On our recent cruise to Mexico, one of our shore excursions was to Tulum. The main reason we wanted to go there was to see the Mayan ruins, because history and old things are always interesting to us. But one of the side benefits of going to Tulum is the beautiful beach that is there. Ruins and a beach? That’s right up our alley!
As you may remember from our previous post, we were starting to head to the beach at Tulum. So you will be glad to know that we made it! Click each of the photos below to get a larger view, by the way.
The ancient city of Tulum is built high on a bluff overlooking the water, so you have to go down a set of stairs to get down to the beach. And the stairs themselves offer a great view of the beautiful blue water down below. There are even a couple of landings for stopping to look out over things. The stairs were a little steeper than what we are used to, with more distance between each tread than normal, so it made going down and then going back up again a little interesting. Be sure to hold on to the handrail!
Because of the bluff mentioned above, there is a tall rock wall across from the water at the beach. From our many visits to Cocoa Beach in Florida, we are more accustomed to wide open beaches with lots and lots of area. So Laura said that the huge rock wall was a little intimidating, and that it made the beach seem just a little claustrophobic in a way. But the wall also provides some shade in the afternoon, and you can see in the photo here that a few people are already enjoying the shade. Don’t have a beach umbrella? No problem! Just find a place along the wall. Of course, that doesn’t work as well in the morning hours, just so you know.
There is a lifeguard on duty during the day, and you can see the lifeguard hut above the rocks at the left in this photo. And I like the one lone palm tree arching over the rocks. That one tree doesn’t necessarily provide any shade or really serve any other purpose, but I like it. It adds a nice flair to the beach. Also here, you can see that there are quite a few rocks in the sandy area of the beach. Limestone is abundant in the Yucatan, and these rocks have been weathering there for who knows how long. They do take up some of the area that could otherwise be flat sandy beach, but they help to give the beach its character. And as you can see, they also provide a nice holder for shirts, shoes, and bags.
Because of the limited time for our shore excursion, we didn’t have all that long to spend at the beach. So while Laura got in the water (that’s her kind of thing), I walked down the beach a little bit for some photos (that’s my kind of thing). Just down from where all the people were was this area, which was pretty much empty. The rocks went all the way out to the water, so that it wasn’t a good place for sunbathers or swimmers. But just beyond the palm tree (which is a different lone palm from the one above, by the way) was a small lagoon that the waves would wash into. Again, not ideal for swimming, but it was really cool to see. Almost like something you would see on one of those tropical beach calendars or something. The only people here were me and one other explorer. I had to jump lots of rocks to get there, wishing I hadn’t left my shoes over by one of the other rocks, and I had to shoo away a few iguanas who were crossing my path. But it was completely worth it, and I couldn’t wait to show the photos to Laura once we met back up.
This photo above shows the best of both worlds of Tulum, as it were. The beautiful beach is down below, and some of the Mayan ruins are visible in the upper left. It is probably obvious, but this view was from after we climbed back up the stairs and continued on our way back to meet up with the rest of our excursion group.
The guide for our excursion said that the beach at Tulum was rated the number two beach in the list of beaches. I had my phone on airplane mode for the entire cruise, partly to avoid any international or cruise ship phone charges that I didn’t want, and partly to just enjoy a break from everything. So when we got home, I looked it up. And sure enough, U.S. News and World Report Travel ranks the beach at Tulum as the number two beach in Mexico. So maybe not at the top of all the beaches, but definitely at the top of Mexico’s beaches. Either way, that’s pretty cool. And I would definitely agree.
Laura gives her best “sun in my eyes” squint while standing in the sand at the edge of the water. The crowds weren’t bad at all on the day that we were there, as you can see. Laura said the cool water at the beach was nice and refreshing on the very hot day (probably around 110 to 115 degrees). She was also amazed by just how clear the water was, too. Just another difference from the not-as-clear water that we are used to on our visits to Cocoa Beach.
To visit this section of beach, you do have to pay to get into the park that includes the ruins and the beach, but the cost is minimal. Also, there is a walk of about a mile from the parking lot and pueblo at the entrance to the park to the ruins and the beach. There is a shuttle (a tractor pulling some trailers with seats) that runs the route, and there is another small charge for that if you don’t want to walk.
Because we were there as part of a shore cruise excursion, we didn’t have all that much time to enjoy everything as much as we would have wanted. We did get to see all of the ruins and spend a little time at the beach, but it would be nice to have a whole day to spend there enjoying all there is to see. Of course, for some people that may not be your kind of thing, and the limited amount of time might be enough for you. Being the beach lovers that we are, we can stay out on a beach for a whole day, so nothing would really be too long for us. However, since we didn’t have a lot of time, we used what we had wisely.
We definitely enjoyed our visit to the beach at Tulum, and we would gladly go back again!
About the photos:
Photo: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lenses: Olympus 14-42mm IIR and Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens
Date: July 18, 2016
Location: Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico