Coba is a Mayan site on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, and is just 40 kilometers from Tulum at the Riviera Maya.
This ancient Maya enter is different from the two other well known Maya cities, Chichen Itza and Tulum, especially through its vast size and the fact, that you can find the highest Mayan pyramid of Yucatan here.
The center of Coba is located between two big lakes. Because of the large extent of the ruined city, it is advisable to wear good shoes. This is recommended if you intend to climb, especially on the main pyramid.
Coba is unique to the northern Yucatan because of the architectural style used there. It is more reminiscent of pre-classical buildings of the Peten area and shows no resemblance to that found in the classical cities of Yucatan Puuc style.
It is an amazing experience, if you have climbed the great pyramid. With a height of 42 meter, it rises far above the treetops of the surrounding jungle and allows for a wide panoramic view. It is impressive to see other distant pyramids of Coba uplifting from the fresh green of the rain forest. The small temple building on top of the pyramid still exists.
Numerous stelae and inscriptions were found in Coba. Unfortunately, the limestone found in the surroundings of the town, that was used to create these stealae, is of such a poor quality that these inscriptions are barely recognizable. Most of them cannot be deciphered today, because of natural erosion.
Around 1500 AD the city was abandoned. Coba was not longer populated at the time the the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Yucatan.
Today about 1500 people live in the small village on the outskirts of the Mayan city of Coba. During it’s heydays the area of Coba was probably inhabited by more than 50.000 people. It is assumed, the small site and famous site of Tulum beside the Caribbean sea was the harbour of Coba and controlled by them.
Due to the close proximity, it is advisable to start the tour to Coba from Tulum. In Tulum itself and at the beach front, there are numerous hotels or hostels. It is also possible at the same time to visit the ruins of Tulum.
If you want to learn more about Tulum, you can look at this article about this city at the Riviera Maya.
I recommend my article “Getting Around – Yucatan – Riviera Maya” to anyone planning a complete tour of the Yucatan and the Maya World. In this post I described several tours through the world of the Maya on the Yucatan peninsula and along the Riviera Maya.
Those looking for more information about Coba, can find it at Wikipedia. However, only the Spanish version of the article is correct in detail.
Therefore, I recommend at this point anyone deeply concerned with the culture of the Maya, the book “Maya – Divine Kings of the Rain Forest” written by “Nicolai Grube”.
The photos of this post have been taken by me in 2007, during my travel in northern parts of the Yucatan peninsula and along the Riviera Maya.