|El Castillo at Tulum, Mexico|
Tulum is the archaeological site of a major Mayan port on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It was located on both land and sea trade routes. An important product traded was obsidian, which is a glass-like substance made from volcanic lava. This product was used in making blades for work and war, as well as for art. The community was a place of commerce and worship with temples, administrative buildings and residences. A wall surrounded the community to separate the elites from the workers, and a second wall surrounded the temples to separate the priests from the elites. The walls still exist, and many of the stone buildings stand in various stages of disrepair. The archaeological site is readily accessible to visitors, and it is a popular destination for tourists.
The population of the community reached its peak between the 13th and 15th centuries. The maximum population was between 1000 and 1500. The community continued to exist through the Spanish conquest of Mexico. However, diseases from the Old World eventually led to the demise of the community.
US News Travel calls Tulum the #1 beach in Mexico. It has not been developed like other nearby beaches. Instead, bungalows are prevalent on the beach. The beaches are never over-crowded.
Tulum is located 80 miles south of Cancun on highway 307. Sherry and I visited the site while traveling on a ministry trip from Playa del Carmen to Chetumal. The combination of a major archaeological site and beautiful beaches make Tulum one of Mexico’s true jewels.