Can you climb the Maya ruins at Coba? Yes, you can climb the main Coba Ruins pyramid! This exciting challenge is a must for your Mexico vacation.
We stopped in Mexico on our Caribbean cruise, and the main thing I wanted to do was climb an ancient Maya pyramid. Unlike at Chichén Itzá or the Tulum ruins, you can actually climb the pyramid at Coba.
Here’s what you need to know about climbing the Maya ruins in Coba.
What is Coba?
The Zona Arqueológica de Cobá is an archaeological site at the ancient city of Coba.
Coba was an important city for the Maya people. It’s unique in that it was an urban hub of different settlements laid out in one area, connected by 50 sacbes, or “white roads,” made of stone that connected the different communities to the center of the site and the surrounding lagoons. These are the paths visitors take to tour the site, either by walking, biking, or riding in a bicycle taxi.
Coba doesn’t see as much tourism as Chichén Itzá because it is in such a remote location and because it’s not as picturesque.
But at Coba, you are still allowed to climb the main pyramid, and that’s what really cinched the deal for us.
Exploring the Ancient City of Coba
Near the entrance of the site are the ruins the Coba Group structures that include the church, called the Iglesia, and a ball court with two slanted stone walls on either side.
In this Maya ballgame, players would have to bounce a rubber ball through stone rings on the slanted walls. The game had a ritualistic aspect where they would often sacrifice members of the losing team.
Further on, we passed another of these ball courts. This one had the Maya numbering system on one of the walls.
Related tour: Private Discover Tulum & Coba Tour with Beachside Lunch
Climbing the Maya Ruins at Coba
After a long walk through the jungle, we came to Ixmoja, the largest of the Nohoch Mul Group of pyramids.
At 138 feet tall, it’s a long climb to the top, and a steep one as well. They have a rope going down the middle of the steps for people to hold on to. Really, though, it’s easier just climbing hunched over and keeping your hands on the steps above you to keep you steady.
It’s 120 steps to the top, and it can be a rough climb in the Mexican heat and humidity. You’re out in the middle of a jungle, hours away from any hospital, so you might as well take it slow so you don’t fall or get hurt in any way.
There’s no shame in taking a break on the steps and looking out at the jungle. Halfway up the pyramid and you’re already over the tree line, so there’s always a good view.
But the best view is from the top. The lush green jungle spans out for miles in front of the pyramid.
The climb down the pyramid is the tricky part. The best way seemed to be just scooting down on your butt, taking it one step at a time.
We stayed close to the rope, but mostly I was fine without it. I only used the rope when there was one large uneven step to get down and wanted something extra to hold on to.
Related tour: Private Tour to Coba Ruins and Swim in Cenote
Coba Opening Hours and Entry Fees
Location: 77793 Coba, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Hours: The Coba Ruins are open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with last access at 4 p.m.
Admission: The entry fee for the Coba Ruins costs MX$95 per person (about $5)
Tips for Visiting the Coba Ruins
- Bring plenty of water and stay hydrated
- Hire a local guide to show you Coba’s fascinating history
- To avoid the crowds, visit in the early morning or late afternoon
- Cool off after your climb by visiting the nearby Cenote Multum-Ha
Coba Ruins FAQ
Can you climb Coba?
Yes, you can climb the main pyramid at Coba. This was paused during the pandemic, but the public is allowed to climb the pyramid again beginning in 2023.
Are the Coba Ruins worth it?
Coba is absolutely worth the visit! It is less crowded than other Maya ruins in the region, it is cheap to visit, and you can still climb the pyramid.
Is Coba older than Chichén Itzá?
Coba is older than Chichén Itzá and the site at Tulum. Coba is believed to date back as far as 50BC.
Top Tours of the Coba Ruins
- Tulum, Cobá, Cenote, Buffet & Playa del Carmen Tour
- Coba, ChoHa Cenote, Tulum, and Paradise Beach Day Trip
- Full-day Cultural tour to Tulum, Coba & Native Park
More Destinations From This Cruise
Check out more of our Caribbean cruise adventures at the ports below:
Ready for a Caribbean cruise vacation? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Find cheap Caribbean cruises: You can use Orbitz to find the best prices on Caribbean cruises.
- Prepare for your cruise: Check out my top tips for your first cruise.
- Pack for your vacation: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need by checking out my packing list resources.
Have you visited any Mayan ruins in Mexico? Let me know in the comments!