Tulum Half Day Tour
From : 69.00 USD
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 swim and relax at the white-sand beach below the ruins on this quick but thorough exploration of a Cancun / Riviera Maya must-see.
Enjoy the best half-day tour of the Tulum ruins in the Riviera Maya
Your adventure starts early in the morning with 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. Originally, 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 very important 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 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 edge of the cliff 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 main 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 at 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 surely impress you, making you feel like you’re stepping back in time to the pinnacle of the Mayan Empire.
End your tour with a swim in the gorgeous beach of Tulum’s ruins
To conclude your memorable excursion through Tulum, and to cool down from all the walking, you’ll have some free time to swim in the inspiring beach right below the ruins. The beach is accessible only from the complex by descending on wooden stairs. As soon as you step on the white sands, you’ll find yourself at one of the most beautiful spots on the Riviera Maya. Encounter first-hand the pristine waters of the Caribbean Sea and its mesmerizing array of colors that range from turquoise to the deepest blues. Immerse yourself in these revitalizing waters and feel your spirit come to life.
Or if you’d like, simply lounge around on the soft sand and let the sound of the waves relax you. Embrace the amazing views of a different vantage point of El Castillo as its back side faces the beach where you’re chilling out. When you’re done bathing in the sea, return to the Tulum site and then hop back on your air-conditioned transfer for the return ride to your resort. You’ll be back in time to enjoy the rest of the afternoon to do as you please.
Location(s): Riviera Maya
Season: All year long
Start Time: 9 a.m.
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)
Includes Transport: Yes
Good physical condition required: Yes
Suitable for children: Yes
Suitable for the elderly: Yes
Pregnant women allowed: Yes
- Round-trip, air-conditioned transportation
- Certified guide
- Bottled water
- Entrance to Tulum archaeological site
- Bring a towel, your swimsuit, 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
- Access to the beach only available if weather conditions allow
- Be aware that transportation time to Tulum is 2 hours from Cancun and 1 hour from Playa del Carmen
"I took this tour with my daughters. WE all loved it. Gabriel is an excellent tour guide. We got the transport and water and snack. toured tulum and went by the atlantic ocean for a fast dip in the water. Tulum is very interesting and Gad did a great job"
Marsha Erickson - Havertown - 07 Jul 2015