Recently, I spent some time at the Mayan Ruins site in Tulum, Mexico. It’s a must-visit site when visiting Tulum or even as an excursion from nearby Playa del Carmen. The Tulum Mayan Ruins are perched on top of cliffs that overlook the gorgeous Caribbean Sea below. The remnants of this walled city are a major tourist attraction that provide cultural education, a brush with nature, and a beautiful beach day, if that’s what you’re looking for. I took in all three and am sharing a useful tips to help you plan your visit to the Tulum Mayan Ruins and the Hidden Beach, Playa Ruinas. Start scrolling. 🙂
When to Visit the Tulum Mayan Ruins
- Go early in the day–first thing, if you can. This is the best time to visit for a few reasons, the first being crowds.
- As the day wears on, the Tulum Mayan Ruins become more crowded, which makes good photo ops more scarce. Not only will you have a better chance at getting good, uninterrupted photos with fewer crowds, but this lower congestion throughout the site will improve the overall experience as you can freely peruse the Tulum Mayan Ruins without worrying about ruining anyone else’s photos either.
- Crowds also mean lines for everything from entry to the bathroom. And there’s only one bathroom, by the way.
- The last, but certainly not least important reason to visit as early in the day as possible is the heat. Tulum is very hot and humid and you’ll be hard-pressed for relief at the Tulum Mayan Ruins until you take a dip in the ocean at Playa Ruinas.
- Sundays will be the most busy days as Mexican citizens and residents get free entry on this day. Avoid visiting on a Sunday if you can.
What to Wear to Tulum Mayan Ruins
- Wear a hat, shades, and plenty of sunscreen as there is not much shade to be found. You’ll also want to wear comfortable walking shoes as there are many steps. The walk from the parking lots to the Tulum Mayan Ruins entry point is about 500 meters and from there, you’ll get all your steps in for the day as you walk through. If you have sweet blood, as my mother would say, and bugs love to feast on you, spray yourself down with insect repellent before heading to the Tulum Mayan Ruins as part of the walk is through the jungle.
- If you plan to go down to the beach (more on that below), be sure to wear your bathing suit underneath and bring a towel. I recommend budgeting about two hours to take in the both the Ruins and the beach.
Useful Tips for Your Tulum Mayan Ruins Visit
- Bring pesos. You’ll need to pay in pesos for parking (100 pesos at the time of this post) and entrance (80 pesos at the time of this post) to the Ruins. If you plan to bring a video camera (even a GoPro), you’ll also need to pay a small fee for that. If you’re looking for a very in-depth learning experience, consider booking a tour guide. You can do this onsite or in advance here. I can’t vouch for any of the tour services, as I did not use one.
- Eat and drink before visiting the Ruins. I packed a bottle of water in my bag but snacks are not generally advised in order to prevent litter. I also recommend using the restroom before you enter as there are no facilities inside.
- You will encounter all kinds of shops and vendors on your way from the parking lot to the Tulum Mayan Ruins entry point. That’s how I got the photo with a monkey crawling on me. But I recommend waiting to purchase anything that catches your eye until you’re leaving, as you’ll have to walk back to put it in your car.
- Speaking of cars, I drove but there are other transportation options. Tulum is very bike friendly and, if you bike to the Tulum Mayan Ruins, there are locking stations near the entry point so you can ride all the way up to it. There are also tours that will bus you up to the entry point.
- Watch your step. There are iguanas everywhere, including on the beach. Some are skittish while others will let you know they were here first! When I came out of the water at Playa Ruinas, I found a big iguana on a rock next to my beach bag and we had a kind of Diddy stare-down before I grabbed my stuff and tip-toed away. It’s important to be respectful of the iguanas and their habitat in order to protect the integrity of this historical area.
The Hidden Beach at Tulum Mayan Ruins: Playa Ruinas
Playa Ruinas, also called Hidden Beach is a gorgeous beach backed up by the cliffs of rock and coral upon which the Tulum Mayan Ruins sit. It’s off to the very far left from where you enter but hard to miss. You’ll likely see people looking out at and taking photos against the beautiful ocean backdrop along the rails of the cliffs. You’ll have to take a very steep flight of wooden stairs down to the beach. Pack a proper beach bag if you plan to spend some time here as there are no facilities on site. There is no place to buy food or change clothes, no lifeguard, towels, chairs, umbrellas, etc.
I hope this post prepares you to enjoy your visit to the Tulum Mayan Ruins. For more Tulum content, check out what to pack for Tulum. Thanks for reading!