If you are in the Yucatan Peninsula, a visit to Coba is a must. This ancient Mayan city is full of history and mysticism, offering a deep connection to the culture. Cobá is not only the second largest archaeological site in Quintana Roo, but also offers activities off the beaten tourist track.

How to Get to Coba?

Go in your own car: We rented a van, left from Playa del Carmen, drove through Tulum and arrived in 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Bus: From Cancun, you can take a bus from the ADO terminal to Coba. These buses can make stops in Playa del Carmen or Tulum.

Bus: From Tulum, you can take a bus to Cobá. You must go to the municipal palace in Tulum and wait for one to leave, as they leave according to demand. For the return, you will have to be attentive to the arrival of a colectivo, as they do not have fixed schedules.

By organized tour: If you prefer not to worry about the details of transportation, many travel agencies offer organized tours that include transportation, guide and entrance to the archaeological site. This option is ideal for those who want a more complete experience without complications.

History of Coba

The ancient Mayan city of Cobá is located between Tulum and the famous Chichén Itzá, in an area surrounded by five lakes that favored its development and subsistence. However, its population predates those cities.

There is evidence of a human settlement around the year 100 B.C., although it was between 500 and 900 A.D. when Cobá reached its maximum splendor, being one of the largest Mayan cities of that time, with a population of approximately 55,000 inhabitants and an extension of 70 square kilometers. 

At its peak, Coba maintained commercial relations through the sacbes (white roads) with important centers such as Calakmul, Tikal (in Guatemala), and even the Aztecs of Teotihuacan. But starting in 900 A.D., Cobá entered into conflict with Chichén Itzá, from which it emerged defeated, thus losing its political relevance in the region.

The city continued to exist until the 14th century, and by the time the Spaniards arrived, Cobá was completely uninhabited. Curiously, it is one of the few cities that retained its original Maya name; “Cobá” means “turbid water.”

Why Cobá Is a Good Place to Visit?

Why Cobá is a good place to visit?Cobá stands out for its impressive network of ancient roads called sacbé, which connect the different structures and settlements. Unlike other archaeological sites, at Cobá you can still climb the Nohoch Mul pyramid, the highest in the Yucatán peninsula, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding jungle.

The feeling of exploring a site less crowded than other popular tourist destinations makes a visit to Cobá a unique and special experience. In addition, the biodiversity of the area allows you to see a wide variety of flora and fauna.

What to Do in Cobá?

Explore the archaeological site: Cobá’s main attraction is its extensive archaeological site. Be sure to bring comfortable clothes and water, as exploration can take several hours.

Climbing the Nohoch Mul pyramid: Don’t miss the opportunity to climb the Nohoch Mul pyramid. The view from the top is simply breathtaking and allows you to appreciate the vastness of the jungle and the extension of the ancient city.

Bicycle or tricycle tours: Within the site, you can rent bicycles or tricycles with a guide to tour the sacbé and reach the different structures in a faster and more comfortable way. This is a fun and practical option, especially on hot days.

Best Restaurants in Cobá

Best Restaurants in CobáAlthough Cobá is a small place, you will find some restaurants where you can enjoy the local cuisine.

Ki’Hanal Restaurant: Located near the entrance of the archaeological site, this restaurant offers a variety of traditional Mexican dishes. It is a perfect place to relax after exploring the ruins.

Coqui Coqui: If you are looking for a more exclusive experience, Coqui Coqui is an excellent option. They offer gourmet dishes with fresh, local ingredients in an elegant and tranquil atmosphere.

Hours and Prices

The archaeological site of Cobá is open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. The entrance fee is approximately 75 Mexican pesos. If you plan to visit the site early, you can enjoy a quieter experience and avoid the crowds.

Tips for Visiting the Ruins of Cobá

  • Wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking quite a bit.
  • Bring mosquito repellent, as the paths are among the trees and there are many insects.
  • Don’t forget to bring water and sunscreen, as it can be very hot in the Yucatan Peninsula.
  • There are no restrooms inside the park, but you can use the ones in the parking lot.
  • Watch out for animals; being in the middle of the jungle, it is common to encounter free-roaming wildlife .
  • If you plan to visit the ruins in high season (December to April), it is best to arrive early to avoid the crowds.

Where to Stay: Hotel Occidental at Xcaret Destination

If you want to enjoy your visit to Coba and its surroundings in total comfort, we suggest staying at the Occidental Hotel at Xcaret Destination. This impressive all-inclusive hotel of the Barceló chain is located in the Riviera Maya and offers a perfect combination of luxury, comfort and closeness to nature.

Hotel Facilities

The Occidental Hotel at Xcaret Destination has incredible facilities, including several swimming pools, themed restaurants, bars, a world-class spa and an eco-archeological park in the same complex. Here you can relax and enjoy nature while having access to all the modern conveniences.


The hotel is in a privileged setting, surrounded by tropical jungle and next to the Caribbean Sea. Its strategic location provides easy access to archaeological sites such as Coba and Tulum, as well as the beautiful beaches of the Riviera Maya.

For more information and reservations, please visit: barcelo.com/en-us/occidental-at-xcaret-destination/

Coba is a must-see destination on your next trip to the Riviera Maya. Its rich history, combined with the natural beauty of the jungle, makes it a unique place to explore. In addition, by staying at the Occidental at Xcaret Destination Hotel, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a vacation of luxury and comfort in a breathtaking setting.

Isabella Garcia

Joining our team as a freelancer in 2020, Isabella Garcia holds an MA in Geography from UCLA, specializing in human-environment interactions. With over 18 years of experience in travel writing and exploration, she brings a wealth of knowledge about diverse cultures and eco-friendly travel. Her work often includes tips for responsible and immersive travel experiences. Isabella balances her adventurous spirit with a love for painting and learning new languages.

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