
There are cycle paths along the main roads which made cycling to the ruins safe and enjoyable.
We had been advised to arrive at the ruins for 08:00 when they opened and before the tour buses arrive. Logistically this didn’t work for us as most bike rental places open at 09:00.
By the time we picked up the bikes at 09:15, cycled the short distance along the main road and past many cafes and souvenier shops (just before the site) we found ourselves in a queue at the entrance for 20 minutes!
Fortunately the initial small patches of blue sky were growing larger as the clouds were clearing during our wait and the sun was shining by the time we entered the ruins.
This resulted in better and clearer photos but at a cost of having to dodge streams of people! Yes, it was packed and difficult to move along at times.
The Tulum archeological site has a spectacular setting on the coast and is also home to hundreds of iguanas who spend their days basking in the sun and climbing around the ruins.
Each year between June and October, loggerhead and white sea turtles visit the above beach to lay their eggs.
We spent around an hour or so looking around the ruins and taking in the amazing sights. We collected the bikes and cycled along the beach road where several tracks have been cut through the mangroves to provide access to the fabulous beaches.
There are several beach bars so we stopped a couple of times to get a drink and swim in the gorgeous warm incredibly blue sea.
As we cycled back along the 3.5 km stretch towards the hotel it suddenly began to pour with rain! Fortunately there are sheltered bus stops every 200 meters or so!