I have always wanted to visit the Mayan and Aztec ruins in Mexico. So when Suzy got this great cruise deal that included a trip to Key West, Cozumel, and Tulum, we jumped at the chance. Located on 40 foot cliffs on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Tulum was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Mayans. At its height between the 13th and 15th centuries, the community managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to have been the cause of its demise.
Tulum is one of the earliest resorts in Mexico, offering a place of worship and solitude for the Mayan Kings, clergy and Gods in early times. The tropical beach backdrop is the main attraction of this picturesque, much-visited small ruin on the shore of the Caribbean Sea. Viewing the site was a very calming part of our tour. We could see why early Mayans picked this beautiful place to relax.
Our tour guide Lily was a college educated in Archeology. From our cruise ship there were only 42 of us that selected to visit Tulum. Other popular choices were swimming with dolphins, jet skiing, scuba diving, and the like. Lily thanked us for choosing to immerse ourselves in the Mayan and Mexico culture. She told us that the swimming with dolphins required shipping dolphins from the Pacific to Cozumel. During that trip an average of 4 dolphins of ten will die making the trip. I plan to write the cruise lines I went on to ask them to stop supporting that company.
The vendors at the Tulum site are extremely aggressive, rushing out to yell at you to come see their rugs, Mexican hats, and belts. I don’t think they realize that you can’t force people to look at your wares. Suzy will often shop, but not when attacked by an over zealous sales person. Because of that the cruise line takes you to a mall like shopping experience first where you learn the difference between the Mayan and the Aztec calendars.
The area is known for it’s Obsidian sculptures. And the story is told about how early visitors though the black stone was actually gold because it turned a gold color in direct sunlight.
Lily also told us that the average pay in Mexico is $5 a day so very few Mexicans can afford to live in Cozumel. Much like Key West that I blogged about here, there is a growing gap between the very rich and the very poor. The middle class is becoming smaller every year.