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Zona Arqueologica de Coba
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mini location map2020-12-31
5 by photographer avatarKingLeonidas
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Zona Arqueologica de CobaQuintana Roo, QR
Quintana Roo, QR
Walk / Tour4.38 Miles 217 AEG
Walk / Tour4.38 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   1.88 mph
217 ft AEG      10 Mns Break6 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked   none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Logistics/Getting there
The Coba Ruins can be found in the town of Coba (~30 miles) northwest of the town of Tulum. There is plenty of signage to guide you to the spot. It can be reached by car or taxi; buses and guided tour options also exist as this is a popular destination. We did not hike with a guide for this site, but they are available at the park entrance.

Fees (as of 2020)
The entrance fee is 75 pesos per person. Parking is an additional 50 pesos. Bicycles are also available for 60 pesos (I have been to the site twice once with the bikes once without). Guided tours are extra (we did not opt for a tour at this site). The bicycles are a bit on the sketchy side which is not helped by the rough riding surface.

No challenges here; follow the paths. The site effectively consists of a branched trail with a Y shape. Most visitors will take the left-hand path at the fork which takes you past a smaller pyramid, a ball court, and finally to the pyramid Nohoch Mul. The right-hand path at the fork is far less traveled and takes you to an area with a large number of bas reliefs.

We explored Tulum at the end of December, arguably the coldest part of the year, and it was still quite hot and humid. This area is well shaded by the jungle but is extremely humid. The shady nature makes it more suitable for the afternoon than the Tulum ruins, but it will still be very warm. There is a Cenote nearby which is a good place to cool off afterward.

Trail Conditions
The paths around the site are pretty bumpy (for bicycles at least). Sensitive areas are roped off.

General Comments and Musings
The tour groups will focus your attention on the left-hand path. The ball court there is unusual in that it has some bas reliefs set into the walls of the court and a carved stone skull in the center. The stone hoops are still intact making this one of the more intricately decorated examples of a ball court that can be seen in the area. The pyramid at the end of this path; Nohoch Mul is the main attraction. It is tall enough that the top extends above the jungle canopy. The view from the top is fantastic; you can see jungle extending in all directions and can see other pyramids in several locations that are still covered with a canopy and have yet to be excavated. It is one of the few pyramids in the Yucatán/Quintana Roo area where you are allowed to climb to the top. At the time of our 2nd visit (during Covid) access to the top was restricted due to it not being social distancing friendly. Hopefully, they open up the top to visitors again once things settle down.

The right-hand path is definitely worth exploring. While it lacks the spectacular ball courts and pyramids typical of the area it has something far more unusual: a large number of freestanding bas reliefs. Some of the Mayan structures in the area have bas reliefs decorating them but the right-hand path has freestanding reliefs and small structures whose sole purpose seems to be to support these stone carvings. It is a unique area and gets far fewer visitors than the pyramid route. It is well worth your time to explore this route.

This site is one of my favorites in the area, it is popular but a bit off the beaten path so it is not crowded as some of the others. That you are allowed to climb to the top of Nohoch Mul and see other sites is fun and the bas reliefs are mysterious. I highly recommend this site if you are in the area

Hike Video Link:
[ youtube video ]
Hike video from 2016, 3:49-7:32 (view from the top of Nohoch Mul)
[ youtube video ]

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