Enjoying a beautiful archaeological site next to a cliff that, in turn, overlooks a beach with a turquoise sea is one of those experiences that you should not miss if you travel to both the Riviera Maya and Cancun. Also, next to Tulum is Playa del Carmen, especially known for its beaches. So nothing better than combining the visit to Tulum and Playa del Carmen in 1 day.

Tulum Tour

From Cancun to the archaeological site of Tulum there are about 130 kilometers of distance that are covered in just over 1 hour shuttle from Cancun to Tulum (the roads are in very good condition). Being four people it was cheaper for us to use private transportation than to waste time on public transportation to visit Tulum and Playa del Carmen in 1 day.

Tulum, unlike other Mayan cities, has the great characteristic of being totally walled and having been built in front of the sea overlooking a huge barrier reef, the second largest in the world.

Tulum Archaeological Zone

Formerly this area was called Zamá, a word that means sunrise in Mayan, because it is oriented towards the east and from where you can enjoy magnificent sunrises every day. Later its name was changed to Tulum, which means wall and alludes to the aforementioned wall that surrounds and protects it.

In spite of having in mind only the image of the temple and the beach at its feet, Tulum was a quite developed Mayan settlement because it was an important commercial center as it was located in front of the waters of the Caribbean Sea. It is assumed that the Mayan site in this area began in the year 500, however, many of the buildings that remain were probably built between 1200 and 1500 so the city was inhabited for a long period.

Walk through the archaeological zone of Tulum

Once inside the archaeological zone we find ourselves in the central area of Tulum with the main ceremonial and political buildings. One of the most outstanding buildings of this pre-Hispanic city for its size and unique façade is El Castillo. It has two small windows that functioned as a lighthouse when illuminated either with natural light or torches and allowed the Mayan sailors to circumvent the coral reef located on this coast and arrive safely to the city.

Visiting Playa del Carmen

As we were saying, it is possible to visit Tulum and Playa del Carmen in 1 day, so from the first one, already totally hot and looking forward to the sea, we headed towards Playa del Carmen.

Playa del Carmen has many attractions, especially its beaches that are full of color, they are really beautiful. In addition, the amount of restaurants is incredible, with a huge variety of flavors and activities to do.

How to get to Playa del Carmen?

The best way to visit Playa del Carmen is by private transportation from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen, this way you will not only save time but you will also be comfortable on the way without any inconveniences. That said, if you prefer to use public transportation you should know that it is totally feasible, but a little slow and tedious.

Paul Petersen