Yes! Tulum is home to one of the last remaining vestiges of Ancient Mayan civilization. When you take a self-guided Tulum walking tour, you will be completely immersed in history from a thousand years ago.
What kinds of relics will I see in Tulum?
Here are some of the coolest things you will learn about on your tour of Tulum:
- The House of Chultun is regarded as one of the best remaining examples of Ancient Mayan architecture. The structure is designed to harvest rainwater and divert it to a reservoir to use later. This would have been super useful in the heat of a Yucatan Peninsula summer.
- The Temple of the Wind has a super secret feature built in: when high winds blow through the holes in the stonework, it will create a loud whistling sound. It’s a wake-up call to everyone living within the walls of Tulum: find shelter ASAP! This might be the first hurricane warning system in history. Hopefully you won’t have to hear the warning when you take your tour of Tulum!
- The Palace of the Great Lord, located on what would have been considered “Main Street.” The structure is a lot fancier than the other remaining buildings, which leads us to believe it was reserved only for monarchs.
- The Castle (also called El Castillo) is Tulum’s own personal pyramid. The iconic tiered structure will remind you of Chichen Itza’s Temple to Kukulcan. This distinctive style of architecture perfectly captures a particular moment in Mexican culture. The Castle is built on a hill and faces the ocean, meaning that it can be used as a watchtower, lighthouse, and shrine all in one. Talk about multitasking!
As you can see, the ruins in Tulum are all incredible feats of design. To hear more about each of these stops and many more, download your Tulum self-guided walking tour today!
Are the Tulum ruins worth seeing?
Yes! This historic site is a must-see for anyone who is interested in ancient civilizations. A Tulum tour will tell you everything about these fascinating buildings. Each one is brilliantly designed to withstand hurricanes… that’s why they’re still standing today!
What can I see at the Tulum Ruins?
Here are some of my favorite stops in Tulum:
- Of course you can’t miss The Castle–– or El Castillo. The Castle is a tiered pyramid similar in style to Chichen Itza’s Temple to Kukulcan. This building served many functions: watchtower, lighthouse, sacrificial altar, and shrine to the serpent god. In front of it stands a platform that was probably used for ceremonial dance.
- The Temple of the Wind has an amazing secret feature. This shrine doubles as a hurricane warning system: when gale-force winds blow through the holes in the stonework, it creates a loud whistling sound, warning citizens to find shelter ASAP. In fact, the word “hurricane” comes from the God of the Wind himself: Huracan.
- Speaking of hurricanes, check out the House of the Cenote on your Tulum tour. The walls are built at an angle to minimize damage from tropical storms. The house covers an underground lake–– the only source of freshwater within the city’s walls. No wonder it was worth protecting!
- The House of Chultun is another marvel of engineering: the structure is designed to funnel all rainwater into a central reservoir so nothing goes to waste. That’s especially useful in a hot and humid place like Tulum.
- The most impressive architecture belongs to the Palace of the Great Lord. Not much of it remains today, but you can imagine how imposing it must have been on Tulum’s busy “Main Street.”
Without a tour guide, you might have trouble telling all these tumble-down stone structures apart. That’s why I suggest using a self-guided walking tour. This Tulum tour will give you turn by turn directions through the entire site and tell you what makes each building unique. In between stops, you will hear stories about the myths, history, and culture of the ancient Mayan empire and how it is still preserved today.
Is Tulum Aztec or Mayan?
The Tulum ruins are remains of an Mayan civilization. When you take your Tulum tour, you’ll learn all the fascinating hallmarks of Maya society.
What is the difference between Aztec and Mayan?
The Aztecs lived in central Mexico, while the Maya lived in South Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula.
However, you’d be forgiven for getting them mixed up. A lot of the architecture, including the famous stepstone-pyramid made popular by Chichen Itza, is inspired by Central Mexican architecture. You can see this distinct Aztec style reflected in Tulum’s Castle.
What was ancient Mayan culture like?
- Mayan civilization was carefully tied to its gods. Every month had its own deity, and each city was dedicated to a patron god. At Tulum you’ll find the Temple of the Wind, a shrine to the wind god Huracan. The structure features a network of holes. When a tropical storm blows in from the Gulf of Mexico, it creates a whistling sound to warn the town. That’s right… Huracan is the reason we have the word “hurricane!”
- Their favorite pastime was a sport similar to soccer…. but with much higher stakes. The ball was made of hard rubber, the court was made of unforgiving stone, and there was no protective gear like helmets for athletes. And it was more than just a game: sometimes the competition was used to settle disputes between feuding factions. You can see an actual playing court on your Tulum tour.
- If you remember 2012, you probably remember hearing about the Mayan calendar. But actually, Maya had two calendars: a civil calendar and a religious calendar. It’s like how some of our holidays arrive on fixed dates on the Gregorian calendar, and some change each year based on the lunar calendar. And no, neither of Maya’s calendars predict the end of the world; just the end of the cycle, which then starts over again.
How do I learn more?
Download the Tulum Ruins self-guided walking tour. As the app leads you through the site, it tells stories about the history, mythology, and culture of the ancient Mayan society that built this city. There’s SO much more where this comes from, so I hope to see you in Tulum!
What is the name of the Mayan ruins in Tulum?
The ancient ruins in Tulum are known simply as “the Tulum ruins.” This walled complex shelters one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Mayan people, and the best-preserved of all coastal Maya settlements. A Tulum tour will tell you ALL about the significance of these ruins.
What can I find in the Tulum Ruins?
There are quite a few other Mayan ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula, but this is one of the coolest. The entire site is located within a walled city. Once, Tulum was a port of trade for the Mayan people. This site saw the trade of copper, gold, ceramic, salt, fabric, and feathers. There’s even evidence of rare obsidian and jade here… a SUPER valuable commodity. Tulum was the connecting point between the inland Mayan empire and everyone else. You’re looking at one of the most important trading hubs of the ancient world.
Its position on the coast makes it perfect for trade, but dangerous for hurricanes. Luckily the Temple of the Wind can help–– there’s a hole at the top of the stonework that whistles loudly if a fast wind blows through it. Back before the Weather Channel was invented, this structure would warn citizens of an approaching tropical storm.
These ruins have been standing for hundreds of years–– how did they last so long? Let’s look at the House of the Cenote on the Tulum tour as an example. Careful observers will note that the structure is not a perfect rectangle like most houses… it’s a slight rhombus shape. A perfectly perpendicular angle is more vulnerable to instability. This seven-degree difference is more compromising… enough to render the building structurally sound in the face of a hurricane.
How can I learn more about the Tulum Ruins?
Take a self-guided walking tour of Tulum! This app will tell you all about each building in the city as you’re looking at it for maximum immersion. You’ll come back a couple hours later with a whole world of knowledge.