Riviera Maya Blog

Tulum: A Mayan fortress over the sea

by Manuel Calderon de la Barca

One of the most beautiful places in the Riviera Maya, a city founded on a bluff that defies the waters, Tulum is protected on three sides by walls of stone. The fourth side is simply defended by the Caribbean Sea.

Tulum, whose name evokes echoes of mystery, rises up out one of the most beautiful places in the Riviera Maya. In this sacred landscape, where the white sands reverberate beneath an intense sun, the Mayas chose to build a city-fortress on a bluff that defies the waters. Protected on three sides by walls of stone, the fourth is simply defended by the sea.

The city was originally called by the Mayan name of Zamá, which means dawn or morning, while the current name of Tulum (wall) seems to have been used to refer to the city when it was found in ruins. Judging from the numerous registers on walls and other works found on the buildings of the city, Tulum was an important center of worship for he who was known as the “descendant god”.

Ignacio Izquierdo


“Tulum Pueblo”, as the area surrounding the archeological zone is known, is a typical portrait of the picturesque zones of the region where all along the main avenue artisan works are sold.

The hotel zone provides small and comfortable hotels; cabañas and villas whose architecture blends with the natural landscape, creating a bohemian ambience and ecological facilities combined with the luxury of the highest-level hotels.

For lovers of the night, a new nocturnal tour service has begun, with special lighting and audio-guides in six languages, in order to share the history of this historical site in a new and interesting manner. The information heard by the user not only explains the site scientifically but provides additional information that allows the monuments to be easily identified.

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