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Published: April 21st 2009
I have one last day around here before heading off to Chiapas tonight, so Tulúm and a cenote are on high on my list of things to do!
This morning Kane and I met up with Karol, a Polish traveler who has been living in London, with plans to see Tulúm as well, so together we went out to catch a shared ride van, a colectivo, to take us there. We got out on the highway and found that we had a little ways to walk towards the ocean to get to the ruins. We bought our entrance tickets and headed in, already worried about the fact that it was crowded even though we got there early. There is a path that leads to a small tunnel space through a stone wall that you must pass through to enter into the ruined city, and you emerge to see many stone buildings in an open grassy space, with the larger buildings and pyramids to your right, on a bit higher ground, next to the ocean.
The park is organized for heavy foot traffic with roped off paths and advertises night tours (there are lights mounted on the roofs and windows
of many buildings - I'm sure the sight is beautiful). I didn't mind the pathways, but the huge crowds of people were a bit of a hindrance to moving around and getting nice views of everything, but still it was early enough in the day that I managed to get some nice photos without too many people in view.
The ruins in combination with the tropical plants, green hills, nearly white sand, and light blue water makes this one of the most incredible sights I have ever been privileged to visit. I didn't get a whole lot of information on the history of the buildings as I walked through - the little bits of information I heard from tour guides taking other people through were generally more about the Mayans themselves, although I am sure there is more to be learned with a tour - but I had already learned a little about the city before arriving. If you visit ruins in Mexico, tours are really the only way to get information while you're there. Tulúm had been an important trading city for the Mayans, especially for obsidian. It was a port to the Caribbean, not far from the
other Mayan city, Cobá. Excavations have shown that items traded though here reached many parts of Mexico and Central America as well as other parts of the Caribbean. Being here and seeing the city, and the iguanas that have taken over some of the buildings, was enough for me today. It was spectacular! As the morning went on, the park became increasingly crowded. We considered heading down to the beautiful beach below but decided to try a swim in one of the nearby cenotes instead.
Outside of the park is a little tourist shopping area with a tall pole in the ground. We saw people on top of it and were curious. Kane and Karol made some purchases at a shop, and when they finished we walked towards the pole, to find that the people had jumped off and were hanging from ropes, spinning around and seemingly dancing! They were costumed as indigenous. It it was certainly different! We sat down for 2 for 1 beers ate lunch, and exchanged thoughts on interesting music to look for, then headed off to find a taxi to a cenote.
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