The Coba Archaeological Park is a Mayan site located in the wild eastern half of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, about an hour's drive or bus ride from Tulum. Coba is in a poor state of preservation and much of it is still unexcavated, but it is notable for its extensive system of ceremonial roads, remote jungle landscape and several interesting pyramids - including the tallest pyramid on the Yucatán Peninsula.
History of Coba
Little is known about the history of Coba, but it must have been inhabited well into Post-Classic Mayan times, since it has some structures similar to those found at the late town of Tulum. There are references to Coba in late Maya legends, in which Coba is associated with the sun god.
Until the mid-20th century, the area around Coba was frequented only by Mayan hunters who sometimes burned incese before the stelae scattered among the ruins.
What to See at Coba
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). There are more than 16 of these roads at Coba and their arrangement and purpose remains something of a mystery.
Sometimes, for instance, a sacbe that is miles long will reach a very tiny ruin. And Sacbe 1 is travels west from Coba in a straight line for an astounding 62 miles to the site of Yaxuna, which is 12 miles south of the more prominent Chichen Itza.
The Coba complex was built among a small group of shallow, reedy lakes — its name means "ruffled waters." The temples are in a poor state of preservation and much remains to be excavated. But there are still a number of interesting temple pyramids and palaces at Coba, which are constructed in the Peten style.
It takes about 3-4 miles of walking and at least that many hours to explore most of Coba. The temple near the entrance to the site is the Grupo Coba pyramid, which is worth climbing for the excellent views of the surrounding jungle landscape, with various temples and pyramids poking up through the canopy.
Nohoc Mul is the largest pyramid at Coba, standing at over 130 feet in height. This pyramid naturally provides even more spectacular views.
Quick Facts on Coba
|Categories:||archaeological sites; city ruins; forest settings|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||20.492874° N, 87.724221° W|
|Lodging:||View hotels near Coba|
- Michael D. Coe, The Maya, 7th ed. (2005), 141-42.
- Guide to Coba Archaeological Park - Mexperience
Map of Coba, Mexico
Below is a location map and aerial view of Coba. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.