View of Mayan Ruins of Cobá and the Great Pyramid, also known as the Nohoch Mul Pyramid.

The unique Mayan Ruins of Cobá

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  • 12 Dec 2016
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Less visited than neighboring Tulum 31 miles (50 km) away, Cobá archaeological site almost feels undiscovered. Although this is one of the largest cities from the Mayan age, the majority of it still lies largely unexcavated.

Much can be learned about the ancient Maya in the architecture of Coba’s pyramids and buildings situated on the shores of several lakes. Coba is not a single site but a large group of sites connected to a central temple complex by a series of Mayan ceremonial “white roads” (sacbéob), as many as fifty sacbes (ancient roads) led into this huge Mayan city center, one of them over 62 miles long — the longest in the Mayan world. Their arrangement and purpose remain something of a mystery.

The most impressive site at Cobá is its Great Pyramid, also known as the Nohoch Mul Pyramid. Rising to a height of 138 feet, the Great Pyramid is the second tallest of all Maya pyramids in the region after Estructura II at Calakmul. Climbing the steep stairs of this pyramid can be daunting, but the views are great.

Cobá has at least two very pretty ball courts, one of which has been partially excavated only recently. The ball game played an important role in Mayan society and most cities had a ball court, which is basically a corridor of two stone walls. The game was played between two teams, using only their hips and elbows to get a rubber ball through a hoop. At some sites, like Coba, the sides of the ball court are slanted, which makes it possible to get close to the hoop.

ball-game-coba

Coba is a great ruin to wander around by yourself and let your imagination roam free. There are tunnels under temples and huge trees. You walk on old roads built by the Maya over 1200 years ago. The canopy forms a green tunnel over your head and you pass amazing trees. Big fluorescent blue morpho butterflies share space with woodpeckers and termite nests. Cobá is best enjoyed by those who embrace the overall experience and appreciate the different architectural building styles in different sites.

If you’re looking for an archaeological site which holds big mysteries, and is more remote and less excavated and commercialized than the more popular and frequently visited major sites, Coba is worth a visit. It will only take you around 3-4 hours to see everything here and you can rent a bike to move around or a tricycle taxi.

Check out our Cancun tours to this incredible Mayan vestige and combine it with a cenote tour.

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