After a great debate with my hostel friends over the benefits of beach vs. history, history won for me (the others went to the beach). Catching a collectivo from Tulum center was cheap and easy and dropped me about 2k from the entrance.
I’ve seen other ruins – in Tunisia (Carthage) and Egypt (Valley of the Kings, Karnak) but these were different. A mix of desert and tropics and perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Caribbean, Tulum was definitely memorable.
Somewhat sparse, the ruins were still enjoyable and making friends with the new locals was entertaining. If the ruins don’t offer enough to keep your attention, there is also direct access to the beach as well as many shops and restaurants on the road in.
Tulum is one of Mexico’s most visited Maya sites (which was obvious given the hordes of tour groups wandering about) and was thought to be an important port town from 1200-1521 AD.