My holiday in Playa del Carmen was not at all what I had expected. No sleep. No relaxation. No happy thoughts. So, to experience Mexico the more original and authentic way I decided to flee the busy town and explore places of history, archaeology and natural beauty in the Yucatan Peninsula.
As soon as I packed my small backpack and headed out of Playa del Carmen I was happy and excited again! My first destination was the small town of Tulum, 60 km south of Playa del Carmen along Riviera Maya, known for ancient Mayan ruins and beautiful beaches. A colectivo (minivan) ride to Tulum with locals was comfortable, cost only MXN 40 (2,50 €) and took 45 minutes.
I hopped off the colectivo by the Mayan Ruins of Tulum along the main road, from where it was a 2 km walk to the entrance of the archaeological park. The entrance fee to the park was MXN 64 (4 €). Along the shady path from the entrance to the ruins I encountered many large iguanas with long tails. They were exactly the same colour as the soil and at first they were difficult to spot but when I looked around I saw them everywhere, and also heard them in every bush I passed.
The beautiful archaeological site was located right on the coast, on 12-metre tall cliffs, offering breathtaking views over the turquoise Caribbean Ocean. Made of limestone, a 784 metres long wall encloses the site on three sides. The site had been one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Mayas and was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico.
The site was fairly small in size and conveniently compact enough to walk through within one hour. It is definitely a good idea to bring a hat and plenty of water as it gets very hot in the wide open spaces.
One of the most impressive and most important ruins on the site was El Castillo, the Castle.
Next to El Castillo a wooden staircase led down to a beautiful beach right below the ruins. So you should definitely bring swimwear when visiting the ruins. The beach was quite busy, so I decided to keep going and find a quieter beach to enjoy the hot afternoon.
A couple of kilometres south of the ruins I found the most beautiful beach, Playa Paraiso. Indeed it was like a paradise on earth with powdery white sand and refreshing turquoise waters. The colours were absolutely amazing and this was the type of scenery you would expect to see on postcards. The ocean was great for swimming with a nice sandy bottom and refreshing cool water. The beach was very long and felt like it continued forever kilometres after kilometres.
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