Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Ruins of Tulum, Mexico

The Mayan beachside ruins of Tulum

After our first day of lounging around the Catalonia Resort, Ken and I woke up the next morning, saw the forecast of rain everyday for the rest of our trip, and figured a rainy day would be a good time to tour the ruins of Coba, then the ruins of Tulum on the way back.  Surely those weather forecasts were wrong and things would clear up later in the week, so why not visit the ruins while the sun was away and avoid the sweltering heat.  A little rain wasn't going to ruin our trip!

Once out of the gated entrance of Puerto Aventuras, we crossed the highway in order to be picked up by a "Collectivo" headed South.  A "Collectivo" is basically a white mini-van that runs North and South along the highway between Coba and Playa del Carmen.  I can't imagine how many of these vans are around, but just stand on the side of the highway and one is bound to show up in 5 minutes or less .. and they're cheap!  Just $2 bucks a person to go 15 miles down the road.  So many tourists grab a cab outside the lobby and never really see how the locals live.  We love taking local transportation when traveling ... not just to save money (although part of the reason), but also to see the residential areas and mingle with the locals.  Imagine a mini-van packed with locals and tourists ... standing room only.  It's a fun experience in itself.  BTW, this is how we got to the resort from the airport ... much cheaper!

We rode the collectivo to the town of Tulum (yes it's an actual town, not just ruins), where we were dropped of to catch another collectivo to Coba.  The entire ride to Tulum was rainy, and we were told we could sit inside one of the corner restaurants while we waited for at least four more people to ride to Coba.  Evidently, not as many folks ride to Coba because this was the only time we had to wait around for the six-person minimum requirement.  Other than this, it was always a packed ride.  Anyway, we sat around about 20 minutes while waiting waiting for someone else to show up ... they never did.  So, Coba wasn't meant to be seen this trip.  We told the driver thanks and caught another collectivo to go a couple of miles back North to the ruins of Tulum.  Below is a pic of bikes under palms in the town of Tulum for my bicycling friends...

As it turned out, the weather couldn't have been better for this visit.  It rained the whole ride, but as soon as we were dropped off to walk the one mile to the entrance of the ruins, the rain stopped and our entire tour was spent under cloudy skies.  We didn't break a sweat, and we never got wet.  Just about the time we were done touring the ruins, the skies threatened to open up.  So instead of spending time on the beach or renting bicycles to tour the town as planned, we caught a collectivo back to the resort ... a good decision because it rained the whole way back.  No problem ... we ate a great lunch at the resort and hung out at the "Chill Out" bar the rest of the evening while it rained.  Below is Ken walking towards the entrance ... pretty!

We had to walk through a stone wall that surrounded the Mayan ruins, and once through we had our first views of the ruins ... so much more impressive than our pictures can capture, and than we imagined!  I was expecting two or three buildings, but it was a whole village.

We toured the ruins ourselves, but eavesdropped on a tour guide (pink shirt below) that was really interesting.  He was taught by the Mayan community that still exists, and he spoke about the Mayan beliefs and rituals.  This was really interesting, as there really wasn't that much information to read at the ruins themselves.  The ruins were built in exact locations to mix with the moon, the sun and the stars and track time and the Mayan calendar.   The guide spoke of how the Mayans valued family and a "stress free" life ... sounds good to us!  I've always been fascinated with the Mayan history ... so ancient, yet so wise.  We could learn a few things from them.

The ruins were alongside the gorgeous beach that runs along the East coast of Mexico.

Steps leading to the beach.  We had our swimsuits but the skies were getting really dark.

There were several of these guys hiding among the stones ...

The next post ... the high-energy town of Playa del Carmen!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!


Skelton Crew said...

We stayed just north of Tulum a few years back...loved the ruins and the collectivo is always interesting! ~Jackie

Emily said...

I am sorry you had such a rainy day for it! It's still beautiful, but we had absolutely wall-to-wall sunshine when we visited in December 2012. Glad you still enjoyed it. Tulum is lovely!

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