When my husband and I went on our first cruise, the only shore excursion that we instantly agreed upon was to see the Mayan Ruins at Tulum, Mexico. Visiting this historical and cultural site was one of the highlights of our trip.
The Tulum ruins are located about one hour south of Playa del Carmen, Mexico, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. There are a number of buildings that are still intact, as well as foundations for several others. Each of the ruins is roped off, so you cannot explore the insides nor climb on them, but it is still possible to see the detail of the architecture.
There are just a few shady spots at the ruins, and it can be hot. When we were there in January, it was a manageable 90 degrees, but in the summer it can be much hotter. Water bottles and a hat are recommended.
It is quite a long, and often uneven, walk from the parking lot to the ruins area. A tram ride is available for part of the trip at an additional charge.
The ruins site has breathtaking views of the Caribbean, as well as a beach that can be accessed by a series of stairs.
Our cruise line provided a tour guide who gave us background on the specific ruins and the Mayan people in general.
Near the parking lot, there are shops and restaurants, including a Subway. (Yes, a Subway sandwich shop.)
We enjoyed learning about the history and culture of the Mayan people and seeing the ruins of the Tulum site as well as the beautiful views afforded from the area.
Photo credits: minnemom on flickr
Linda (minnemom) writes about family travel at Travels with Children.