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Tulum Ruins - Zama City of the Dawn

Updated: Feb 13

When traveling to Tulum, of course, the Tulum Ruins are a place you want to visit!

The ancient city is also called Zama, meaning City of Dawn, because it faces the sunrise.

Tulum is also the Mayan word for fence or wall. The walls surrounding the site allowed the Tulum fort to be defended against invasions. Tulum had access to both land and sea trade routes, making it an important trade hub, especially for Obsidian. Tulum is also highly connected with the planet Venus.

Compared to others, the Tulum Ruins are one of the smaller Mayan sites. However, the site is also one of the most beautiful, located on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Inside, you’ll find the Templo del Dios del Viento (Wind God Temple), the most famous of Tulum Ruins buildings. From there, continue onto the other buildings along the designated path. These include the Templo del Dios Descendente (Temple of the Descending God), El Castillo (The Castle), Templo de Los Frescos (Temple of the Frescoes) and La Casa De Cenote (The House of the Cenote). Shown below - but not in order mentioned!

It is not possible to climb the ruins here or visit the beach directly below anymore, but it’s important for us to honor and preserve these sacred ruins and the surrounding beach front!

This was my 3rd time visiting the Ruins over the last 10 years. Each time has been uniquely different. The first time was part of a tour that I took out of the Playa Del Carmen area to specifically visit Tulum and the Ruins. It was a guided tour and a nice experience. There were many families and it provided a well-organized platform for my family to experience the ruins.

The last two times, I have chosen to self-tour which has worked out great as I could take in each element on my own schedule, lingering here and there as called by the energies. There are markers at each of the ruins that guide you through and describe what you are looking at and the history of each building/area. It is inexpensive to enter the ruins and tickets may be purchased as you enter. One thing you will find are local tour guides that will approach you at the entry and ask if you would like to join their tour. I think there are 6-8 different languages available. While I have not done this, if I go through the ruins again, I will join a group with a guide. As long as you don’t mind being in a group or paying a little more for a private guide, it’s always nice to hear and learn from the added insight of a local guide! They don’t charge much and get you through the entry line more expeditiously!