This ancient city, which saw its peak between 200 and 600 BCE (before Chichén Itzá became more powerful), is so large that it is best explored by bike or tricycle taxi.

You will cycle down road networks called Sacbes, created by the Maya to reach different parts of this vast city, visiting well-preserved ball courts and large glyphs that remain in place. If you can brace yourself for the steep climb up the 1200 steps of the Nohoch Mul pyramid you will be rewarded with incredible views over the site and the jungle surrounding it

Cobá is best explored in trainers or walking shoes. The steps up the Nohoch Mul pyramid are narrow and uneven, so flip-flops or sandals will make your ascent harder and rather dangerous. Bring a backpack with a few snacks and water as well as your swimwear: after visiting Coba, you may also want to make time to cool off with a swim in the nearby Choo-Ha cenote.

Mexic Tulum Coba Nohoch Mul pyramid

The Nohoch Mul pyramid at Cobá

How to get to Cobá

Cobá is located roughly 30 miles from Tulum and many taxis offer services there and back. A taxi will cost around $55/£40 but prices can vary. Renting a car is also an option, for the 45 minute drive and there is parking onsite. Tours from Cancun and Playa del Carmen take in the archeological sites of Tulum and Cobá and start at around $70/£50.

The site entrance fee is $80 pesos. Guides who can be contracted at the entrance generally charge around $500-600 pesos ($30/£20). Tours running from Cancun often take in both Tulum and Cobá archeological sites and start at roughly $70/£50.

Cobá is a large site (extending to 80 km2), so you will probably want to allocate at least three hours to explore it fully.

The structures at Cobá are spread out over a really large area so you might want to consider hiring a tricycle (it is also really fun!) The tricycles can be hired at the entrance at a cost of $180 pesos ($10/£7) or for a higher fee you can hire a driver, taking what are affectionately called the tricitaxis.

About the author

Visiting The Ruins At Cobá

Susannah Rigg

Susannah Rigg is a freelance writer and Mexico specialist based in Mexico City. Her work has been featured by Condé Nast Traveller, CNN, BBC Travel and AFAR among others. She has visited 26 of Mexico’s 32 states and is captivated by Mexico’s rich Mesoamerican history.

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