I recommend everyone who visits Playa del Carmen and wants to see ruins to check out Coba. Only one and a half hours away by car, it’s accessible on a day trip from either Playa or Tulum and is a really great site.
Entrance is a mere 60 Pesos per person ($5) and as the site is so big, I recommend hiring a bicycle from just inside the entrance gate to explore the site (35 Pesos, or $3). Otherwise, bicycle taxis are available at a higher rate.
The bikes aren’t the best, but are adequate for exploring the grounds and make the experience more fun. In summer, Coba is absolutely sweltering so make sure you bring lots of water and a hat.
Thankfully there is quite a lot of shade available and there is a shack selling cold drinks near the main pyramid.
Another great thing about Coba is that you can climb the main pyramid. If you can, do, as the views from the top are superb.
Top of the world…
Coming down is a bit of a challenge, thanks to the smooth rocky steps which have worn away, but there is a large rope down the center to hang on to if necessary.
The thing I love about Coba, apart from the cycling and the climbing, is that it is possible to find yourself alone at some of the outer sites and feel like you actually discovering something other than a tourist trap.
Some of the original, intricately carved stone tablets (or stelae) are on display which are very cool.
In front of the entrance to Coba is a large crocodile infested lagoon (though we have never seen any). Don’t say you weren’t warned!
A couple of kilometers outside of Coba are three cenotes. Tickets are available at the entrance (I think it’s around 40 Pesos per person) which gives you access to all three, but we only made to the first one as it was impressive enough.
This cenote is in a large underground cave and accessed via a wooden staircase which descends through an opening. The water is clear, blue and deep and it is rather magical, not to mention very refreshing after a morning at the ruins.
The road between Tulum and Coba is called, strangely, the Coba Road. It is dotted with small towns, villages, cenotes and handicraft stores.
It’s a nice road to take it slow (not that you have a choice, thanks to the numerous speed bumps or ‘topes’) and enjoy the stalls and small towns along the way. We like to stop off for a fresh elote (corn cob) slathered in cheese and chilli. You might like to check out the hammocks and colourful woven blankets for sale at one of the many road-side stores.
Handicraft stores sell hammocks and blankets along the Coba road, which runs inland from Tulum.