When walking from Grupo Coba to Nohoc-Mul, the road spilts several times to access different locations. The first split is a trail on the right. Bikes and Pedi-taxi's are not permitted this way and blocked off. This is a great little walk and actually a short cut to get to Nohoc-Mul.
There are several structures here and a stele that is well preserved. This had less people as it is not marked from the main road. It is also good to get away from the dust the pedi-taxi's kick up.
- Family Travel
This is the main attraction on the park. It is one of the few structures of this height you can still climb to the top. The Mayan translation of Nohoch-Mul is "Big Mound." The structure has seven sections and the corners are round.
This main structure is 137 feet high, the tallest on the Yucatan Peninsula. It has 120 steps. Climbing to the top is very popular. While ascending is physically difficult for some, it is the descent that frightens most visitors. The step are much higher making for a very steep descent. The is a thick rope connected from bottom to top if you need assistance.
Views from the top are amazing. There is a structure on top with a carving of a person which appears to be standing on it's head. This is called the "Descending God" and can also be found at Tulum.
Go slow on the descent, especially if you are not use to hiking or heights. I notice many people opting to going down one step at a top on the butt.
- Historical Travel
Zona Arqueologica de Coba
There is a entrance fee at Coba. It is now 59 pesos per person. Once you pay, the entrance is to the left, through a few turnstiles. The tickets are handed over past this area at little hut booth. No food is permitted in the park as we were directed to throw out some coconut drinks before proceeding past the booth.
The park is open seven days a week from 8am to 4:30pm.
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
The first group of buildings after entering the park is called the Coba Group. This area has the most restored building concentration at the sight. Grupo Coba and located between Coba and Macanxoc lakes and has 43 structures. Not all have been restored. Construction of this area began during the early Classic period between 300 and 600 A.D. Often structures were built upon or improvements of existing structures. The last modifications occurred during the post Classic period between 1000 and 1450 A.D.
The main building is La Iglasia, a temple structure very similar to the main structure at Coba, Nohoc-Mul. There is also a nicely restored ball court. The immediate area has the jungle floor cleared out but you can see many surrounding structures that have not been restored or cleared of the jungle over growth.
- Arts and Culture
Climb to the top of the pyramid
The climb is steep and high. It looks a lot easier than it is, and to be honest it doesn't look easy. It is difficult in the humidity. With all of that said. I recommend climbing to the top. If you need to take breaks, take breaks. But do it. It is one of the only pyramids at a set of ruins in the Yucatan that you can actually climb. And the view from the top is ABSOLUTELY worth it. Take your camera. Take your water. And if you need to rest on the way up and rest on the top.
Walk don't ride
Many people rent bikes inside the ruins because it is a big park. However, I recommend walking. While riding a bike is faster, you experience more when you walk. Coba is in the heart of the jungle. And when you are biking, you move too fast to really take it all in. The jungle is one of the best parts of Coba. The sounds and the feelings of the jungle make the experience complete. You pay more attention to the fauna when you are walking as well. As I was walking I kept marveling at the scenery and I felt bad for all the people whizzing by on their bikes. It may take you longer to get places, but it is worth it because it is such a great experience.
First group. Mayan Ball Court .
After paying the entrance fee 50.00 pesos (3.80 $) you´ll find the first group of constructions at the right, small pyramids, included a very well preserved (or restored) Mayan Ballcourt (two stone corridors with a hoop) and other buildings. I´ve heard stories of Mayan sacrifices of the looser team in other Mayan cities, but is not really proven.
Las Pinturas Group.
After visiting the Big Pyramid we took the center trail, to visit the beautiful Las Pinturas Group. I specially liked this complex. Most of the structures of Coba were covered with stuco and painted with colors, the main temple is a good example of this decoration. Blue and red colors can be seen atop the pyramid in the small shrine.
La Iglesia Pyramid.
After a short walk from the big pyramid whe found this interesting round pyramid, less spectacular but very interesting and well conserved, the height of the building is 20 metres and is forbidden to climb the structure. The best of all is that are few visitors.
Nochol Mul Pyramid.
After a long walk the main road is divided in three trails, take the left trail and after walking about kilometre you´ll find the most amazing building of all the site. The wonderfull Big Pyramid of Coba. The climbing was easy, there´s a rope in the middle of the pyramid that helps, the bad thing was the strong sun, but once you´ve got the top platform the views really worth the effort. Great views of the jungle, the lakes and the smaller pyramids.
Cobá is a big site, if you want to visit the five groups of restored buildings you must walk a lot. If you don´t want to walk under the strong sun you can hire bicycles or use the local taxis (bicycles driven by a guy). We prefered to walk, it´s a pleasure to enjoy the beauty of the jungle, specially to hear the sounds of the birds and other animals as insects. The trails are well preserved and indicated.
I really recommended the walk.
Playing Ball in Coba!
Like Chichen Itza, the people of Coba enjoyed a violent, game of ball as well. Now their ball court was much smaller than Chichen Itza's , but I'm sure the end result was just as bloody, and in the end isn't that all that really matters? Fan's of the game are treated to a skillful display of throwing a 8 pound ball through a sideways hoop and then at the very end they get to see the victor beheaded. Blood lust that only a true NASCAR fan could appreciate!
Views from the Top
Although climbing Coba's main pyramid is a reward in itself, the view from the top is icing on the cake! The views from the top are both breathtaking and mesmerizing, there is always a cool breeze to take a edge off the heat. My advice is to buy a couple cold drinks from the vendors that gather by the pyramid and take them to the top to enjoy the view with! It will give a whole new meaning to feeling like your on top of the world....at least the Mayan world.
COBA RUINS are in my opininon better than Chichen-itza.
They are just 30 min west of TULUM. The road is new and in really good condition. You will pass 2 villages on your way. You will also be passed by many really fast cars, so watch your back mirror, and don't get surprised. It is safe road, but you are in unfamiliar place driveing rental car, so be responsible.
Look at our transportation tips on Puerto Morelos and Chichen-itza pages.
There is a large parking lot (15 pesos per car) at front of the entrance to the ruins. Parking lot is surounded by stores and few restaurant (look @ the restaurant tip). The restrooms by the ticket office are very clean. Tip the lady 30 pesos when she hands you the toilet paper.
After seeing the small ruins within walking distance from the entrance (see pictures), rent a bicycle (35 pesos) or rickshaw for two (95 pesos round trip)....unless off course you like to walk few miles. We took the rickshaw as it was getting late and we wanted to climb the BIG DADDY (look @ our next tip)
CLIMBING THE BIG DADDY!!!!
The site contains several large temple pyramids, the tallest, known as Nohoch Mul or "The Castle", being 42 meters in height (or 138 ft). It is the height of the 13 story building!!!!!
WE CLIMBED THE BIG DADDY!!!!
Santo went all the way to the top. I went about half way, above the trees level ( see pictures).
I was really glad it was already after 3 pm and I was also very happy to rickshaw my ass back to the car.
I really recomend the Coba ruins. It is much nicer site than Chichen-itza. You can also have much nicer meal (see my restaurant tips).