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Tulum Half Day Tour

Riviera Maya / Cozumel / Cancun / Tulum


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Take the best Tulum ruins tour and encounter one of the most unique archaeological sites of the Mayan Empire. Follow your knowledgeable guide on this half-day excursion through a gem built in a privileged location rising over the aquamarine waves of the Caribbean Sea. Become impressed with structures like the Temple of Paintings, the Temple of the Descending God, and the iconic El Castillo lighthouse overlooking the sea. Then enjoy free time to relax with the beautiful view of the beach below the ruins on this quick but thorough exploration of a Cancun / Riviera Maya must-see.
  • Discover the ancient Mayan walled city of Tulum
  • Experience the only ruins facing the Caribbean Sea
  • Enjoy the view of the beautiful beach near Tulum
  • Activity duration: 2 hours approx. (not including transportation to and from activity)
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off included


Enjoy the best half-day tour to the Tulum ruins in the Riviera Maya!

Your adventure starts early in the morning with a pick-up from your Cancun or Riviera Maya resort. You’ll travel in comfort aboard an air-conditioned vehicle until arriving at the southern edge of the Riviera Maya area for your Tulum ruins tour. A knowledgeable bilingual guide will accompany you as you explore one of the Mayan Empire’s most admired and inspiring architectural masterpieces.

When you pass through the main entrance, you’ll walk through a small stretch of jungle and some stairways until arriving to a thick stone wall, which protects this archaeological site on three sides. Appropriately enough, the word ‘Tulum’ comes from the Mayan for ‘wall,’ as the ancient engineers built this city to be fortified. You’ll enter the archeological complex through a small gateway in the wall, and immediately you’ll see marvelous ancient structures rise from a grassy plain that ends at a 39-foot limestone cliff atop the Riviera Maya coastline.

Enter a place full of pre-Hispanic history and Mayan culture

As you follow your guide through the grounds, you'll learn about the rich history and customs of the Mayan people who inhabited the ancient city of Tulum, which they settled around the sixth century. Initially, they named it ‘Zama,’ meaning ‘dawn,’ as it’s one of the first places to receive the first rays of sunshine in both the Mayan Empire and modern-day Mexico. Your tour guide will tell you that Tulum stands out for being one of the last cities that the Mayan people built and lived in.

Feel the bygone days of an ancient civilization come to life once again as you explore the complex, and listen to your guide for more interesting information during your walk. Tulum was actually a vital trading port for the kingdoms of Coba, Chichen Itza, Sayil, and Ek Balam. And because of the small population that lived in Tulum during its heyday, it was more of a religious center rather than a fully populated city.

View Tulum’s complex of temples featuring iconic El Castillo

Your encounter with Mayan history during your Tulum ruins tour continues as you walk up the pathway to the top of the cliff to see the most famous set of structures, none more iconic than El Castillo (The Castle). This temple literally stands out at its position on the edge of the precipice overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Sometimes referred to as 'The Lighthouse,' this structure guided incoming ships with torches and natural light that penetrated through its two windows, marking the paths that were clear of the reef and allowing canoes and vessels to pass safely to the shore.

Next to El Castillo is another famous structure, the Temple of the Descending God. On top of its doorway is the carving of a winged deity who is upside down with its feet up, as though he were coming down from the heavens. The Descending God is associated with bees, important insects for the Mayans because honey was a treasured staple for both religious and commercial purposes. After seeing the small complex featuring El Castillo and the Temple of the Descending God, walk over to the cliff's edge on the back side of the temples. From there, you'll be looking out toward the vivid colors of the Mexican Caribbean.

See the structures reserved for upper society and the Temple of Paintings

Your guided tour through the ruins of Tulum will continue to show you why this site is an archaeologist's dream. You’ll pass by at least 11 major structures, including the Temple of the Wind and the complex where the more distinguished members of Mayan society lived. The main structure there is the House of the Halach Uinik, the primary residence of the maximum ruler of the Mayan city-state.

Don’t be surprised if you see traces of color on some of the temples’ exteriors. The Mayans would paint their structures and the color schemes depended on the season. One of the better remnants of color is the partially restored mural of the Temple of Paintings, where you can admire what’s left of actual Mayan murals that adorned the structure. These and the other highlights of this archaeological landmark will impress you, making you feel like you’re stepping back in time to the pinnacle of the Mayan Empire.


  • Round-trip, air-conditioned transportation
  • Certified guide
  • Bottled water
  • Entrance to Tulum archaeological site

Practical Information

  • Bring biodegradable sunscreen, a hat or cap, and sunglasses
  • Bring extra money for tips, snacks, and souvenirs (tipping is optional)
  • Not suitable for people with limited mobility
  • Be aware that transportation time to Tulum is 2 hours from Cancun and 1 hour from Playa del Carmen
  • Please note that our partner will be providing transportation in their vehicle so that you can enjoy this exciting excursion.
  • As of January 12, 2024, the use of disposable plastic bottles is now prohibited. Kindly make the switch to reusable containers for your water and soft drinks.
  • Important: If you are in Cozumel and wish to have this experience, please select your pick-up location at the meeting point that best suits you.

Good To Know

  • Tour Language: English / Spanish
  • Tour Location(s): Riviera Maya
  • Season: All year long
  • Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
  • Minimum Age Requirement: 4 years old
  • Hotel Pick-up Available: Yes
  • Good Physical Condition Required: Yes
  • Suitable For Children : Yes
  • Suitable For Elderly: Yes
  • Pregnant Woman Allowed: Yes
From $89 USD
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Final price includes transportation cost if applicable