History of the Tulum Ruins

The archaeological site of Tulum is situated on the edge of a coastal cliff, facing the rising sun and overlooking the twinkling Caribbean Sea. The site of a Pre-Columbian Mayan city, it once served as a major port for the trading of goods from Honduras into the Yucatan. In Maya, Tulum means “trench”, “wall” or “fence” – in reference to the thick wall that encircles the town to this day. However, research suggests that the site was once called “Zama” or "City of Dawn” – a perfect name given the breathtaking sunrises Tulum enjoys. Though more than 1,000 years old, much of the Mayan architecture remains intact, making Tulum one of Mexico’s most important archaeological sites

Recent growth of Tulum

Until recently, Tulum was known only as a tiny fishing village. That all changed with the development of the region’s tourist industry, helped by the burgeoning reputation of Cancun. These days, Cancun and the Riviera Maya welcome around 300,000 visitors per year – a statistic that has brought both economic prosperity and ecological concern. Fortunately, Tulum itself has retained its original charm thanks to careful management of the construction trade. Indeed, the hotels along the beach remain small and unimposing, in a deliberate attempt to keep growth under control. As part of this effort, the destination has been carefully divided into three main areas: the archaeological site, the town and the hotel zone. While the archaeological site remains the key draw, the town is well-equipped to look after tourists, with a number of delightful souvenir stores, restaurants and a bank.

The beaches of Tulum

Aside from the Tulum ruins, a key reason for Tulum’s enduring popularity is the quality of its sandy beaches. Immaculate and almost unbelievably picturesque, they’re among the most inviting beaches on the planet – made all the more appealing by the clarity and warmth of the Caribbean Sea.