Coba is one of the least crowded yet most interesting archaeological sites to visit in all of Quintana Roo, a sprawling Mayan site that features some of the oldest and most untouched Mayan structures. The history of Coba goes all the way back to its initial building in 100 BC, though the height of its activity was seen from 400 to 1100 AD. The name ‘Coba’ came from a phrase meaning ‘water stirred by the wind’, this site unique in the fact that it is surrounded by four different natural lakes. It is also unique in the fact that only a small percentage of the structures found on this site are restored, many of them not uncovered until the late 1920’s. A building of a public access road in 1973 has helped the process a bit, though many values the raw quality of the unrestored structures the way they are. Lastly, another point of a rarity here at Coba is the simple fact that you are allowed to climb the ruins still, not just look!
The main pyramid here is Nohoch Mul, meaning Large Hill, totaling at 138 feet tall, or 42 meters. This is the highest in all of the Yucatan Peninsula, though there is a close second nearby by the name of Templo de la Iglesia. This, the Temple of the Church, gives guests the bonus of an incredible view of Lake Van Cantu. The scenery around the entire 80 km area consists of gorgeous tropical hardwood, vines, and jungle vegetation, not to mention the unmissable stele. Stele are large stone slabs found with hieroglyphics on them. In looking at such things on the walls of this site researchers have found that the source of this site's power was it’s agriculture control, trading routes, and access to fresh water. The opening of Chichen Itza in 600 AD lessened this site's popularity, however, and by 1550 it was completely abandoned. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes if you plan to walk this site, or maybe rent one of the popular massive tricycles driven by local chaperones to get around!