For as long as I can remember (read: after I saw an episode of Legends of the Hidden Temple) I have wanted to go to the Mayan ruins. The history junkie in me loves the idea of old places and ruins have this Indiana Jones Adventure feel to them. So you can imagine my excitement when our latest trip to Mexico was only a short bus ride away from the Tulum Ruins!
If you are flying into Cancun or Playa del Carmen you are only a short ride away from the ruins. Your hotel or resort is the best place to ask how to get to Tulum. Depending on location you can grab a bus, shuttle, or taxi to the bus terminal in Playa del Carmen. Tim and I took at taxi from Hacienda Tres Rios to Playa del Carmen which cost us $300 MX ($16 USD). We had our taxi driver drop us off at the bus terminal on 6th Avenue where we got on a micro bus to Tulum.
When you get on the bus, you tell the driver where you want to get off and due to the popularity of the ruins most always stop even if you forget to tell them. Remember that when heading to the ruins you want to go to the Tulum Archeological site, there is also the town of Tulum but you won’t find ruins there! The microbus is $90-$100 MX ($4-6 USD) round trip, which is much cheaper than the $1000 MX ($55 USD) taxi ride. When you arrive to the Tulum ruins, you are instantly greeted by vendors and shops. It is about an or so hour bus ride from Playa to Tulum, depending on how many people get on/off.
Tim and I got to the ruins around 3pm and they were closing at 5pm so we chose to rent bikes. The walk from the main road to the ruins is only 1 kilometer, but after traveling all day the bikes were a fun quick way to get to the ruins and not loose any additional time walking. Most of the rental places will require a deposit, which is normal, to guarantee the bikes return. We rented our bikes from the first rental kiosk on the right side (when facing the park, with your back toward the main road). The rates vary on the time of day, but expect to spend between $600-700 MX ($30-35 USD) for a full day. If you plan on spending less time, you can usually negotiate a lesser price just don’t be a dick by asking for an insane discount or show up hours after you said you would.
Photo by Jeff Stvan, All CC
The Tulum Archeological site is right on the ocean, so if you don’t skip out on bikes, take a cruise down the beach! You will see gorgeous Caribbean waters with the ruins in the background. The beachside is only accessible for pedestrian and bike traffic, too, so fear not! You can stop for lunch at one of the boutique hotels that have made Tulum a chic destination.
Tulum is a popular destination for large tour groups so going early is something you should aim for. And for those of you worrying about taking a bus in Mexico, I promise you that you won’t be the only English speaker taking the economic route! Tim and I were joined by 5-6 other non-natives as we made our way to Tulum and just as many on our way to Playa.
We made the most of our first day in Mexico and had to quickly check in if we had any chance of making it to Tulum. We packed snacks as we always do and were ready to go!