A small section of Tulum
While being beach people along what is dumbly referred to as “The Mayan Riviera,” (see previous post), we spent one day visiting two ancient Mayan sites: Tulum and Coba. While not as famous as Chichen Itza, that works in their favor — fewer tourists (although not much fewer), and more direct accessibility. We booked a mini-tour out of Puerto Morelos, a van carrying 12 passengers, and drove south through a string of Las Vegas resorts (Mexican version), then along narrower roads where the ubiquitous vendors waited to pounce, and then a short walk into the city ruins. Tulum is a little more developed and a little more intact than Coba, which made Coba the more interesting.
The road winding through the ancient city of Coba. The distances are long, but a fleet of bicycle “taxis” wait near the entrance if you prefer not to spend all your time on foot. This is one section of the “Mayan Road,” which ran about 100 km west to near Chichen Itza.
Following is a series of photographs taken from Tulum and Coba, mid-January, 2014. Any photo can be enlarged by clicking on it.
Bicycle taxi in Coba
You can also walk or run the road through Coba. You can … I like the bike.
You can climb to the top of one of the Coba pyramids. This one is said to be the highest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan.
Getting down is way spookier than climbing up.
Queen of the Mayan world. Some 50,000 people lived in Coba during its prime: 600 to 900 CE.
Coba ruin. Coba was abandoned in the mid-16th century, when the Spaniards conquered the peninsula.
Football goal, don’t know if they really used human heads for the ball.
The rock is sandstone, which doesn’t weather all that well. This roof keeps rain of a carving.
Tulum’s claim to fame is a spectacular setting on the coast. Its prime came between 1200 & 1500 CE, so it is newer than Coba. Tulum means wall in Mayan.
Tulum and the Caribbean. The beach below the cliff is popular for swimming and snorkeling.
The modern Mayan
Along the coastal trail below the Tulum cliffs.
House with a view
Popular with tourists. If you go, try to get there well before 11 a.m., because that’s when the fleets of tour buses arrive.