Overlooking the jungle from the ancient Mayan pyramid of Coba

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Coba, Mexico

Climbing to the top of Coba’s pyramid, which is the highest Mayan pyramid of the Yucatan Peninsula. It gives a majestic view of the Mexican jungle surroundings.

It’s Friday morning when we hop on one of the ADO buses in Tulum to head for Coba. The night before we had already bought our round-way tickets to make sure we have seats. The ancient Maya ruins of Coba lay in the middle of the Mexican jungle yet surrounded by lakes, about an hour away from Tulum.

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Coba means ‘waters stirred by the wind’ which sounds appropriate with the lakes surrounding the ruins.

After a very cold bus ride – the Mexican buses always have their air-conditioning fully on – we arrive at the entrance of Coba’s Archeological site. We pay 65 pesos to enter and explore the park. Now I know that normally you should save the best for last, but this time the first thing we aim for is the tallest pyramid for its mesmerizing view on the top. This is the only pyramid still allowed to climb nowadays!

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Ixmoja

The Ixmoja is the tallest structure in Northern Yucatan being 42 meters tall. This pyramid is part of the Nohoch Mul group of ruins. Nohoch means big in the Maya language and mul meaning mound. On top of the temple you can observe the descending god on the facade, which might remind you of a person descending to the sky.

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The descending god

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Climbing the Ixmoja, also known as the Nohoch Mul pyramid

The amazing thing about Coba is that it is still an archaeological site of the beaten path. It is still largely unexcavated due to its location in the jungle. Yet even with the little popularity Coba has it’s a great place to visit. The original paths or ‘sacbe’ are still there leaving shaded path ways for its visitors. Coba is quite different from Tulum and Chitzen Itza as it exists out of several ruin groups. You can find 2 ball courts and several other ruins that look similar to each other. They are all groups of ruins and they lead to the main pyramid of Nohoch Mul.

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The ball court of the Cobá group

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Pillars near the ‘Las Pinturas’ group

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Templo las pinturas

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Bike rental area

How to get to and around Coba

As mentioned earlier the Archeological site of Coba lays in the jungle of the Yucatan Peninsula. To reach the ruins of Coba you can either take a local ADO bus, a ‘colectivo’ (public taxi vans) or go with your rental car.

Getting around Coba is doable by foot but I’d strongly suggest you rent a bike for 50 pesos. The area of the ruins is big and if you go with the ADO bus you’ll be there in the middle of the day, which is also the hottest moment. You might feel more comfortable riding a bike instead of walking around in the heat. There are also guys sitting in tricycles who can cycle you around together with one more person for 120 pesos all together. Kind of like a bike taxi.

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Standing on top of a small structure near the ‘las pinturas’ group

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Trees growing around the ruins

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The Thompson Temple

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Pyramid structure known as ‘La Iglesia’

More information

Location: Coba, Mexico
Cost: $65 MEX entrance fee per person.
transportation: ADO bus – $120 MEX from Tulum to Coba and back.
Tips: Rent a bike for $50 MEX per person and explore the park on your own. It will take you about 2 hours to see the entire park.

Would you like to explore Coba? Have you been there before?

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A stone skull in the ground

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Mr. Viking and I exploring Coba 🙂

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Ever since I left my home country I felt at home at any other place I went to. I enjoy getting to know more cultures by talking to strangers and hearing their philosophy about life. Speaking with gestures when you can not find a shared language, finding places only the locals go to and learn about their customs and values. Hanging out with local people makes me happy. The experience of every new place is a step out of your comfort zone where I like to wander around until it feels like a second home.

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