Coba – an Incredible Mayan Archaeological Site.

When I heard about Mayan ruins in the jungle I knew I had to take the kids to check it out. What fun to explore & a great opportunity to learn more history not only about the Mayans way of life but their architecture as well.

Open spaces to run free. No crowds.

Open spaces to run free. No crowds!

I wasn’t sure where it was exactly… just somewhere south of Playa. So 8:30 on a Sunday morning we headed in that general direction. Lucky for us once you hit Tulum there’s a big sign pointing to the right. It was roughly an hour & half drive. (from Playa del Carmen)

I love the fact its pretty much left untouched.

I love the fact its pretty much left untouched.

Once you get into Coba which is a little town & not well signed so we ended up driving straight past the entrance down a very narrow road with no fence with lakes on either side & signs warning of crocodiles… it was good fun to tell the kids to keep a lookout!

Taking in the view after a big climb

Taking in the view after a big climb

Realising the road was leading nowhere we asked some locals who directed us back towards a 2 story Palapa. Lucky for us there was parking for 50 pesos. ($4 aud)

Little D found a structure that looked like a child's throne.

Little D found a structure that looked like a child’s throne.

After unloading the kidlets & spraying ourselves with bug spray… it is the jungle after all. We then continued on towards the entrance. The price was 60 pesos for adults. ($5.50 aud) My kids 5 & 2 were free. A friends 7 yr old was also free.

Miss P found this structure & informed me its her bath.

Miss P found this structure & informed me it was her bath.

As you come to the start of quite a hike there are cheap bicycles for rent as well as guys offering to drive you around in their bike taxis at 120 pesos for the hour. We decided to walk & let the kids run & explore to their hearts content.

Imagining where the previous occupants used to hide their valuables or make their fires.

Imagining where the previous occupants used to hide their valuables, make their fires & sleep.

The path forks so we went to the right & enjoyed a leisurely stroll. Although the walk is quite long.. its clean & tidy with barely any hills & the overhead foliage keeps you shaded for the most part.

Lots of these pictures everywhere carved into rock. A bit faded but still recognisable.

Lots of these pictures everywhere carved into rock. A bit faded but still recognisable.

The best part about the Coba ruins compared to Tulum & Chichen Itza is that you can still climb on nearly everything, its less touristy & no hawkers to be seen. Plus its not as restored so the experience feels alot more authentic.

Exploring

Little explorers having a ball

After about 2 hours Miss P wanted me to carry her which was a little tough considering I was carrying our picnic, 2 litres of water plus my big camera.. so upon seeing a bike taxi I flagged him down & asked how much to see the rest of the ruins & more importantly the BIG one.. ( I didn’t know its name so opted for the “BIG” one)

Thrilled with herself for making it to the top.

Thrilled with herself for making it to the top.

He quoted 70 pesos ($5.90 aud) to drive back the way we’d come, take us to each of the remaining ruins, stop long enough to explore, take pics & then return us to the entrance. So the kids & I hopped on & man I was not expecting him to go so fast! We literally flew down the hill with Miss P yelling at the top of her lungs “this is awesome!!” & little D couldn’t  wipe the grin off his face. I am so glad we grabbed that ride. The walk back & onto the next trail would have taken hours & it was already the heat of the day.

You face outwards with the wind blowing through your hair & wondering if you'll fly on the next bump.

You face outwards with the wind blowing through your hair & wondering if you’ll fly on the next bump.

Eventually we arrived at the BIG one which I now know is called Ixmoja which is the tallest structure in the Yucatan Peninsula. At 120 steep steps some of which are quite narrow, slippery & have yet to be restored (which I hope never happens) alot of people stop to admire it, some climb, others attempt but stop half way. Us? Well we couldn’t come this far & not see the incredible view from the top so upwards we went. Little D took his time & went slowly. I carried Miss P halfway & held her hand the other half. It was tiring work & at one point I decided to turn around to check my progress.. that was not a good idea. Very disorientating.

About to make the climb

About to make the climb

So I looked straight ahead & kept going. And man am I glad I did.. the view was awe-inspiring & very expansive. I could hear little D who made it to the top before me yelling down “Mum! You’ve got to see this.. you can see for miles around!” And he was right. We could also see the Watch Tower in the distance. There was a little temple on the top but it was closed off for entry.

We made it to the top... huffing & puffing. At least I was.. ha!

We made it to the top… huffing & puffing. At least I was.. ha!

After a little breather, a good look around plus some pics we decided to make our descent. Going down is alot harder in a way than going up. Little D scooted one step at a time & I went down holding Miss P’s hand & telling her to pls stop jumping!

Having a look at what's to come on our descent.

Having a look at what’s to come..

Luckily there’s a drinks & snack stand on the bottom & I’ll tell ya, you’re gonna need it!

Miss P decided this was a special stick & proceeded to carry it for ages!

Miss P decided this was a special stick & proceeded to carry it for ages!

Our bike/taxi driver was waiting so we soon took off to see the Watch Tower which sticks up way above the jungle. Its closed for climbing but that didn’t stop the kids from trying to clamber up the walls.

The Watch Tower. You cant climb it but its still quite impressive.

The Watch Tower. Quite impressive.

It now being 3 hours into our exploration & having seen everything our taxi man then drove us to to the exit. It was quite a day but soo worth the drive, time & effort!

Imaginative play in the jungle

Imaginative play in the jungle.

I really enjoyed this article & here is an excerpt you might agree with or enjoy: “The most important skills that children everywhere must learn in order to live happy, productive, moral lives are skills that cannot be taught in school. Such skills cannot be taught at all. They are learned and practised by children in play.”

I hope you enjoyed my little account of Coba!

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Amber Luna

I'm a long term traveller, dedicated mum of 2 & passionate about living life full of adventure. I love living my dreams & helping others live theirs as well. I hope you enjoy our informative journey!

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Comments

  1. wow, so awesome

  2. You’re kids are ruined for a normal life 🙂 haha. Wonderful adventure for sure!

  3. Sounds great. Can’t wait to explore it this weekend. How long was the walk in?

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