Sunday, April 12, 2015

Adventures in Cozumel: Day Two Exploring Myan Ruins of Tulum

Tulum was located a little less than an hour south of Playa Del Carmen.  I had heard so much about the stunning ruins along the oceanside cliffs and was so excited to visit.  Since it is such a high demand tourist location, there were several outdoor shops located along the entrance and walkway to the ruins.  I loved looking around at all the pops of bright colors.  There really were so many fun things to look at.

It was about a half mile walk from the parking lot to the National Park entrance.  The kids had a blast chasing each other through the trees along the path.  

I wish I could put into words what it was like walking the grounds of Tulum, but I know nothing I could say would accurately depict the feelings.  All I can say is if you ever have the opportunity, please make sure to visit and really appreciate the hollowed ground you are exploring.

One of the many tunnels and the first opportunity of entering the ruins.

It was all so impressive and to be honest, a bit overwhelming when we first entered the ruins.  The entire site is surrounded by a large, thick, rock wall so when we walked through the tunnel for the first time and got a glimpse at the vast ruins and grounds I may or may not have started to cry a bit.  What an incredible feeling to be walking among such history.  We opted not to have a specific tour guide and loved the freedom of exploring the ruins at our own pace and direction.

At one point I looked over and saw Daxton and Penelope rolling and tossing rocks along the path.  I fully realize that these two little ones had no clue how amazing their background was.  But it was incredible to think that several hundreds of years ago there were probably little kids doing the exact same thing.   

There were numerous ruins dotted throughout the grounds of Tulum, all in pretty amazing condition.  Tulum is considered one of the best fortified and untouched of all the Mayan ruins along the Yucatan Peninsula.  On one side were the 40ft cliff drops to the ocean and on the other surrounding sides was the perimeter wall stretching about 16ft high and 8ft deep, there were also a couple towers in each landlocked corner where guards would be posted to warn of enemies.

This cenote (a natural sinkhole/cave that opened up a well of fresh ground water) provided the entire people of Tulum with fresh water.  The Mayan people built several of their cities located near these freshwater cenotes that dot the Yucatan Peninsula, since they provided the best source of water. 

We loved seeing all the Iguanas throughout Tulum.  There were so many that at times we would look down and had almost stepped on one!  It didn't help that they so easily blend in with the rocks as well.

Standing in front of the "Gods of Wind" temple and the protected beach left untouched for turtle nesting.

We had so much fun exploring all the different tunnels and ruins, even though it was extremely hot and sunny.

Just some of the shots from our exploring...

Another surreal moment looking down at my sweet boy drawing pictures in the sand.  What an incredible place to explore through the eyes of a child!

This about killed me!
Watching these three try and do jumping pictures with Mayan ruins in the background!

Our first glimpse of the pyramid El Castillo (the castle.)  It's back faced the ocean and sat right on a 40ft cliff.  Needless to say it was amazing to see in person.

Standing in front of the temple of the Frescos.  I loved all the intricate carvings along the outside walls.

We followed the main path which led next to El Castillo and brought us to the cliffs and stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.  The pictures don't do the colors justice.  The water was so gorgeous and clear which allowed us to see the bottom.  We knew we were going to be snorkeling in Akumal later that day, so we didn't hike down to the beach with the kids.  We walked along behind El Castillo, found many more iguanas, and tried to let all the beauty sink in.

The fearful mommy in me was super glad Daxton wanted to be held while exploring the 40ft cliffs!

Such incredible beauty...

Walking behind El Castillo...

I had been looking forward to visiting Tulum from the second we booked our tickets to go visit the Marshal family.  The whole experience was more than I could have ever asked!  There is no wonder visiting these ruins was a top on my bucket list.  I loved every minute of it, even if we were baking under the hot sun.  The kids did amazing with no complaining and loved the freedom of running and exploring such a fun place.
Thanks so much again, Sean and Heidi for being our awesome tour guides for this adventure!!

After a few hours exploring the ruins, we hopped back on the road and drove up to Akumal to swim with sea turtles!

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