Swim Next to Ancient Mayan Ruins in Tulum, Mexico

BY: MOLLY METZIG | 11.4.2014 |
Swim Next to Ancient Mayan Ruins in Tulum, Mexico

Tulum, Mexico, has a few things in common with its northerly neighbors, Cancún and Playa del Carmen: warm weather, white-sand beaches, and tons of spots for snorkeling. But you won’t find neon lights and thumping nightclubs here. Instead, there’s something much rarer: ancient Mayan ruins. The main structure, a massive stone fort known as El Castillo, sits on a cliff looking out on the Caribbean Sea. It’s surrounded by palm trees and inhabited by iguanas, and just below the cliff—accessible by a sturdy staircase—is one of Mexico’s most exquisite beaches.

Why it’s worth the trip: The juxtaposition of haunting ruins and a gorgeous beach is unforgettable. These are the only Mayan ruins situated on the Caribbean Sea, so you won’t see this anywhere else.

Where to stay: The Tulum ruins are an easy day trip from Cancún or Playa del Carmen; there are also some hotels in Tulum. 

How to get here: Fly into Cancún International Airport. From there, you can rent a car (the drive to Tulum takes about two hours) or take a bus to Playa del Carmen, where you can then catch a bus to Tulum.

Best time to go: October and November—after hurricane season and before tourists really start pouring in.

What to bring: In addition to a camera, bring a swimsuit and a towel. Many tourists come unprepared, not knowing that the beach is perfectly suited for swimming. If you get there early in the morning, you could have the beach to yourself.

Photo: One of the guardians of Tulum by Lars Plougmann under CC BY-SA 2.0


Check off more activities on your Caribbean bucket list:

Swim with Wild Pigs at Pig Beach in the Bahamas

Walk Through a City of Mayan Ruins in Coba, Mexico

Guide Staff Writer
BY: Molly Metzig Guide Staff Writer