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Coba Ruins
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Carr. Tulum-Coba Km. 48.1, Valladolid, México - Coba Ruins Map

The archaeological site of Coba (murky water), surrounded by five lakes, is still largely hidden in the sub tropical vegetation. It contains about 6500 structures spread over nearly 70 km. This is the most important site of the Yucatán Peninsula that can only be compared with Chichen Itza his eternal rival. Archaeologists believe that Cobá had a population of 50 000 inhabitants (and possibly more) at its peak.

Despite a cultural, religious and linguistic degree of unity the Maya civilization possessed variants, including architecture. The style of Coba is big and rustic. It is often closer to that of Peten (Guatemala). The remains updated only represent part of a very restricted area being restored. Unlike other Maya cities of the region, the elements are scattered over a fairly wide area. Communication with other Mayan cities was conducted by a network of 40 Sac-be, including more than 100 km. resulting in the city of Yaxuna, 20 km. from Chichén ltzá.

The City is divided into different sets that have a chronological relationship between them, the distance between the elements make te visit hard on the feet so it is advisable to rent a bike.

One of the principle attractions of Coba es Nohoch Mul, the highest pyramid en the Yucation Peninsula that measures 42 meters in height. If you climb to the top, you can see an excelent ariel view of the jungle and the surrounding ruins. There is an other pyramid, El Templo de la Iglesia (The Temple of the Church), that is the second highest in Coba. And from there you can observe a magnificent view of the lake Macanxoc one of the five lakes of Coba.

You will find many SAC-be (which are constructed Mayan roads) that go through Coba in many directions. There are 50 SAC-be that have been excavated, many measure 10 meters in width. One of them is more that 100 kilometros long! Coba was a great city, with a population of more that 100,000 in habitants in its climax, from 400 to 1100 AD. The majority of the constructions were made between the 500 and 900 AD.

The reason for the fall of the city around 1100AD is unknown, like almost all the falls of the Mayan empires, in which the majority practically abandoned the cities and moved to the depths of the jungle. By the arrival of the Spanish in 1550, it was unoccupied, presumably replaced in importance by other cities like Chichen Itza or Tulum.

Almost at the entrance of the archeological site you can find the construction known as “La Iglesia” or “The Church”, which contains numerous figurines and symbols. We can also find a grouping dedicated to the ball game, in which it is possible to see the two arcs situated on each side of the inclined planes.

Because of the presence of the skulls at the base of the monument, its its assumed it had a ritual sense in this game played by the Mayans. On the road to the pyramid Nohoch Mul (big hill), there are numerous engraved obelisks that register diverse important events of the time that was.

The place is perfect to pass the day relaxing. You can enjoy the archeological site and refreshe yourself in the two lakes. Also, if you arrive early in the morning you can observe tropical birds, butterflies and spider monkeys playing.

Walk between the recovered ruins in the jungle, breathe the humid air of the trees, step on the main plaza or climb the steep stairs of the pyramid, which brings you back to the ancient Mayan culture.

The archeological site that belonged to the ancient city of Coba are found near Tulum. You get the by Federal Highway 307 south from Cancun and taking the new way to Xcan, 47 kilometers from Tulum.

Visiting days: monday to sunday
Hours: 8:00 am to 5:00pm
Visit length: 3 hours

Summertime suggestion: to use sunblock, hats and carry plenty of liquids.