Cobá is an ancient Mayan city 44 km northwest of Tulum, and surprisingly bigger than the famous Chichen Itza.
Cobá is located in Mexico‘s Yucatan Peninsula, near Tulum, Valladolid and Playa del Carmen, making it the perfect place to explore on a day trip from any of these places.
From Tulum there’s one bus to Cobá at ADOS (9:30 – 70MX$) it takes around 1 hour and is direct.
When we arrived this place took me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting such an amazing and beautiful place, and for the fist time paths with shadows. Walking around was very pleasant. The place wasn’t crowded at all and we had most of the ruin set just for us. The emblematic Nohoch-Mul Pyramid with its 42-meters was the only place with some people, but still nothing extraordinary.
We paid 65 pesos admission fee and then we began exploring the ruins by foot, but that is up to you, you can choose to walk, hire a bici-taxi, or rent a bicycle. I just love to walk and this place is just amazing for that, imagine quiet paths through the peaceful, relaxed and natural environment of the surrounding jungle, and you are there. When you are walking you can observe more details, I could see mounds of rocks covered in vegetation, which were unexcavated ruins.
Only a small portion of Coba has been excavated and many of the structures remain hidden in the jungle.
If time is short I recommend renting a bike or bike taxi, as it is a much faster way to get around and see all of the structures, (regular bicycles- 45 pesos; two-person bicycle taxis – 190 pesos).
The Nohoch-Mul Pyramid is the tallest in Yucatan and unlike many other ruins in the peninsula, this one can be climbed ? and it really deserves the effort, the views are spectacular and breathtaking. From the top, you can see the surrounding jungle landscape and lush green tree-tops. I could see the village of Coba and both lagoons, it’s important to take a minute here to admire the incredible views of the natural beauty around you.
There’s a thick rope in the middle of the stairs for safety, but climbing down the pyramid, it’s more difficult than going up, so be careful. The stone steps were slippery from erosion and from people climbing them over the years.
There’s only one first-class bus back from Cobá at 3:10, and 2 second class after that.
You can also rent a bicycle at the entrance (~50MX$) to visit the 3 nearby underground cenotes not further than 8km. Cenotes are underground sinkholes filled with freshwater, found all over the Yucatan. The closest ones are the Choo-Ha with crystal blue water and stalagmites hanging from the ceiling. The Tamcach-Ha is an underground cavern and the last one is called Multun-Ha. The entrance fee for each cenote is 55 pesos ($3 USD).
This cenotes are off the beaten tourist path and are a perfect place to visit for a refreshing swim in a magical and serene place after exploring the ruins.
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha