One of the best aspects of taking a luxury vacation to Mexico is the opportunity to see remarkable historical remains & architectural ruins. While Chichen Itza & Tulum are two of the most well-known places to visit, there is one more that should not be ignored on a trip to the Yucatán Pensinsula: Cobá. Located in the state of Quintana Roo west of the Caribbean Sea, this pre-Columbian Mayan site is just as awe-inspiring as its counterparts. In fact, Cobá boasts the second highest temple in the entire Mayan world.
Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your excursion:
Getting there Fortunately, Cobá is open to the public every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., making it easy to fit into your itinerary. Admission is free for children under 12, & only a small fee for adults. However, be prepared to pay for parking. The drive takes about 1 hour & 45 minutes by car from Playa del Carmen. Otherwise, there are plenty of tour companies in Playa that offer trips to Cobá. Additionally, there are multiple ADO buses that go from Cancun, Tulum & Playa del Carmen each morning & afternoon. They will drop you off on the same road as the archeological site just a short distance away from the entrance.
Once inside Don't get overwhelmed by the maze of roads, & be aware of what route you take so you can remember your way back. If you bear right on the path directly after the entrance, you'll be able to see the beautiful La Iglesia pyramid, but instead of climbing it, you may want to save your energy for El Castillo. After veering back onto the main path, you can turn right & follow signs to the restored juego de pelota, a court for an ancient Mayan ballgame. A five to 10 minute walk will bring you to a fork in the road surrounded by unexcavated pyramids. From here, stay to the left side of the fork, which will lead you to the Nohoch Mul Group. There you'll find El Castillo, one of the tallest pyramids in the Yucatán. While climbing Castillo was briefly prohibited before 2009, you can now ascend the 120 stone stairs to see the breathtaking view of the forest canopies & majestic pyramids from the top.
Tips to keep in mind The temperature & humidity will likely be high, so dress in lightweight, breathable clothing. You also might consider coming earlier in the day to avoid intense heat as well as beat the crowds.
Come prepared with water, sunscreen & bug repellent since there aren't many tourist services on site.
You'll be doing quite a bit of walking & the trails here are not paved, so don't forget to wear sturdy & comfortable shoes.