The ancient Mayan civilization left a great legacy of traditions and ceremonial buildings in Mesoamerica, but only one archaeological site stands by the sea: Tulum. Located 130 kilometers south of Cancun, it is truly a historical and cultural jewel of the Riviera Maya.
Zamá, its original name in Mayan language, was a city walled on three sides and protected from the sea by a cliff of 12 meters of height. It has an emblematic lighthouse known as “The Castle”, and it served in antiquity as a reference point for navigation, trading port and as a center of astrological studies, particularly of the sunrise and sunset. According to the Mayan cosmovision, the planet Venus was as important as the Sun, as it too arose at dawn from the East as “Ah Chicum Ek”, and descended at dusk in the west as “Lamat”. The structures in this place were built and oriented in such a way that you can see, even in our days, the Sun and Venus moving through specific areas of the building on dates of particular relevance to the Mayans, like the starting and finishing dates for sowing and harvest.
Tulum was the last ceremonial center that remained active in the years of the Spanish invasion and conquest of America. Thanks to its strategic location and its strong defenses, it withstood several attacks of the Spanish armies. Due to nearby coral reefs, capturing the city from the sea was practically impossible, as the European vessels risked being damaged irreparably.
It was precisely because of these reefs that the most emblematic love legend of the Mayan Riviera arouse: Gonzalo Guerrero left Darien August 15ht 1511 with good weather. But at the dawn of the third day of sailing, a great storm broke. Flying fish jumped to the deck of the ship, which was considered a bad omen. Gale-force winds ripped the sails and broke the masts, while giant waves swept the deck.The vessel was prey to deranged elements that rapidly dragged it into a ruthless Ocean. All of a sudden, a brutal movement made the ship crash. He shipwrecked near these shores and was rescued by the native population. By a quirk of fate, Princess Zazil Há fell in love with the captive and marriedhim, thus beginning the mixed-race breeding in Quintana Roo. Gonzalo eventually learned the Mayan language and instructed his captors in European war strategies and techniques, helping the city of Tulum to resist longer the Spanish attacks.
Hand crafts market.
This story of love and adventure can be sensed today in thearchaeological site of Tulum. Upon arrival, the visitors are greeted by lush vegetation that hides the centuries-old buildings behind it. Following the white trails, one arrives at the thick city wall, and from there, the beautiful turquoise sea can be seen by all. History-filled buildings have been carefully restored and many retain even in our days, colorful murals and stucco reliefs. There is a trail that leads to the small beach at the foot of the cliff, where you can enjoy the warm waters and experience a calmness that few places can offer.
Lots of fun at the Riviera Maya!
Outside the walled area is a lively market, filled with hand crafts and samples of the diverse Mexican culture. From here it is possible to arrange a transfer to nearby places to enjoy the many water sports and excursions that this beautiful area offers, such as a Romantic Dinner at the seashore or perphaps swim with Dolphins or for the more adventurous asnorkeling tour in the Coral reef.