Every single time I’ve set foot in Mexico, I’ve loved every second of it.

This time, I had the opportunity to visit the Mayan Riviera on the Yucatan Peninsula, and the pre-Columbian Mayan Tulum Ruins that sit atop a 40 foot cliff overlooking the most gloriously idyllic beach anyone could imagine. And Mexico, you did not disappoint.

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The first red hot tip I have for travellers is Mexico is hot, and I don’t mean, ‘oh, I’m used to the heat’ hot, I mean ‘dear lord find me shade’ hot.  Take some form of personal shade – like an umbrella – and you will be so far in front of the rest of the punters, and will enjoy it all so much more.  A little pop up in your backpack will suffice and trust me, you will thank me.  And a bottle of water.  And sunscreen.

The Tulum ruins are unique in that they are the only Mayan city built by the sea.  And while they are now grey and crumbling stones, in their heyday, they would have been painted vibrant blue and red.

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Tulum was a sea port, trading in turquoise and jade and was surrounded by walls that are still there to this day, despite being built in the late thirteenth century.  Lucky we’re going through those 4 foot gaps in the wall today, because when the city was thriving, only the nobility and priests were allowed inside.

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Like many of the ancient cities in Mexico now under refurbishment, Tulum is walk-around only, with entering the buildings prohibited thanks to stupid people that fall off stuff and touch stuff they shouldn’t. You can still feel the bustle of the city if you close your eyes and imagine though.  The most prominent buildings still standing are the Castillo or castle perched on the very top of the cliff and the Temple of the Frescos which still has ancient paintings on its walls that are being restored. Both are amply photogenic and even a point and shoot camera will do this amazing place justice.

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Expertly chiselled into the stone above doorways centuries old are deities, such as the diving god that was said to watch over Tulum’s people. There was also a tarantula carved above one door, being that it is the home of such eight legged creepy crawlies.  And I’m kind of glad I’d forgotten that fact as I walked around the site.

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The only animals I saw in abundance were Iguana’s which I confess I am a little obsessed with now. I prefer to see animals in their natural habitats so I spent an inordinate amount of time watching and photographing them.

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And finally, if you are good with steep steps, take the walk down to the beach and have a swim in the most breathtakingly beautiful stretch of beach.  And here is my second tip – wear your swimwear into the site as there is nowhere to change and no one wants to scare the kids.

As with any area that attracts tourists, you will find a bustling market about 500 meters from the entrance.  I LOVED shopping here – if you have some bargaining skills, you will find some treasures to remind your of your visit that won’t break the bank.  The stall holders accept US dollars but expect your change in Peso’s so have small bills so you can get as close to the amount agreed upon as possible.

And have a margarita or two… one should always have a margarita in Mexico.  Trust me.

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