Picture of the week (No.24): Tulum, the Pearl of the Mayan Riviera.
Each week (actually currently 1 or 2 times a month), Willgoto selects here a nice picture. Tulum is the theme of the twenty-fourth picture of this series. Tulum is indeed one of the most popular tourist destinations of the Riviera Maya in Mexico.
Beach and archaeological site of Tulum in the southern part of the Mayan Riviera, Mexico: At the bottom, Paradise Beach; at the top, El Castillo.
The country. The Mayan Riviera is the Mexican tourist area located south-west of Cancun along the Caribbean Sea. This coastal area stretches over 130 km in the Yucatan Peninsula between Puerto Morelos in the north and Punta Allen in the south. It includes several seaside resorts such as Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Akumal, as well as the island of Cozumel.
Besides beaches and seaside activities, the tourist attractions of the Mayan Riviera include several archaeological sites (Tulum and Xcaret), the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, various amusement parks including Xcaret eco-archaeological Park, Chakanaab Beach Adventure Park, and the parks of Xel-Há or Xplor, several cenotes such as Sac Actun and Dos Ojos, famous diving sites, not forgetting the long shopping street of Playa del Carmen, Fifth Avenue (Quinta Avenida).
Over the past two decades, the Mayan Riviera has experienced a spectacular tourism development. It welcomes now as many visitors as the Cancun tourist area, whose success started a longer time ago. The area is served by two international airports (Cancun and Cozumel) while the port of Cozumel welcomes international cruise ships. The Mayan Riviera is crossed by the federal highway 307 which runs between Cancun and Chetumal. Many fast bus services, mainly to and from Playa del Carmen or Cancun, connect the cities of the region and several ferry services connect the island of Cozumel to the mainland.
Tulum, located about 65 km southwest of Playa del Carmen, is divided into 4 parts: a national park that includes a magnificent Mayan archaeological site, a hotel zone located along beaches, the city itself and, further to the south-west, the vast nature reserve of Sian Ka'an.
Tulum National Park extends on 664 ha on the seashore. This protected nature reserve is home to, among others, sea turtle nesting areas. It surrounds the ruins of the ancient Mayan fortified city of Tulum, formerly known as Zama, the City of Dawn. Founded probably in the 6th century, Zama had its heyday between the 12th and 14th centuries, much later than most of the other Mayan cities of the Yucatan peninsula. It was still inhabited when it was conquered by the Spaniards.
This well-maintained archaeological site is set on a rocky headland facing the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. It is the only Mayan site located at the seaside. Besides the walls, it includes the ruins of several buildings which date mainly from the 13th century, including the Castle (El Castillo), the Temple of the God of Wind, the Temple of Frescoes, and many more. This beautiful site welcomes more than 2 million visitors per year. A small beach of fine sand is accessible at the foot of the cliffs of the archaeological site.
The main beaches of Tulum are bordered with hotels. They are located in the national park and in the hotel zone. The beaches in the national park include Playa Pescadores, Playa Paraiso, Playa Esperanza, and others. They are accessible to the public. The beaches in the hotel zone which stretches a few kilometers south-west of the national park are mostly accessible to hotel guests only. Tulum has been able to avoid the presence of very large hotels that are abundantly found in Cancun and in many other tourist destinations around the world.
The town of Tulum is located north of the hotel area. It is crossed by the federal highway 307 and, perpendicular to it, by the route 109, also called Carretera Nuevo Xcan-Tulum, going to Coba (located about 40 kilometers). Tourist accommodations found in this area are mainly B&B's and small guest houses.
The Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve is a vast nature reserve that spans half a million hectares along the Caribbean coast to the south of the town of Tulum. It includes archaeological sites, rainforests, mangroves and marshes, as well as a large marine section crossed by reefs. It is characterized by intricately linked marine and terrestrial ecosystems and an exceptional biological diversity. Listed as a Ramsar site, it is part of UNESCO's World heritage.
With all these advantages, Tulum is really the pearl of the Mayan Riviera.
You may want also to see these beautiful pictures from the Mayan Riviera and its surroundings (pictures currently in French):
The author of the pictures. The above pictures belong to Willgoto.
Picture of the week 1: Bee hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world. It is endemic to Cuba.
Picture of the week 2: Pagoda of the Golden Rock in Myanmar. It is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world.
Picture of the week 3: Seychelles beach. Seychelles is a perfect destination for a dream holiday.
Picture of the week 4: Lemur of Madagascar (Coquerel's sifaka), an endangered species of primates, which, like all other species of lemurs, is endemic to Madagascar.
Picture of the week 5: World heritage in Cambodia. The temple of Banteay Srei, better known as 'Citadel of the women', in Cambodia is a jewel of Khmer art and a world heritage site.
Picture of the week 6: Bull shark and tiger shark. Both sharks are unfortunately known for fatal attacks on humans. However, experienced divers can approach them and swim with them.
Picture of the week 7: Firewalking in Mauritius. Walking barefoot over a bed of hot embers is an ancestral religious practice.
And many more pictures of the week including:
Picture of the week 19: The Beaches of Isla Mujeres(Cancun). They are much appreciated by holidaymakers, especially those who come from Europe and the United States in winter.
Picture of the week 20: Tourist attractions of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka offers a wide range of attractions that make it a tourist destination visited by a growing amount of holidaymakers.
Picture of the week 21: Tourist attractions of Thailand. The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai, famous for its whiteness as pure as unusual, is one of the many attractions of Thailand.
Picture of the week 22: The Mekong Falls, better known as Khone Falls, located in southern Laos only a few kilometers from Cambodia prevent navigation between the two countries.
Picture of the week 23: Sloths of Tropical America, These mammals are so named because they sleep a long time and they only move slowly.
See all our "Pictures of the week".