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Capturing Timeless Moments: A Journey through Tulum’s Ancient Ruins

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico | Travel photography

During a recent trip to Quintana Roo,  I carved out time to go visit Tulum’s archeological ruins. It had been a few decades since I had been there, I went as a tween (see the throwback photo at the end of this post) and let’s just say it was NOTHING like I remembered. More on that later.  We went as part of a tour run by Cancun Adventures  (which I highly recommend), Lukas, our guide, was super knowledgeable about history and specific facts that he happily shared as we walked through the Tulum ruins, before setting us free to venture on our own for about an hour.

Join me on this journey through the sun-soaked Yucatan Peninsula and together let’s unravel the magic of the Tulum archaeological ruins,  explore the rich history, check out breathtaking landscapes, and seek out hidden gems that make Tulum an extraordinary destination and a perfect backdrop for awe-inspiring travel photography. Oh and keep your eyes peeled for creatures that still roam the grounds with a reminder of pre-historic times. And in case you are wondering my last name Maya is just a quirky cosmic coincidence! At least I think so,  I haven’t taken a DNA test to check my genetic make-up. So maybe my math and art skills do come from a long ago civilization of people in my lineage. Who knows.. Anyways….Let’s jump in.

Unveiling Tulum’s Past:

Nestled on the Yucatán Peninsula’s Caribbean coastline, the Tulum Ruins, perched on a cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, stand as a testament to the once-flourishing Mayan civilization.

History and Significance: Our journey begins in the 13th century when Tulum served as a vital port city for the ancient Maya. The well-preserved ruins showcase the architectural strength of the civilization, with iconic structures like El Castillo and the Temple of the Frescoes. Imagine capturing the play of light and shadow on these weathered stones, each telling a story of centuries gone by.

Fascinating Tidbits: As you wander through the ruins, notice the strategic positioning of Tulum. It served as a significant trading post, connecting the Maya to other Mesoamerican cultures. The city thrived until the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, marking the end of an era.

Travel Tips

  • Timing is Everything: Arrive early in the morning to witness the ruins bathed in golden sunlight. The soft hues will enhance your photographs and provide a serene atmosphere before the crowds arrive.
  • Wear Comfortable Attire: Tulum’s tropical climate can be warm, so dress comfortably and don’t forget your hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Comfort is key for capturing those candid family moments.
  • Guided Tours for Insight: Consider taking a guided tour to gain in-depth knowledge about the history and significance of each structure. This insight will enrich your storytelling through photography.
  • Explore Beyond the Main Structures: Venture off the beaten path to discover hidden corners and unique perspectives. Capture the details – the intricate carvings, the wild vegetation intertwining with ancient stones – to add depth to your portfolio.
Tulum Castillo in the distance

Here is why I was surprised:

Remember how I mentioned I was in for a big surprise at the beginning of this blog- Well here it is- when we arrived it was super commercial there is a little “strip mall” outside of the ruins that features a Haagen Daz Ice cream shop  (come on not even a national chain:  Michoacana ice cream shop), Subway, tons of souvenir shops and a ton of people dressed up as Mayan indians hoping to lure you into taking a photo with them. This commercialization was not like this the first time I was here so it did put a damper on things. I guess you could say for me it lost the mystique of this old world land. BUT once we walked past all that and got past the gates into Tulum ruins I was transported back to that trip I made decades ago with my abuelitos (grandparents), my mom, aunt and cousins. I wish I had more photos from that trip.

Retro Family Portrait:

Sharing a family portrait of my siblings and a cousin in Tulum in the 80’s. This might have been the last time I was taller than my siblings too! 

I know I know we were so cool with our sun proactive visors. Even back then when the earth still had an intact ozone layer, my mom was concerned about the sun and the damages on our skin. 

This might possibly be the only photo I have of myself in Tulum in the 80’s


Preserving Memories:

So if you are heading down and don’t want to regret not having enough photos be sure to take lots and PRINT THEM or hey you can hire me to shoot your families adventures and together we can turn your family’s story into a masterpiece against the backdrop of Tulum’s timeless ruins? 

Explore the Gallery:

Or perhaps you’re yearning to bring a piece of this enchanting destination into your home or office through captivating print? 

Take a visual day trip with me via the Vlog. 

family portrait in Maui Hawaii

Need a photographer to document your trip?

Ready to embark on this visual adventure together? Contact me to book your portrait session or explore the gallery. Let’s craft stories that transcend time and bring the magic of Tulum to life.

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