The Mayan ruins in Tulum, Mexico, are a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the gorgeous Riviera Maya. Built as a seaport fortress with steep cliffs and limestone walls, the ancient city is one of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites in Mexico—much of which still stands after more than 800 years. Structures like Pyramid El Castillo (pictured above), Temple of the Frescoes, and Temple of the Descending God comprise some of the world’s most breathtaking ancient landmarks.

Tulum Ruins

Where Are the Tulum Ruins?

The Tulum ruins are located along the beach in the state of Quintana Roo. They rest along the coast of Tulum, about 2.5 miles (4.1 kilometers) from the city center. 

Tip: Here are some tips for reaching the ruins from popular destinations.

From Tulum City Center

If you’re already staying in Tulum, it should take no more than 15 minutes to drive to the ruins. Just head north on Federal Highway 307. As you near the coast, you’ll see a large yellow “Tulum” sign, just past the Hostel Crucero Tulum. Turn right to enter the parking lot. When you arrive, it’s about a 10-minute walk from the parking lot to the ruins. 

From Cancun and Playa Del Carmen

The Tulum ruins are located about 80 miles (128 kilometers) south of Cancun and 38.5 miles (62 kilometers) south of Playa Del Carmen. The drive to the ruins will take you about two hours from Cancun and one hour from Playa Del Carmen. From either city, just follow Highway 307 south until you reach Tulum. When you arrive at your destination, you’ll see signs for the Tulum Ruins turnoff. 

From Cozumel 

Since Cozumel is an island, it’s a bit more challenging to travel to the Tulum Ruins. You can still reach the ruins in about the same amount of time it would take you to get there from Cancun. Start by taking the Cozumel Ferry to Playa Del Carmen. The ferry leaves every hour on the hour between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., and the ride takes about 45 minutes. 

When you reach Playa Del Carmen, you can take a taxi from the city to the Tulum ruins. The drive will take about an hour and should cost about 640 pesos (about 33 U.S. dollars) each way. Alternately, you can take a Tulum ruins tour that leaves from Playa Del Carmen.

Should You Take a Tulum Ruins Tour? 

If you don’t want to drive to the ruins, there are tour buses that leave daily from Tulum, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and other locations along the Riviera Maya. A Tulum ruins tour will typically run you between $50 and $250 depending on what’s included. For instance, some tours last half a day and focus exclusively on the ruins. These tend to be less costly. Other tours may last two full days and include multiple stops along the Riviera Maya, complete with shopping, snorkeling excursions, zip-lining and more. When you book a tour, your entrance fee to the ruins is typically included. 

Tip: One benefit of taking a tour is that you can sit back and enjoy the scenery while your guide shows you all of the best spots and provides you with the history and important facts about each sight. The benefit of driving is that you can save money and see the ruins at your own pace and leisure. To decide whether to travel on your own or take a tour, determine which factors are most important to you. 

Tulum Ruins and Sea View

How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Tulum Ruins? 

When you arrive at the ruins, tickets are sold at the entrance. The entrance fee is 65 pesos (about $3.50). If you bring a video camera, you’ll have to pay an extra 30 pesos. If you purchase one of the many Tulum bus tour packages, your Tulum ruins entrance fee should be included. 

If you don’t want to take the 10-minute walk from the parking lot to the ruins, a small train is available. The fare is just 10 pesos. 

Tip: U.S. dollars are accepted at the ruins, but some travelers have noted that the cashiers prefer pesos. With that in mind, it would be good to keep pesos on hand. If you don’t have pesos upon arrival, ATMs are located near the entrance. 

What Are the Hours of Operation? 

The Tulum ruins are open to the public 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tulum uses Eastern Standard Time, so plan your trip accordingly. 

Tip: The best time to arrive is early in the morning, as the crowds pick up throughout the day. At 8 a.m., you’ll often find crowds of just 5 to 15 people. When the buses arrive around 10 a.m., the crowds are considerably larger. Also, there is very little shade throughout the area, so the cooler morning temperatures can make for a more enjoyable experience.

Tulum Ruins Entrance

Can You Climb the Ruins in Tulum?

Climbing is not permitted at the Tulum ruins. Because the ruins are very old and unstable, the central structures like Pyramid El Castillo and Temple of the Frescoes have been roped off. Visitors are required to stay on the designated walking paths. 

Tip: If you’re passionate about climbing ancient ruins, head about 45 minutes west to Coba. There, you can climb one of the ancient pyramids and take some amazing photographs. 

Is It Safe to Visit the Ruins in Tulum? 

Tulum is one of the safer destinations in Mexico. The ruins cater to tourists from around the world, and a guided tour makes the journey even safer for travelers unfamiliar with the area. As with any international travel, it’s important to exercise common sense when navigating the sights in Tulum. Travel in groups, use authorized public transportation, and try to do most or all of your walking during the day. 

Tip: When traveling by taxi, make sure to only use authorized taxis—you can find the authorization on the license plate. Authorized taxis can be accessed via Cancun Airport and the Tulum downtown bus terminal. There is also a bus terminal located at the ruins. 

Tulum Ruins Beach

What Should You Wear to the Tulum Ruins?

Tulum has a warm, tropical climate with year-round temperatures ranging from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 32 degrees Celsius). If you’re visiting between March and December, dress comfortably in warm-weather clothing, as the high humidity during these months makes the climate feel warmer than the temperature would indicate. 

January and February are the coolest, driest months, with minimal rain and temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll want to cover up a bit more during these months. Summer is the rainy season, so always bring an umbrella if traveling between June and September. 

Tip: The Tulum ruins consist of rocky, uneven terrain situated on 40-foot cliffs. Regardless of the season, always wear comfortable walking shoes and loose-fitting clothing. 

What’s the Best Day to Visit the Tulum Ruins? 

Weekends tend to attract larger crowds, but almost any day is a good day to visit the ruins, especially if you arrive early before the crowds. Just keep an eye on the weather report, and also keep track of the cruise ship schedules around Cancun, Cozumel, and Playa Del Carmen. On days when ships are in port, the ruins tend to be more crowded with tour groups. 

Tip: If you’re a Mexico citizen, the ruins are free to visit on Sundays. 

Tulum Ruins Temple

See the Ruins in All Their Splendor 

If you live in or are planning to visit the Riviera Maya, the Tulum ruins should be at the top of your to-do list. Whether you’re taking a cruise, road-tripping through Quintana Roo, or staying in your own Tulum luxury rental, you’re guaranteed to make memories that last a lifetime. Just remember to arrive early, wear comfortable clothing, and keep pesos on hand. 

Finally, make sure to take plenty of photographs!