In this Coba Maya Encounter Review, we will tell you about our experience with our Coba Maya Encounter Adventure tour.
This Coba Maya Encounter Review – Nohoch Mul Pyramid is the second in a series of three Playa Del Carmen Mexico Visit Reviews.
We began our trip from The Royal Resort in Playa Del Carmen and traveled to the ancient Mayan ruins of Coba. From Coba, we traveled to a Mayan village to experience Mayan history and have a terrific adventure rappelling, zip lining, climbing, canoeing, and experiencing the Mayan culture.
We began our day by catching a bus from The Royal resort. We had to make one stop to pick up guests from another hotel. We had 14 people on our tour. The ruins of the Mayan City of Coba are about 109 km (68 miles) from Playa Del Carmen.
From The Royal Resort, it was just over a one-hour drive to the ancient Mayan ruins of Coba in a clean and air-conditioned tour bus. Our tour guide and driver, Victor, kept us entertained with music and educational facts.
Victor was polite and knowledgeable about the country and the culture, and he was also a safe driver. These qualities put us at ease and helped us to enjoy our fantastic adventure.
Upon arriving at Coba, we roamed some of the local shops to shop for trinkets and souvenirs. There were bathrooms available at the shops, which was welcome after a one-hour tour bus ride.
Upon entering the gates at Coba, we walked about a quarter mile with our group and visited some ruins where ancient games were played and human sacrifices were performed.
Coba is a dense tropical forest with archaeological ruins exposed for tourists to view and experience.
Throughout the Coba property, large mounds of rocks are covered with native vegetation. We were told these are archaeological sites that have not been excavated.
We were guided through multiple well-preserved ruins by our tour guide and then allowed to tour other parts of the site on our own.
Guests may walk to the main archaeological site at Coba (the Nohoch Mul Pyramid), rent a bicycle, or pay for a chauffeured tricycle ride to the Nohoch Mul Pyramid.
We were told it would take about 15 minutes to walk to the Nohoch Mul Pyramid so we took the chauffeured tricycle instead.
We sat on the front of the three-wheeled bicycle, and our taxi host did all the pedaling to get us safely up to the Nohoch Mul Pyramid site.
The view from the base of the Nohoch Mul Pyramid is impressive. We were in awe of the massive work that went into the engineering and construction of such an enormous pyramid.
Many people chose to enjoy the view from the bottom of the pyramid. We, however, were determined to get to the top of the pyramid!
The Nohoch Mul Pyramid is one of the only pyramids in Mexico that tourists can climb to the top; we were not missing out on this adventure!
The Nohoch Mul Pyramid is perhaps one of the most famous pyramids of the ancient Mayan civilization. The Nohoch Mul Pyramid (which means “great mound “) is the tallest pyramid in the Yucatán Peninsula; it is the second tallest Mayan pyramid in the world.
There are 120 uneven stone steps to climb if you want to reach the top of the Nohoch Mul Pyramid (which is 137 feet tall).
The Mayan people flourished here between 400 and 1100 A.D. It was one of the largest Maya cities. At its peak, the city stretched over 50 miles and was home to over 50,000 inhabitants. Two small lakes on the property made this a desirable location for people to live.
The city of Coba was one of the most powerful and influential cities in the region and controlled farmland, trading routes, and important water resources.
The archaeological site was discovered in the 1800s but wasn’t opened to visitors and the public until 1973 (it was difficult to get to due to the surrounding thick jungle).
Make sure you have sunscreen, insect repellent, and good sturdy shoes before climbing the Nohoch Mul Pyramid. When we visited, the temperature was around 80° (perfect temperature), and we were not bothered by any mosquitoes or other insects.
This is a tropical forest, and I imagine, that at certain times of the year, the insects are ferocious.
Upon entering the site, you’ll walk about a quarter-mile to the first visible part of the Coba ruins. There are two well-preserved ball courts where the Mayan’s used to play a game, called ōllamaliztli, a traditional Mayan ballgame.
The rules have changed over time, but in general, the players struck a 9-pound ball with their hips, forearms, rockets, bats, or hands. The players had to get the 9-pound solid rubber ball through circular stone structures located on each side of the ōllamaliztli courts.
The games and competitions sometimes involved human sacrifice, whereby the winner of the game would be sacrificed. The winners considered it an honor and privilege to be sacrificed to the gods.
After we left the ōllamaliztli courts, we began our journey to the Nohoch Mul Pyramid.
The chauffeured tricycle ride was an $8.50 round-trip. Our chauffeured tricycle driver waited at the Coba Temple for us, while we climbed the Temple and enjoyed the spectacular views. After climbing back down the Coba Temple, we enjoyed the ride back to an area near the entrance of the Coba ruins.
Climbing up the pyramid is steep and exhilarating! The steps going up to the pyramid are uneven, and some rocks have been polished over the years due to people climbing the pyramid. You are well-advised to climb cautiously and use both your hands and your feet when climbing.
One slip or twisted ankle may have resulted in a call to our life insurance company to make a death claim, and we didn’t want that to happen!
Seriously, though, it is safe if you’re in good physical shape, have good balance, supportive shoes, and take safety precautions while ascending and descending the pyramid. Just go for it…you won’t be sorry you did!
When we were halfway up the pyramid, we turned around to look below, and the view was impressive. We knew that we should watch our balance and footing. A tumble down the pyramid at that point would cause injury or death (and our goal was not to use any life insurance on this trip!)
We took pictures cautiously, soon climbing up to the top of the Nohoch Mul Pyramid.
Once at the top of the pyramid, you will notice two diving gods present at the temple’s doorway. As you turn away from the temple doorway and view the surrounding jungle, the panoramic views are breathtaking.
There was plenty of room on the top of the pyramid to enjoy the view and take pictures. The flow of tourists on the top of the pyramid was never excessive, as people are climbing up the top and then departing to the bottom of the pyramid regularly.
The view from the top of the Nohoch Mul Pyramid requires you to take a minute to soak it all in. Looking back towards the base of the pyramid, your eyes are met with an ocean of tropical forest vegetation, stretching as far as the eye can see. You can also see some of the local lakes.
From the top of the Nohoch Mul Pyramid, you can see the other ancient Mayan ruins which are not yet excavated or exposed. These are evident as the native trees and tropical forests have taken over these ruins and vegetation, and the foliage is taller than the surrounding vegetation and tree canopy.
We took pictures from the top, but more importantly, we put our electronics away and soaked up the experience and tried to imagine what it would have been like when this was a bustling and active Mayan community.
We get so caught up these days documenting fun with pictures and videos, and we never clear our minds and enjoy the experience. Don’t make the mistake of not taking the time to disconnect from your digital life, so you don’t miss the amazing experience you are in at the moment.
A rope goes up the center of the pyramid that you can use for more stability when climbing the pyramid. We didn’t use the rope for climbing the pyramid. However, we used the rope for descending the pyramid.
At the Coba site entrance, there is also a zip line that can be enjoyed, and there are three cenotes (underground caverns filled with fresh water) within a 10-minute drive of the ruins.
Cenote Choo-Ha is a shallow water cenote with many stalagmites hanging from the ceiling. This cenote also has crystal blue water.
Cenote Tamcach-Ha is a deep underground cavern. It has two jumping platforms at 5 & 10 meters (15 & 30 feet) high.
The Cenote Multun-Ha is further away and has a large wooden deck.
In hindsight, we should have taken more pictures and ventured further out to see more ruins in the ancient city of Coba. However, our time was limited, as the next part of our tour was about to begin. I guess we’ll just have to come back and revisit it sometime!
As we finished up our time at the ancient city of Coba, we hopped on our tour bus and began the next part of our adventure to visit a Maya village for culture, adventure, fun, and food!
We booked our adventure with Fabi, who was working at the AllTourNative office at The Royal Resort. Fabi was AMAZING!!! She helped us to decide what would be the best adventure, and it was one of the many outstanding customer relation experiences we had during our visit to Playa Del Carmen.
Make sure to reach out to the people at www.alltournative.com to book your own adventure!
Our other adventures in Carmen Del Playa are reviewed here:
PART 2 – Coba Maya Encounter Review – Nohoch Mul Pyramid (this article)
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We are Randy and Kim, and we own DFW Best. We are independent insurance agency owners located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. We enjoy exploring, sharing, and promoting the many great sights, adventures, and businesses available to DFW residents.
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