One of the best ways to really feel the vibe of your Cancun / Riviera Maya vacation destination is to explore the amazing ancient Mayan Ruins of Tulum! Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Mayan people and is an awe-inspiring site to see.
Amstar took our group down in air-conditioned comfort as we made our way south towards Tulum. The drive from your resort to Tulum can be long, especially when traveling from Cancun, so be sure you won’t need the restroom before you go. The sun is HOT, so wear sunscreen and wear a hat. Comfortable shoes are suggested, since you will be doing a fair amount of walking over some rugged terrain. When we arrived, we found ourselves among a variety of shops in the marketplace where we could purchase tons of different souvenirs. I would recommend waiting until your tour is over before purchasing anything (unless it is the hat and/or sunscreen you may have forgotten, or a drink). Otherwise you will have to tote it around with you in the shredding heat. If you want to use the bathrooms here, take toilet paper from the dispenser BEFORE you go into a stall, as there is actually none in the stalls themselves. In the marketplace, you will encounter people dressed in tribal garb and painted like warriors. DO NOT try to take their picture, unless you want to pay $10 for it! This first stop in the marketplace gives you the impression you are somewhere unique and special.
When you’re ready to go to the park itself, tractors pull trains of cars filled with people from the starting point of the marketplace to the Tulum Park’s entrance. There, you will purchase your ticket and move forth into the park. Tour guides give you the history of the ruins, the Mayan people, and the significance of the various buildings you will see. They give you a clear glimpse into what life was like back in ancient times, not to mention how difficult it must have been. They will also explain how the Mayans gave birth to modern time by building windows in the stone walls of the Mayan castles that let the sun beam through at different times of the year. Finally, you make your way to the top of the hill to the overlook, where the view of the Caribbean Sea is picture-perfect! This is where you can experience Mother Nature’s air conditioning!
Descend back down to the park’s entrance and relax on the ride back to the marketplace, letting the breeze cool you off as you go. When the train returns to the marketplace, you will be dazzled by the Voladores de Papantla, also known as the “Dance of the Flyers”. Five voladores (“flyers” in Spanish) dressed in ancient costume climb to the top of a 30-foot pole and then, suspended by ropes wound around the top of the pole, four of them fly through the air upside down as they are rotated and lowered to the ground. All the while, the fifth voladore stays at the top and plays his drum and flute. This ancient ritual takes place to mimic birds in flight and is based on Mayan creation myths that center on the figure of a bird deity. It is unlike anything I have ever seen!
It is places like the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum that add flavor to your vacation. There are many special places in your vacation destination, and one by one, you should try them all!