We really don’t think anyone has visited him, let alone heard of the ruins of Kuluba. Although these Mayan ruins are just over 2 hours from the Riviera Maya, they are still off the beaten track and also freshly funded. For years, these ruins sat on a ranch, and the only visitors to these ruins were cows and a few inhabitants. A few outsiders were making the pilgrimage to see this place, only now is the voice advancing, and little by little people are discovering these ruins. Only recently has INAH added more funds to this site and there are also future plans to continue working on it.
What you can see now in Kuluba are three large buildings in two sections of land. In some of the buildings you can still see the detailed stone carving made about 1000 years ago. It’s amazing to see them come out of the cow field.
Since you may find yourself alone visiting here, you can imagine that you are exploring and discovering these ruins for the first time. This is another unusual place to visit on the mainland. With a little planning and adding it to another destination, you can spend an adventure day exploring.
Our video of the ruins of Kuluba
We recently visited these ruins to bring you this short video to give you some more details.
A brief history of the ruins of Kuluba
These ruins are believed to have been inhabited from 600 to 1050 AD. There are similarities in style with the ruins of Chichen Itza and Yaxunah. Not much remains of written history, in part because the stones used are softer and wear out over time. We know a lot about the people who lived here. They were very clever in their planting and harvesting skills. Residents used local microclimates to grow things like cocoa, which does not normally grow as well in the Kuluba area. The locals used the wealth of the land and its wealth of knowledge to trade with other cities, especially with Ek Balam.
The Kuluba site was discovered in 1939 by American archaeologist Wyllys Andrews. In 1965, Victor Segovia Pinto (a pioneer of Yucatecan archeology and a passionate researcher of Mayan culture) visited the site further researching the area. In 1980 the INAH began restoring the site. It was basically a clearing of trees and exposing the buildings. Then putting together some of the buildings from stones that had fallen. A 6-kilometer-wide site was surveyed in 2009. They discovered 300 small buildings in addition to what was already there. From that moment until now, the ruins have just sat there on a ranch with only local people talking to them from time to time.
Between 2017 and 2018, funds were allocated for these ruins. INAH has been working on this site, although it is not so noticeable. There are future plans to reforest parts of the land to protect the ruins. Probably the more tourism you get to this site, the more improvements there will be to the visitor experience.
How to get to the ruins of Kuluba
The good news is that the ruins of Kuluba are on Google Maps. The hardest part is turning around and navigating rural roads. At the entrance there is a rusty sign that gives traffic in a northerly direction. Other than that, there’s no sign of turning, so here’s a picture of what the entrance is like. Follow this road for about 2.3 km. It is a rugged road that most rental cars can handle.
Distances from other places
- Playa del Carmen in Kuluba 2 hours 10 minutes.
- Tulum in the ruins of Kuluba 2 hours 16 minutes.
- Tizimin to Kuluba 41 minutes.
Ticket price and details to visit
When you arrive after a long and bumpy journey, you can park by the side of the road. An old gentleman will greet you and point you to the log palapa. Once you pay 30 pesos per person (make sure you have small bills or exact change), take a look at the other palapa building that houses some of the artifacts on the site.
Important note: The ruins are in a cattle ranch. Ticks are very valuable in the grass here. Wear leg repellent and check carefully before returning to the car. The ticks are very small. Most of them start standing and walk on their legs looking for a place to hang out.
What is there near the Mayan ruins of Kuluba?
If you want to visit this place, you probably want to add something more to your trip. The closest things to Kuluba are the cenotes. On the Kuluba Road is the Dark Cenote. There are other cenotes that open in this area and some are not yet on the map.
The nearest big city is Tizimin. Here you can find restaurants to eat and also the Catacombs of Tizimin. Although Tizimin is a larger city, there is not much to see here for tourists. You may find more if you go to San Felipe, Rio Lagartos or Las Coloradas.
You can also use our area map to find points of interest. The map has color-coded markers with pop-up information about each site and a link to an article or video. We hope you enjoy exploring some of these lesser known areas of the peninsula and enjoy doing so.