The Cobá Mayan ruins are the remains of an ancient Mayan city on the Yucatán Peninsula in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Cobá is located just 27 miles (44 km) north-west of Tulum, which I consider the best vacation place. The city of Cobá was the center of many settlements connected by the Mayan world’s largest network of stone causeways, called sacbes or sacbeob. Many of these roads still exist around the ruins. Riding a bike along them is one of the special perks of this site. Another attraction are the stalae, large stone slabs inscribed with drawings and glyphs that tell the stories of the Maya people.
Cobá was first settled between 50 BC and 100 AD – and by around 750 AD reached a population of 50,000. It is assumed that the inhabitants traded with people from as far away as Guatemala and Honduras. There was quite a rivalry between Cobá and the the Mayan city of Chichén Itzá, which today is the more famous tourist attraction on the Yucatán Peninsula.
There are several reasons why visiting the Cobá Mayan ruins is even better than visiting the Chichén Itzá Mayan ruins:
- The Cobá Mayan ruins are a lot, a lot, a lot less crowded than Chichén Itzá.
- Trees provide much needed shade and wonderful relaxing places to relax and contemplate Maya culture.
- You can rent a bike and ride on the ancient Maya roads.
- In Cobá, you can actually climb the tallest pyramid of the Yucatán: Nohoch Mul (“Large Hill”).
- The Cobá Mayan ruins, unlike Chichén Itzá, are not overrun by sales people yelling cheapy cheapy or making jaguar sounds.
Of course, Chichén Itzá features one of the 7 Modern Wonders of the World (the El Castillo pyramid) and has many more impressive buildings.
While I was super excited to climb a pyramid and made an honest attempt, I have to admit that I didn’t make it all the way to the top. Scott bravely climbed up the 120 steps all the way to get me shots from the 137-feet high roof of the Nohoch Mul pyramid. Thank you, Scott, you’re my hero. By the way, I felt less ashamed when I overheard several burly German men talk about not being able to get up there either due to fear of heights. It is fascinating how we can climb a staircase with a railing without a problem – even without holding on to it, but our instincts of fear kick in when it’s an open “staircase” like a pyramid, especially if the steps are broken and crumbly.
The song featured in this video is “Mystic Force” by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com). It is licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License. Thank you, Kevin, for your extensive library of free music!
If you want to know more, I recommend this article about the Cobá Ruins on Loco Gringo.
There will be a post with photos, which will include the view down the steps of Nohoch Mul on my personal blog – as soon as I get back from my next exciting trip this week…