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The Tulum Ruins!
After a relaxing evening, we headed to the ruins Tuesday morning. Tulum is famous for its Mayan ruins, and hosts the only existing ruins that are right on the water, so it's pretty incredible and beautiful. We had tried to go Monday evening, because I had read some blogposts about how they didn't close at 4:30pm but really 7:00pm, but those were incorrect. However, failed attempt on Monday ended up helping on Tuesday because we knew where the cheaper parking was :). The ruins were less than a 10 minute drive from town, so it was a quick, easy ride.
Outside of the entrance to the ancient city
Clearing as we approach the Cenote Entrance
Melissa runs ahead
Gulf of Mexico on a clear day
We entered the park around 9:30am or so and stayed for about two hours. By the time we were leaving, the crowds were getting pretty large and the tour groups from Cancun had arrived, so unsurprisingly we'd recommend anyone to get there at open to avoid the tour busses (buses?). The ruins, last occupied around 1300, was a town and a significant cultural and trading port due to its position in the Caribbean. Remaining are the Castle, the Cenote House, places where the Mayans gathered, temples to the wind god Kulkulcan, and a few other crumbling structures.
A good portion of the old city grounds in view.
Most common buildings were not made of stone and didn't last hundreds of years.
Ruins adjacent to the ocean, this is why people come to Tulum.
The inaccessible beach in the city.
I believe this was El Castillo, one of the largest uncovered structures here.
If you zoom in closely enough you can see lizards sunbathing on the walls.
There were (steep!) stairs built into the cliff leading down to a small, beautiful beach. This beach must be on the Instagram guide to Mexico or something because the number of people essentially having photo shoots with their phones was ridiculous. RIDICULOUS. The way it worked was the 20-something girl would strip down to her bikini and walk out into the waves with the cliffs and ruins in the background. She starts posing and frolicking while the boyfriend struggles further out with a camera in a waterproof pouch to get some shots of the girl. And by some shots, I mean we saw a quarter of the ruins, came back and they were still going. I hope they got a lot of likes!
One of the better preserved buildings.
You can see the tail tracks from when this guy walked through.
A photogenic palm tree
Back on the cliffs, we just wandered and took pictures and pointed out every lizard we saw (spoiler: there are A LOT of lizards there). I'm not sure the pictures do it justice, because the ruins and the beach/cliff setting are truly spectacular. The crazy thing is these aren't even the "top" ruins in the Yucatan. That will probably be Chichen Itza, which is one of New 7 Wonders of the World, officially.
Looking out from one of Tulum's cliffs
Lens flare and colorful plants at one of the ruin buildings
Since Tulum was a fortified Mayan city, it's surrounded by stone walls, with only four entrances. These are still in use today as the visitors enter and exit the archaeological zone. They are arched tunnels though the stone wall, several meters long, and you can't even pretend that two people could walk through abreast or pass each other.
That means that when a tour bus of a hundred people starts walking through it, the tunnel is completely one way for a while. We tried to leave through the entrance because we ended up there and it was closer to the parking lot, but had to give up and walk to the exit. The people just didn't stop coming.
Exit through the gift shop.
That's a lot of blood rushing to the head.
After we walked back to the parking lot, there's a little area with shops, a Starbucks, and a tower that had four men hanging upside down on ropes spinning around, slowly descending, playing music and singing. Adam had wanted to try the only Starbucks drink that seemed to be unique to Mexico, so he got the Coco Piña Yogurt Frappucinno while we hung out for awhile because the a/c was amazing (plus, like in NYC, it's always a good place to use a restroom. Always reasonably clean, always a bit of a line).
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