Tulum Mayan Ruins

Mrs. ItchyFeet in front of Tulum Mayan Ruin

When friends are in town, you have to do all the things! This is what I had been waiting and researching for. When you live in a place, it’s not as much fun (or it’s too expensive) to do the touristy activities without friends. So when a girlfriend of mine just happened to be coming to Playa del Carmen for vacation with her family, I was so excited! Tulum Mayan Ruins, here we come!

Is parking free?

We got a late start as my friend’s family included a teenager and a 25-year-old sister-in-law visiting from Greece. No early wake-up for those two! It also included my friend’s husband and their newish baby girl. The family was so nice to pick me up in their rental car (I would have bussed there otherwise) and we headed out for an adventure! Unfortunately, we forgot to figure out where we were going before making it all the way into Tulum (about an hour south of Playa).

Tulum Mayan Ruin
The Tulum Mayan Ruins are amazing. This building needs some support, but its still standing!

The Tulum Mayan Ruins are just north of Tulum, so it didn’t take long to get back on track. But the SUV’s navigation system sent us to the destination via the back way. A gentleman flagged us down on this old back-road and told us it was a two-mile hike from the parking to the ruins in the noontime sun with no shade. He said the baby wouldn’t make it. We should buy a boat tour instead and see the ruins from the ocean. Sorry, buddy, but no thanks.

However, now I was worried about the baby in the heat. No fear. The family was from Texas. They knew heat. They had come prepared with water and stroller and electric fans! We drove on until another gentleman flagged us down. He said we had to park there as there were no more parking spots ahead. $5. Plus we should buy a boat tour. Suspicious! It’s hard to know who to trust. We parked and paid (with much debate on the price of parking… further research… and yes, it should have been free… sigh). Lucky for us, the road was very shady and only about a ten-minute walk to the entrance of the park. No worries.

Mrs. ItchyFeet in front of Tulum Mayan Ruin
That noontime sun is no joke! I put a sun-shirt on right after this was taken.

Handicap accessible? Nope

The entrance fee was 85 pesos ($4.20) but they didn’t have change. We pooled our resources and came up with the exact amount for all of us. Tickets procured, we headed in. Right away there were stairs, but luckily, they had installed a handicap accessible ramp on the side. We had a stroller, after all. That was about as accessible as it got. We were soon not only battling stairs, but sand. The nemesis of all things with wheels!

The Tulum Ruins were so cool and so worth the trip! Ancient buildings! So much amazing history! Plus the bonus of iguanas everywhere! I love iguanas. But it was a lot of work and slow going with the stroller. And it was noontime hot. With hardly any shade. We would bounce from small shade patch to shade patch. Sweating profusely. Smart of us to bring water!

Tulum Mayan Ruin with iguanas
The iguanas blend right into the ruins. These were a bit aggressive to tourists getting too close. Personal space is important.

There were a couple of areas that we just couldn’t get to because of the heat and stroller. In addition, the beach was off limits because of turtle nesting. Baby turtles! Luckily for me, I have family coming to Playa later this year, so I can make it back to see everything we missed. I already have it all planned out! Even the whole travel by bus thing. That will be a bit more complex, but it will be worth the effort.

Food time!

Okay, we were all hot and getting hungry. Time to head back to the car and find some food. Preferably with shade or A/C. Did I mention it was hot? We got a little turned around as the exit was not the same as the entrance, despite what the guy selling the boat tour told us. I’m glad we didn’t do the boat tour. That would have been scorching at noon on the water. Oh sales peeps. Plus, with all the sargassum, I don’t think the ocean would have been great.

Tulum Mayan Ruin
How cool is this!?! Look at all those ruins!

We took a bathroom break and headed for the car. The teenager was feeling anxious and the heat and humidity were not helping. She hung in there, though. We cranked the A/C in the SUV and headed to Tulum. Found a burger joint with shade and fans (no A/C) and I discovered they had gluten-free buns! Do you know how long it has been since I had a burger!?! I have a dislocated jaw, so it was a challenge to eat. But noms.

The plan was to go to the beach after lunch. Unfortunately, Tulum’s beaches were being hit by an excessive amount of sargassum. Hate that algae. We had to head back north. Having access to a vehicle really helped. All beaches in México are public, but resorts and landowners can block or charge for access. It took a couple of attempts to find a beach that wasn’t too expensive to get into. Some sargassum but not too bad. In we went!

Tulum Mayan Ruin
So many ruins! Well worth the effort to get here and the price.

What a great day!

The beach we stopped at had showers and bathrooms. That made it really nice. I’m not a huge fan of swimming in the ocean and then having to spending the trip back salty and itchy. Rinsing off in a shower is a must! They also had a bar and umbrellas to rent. You could also glamp there, if you were so inclined. We swam for a bit, showered, and headed back to Playa del Carmen.

The day was super fun and I’m glad I got to spend it with friends. Social interactions are so important. It can get lonely in the city. I feel rejuvenated after that and looking forward to my family’s visit. I’m making a list of all the things we should to do here in the area. Yes, I’m color coordinating the schedule. I learned from the best! Hope we can meet up again, my Texas friends.

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