Tulum History Guide

Tulum was the site of a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city serving as a major port for Cobá. The ruins are situated on 12-meter (39 ft) tall cliffs, along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Tulum was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Maya; it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to have been the cause of its demise. One of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites, the Tulum archaeological site is today a popular spot for tourists.

Tulum is now divided into four main areas: the archaeological site, the pueblo (or town), the zona hotelera (or hotel zone) and the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an. As recently as the early 1990s Tulum Pueblo was a quiet village 2 km (1.5 mi) from the archaeological site, and tourism outside of the ruins was limited to a few small shops and simple cabanas on the beach. As of the 2010 census, the population of Tulum Pueblo has grown to 18,233 permanent inhabitants with the addition of a number of residential developments in the jungle areas nearest Tulum’s downtown. With the increase in tourism, small hotels and hostels, as well as restaurants and bars populate the town. Grocery stores, boutiques, bicycle rentals, gyms, tour operators, banks, ATMs, internet cafes, Spanish language schools and various other commercial stores are available in Tulum Pueblo.

Two kilometers from the town center, the “hotel zone” of boutique hotels on the Tulum beach has fast grown to over 70 small hotels. Most of them are cabañas built in the traditional Maya style with thatched palm roofs though there are some more high end hotels as well. There are many new restaurants, particularly on the jungle side of the road, some of which have received significant praise in the international press. There are also a few beach clubs and public beaches. Inexpensive cabañas with hammocks are still available, but are rare. Most accommodations remain rustic as electricity in the “hotel zone” is either non-existent or is generated on site.

Tulum Tours and Activities

Experience a sun-bathed Caribbean coastal destination graced with endless white sand beaches, turquoise blue seawater and a wide range of exciting tour activities. Please review selected highlights below and contact us to help you create an unforgettable experience in Mexico.