The beach at Tulum is pretty much your standard Caribbean coast beach; crystal clear turquoise waters, soft white sand and low limestone cliffs draped in tropical vegetation. However, the beach at El Castillo can do even better than this.
Located on what has been dubbed the Riviera Maya, the beach here is backed by the ruins of an ancient Mayan port of Zama. The Tulum ruins are believed to date back as far as 200 AD and may have been home to as many as 1500 people. Tulúm is the Mayan word for wall which alludes to the walls surrounding the site. These were part of fortifications built to defend the city from invasion by land or sea. The ruins culminate in the largest structure - the pyramid-shaped Castillo which sits on a bluff where it surveys the Caribbean Sea beyond.
Obviously a site as impressive as the ruins of Tulum are going to attract a fair few visitors and it does get busy. Therefore, we would recommend getting here early, like around dawn to watch the sun rising over the dramatic ruins and Caribbean Sea beyond.
Tulum is around 2 hours from Cancun, but unlike many of the resort beaches on the Yucatan Peninsula Tulum has escaped large scale development.