The ruins of ancient Zamá – means dawn in Mayan – are located within Tulum National Park, one of the most visited, photogenic and photographed places in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, in southeastern Mexico.

Offering an attractive mix of culture, history and natural beauty, this archaeological site lies on the Caribbean Sea and hides one of the most beautiful beaches of the Riviera Maya.

Tulum, Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

A fortress overlooking the Caribbean Sea

Created by the Maya as a fortress and port for maritime trade, it appears that this walled city, whose buildings were built in the post-classic period of the Mayan civilisation, was an important center of worship for their so-called “Descending God.”

The complex can be visited in a couple of hours, but we strongly recommend visiting early in the morning to avoid the strong heat and the abundance of curious tourists. Not surprisingly, it is one of the most visited Mayan cities of Mexico, mainly because of its prime location.

Its most popular structure, called “The Castle”, represented a key point of reference for the Mayan navigators, enabling them to overcome the second longest coral reef in the world. For the enjoyment of visitors and photography enthusiasts, this ruin stands on a cliff and gives one of the best shots of the visit, thanks to the contrast of its ancestral presence with the turquoise waters of the beautiful Caribbean Sea.

How to get to Tulum

Located about 130 km. from Cancun and 70 km. South of Playa del Carmen, Tulum is easily accesible. If traveling by car, you should follow the Carretera Federal 307 until you reach the exit to Boca Paila.

Other affordable options include bus lines that cover the route several times a day, from the main points, or using the popular “vans“, a shared type of minibus that cross the Riviera´s main road and offer a very useful way of getting around the area at a reasonable price.

Visiting hours of Tulum are from Monday to Sunday, from 08:00 to 17:00, and the price is 57 pesos.

After the visit, you may feel like enjoying a good traditional meal in the nearby village of Tulum, or continue the cultural tour and visit the Cobá Archeological Site, at about 40 kilometers from Tulum, in the great Yucatán Peninsula.

Learn more about the Maya

The Ancient Maya, 6th Edition by Robert Sharer
The Lost History Of Aztec & Maya by Charles Phillips
The Maya (Ninth edition) (Ancient Peoples and Places) by Michael D. Coe

Text and Photos © Nano Calvo

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