The 4 archaeological sites to see in Tulum

Planning to see Mayan ruins on your trip to Tulum?
There are about 30 public Mayan ruins to see in the Yucatan Peninsula, many of which are located within a few hours of Tulum, and one of them is right on the world-famous Tulum beach.


The famous Tulum ruins are one of the emblematic places of the Riviera Maya. It is not the most imposing archaeological site in the region, but its privileged location facing the Caribbean Sea makes it unique.

This fortified city (6th to 15th century), dedicated to the cult of the Diving God or the Descending God, was a major stopover for land and sea trade in the Mayan world.

Highlights of the site

  • The wall with the guard towers and the inner enclosure that delimited the city.
  • The Castillo, facing the sea, which is the most important building of the site. It was used as a landmark for navigators to avoid the dangers of the great coral reef!
  • The Temple of the Frescoes which is the best preserved and most interesting structure, notably for its decorative wealth (paintings, engravings, sculptures).
  • The temple of the Descending God and its representations of deities.
  • The houses of the Columns, the Halach Uinic, Chultun, the Cenote.

And don’t forget to go down to the beach of the site (included in the ticket of the ruins) to test the temperature of the Caribbean Sea and have a different point of view on the site!

Practical informations

  • The entrance fee is 85 pesos
  • It is possible to hire the services of a guide on site but there are English/Spanish explanatory signs on site.
  • The site is open every day from 8am to 5pm (last entrance at 4pm)
  • Getting to the ruins of Tulum from the village: the archaeological site is a 10 minute drive from the village of Tulum or by combi (take it in front of 7 Eleven on Carretera Federal 307, 20 pesos)
  • To get to the entrance of the archaeological zone you have to walk 700m or take the little train (20 pesos)
  • There is a parking lot on site at 80 pesos per hour or 150 pesos per day.


  • Wear cool and comfortable clothing, as well as low shoes, sunscreen and water. It is possible to access the beach with a bathing suit and towel for swimming, but food and large items are not allowed.
  • There are ATMs at the entrance
  • It is preferable to arrive before 10:00 am to avoid the crowds and visitors coming from Cancun to visit the site for the day.


Coba is definitely one of the places of interest not to be missed in Tulum.

A powerful Mayan city, as important as Chichen Itza which was its rival, it would have counted up to 50 000 inhabitants!

It covered an area of 80 km2 and had a large network of 50 roads throughout its territory.

Today it is a must-see in Yucatan, to explore on foot or by bike, and it is home to the second highest pyramid in the peninsula (after Calakmul): the Nohoch Mul.

Do not hesitate to climb the 120 steps to its top. From the top of its 42m, the view on the jungle is fantastic!

There are also 3 cenotes in Coba: Tamcach Ha, Multun Ha, Choo-Ha.

Most people visit the archaeological site of Coba without knowing that there are cenotes nearby so there are few people!

How to visit the ruins of Coba ?

By car: 45 minutes from Tulum on Carretera 109 towards Valladolid, 60 pesos for parking

By bus: 1 hour from the ADO Terminal in Tulum, departure at 10:10 am – return at 3:10 pm, 100$MXN each way

Entrance 100 pesos, bicycle 60 pesos, bicitaxi with driver 140 pesos


Muyil, also known as Chunyaxché is a Mayan archaeological site located in the state of Quintana Roo, in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, about 25 kilometers from Tulum on Highway 307. It belongs to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It is considered one of the 20 most important archaeological sites in Mexico, due to its size and the amount of pre-Hispanic vestiges. It combines its historical attractiveness with the wild and imposing vegetation typical of the area.

How to visit the ruins of Muyil ?

Muyil allows you to explore the interior of Sian Ka’an, on the jungle side, with swamps, freshwater lagoons and Mayan ruins.

Muyil is easier to get to than Punta Allen and the visit takes half a day from Tulum. You can take the ADO buses to Chunyaxché to get to Muyil (20min).

The entrance fee is about 30 pesos from Monday to Sunday from 08:00 to 17:00.

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is a great archaeological site that contains many buildings (temples, platforms, etc.), connected by sacbés, the Mayan paths.

Here are the best things to do and see in Chichen Itza:

– The Gran Plaza: The Gran Plaza is the first place you arrive when you enter the site and is the perfect starting point to visit Chichen Itza.

– Kukulcan Pyramid: The Kukulcan Temple, also called El Castillo, is the main pyramid of Chichen Itza. It is dedicated to Kukulcan, an important Mayan deity (the equivalent of Quetzalcoatl among the Aztecs) represented by a feathered serpent.

– The Platform of Venus: it is also called the Temple of Venus. It owes its name to the low reliefs representing the planet Venus found on its facade.

– The Tzompantli: The “wall of skulls” was an altar where the Maya impaled the heads of enemy warriors to sacrifice them to the gods.

– The Temple of the Eagles and Jaguars: It is a platform that owes its name to its magnificent low reliefs representing eagles and jaguars devouring human hearts.

– The Mayan ball game: The ball game – Pok Ta Pok in Maya – was a ceremonial game that was played for more than 3000 years in Mesoamerica.

– Temple of the Warriors and the Thousand Columns: It is a pyramidal structure where we can see -at a distance only- a sculpture of Chac Mool and a platform where human sacrifices took place.

– The observatory: Thanks to it, it is estimated that the Maya would have succeeded in studying 29 astronomical events (equinoxes, eclipses, etc.).

– The sacred cenote: It was a sacred place where important ceremonies dedicated to Chaac, the god of the rain, took place.

– The Quadrilateral of the Nuns: It is the name given by the Spanish conquistadors because the structure reminded them of a convent.

– Attend the Kukulcan night show: Noches de Kukulcan is a nightly sound and light event at the site of Chichen Itza. It is an absolutely magical show, a must do in Chichen Itza!

– Buy souvenirs in Chichen Itza

– Dive into Cenote Ik Kil: Located only 4km from Chichen Itza, Ik Kil is one of the most beautiful cenotes in the Yucatan but it is also one of the most touristy. We recommend the cenote of Yokdzonot instead.