Some hieroglyphic inscriptions found on stelae and panels of the site allow us to affirm that Coba was the original name of the city. One of the possible meanings and the most plausible, given its proximity to the lagoons, is that of “chopped water.”
The city of Cobá developed about five lakes that were a fundamental factor for its development and subsistence. With approximately 70km2 of extension, the city was connected by extensive raised stone roads, known in the Mayan language as sacbé (white road), of varying length and width. The longest of them with 100 km., Arrives at the site of Yaxuná, very close to Chichen Itza. The inhabitants of Coba who did not belong to the powerful class resided around the city center, in homes very similar to those of the modern Maya. The evidence of the first registered human settlements is between 100 B.C. and 300 A.D., when we thought it consisted of a series of villages located near the lakes, whose economy was based on agriculture and hunting. Already between 300 and 600 d. C., Coba was developed by centralizing economic and political power, controlling several nearby towns. The internal communication routes to other towns and regions, consisting of more than 50 roads, was built between 600 A.D. and 800 A.D., at which time most of the site’s stelae are also erected. The construction boom of the city occurred between 800 and 1000 A.D., when the road network was expanded, new buildings were built and their relations with the Gulf Coast were strengthened, while they decreased with the Petén region. His hegemonic strength began to weaken between 1000 and 1450 AD. C., when he received new influences from more “Mexicanized” groups. A new architectural style is introduced and incorporated into existing constructions and most of its sculpted monuments, relocated to small platforms and niches.
From the city of Cancun, Quintana Roo, take federal highway number 307 south, to the town of Tulum, where highway 109 is taken towards Nuevo Xcan and after traveling 47 km. Coba will be found. The visitor can also arrive at the site through public transport.
Services available in the area
A parking access fee, paid by the Cobá ejido, must be paid. The site has toilets and a ticketing area. In the immediate environment there are establishments dedicated to the sale of food and handicrafts from the region. Community guides offer tours, on foot or by bike, during visiting hours.
Monday to Sunday from 08:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (last access at 4:30 p.m.).
Respect the cultural heritage of the site and the natural environment. Follow the directions of the custodians of the archaeological zone. Low and comfortable shoes, light clothing, hat and sunscreen are recommended. The visit on foot is pleasant and most advisable, but it can also be done by bicycle or tricitaxi.
It is advisable to take a tour like the one offered by Papaya Group, which guarantees you the best experience at this archaeological site.