Coba is the archaeological site with the highest temple in the Yucatan Peninsula and has the oldest network of stone causeways in the Maya world.

It also contains stone stelae with inscriptions about important events of this ancient city.

It is believed that the name “Coba” is the original name of this city, which means “stirred water“, due to its proximity to lagoons.

What to see in Coba

Coba is a very large and dispersed archaeological site and touring it completely is a complicated task.

To make your itinerary easier we leave you a list with the main attractions of Coba so you can decide what you want to see and how much time you want to spend visiting it.
Mapa de la zona arqueológica de Coba

Temple of Nohoch Mul.

Templo de Nohoch Mul
The temple of Nohoch Mul with 42 meters of altitude is the highest temple in the entire Yucatan peninsula.

It is also one of the few tall buildings in archaeological zones where it is allowed to climb to its highest point where there is an extraordinary view of the Macanxoc lagoon and the Coba lagoon.

The church (Coba group)

La iglesia, Coba.
The temple called “The church”, within the Coba group, with 24 meters is the second highest structure in the city, although it is not possible to climb to the top, from there is a view of the Macanxoc lagoon.

Within this group is also one of the two ball games in Coba, several stelae with inscriptions, a large courtyard and 6 sacbeob (stone walkways).

“Las Pinturas” (The paintings) complex.

Conjunto Las Pinturas, Coba.
The Las Pinturas complex corresponds to the last constructive stage of Coba, that is to say, many of these buildings are the least new in the area.

This condition allowed that in one of the temples part of the original painting of the building is still visible. In the lintel of its entrance.

This building has 13 small altars in front that give clue of its ceremonial character.

The Observatory

El Observatorio, Coba.

The observatory or Xaibé is a semicircular base structure 14 meters high and four levels that are believed to represent the seasons of the year, also in its central part has a staircase with 20 steps that are believed to represent the days of the month in the Mayan calendar.

Ball game courts

Patio de juego de pelota, Coba.
Coba has two ball games, one of them in the group of the same name and one more within the D group.

The rings in the games are engraved with the symbol of Venus, which is linked to war, sacrifice and death.

Sacbes and unexcavated temples

Posible edificio sin explorar, Coba. Foto de Laslovarga.
Coba has the oldest network of stone causeways in the Mayan world and as you move between the different groups of this complex you will be able to see their different state of preservation.

You will also find piles of stone by the side of the road, many of which are unexplored buildings or temples.

Mayan communities.

Laguna de Pac Chen. Foto de Fabian Arriaga. CC.

Pac Chen Lagoon. Photo by Fabian Arriaga. CC.


Twenty kilometers from Coba is the community of Trés Reyes and the eco-village of Pac Chen where it is possible to learn about the Mayan communities today, the Mayan customs that have been preserved and even enjoy water activities in one of the nearby cenotes.

How to get to Coba

Coba is located 47 km northwest of Tulum and there are different options to get there.

Most visitors to Coba have as their main destination cities such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum through Cancun’s international airport.

How to get to Coba from Tulum

By public transportation.

  • Bus. The ADO bus company has daily departures from Tulum center to the entrance of the archaeological site of Coba. Schedules and prices can be consulted directly on the official ADO website.
  • Colectivo. There are colectivos or minivans that leave from the Tulum town hall to Coba, but their availability depends on demand. On the way back it is necessary to watch for the arrival of a colectivo because they do not make a formal stop in Coba.

By car.
The drive from Tulum to Coba is 47 km and is done entirely by taking Federal Highway 109 and turning left (third exit) at the first traffic circle.

Continue on the Nuevo Durango-Coba highway until you reach the Coba lagoon where you can find parking.

How to get to Coba from Playa del Carmen

By public transportation.

  • Bus. From the ADO terminal in Playa del Carmen you can take a bus to Coba, for which it will be necessary to make an intermediate stop in Tulum. Timetables and prices are available on the official ADO website.
  • Colectivo / Minivan. By colectivo or minivan it is necessary to divide the trip into two routes: Playa del Carmen to Tulum and then, Tulum-Coba (explained above).

By car.
From Playa del Carmen take federal highway 307 until you reach Tulum, at the intersection with federal highway 109 turn left and continue until the first traffic circle.

At this traffic circle turn left at the third exit and continue until you reach the Coba lagoon where you can look for parking.

How to get to Coba from Cancun

By public transportation.

  • Bus. From the ADO terminal in Cancun you can take a bus to Coba, this bus can make intermediate stops in Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
  • Colectivo / Minivans. By colectivo it is necessary to divide the trip into three journeys: from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, from Playa del Carmen to Tulum and finally from Tulum to Coba (explained above).

By car.
From Cancun take federal highway 307 crossing Playa del Carmen until you reach Tulum, at the intersection with federal highway 109 turn left and continue until the first traffic circle.

At this traffic circle turn left at the third exit and continue until you reach the Coba lagoon where you can look for parking.

Organized tour to Coba

It is possible to visit Coba on a booked tour from any tourist center in the Riviera, for example from Playa del Carmen, Tulum or Cancun.

It usually includes transportation, a local guide and is combined with other attractions such as the archaeological site of Tulum.

Archaeological site schedule

The entrance hours to the archaeological zone are from Monday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Admission price

The entrance fee is 80 Mexican pesos (about 4 dollars).

Tips to get the most out of your visit

  • The archaeological site is very large and popular. Try to arrive as close to opening time as possible so that you can take your photos with virtually no tourists and have time to explore the site at your leisure.
  • Bring comfortable clothes, athletic shoes, sunscreen, water, sunglasses, etc.
  • If you have little time to tour the site, rent a bike.