Within a forested area, surrounded by the Macanxoc and Coba Lakes, about 56 miles east of Chichen Itza, and 25 miles northwest of Tulum, we find the archeological zone of Coba, an ancient Mayan city that knew its heyday during the Classic period (between 200 A.D. and 900 A.D.).
Coba is a Mayan word meaning “surrounded by moisture” or "where there is moss," a name that was probably given because of the type of ecosystem that is prevalent here. It is estimated that in the eighth century, the town of Coba had approximately 55,000 inhabitants. There still exists an extensive network of roads in the region known as "sacbeob" or sacred paths, one of which connects to the Yaxuna site (very near to Chichen Itza), that runs about 62 miles from end to end. Shortly after reaching the Coba Archaeological Zone, there are two ‘sacbeob’ that are each nearly one mile long. One path goes to the group of Stelae, carved stone monuments where key events that happened related to the ruling class are recorded. The other path goes to the Nohoch Mul Group, or known as the Great Pyramid, a building that was built on a natural rise and measures 138 feet at its highest point, and is the highest point in the Northern Yucatan. A climb to the top rewards you with a beautiful vantage point, but do so with great care and at your own risk.
On a sunny day, the horizon is decorated with other smaller-scale architectural groups, seen within the framework and around the two lakes. Within its 27 square miles, Coba contains large buildings, with unfortunately a large number of them having been reclaimed over time by the trees and moisture, leaving just the piles of stones and nature exposed and only an imagination of what was surely a beautiful building in its heyday. A great way to visit Coba is by taking advantage of the convenient low cost bike rental service. And even if you bring your own bike, please remember to pay the site visiting fee.
The ruins are open Monday to Sunday from 8:00 to 8:00 pm. Winter hours are 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. Admission on Sundays is free for national citizens with ID. General access is $ 51 pesos.
The archaeological area has a parking lot and local tour guide services at the entrance of the site.