Chris and I wanted to see the ruins in Tulum because we read that they were located right next to a gorgeous beach. Tulum means “wall” and our tour guide said the large wall that surrounds the ruins was meant to separate social classes not to keep anyone out like some historians believe. The original name for Tulum was Zama meaning “dawn”. While we were walking through the jungle he said we would immediately be able to see why the property was chosen to build a city and given its original name.
The entrance to the city from both sides is a small tunnel cut into the wall. You step out of the jungle and back in time. I’ve heard Tulum described as paradise before and there really is no better word for it than that. The rules of real estate definitely apply to Tulum. Location. Location. Location. The beach is steps away from these ruins and the breeze from the ocean feels amazing on a hot day. Every local person we met said it was cooler than usual since it was fall which made us laugh because 80 degrees isn’t “cooler” for us. Especially since we left frozen rain in Tennessee for the beaches of Quintana Roo.
The city of Tulum can be entered by land or sea making it perfect for trading. Obsidian was traded there and is still sold all over the Yucatan Peninsula. Obsidian can be used in place of 3D glasses. You can hold a disk of obsidian up to your eye to look directly at the sun. Our tour guide also showed us the dagger pictured below made with obsidian and as true “Game of Thrones” fans we immediately thought of dragon glass.
Unfortunately this is the best picture I could get of “El Castillo” or the castle located on the grounds. As you can see above it has been blocked off but was once open for tourists to walk through. At this point in the tour our guide asked, “How many people here are from America? Have you heard of Justin Bieber?” One of the men in our group spoke up quite adamantly, “Sir, he is Canadian. WE DO NOT CLAIM HIM!” I couldn’t help but laugh. After getting a brief lesson on Justin Bieber’s citizenship, our guide went on to explain that the Biebs came to the ruins while under the influence and tried to pee on the castle. Now, it’s closed to visitors and JB is banned from all ecological sites in Mexico for 5 years. While that’s a real shame for the rest of us at least I got a good laugh out of a middle-aged man refusing to be lumped in with the likes of Justin Bieber.
Pictured below is the Temple of the Frescoes. The paintings are located inside but a multitude of carvings adorn the outer walls of this ruin.
Hopefully you can see the profile of a man’s face on the side of the Temple of the Frescoes above. This was one of the more intricate carvings we saw in Tulum along with numerous representations of the “Descending God” who is always pictured upside down.
The Temple of the God of the Wind is pictured above. As I said before the wind from the ocean is strong at the top of the city. It’s no wonder why the Mayans placed the temple there. If I was looking for the God of Wind that is most certainly where I would go to pray. When I reached the summit I stood into the wind with my eyes closed and let it wash over me in big heaps. I felt at peace with the world for a moment and was grateful to find myself in such an incredible place with my husband.
According to Mayan legend, jaguars guarded the ruins when they were first built. These days the ruins in Tulum are guarded by the mighty iguana. Ha! These little guys were everywhere. They sat in twos and threes on the ruins and the surrounding grounds with their less than amused expressions on constant display. I must say the amount of napping going on by the iguanas would have astounded their predecessors. If the bodies of Mayan dignitaries weren’t likely at the bottom of a cenote somewhere I’d say they would be rolling in their graves.
As the wind gets stronger you know you’re reaching the highest point of the ruins. You can’t miss a large wooden staircase that will take you down to the beach. Describing this beach to you would be a daunting task for me. Let’s just say that the next time we go to Mexico I think I would like to stay at a smaller resort in Tulum. What we saw was breathtaking. An all-inclusive resort is the way to go on your honeymoon but next time I’ll be ready for a different kind of adventure.
These ruins are a must as long as iguanas and dreamy beaches are your thing. Stay tuned for the ruins of Chichen Itza later this week. I’m planning on doing a mini Mexico recap as well. I hope everyone’s Monday is short and sweet unlike this post! You can always pin in it for later (hint hint).
Until next time,