Tulum, at least the civic-ceremonial area enclosed by a formidable wall and facing the ocean, with it’s lovely little cove, now just a swimming area, was built at a totally different scale from most other sites tourists visit in the Maya lowlands. It’s tiny, the buildings are tiny, the walled zone is tiny; the ancients devoted far less energy and materials to this construction than they did at the other sites listed here. Although Tulum dates to the latest prehispanic period, this beach and cove must have been a popular stopping place to coastal traders and travelers all the way back in time.

People are dwarfed by this, the largest of the structures here at Tulum, but when you stand here you think, well, if we through our backs into it and somebody brought us food, that tour group over there and I could build this thing in three months or so.