Maya // Tulum
Tulum, situated on a cliff above the Caribbean Sea on México’s Yucatán peninsula, is perhaps the most dramatic Postclassic Maya site. As with other late-period architecture, the buildings here are more utilitarian than artistically decorated ceremonial centres, and as such it’s not the most obviously spectacular ruin in that sense. Consider then, the structures were built around 1200AD — they are far from simple. As a coastal port of call for surrounding Maya centres such as Cobá, Tulum was an essential link in this great dynasty and was the last Mayan site to be occupied prior to Spanish conquest in the 1500s.
Highlights include the great view of course, a secluded cove and landing beach welcoming you to the sea just below El Castillo and a nicely restored collection of buildings, altars and inscriptions. Tulum was also known as Zama (translation: City of Dawn) and as expected, the sunrise from this coast is astounding. Tulum is definitely worth a visit if you are staying in the area (the ‘Mayan Riviera’ stretches 125km up the coast to Cancún). Just don’t forget your trunks for a swim in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean below.
Tulum, Yucatán, México, 2008.