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Map of Southern Mexico

Map of Southern Mexico


Tulum is without doubt the most beautiful ancient site in the Maya world. This page includes a slide show with images of Tulum and nearby Cobá. You will also see images from the Maya theme park, Xcaret.

You will need the FULL Version of QuickTime, which is a free download, to see the above slide show. If you don't have QuickTime (it's Windows & Mac friendly), go here for the free download. If you have QuickTime and are seeing a white box and no image, click here for detailed help.

Tulum means "The City of Dawn" and in old times was also called Zamá. Its location on a cliff facing the see provided a natural protection for Tulum's inhabitants against potential invaders. The buildings, temples and other structures of Tulum are not as well preserved as those of Uxmal or Chichen Itza. It is easy when visiting Tulum to be drawn away from these interesting structures and towards the ocean which gives the whole area an idylic feeling aking to a paradise.

Tulum is located on the Caribbean coast of the state of Qunitana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula about one and half hours south of Cancun by car. While many visit Tulum while staying in Cancun, I personally think of Cancun and even Playa Del Carmen as an extension of the US because it is over commercialized and reminds me more of Oahu, than of Mexico. There are nicer places to stay further south, for example, the resorts of Akumal. While there are still many tourists in the corridor south of Cancun, it is much more peaceful.

My experience driving rented cars in the Yucatan region in general is that it is very safe and the traffic is relatively light. Given the distances between points of interests, having a car is very handy.

Places to visit close to Tulum include Xcaret and Xel-Há to the north (an aquatic park); Cobá to the east as well as many cenotes that can be explored (a cenote is a natural inland well -- many are found all over the Yucatan Penninsula carved into its limestone base); and, from Playa Del Carmen, you can take a boat to Cozumel and Isla de Mujeres. The snorkeling and skin diving is excellent there. I found the water of Cozumel clearer than the waters of Hawaii and Fiji.

Travel to Tulum is generally from the Cancun airport. If you rent a car at the airport, you can be arrive the Tulum area within an hour and a half. If you have children, even if you don't, you can have a great time by snorkeling and seeing what there is to see at Xel-Há and Xcaret. You can also, of course, visit the ruins at Tulum and Cobá. A slightly longer trip will take you to Chichen Itza which is one of the major sites to see in the Yucatan Penninsula.

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