Day Trips from Xcalak - Coba
Written by Rob Mukai on Aug. 16, 2016
Again not quite a day trip. This is a ruin that is just west of Tulum. So it is more of a stop on the way driving from Cancun, or on your way back. Coba has the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan. It is also one that you can climb to the top. It is a bit hairy but there is a rope that goes up the stairs that you can use to help you. Coba is a late classic period capital (600-900 AD). It is famous as the cross-roads for many Sac-be or white roads. Roads through the jungle that were paved with limestone that make them white.
Coba is about a 45 minute drive outside of Tulum. When driving in to Tulum, you will come to the intersection for Boca Paila and Coba, head west. (If you go east you will go by the Chedraui Supermarket). In about 43 KM, you will come to a large traffic circle. Go around it ¾ of the way. It is a bit confusing, because the signs don’t quite make sense, but you will be wanting to turn left. Follow the road, until you get to the parking lot.
At the site, you have the option of walking the two kilometers to the end of the site, renting a bike or having a bike taxi pedal you down. The walk is actually not bad, except when a large tour group on bicycles tries to pass you. It is a lot more wooded than say Tulum, but there are so many people there, it doesn’t feel very “wild”. The Pyramid in the Nohoch Mul at the end of the path, towers above the jungle. The climb up isn’t too bad. It’s the climb down that is disconcerting. The stairs are steep and have a very narrow pitch. Some of the steps have been worn smooth by thousands of feet climbing them. So take care especially climbing down. Use the rope in the middle.
The main pyramid is quite spectacular, and you should climb it if you are able. The view is something else and it usually has a nice breeze.