Cobá Mayan Ruins

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(This entry is part 6 of 6 from our vacation in the Western Caribbean & Florida.
View the other entries here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5)

This year, the Maya calendar goes into it’s 14th cycle (b’ak’tun) on December 21st.  It’s also the day Doomsday theorists are trying to cash in on….   So we thought it’d be pertinent to visit the ruins of Cobá while we had the opportunity.

Nohoch Mul, Cobá Mayan ruins pyramid in Quintana Roo, Mexico
In front of Nohoch Mul [View enlarged image]

Our cruise ship, Freedom of the Seas, docked at the island of Cozumel, Mexico.  When we arrived in Cozumel, we had to ferry out to the mainland since the Cobá ruins are in Quintana Roo.

Coast of Cozumel, Mexico

Puerto De Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
We arrived at the port of Puerto De Playa Del Carmen & from there took an hour long bus ride to the ruins. Unlike our Jamaica ride, this bus ride was much more comfortable & our 2 tour guides were excellent.

Shack selling coconuts and tacos in Mexico
We passed through many remote, rural areas that reminded me of the Philippines again.  Except for the whole TACOS thing…

Map of Coba Mayan ruins in Quintana Roo, Mexico
Here is a map of what has been excavated at the Cobá site, which was nearly untouched until about the 1970’s.

According to our tour guide, only about 20% has been excavated. I’ve read that there are about 6,000 estimated sites. There many ruins along the paths to the main sites that have been overrun by the jungle & have yet to be excavated due to lack of funds.

Mayan jungle near Coba ruins in Quintana Roo, Mexico
If these trees could talk, I wonder what stories they’d tell about the people who were there in 600 AD.

Bike rental shack near near Coba ruins in Quintana Roo, Mexico
Bike rentals & “limo” transportation for those who find the really short hike too much of an exertion…

Jungle of Coba ruins in Quintana Roo, Mexico
Such a beautiful jungle.

Jungle of Coba ruins in Quintana Roo, Mexico

Coba ruins in Quintana Roo, Mexico

Shed resting area near Coba ruins in Quintana Roo, Mexico

Coba ruins in Quintana Roo, Mexico

Ruins of stone court for Mayan soccer ball pok ta pok game, Coba, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Stone court of where pok-ta-pok was played –sort of a Mesoamerican soccer game which ended in human sacrifice.

stone skull at Coba ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico

statue Hieroglyphs Petroglyphs at Coba ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Leonids at Ruins of stone court for Mayan soccer ball pok ta pok game, Coba, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Stelae Hieroglyphs Petroglyphs at Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico
This is a Stelae (stone slab of Mayan hieroglyphs)

Nohoch Mul Coba Maya Ruins pyramid, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Nohoch Mul [View enlarged image]

Nohoch Mul is one of the very few, if only, Mayan ruins in which they allow visitors to climb to the top. It’s 42 meters (138 feet) tall & is the largest pyramid in the Yucatan peninsula. Despite that, it’s one of the lesser visited sites, which is one of the reasons why we chose Cobá instead of the Tulum ruins. Plus, how many people can say that they stood atop of a Mayan pyramid & saw a similar view of what Mayan Priests saw over 1500 years ago?

Leonids hiking up Nohoch Mul Coba Maya Ruins pyramid, Quintana Roo, Mexico
There is a rope that runs down the middle of the pyramid to help visitors up (nobody wants to become a human sacrifice if you tumble down).

View down Nohoch Mul Coba Maya Ruins pyrmaid, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Leonids surrounded by jungle at top of Nohoch Mul Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico
We made it to the top! Check out the miles of jungle behind us.

Leonids surrounded by Maya jungle at top of Nohoch Mul Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Leonids surrounded by Maya jungle at top of Nohoch Mul Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Leonids at top of Nohoch Mul Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico
In front of the temple for the Descending God at the top of Nohoch Mu. This entrance is blocked off.

Leonids sitting on stairs of Nohoch Mul Coba Maya Ruins pyramid, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Leonids on stairs of Nohoch Mul Coba Maya Ruins pyramid, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Leonids on stairs of Nohoch Mul Coba Maya Ruins pyramid, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Hieroglyphs Petroglyphs at Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Drawing of Hieroglyphs Petroglyphs at Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico
No idea what this says….

Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Coba Maya Ruins, Quintana Roo, Mexico
In front of the Iglesia pyramid

Our tour included lunch at Alux, a Mayan restaurant within the depths of a cavern. We had the privilege of watching a private Mayan fire dance.

Alux restaurant, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Underground entrance path to Alux restaurant, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Entrance down into the cave / restaurant

Traditional Mayan dancer costume warrior in Alux restaurant, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Alux restaurant, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Inside the restaurant [View enlarged panorama]

Traditional Mayan ceremonial fire dance in Alux restaurant, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Traditional Mayan ceremonial fire dance in Alux restaurant, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Traditional Mayan dancers in Alux restaurant, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

This was an amazing experience overall, especially considering all of the history in that area! We were even able to get our names & our wedding date inscribed in Mayan hieroglyphs to take home as a souvenir (this is one that our guide told us about).

Monkey towel, Royal Caribbean, Freedom of the Seas cruise
Monkey awaiting us after our excursion!

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