The area of Coba was once a prominent area of civilization with more than 50,000 people in its bounds. A 45 minute car ride from Tulum or a 1.5 hour ride from Playa Del Carmen, the area is a bit remote, but it holds one of the few famous ruins you can actually walk or climb up!
You can catch an ADO bus to the archaeological site, but of course a rental car will give you more flexibility with your time. There are great cenotes in the surrounding area that you can visit on the way from Tulum, such as Dos Ojos or Carwash!
We took a rental car, and parking was 50 pesos. The entrance fee was about 140 pesos per person, and it’s an additional 30 pesos if you want to take video at the site. (Of course this is on the honor system as no one really monitors this, but a ‘video recording’ fee is common at some major sites in Mexico.)
There are options for guided tours, but we politely declined. Numerous bikes and bike taxis were available though, and we did choose that option to save some time. It was a hot day, and I wasn’t sure how long the path was, so we paid about 190 pesos and got biked to the ruins.
Thank God we hired a bike taxi! The complex is pretty large, and it took us 10 minutes without seeing any stops along the way to get to the main area. (The bike taxi can stop along the path and see the multiple areas of interest if you choose, but we were solely interested in the main structure.) I imagine it would have taken us at least 30 minutes one way if we walked, so it definitely saved us a lot of time.
Climbing The Ruins
As we arrived at the main structure, Nohoch Mul Pyramid, our bike taxi kindly waited for us until we were finished with our climb. Ahead were 120 steps that would take us up 137 feet, giving a sweeping view of the Mexican jungle.
The climb was pretty simple and very quick. There is a rope for access, but for us it wasn’t necessary to use during the climb. I would say be cautious coming down as the steps are rocky and uneven, but to us the ascent/descent wasn’t difficult. I couldn’t believe this famous pyramid was available to climb up, it was so unique!
The views from the top did not disappoint – I absolutely loved it. (It also reminded me of the ending scenes in The Mummy Returns!)
The Coba ruins were pretty extraordinary – being able to climb the main pyramid made it stand out in our minds, and it’s a cool differentiator when comparing it to other ruins in the area. Also there were a few souvenir shops and restaurants near the parking lot – Jarden and I got our feet nibbled at a fish spa here. We’ve never done it before, and while it seemed a little gimmicky, it was fun to try at least once. Definitely check out the Coba Ruins if you are near the area!
Carretera Federal 307 Cancún-Chetumal
77793 Cobá, Q.R., Mexico
+52 1 55 3033 5552