Deep within the green jungle… Cobá

A court for the ancient game of pelota

The best known archaeological sites are not necessarily those considered the most fun or amazing. Of the 20 sites conserved by the national institute of anthropology and history in Quintana Roo state there are those that stand out for their beauty, for their historical importance, or for their sheer size; and there is one in particular that occupies all three of these aspects.

This site is Cobá, the ancient Mayan city roughly 90 kilometers east of Chichén Itzá and some 40 kilometers north-east of the walled city of Tulum.

Origins unknown


Nohoch Mul, the tallest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula

The origins of the name Cobá are a little blurred. It is possible that the name derives from
joining the Mayan word ‘cob’ meaning moss to á or ‘há’ the word for water. In other words, moss water. Another possibility is that it means ‘muddy water’ in reference to the murky waters found in the small lagoons nearby.

Historic importance

Its size and historical importance can only be compared to that of Chichen Itzá, rival and enemy city for much of Cobá’s Pre-Hispanic past. The settlement extends a little over 70 square meters and a network of 45 paths known as ‘sacbeob’ connect the different sites to the small surrounding communities.

Cobá, which is about 2 hours from Cancun, is distinct from other archaeological sites primarily because it is surrounded by 4 natural lakes.

Truly unique

Cobá by bicycle is a lot of fun

Another aspect that distinguishes Cobá is its sheer size. A great way to navigate its 45 paths is by hiring a bicycle on site. It is an excellent method to get to know the whole of this ancient settlement. Another advantage Cobá has over other historical sites, such as Chichén Itzá, is that you can walk up the steps of its main pyramid. At 42 meters in height, Nohoch Mul is the tallest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula. At the top of the pyramid you will find a temple and breathtaking views of the surrounding jungle as far as the eye can see.

Views over the green jungle as far as the horizon

Mayan settlements and more!

It is important to add that many tours to Cobá include visits to cenotes (natural sinkholes), lagoons, and local communities where traditional cuisine is included. Some include activities such as zip-lines and those from Mayan times; preserving the historic legacy of one of humanities most important civilizations. There are also tours that include a visit to Xel-Há, an all-inclusive nature park.

So as you can see, a visit to Cobá is a fun-filled day out. So next time you are in an Oasis hotel why not ask our friendly tour coordinators about a trip to Cobá. They will be more than happy to assist you with what you are looking for.

We can assure you that you will return home counting tales of your adventure!



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