Mexican National Park: Tulum, Quintana Roo

by Cie McCullough Buschle on May 6, 2012

in Arts and Culture, Outdoors with Kids, Travel Ideas

If you want to see some pre-Columbian ruins, but also want to spend your vacation at a gorgeous beach, then go to Tulum.

Tulum, lithograph published by Frederick Catherwood in 1844

Tulum, lithograph published by Frederick Catherwood in 1844

Tulum is is one of the earliest resorts on the Yucatan Peninsula, and also one of the oldest walled cities in North America. It was built by the Mayans to watch over the sea sometime around 1200 BCE and survived 70 years after the Spanish invaded. It is said that Spanish sailors were amazed by the site of this fort in the New World, painted blue, white and red.

The word tulum means fence or wall in the Mayan language, but the original name may have been Zama, or City of Dawn. Tulum had access to both land and sea trade routes, and at the height of its influence had an estimated population of 1,000 to 1,600.

But Tulum was also a place the Mayans went to pray to the Diving or Descending god; a place of worship and solitude. Today the three parts of Tulum – Tulum Ruinas, Tulum Playa and Tulum Pueblo – offer tourists a variety of vacation adventures. Tropical reefs and underground rivers, festivals in the town and on the beach, as well as jungle and ocean guided tours.

Tulum, Mexico. Photo by Bruno Girin.

Tulum, Mexico. Photo by Bruno Girin.

| Cie McCullough Buschle lives with her dog Einstein and a cat named Burton Guster. She is a lifelong traveler and enjoys researching history through holidays, toys, and everyday objects. Cie is a sculptor and co-owns The Creative Chameleon, a place where kids and adults can create, paint, celebrate, and just have a lot of fun. Sometimes you can find her time traveling back to the Middle Ages as part of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

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