This Off Path Tourist Attraction Near Tulum Is Becoming More Popular Among Americans

An incredibly well-preserved Mayan complex within driving distance of Tulum is rising in popularity among visitors to the area, as the usual tourist hotspots, in particular the world-famous Tulum Ruins, become too crowded.

Few things inspire as much awe, and are as fascinating as the Mayan culture. From the ancient temples to the pyramids, there is a lot we’re yet to discover about this bygone civilization. Luckily, Mexico is taking additional steps to preserve its own ancient heritage for future generations.

With tourist numbers soaring, the ancient Mayan city of Cobá has just been added to Mexico’s ever-expanding list of protected archaeological zones:

An Ancient City Frozen In Time

Mayan Coba Ruins Near Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

Mayan ruins stand among Mexico’s most visited tourist attractions.

Chichen Itza, a symbol of the Yucatan Peninsula, receives an average of two million visitors every year, while other minor ruins close to the Hotel Zone, like El Castillo in Tulum, are popular day trips.

Due to their fame, however, they are routinely overrun by foreigners, who are not always respectful of local tradition, and who inadvertently contribute to littering and mass gatherings.

As a result, culture seekers have been looking elsewhere for more pristine, undisturbed Mayan sites.

Mayan Ball Court In Coba, Archaeological Complex Near Tulum, Mexico

Located a short 40-minute drive Northeast of Tulum, Cobá has risen to prominence in recent weeks as the ideal pick for history enthusiasts hoping to witness the grandeur of the Ancient Mayans without being pestered by insistent handicraft vendors or waiting in line for hours for that perfect Instagram shot.

The renewed interest in Cobá has been so significant it was recently declared an ‘Area of Archaeological Monuments’ by Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (commonly shortened to AMLO).

Nohoc Mul Pyramid In Coba, Near Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

A Trove Of Ancient Treasures

The status will help bring more investment and improve conservation efforts, seeing that Cobá’s cultural value is hard to estimate.

Dating back to the year 50 BC, it is home to numerous ancient treasures, many of which are yet to be unearthed.

Although excavations are still underway, some important structures have already been unveiled, including the 130-step Nohoc Mul pyramid, temples housing important artifacts, and Mayan dwellings and ball courts. Experts have stated that Cobá is ‘one of the finest examples of Mayan architecture and culture‘.

Group Of Tourists Stood Atop An Ancient Pyramid In Coba Overlooking The Jungle In The Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

The preservation of Cobá has been a hot topic for years within the archaeological community, with the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) going as far as declaring it a ‘nationally-valuable site’ last year ahead of the Government’s own announcement.

The city stands out as a result of its rich engravings, found on the defensive walls and ornate murals encircling the zone.

They depict historical events and folklore that shaped Mayan identity in the Pre-classic Period, offering us an insight into how they perceived their rulers, deities, and how society was organized, as well as some of their biggest achievements.

Mayan Pyramid in Coba. Mexico.

How Does This Benefit Tourists?

In sum, now that Cobá is a protected archaeological zone, tourists can expect better standards of preservation and facilitated access when visiting, as well as a more developed reception center, investment in cultural activities, and most importantly, signage.

The Yucatan Peninsula is jam-packed with Mayan ruins, and besides a handful of the most popular ones, a majority remains hidden in foliage and in lack of tourist infrastructure.

woman at mayan ruins

Cobá will now be watched closely by the relevant authorities, with business owners and tour guides subject to stricter conditions and quality parameters if they wish to operate in the area.

More public transport options are also in order, especially when the Maya Train launches this December, linking Tulum to off-path locations around the Yucatan Peninsula – including Cobá.


For now, the easiest way to reach the site is by renting a car and following Road 109 from Tulum. Alternatively, groups can book a taxi, with a round-trip estimated at USD $60, or join a guided tour, including not only a visit to the ruins themselves but also a nearby cenote, selling for USD $68 on Viator.

Entrance costs, on average, USD $5 per person, depending on the conversion rate at the time of visit, though as The Cancun Sun puts it, this is set to increase now that tourism is surging.

Source link