Coba Travel Blog

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Coba is a large Maya site that is located in the state of Quintana Roo. It is 56 miles east of Chichen Itza about 26 miles west of the Caribbean Sea, and 29 miles northwest of the site of Tulum. The ruins are situated around two cenotes. Numerous sacbeob leave Coba to various smaller sites. One such sacbe heads west for approximately 62 miles to the ruin of Yaxuna. Coba has the tallest pyramids (140') on the Yucatan. It is in a group of structures called the Nohoch Mul group. It has been estimated that Coba could have had exceeded 50,000 inhabitants and covered 52 square miles. The majority of the structures date from 500 AD to 900 AD with most of the dated hieroglyphic inscriptions are from 600 AD to 700 AD.
The site was occupied by a sizable agricultural population prior to 100 AD.   However Coba remained an important site in the Post-Classic era and new temples were built and old ones kept in repair until at least the 14th century, possibly as late as the arrival of the Spanish. Coba traded extensively with Mayan communities as far as Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. Coba controlled a group of ports along the Caribbean, They included Xcaret, Xel-Há, Tancah, Muyil, and Tulum. Knowledge of Coba was never completely lost. John Lloyd Stephens included information about Coba in his 1841 report. However, he did not visit Coba because it was so distant from any known modern road or village that he decided it too difficult to visit. For much of the 19th century the area could not be visited by outsiders due to the Caste War of Yucatán.
Teoberto Maler visited Coba in 1893 and took at least one photograph. The amateur archaeologist Thomas Gann was escorted to Coba by local Maya hunters in February 1926. Gann was first to published a first-hand description of the ruins late in 1926. J. Eric S. Thompson visited Coba and reported a large site with many inscriptions. Sylvanus Morley soon followed up with a more extensive examination of the site. Coba remained isolated until the first modern road was opened in the early 1970s. The Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History began limited excavations in 1972 and consolidated several structures. In the early 1980's a paved road to Coba was opened and regular bus service began. A small Villas Archeologicas Hotel was opened by Club Med. Today there is a small village of about 1,500 people.

Coba became a tourist destination shortly thereafter, with many visitors visiting the site on day trips from Cancún and the Riviera Maya. Only a small portion of the site has been cleared from the jungle and restored by archaeologists. Local guides are available at the entrance to the site, as well as bicycle rentals to get to some of the farther ruins within the archaeological zone. Coba, like all archaeological sites in Mexico open to the public via INAH, is free to Mexican citizens on Sundays and national holidays.

There is a small pueblo near the ruins, with some restaurants and small shops selling local crafts.
Africancrab says:
I love reading your blogs dear.
Posted on: Feb 07, 2010
Wannaseethebigworld says:
Wow! Great write up and pictures. I never did get a chance to visit Coba but saw Tulum but each place has it's own unique history for sure.
Posted on: Jun 17, 2009
Lynsey_loves_Cali says:
Ah this blog brings back happy memories from when I visited last year. I loved climbing the Noc Mul pyramid - didn't enjoy it quite so much climbing back down!
Posted on: Apr 16, 2009
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photo by: voordax