The Coba ruins are a Mayan architectural site from the Classic era that was once one of the most important cities of this civilisation. Many theories abound regarding the meaning of its name, although the most accepted are “water with moss” and “water of the chachalacas”.
As in all the places where the Mayans settled, Coba boasts an array of impressive architectural constructions and this is why, today, it’s one of the most important tourist sites in the Yucatan Peninsula.
There are many reasons to visit the Mayan ruins in Coba, but for now here are 6 of our favourites to whet your appetite.
1.- A hidden treasure in the Mayan area
The ruins of Coba are just 109km from Playa del Carmen. In spite of receiving fewer visitors than other archaeological sites in Yucatan, in Coba, you can visit the ruins of what was once one of the most important Mayan cities., which was estimated to have a population of over 50,000 at its peak. There are many examples of tall stone carved figures of women and the remains of two ball courts, used for playing ōllamaliztli, a traditional Mayan ball game.
2.- The city of white roads
Coba is known as “the city of the white roads” as it had the largest network of stone walkways (sacbes) ever built by the Mayan people. There are more than 50 of these roads; however, only 16 have been opened to the public, and all of them connect with the central part where the main pyramid is located.
3.- Excellent for biking around the area
The paths in and around Coba are ideal for cycling and a great way to explore the jungle on two wheels. Bikes are available to rent, or you’re free to bring your own. And if you feel like spoiling yourself there are plenty of tricycle drivers to take you through this magical world, so all you have to do is kick back and enjoy the scenery.
4.- Lush greenery
Coba has lots of vegetation compared to other archaeological sites in the Mayan area, so you’ll end up feeling like Indiana Jones inside the jungle. The trees also provide excellent shade and protect you from the sun, making the walk through the ruins more comfortable.
5.- Climb the Pyramid
The big attraction in Coba is climbing the 42-metre tall pyramid with its 120 stone steps, and it’s one of the few remaining archaeological sites in the country where you can still climb to the top. Don’t be deceived by its height, it’s a lot steeper than it looks, so you need to be careful when climbing up, and even more so when coming back down.
6.- Explore the Cenotes
After bursting out a sweat on the white roads and climbing the great pyramid, no visit to Coba would be complete without taking a dip in the crystal clear waters of the three limestone cenotes nearby.
Cenote Choo-Ha: The water is shallow and clear, with an abundance of stalactites hanging from the roof.
Cenote Tamcach-Ha This cenote is a lot deeper with two wooden platforms connected to the spiral stairs at 5m and 10m to practice your dives in the deep blue water below.
Cenote Multun-Ha: Of the 3 cenotes, this is the furthest off the beaten track but an excellent option for the grand finale to your visit to Coba.
If you are already planning your next visit to the Riviera Maya, we recommend you sign up for a guided tour. You can find a great variety of tours online with some offering transfers from your hotel.