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Coba – Climbing a Mayan Temple in the Jungle

Treacherous Climb up a Sacrificial Pyramid in the Jungle

Coba is an ancient Maya city on the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula dating back to 600AD.

It a 45 min drive from Tulum and a wonderful day trip into the jungle to discover more about the ancient Mayans & Toltecs. Unfortunately Coba doesn’t have the financial investment of Chichen Itza, the ruins haven’t been restored at all, they’ve simply removed a lot of the vegetation from some of the temples to allow visitors to see some of the marvellous sights.

We hired a local guide to tell us all about the history of the ruins & the Mayan/Toltec people, it was fascinating & again pretty gory. The Mayans were a peaceful people but the conquering Toltecs were a war-mongering lot who popularised human sacrifice.

The “piece de resistance” is the 42m high pyramid that they still amazingly allow tourists to climb ! 130 steps may not sound a lot but they are incredibly steep, uneven & slippery, there is one rope that goes up the middle which you can hold onto but there are SO many people messing around on the steps, taking selfies etc that Im not surprised there have been some serious accidents & deaths.


What do the Mexican Fire Service Charge to Rescue Old Women with Vertigo ??

ZZ & I were keen to climb to the top, it didn’t look too difficult (from the bottom), we had to go up on our hands & knees , the climb was slow and you had to concentrate on where to put your weight as the steps aren’t very deep. It wasn’t until we were 3/4 of the way up that ZZ turned round and said “Mama, I cant believe how high we are and how small everyone looks at the bottom.

I foolishly angled my head to look down and a wave of vertigo washed over me ! I was clinging to a slippery pyramid 30m off the ground and ZZ was scampering ahead of me, so there was NO option to quit.

When we got to the top, I was sweating from the heat & the panic but that was the easy bit ! Climbing down was one of the most difficult things Ive done as an adult with vertigo. I had to put on a brave face, encouraging ZZ that it was easy and completely safe when inside I was wondering how much the Mexican Fire Service would charge to come and rescue me in a helicopter 😉

I imagine in the near future Coba will follow the same route as the other Mayan temples and not permit climbing, avoiding accidents & the disgusting habit the tourists have of engraving their names on the old relics.

If you do go while its still allowed, the view from the top is incredible as it peeks out above the treetops so you can see for miles. NOT recommended for those with vertigo (speaking from my first hand experience)

Cost: $64 MX ($4 USD) kids under 12 go free

How NOT to climb a Mayan Temple

* I couldn’t resist taking this photo of the American chick in her diamonte flip flops, boob tube dress, full make up and selfie stick- She actually only climbed a couple of steps, at least she was sensible enough to appreciate the danger !  But she did spend a good 30 mins posing & pouting for her camera. Presumably to Instagram herself climbing the Temple 😉
Coba - Climbing a Mayan Temple in the Jungle
Coba – Climbing a Mayan Temple in the Jungle


  1. Gill O'Donovan
    November 25, 2015 at 9:31 am — Reply

    Great pics, Lara.

  2. Sacha
    November 25, 2015 at 11:27 pm — Reply

    I thought that was you?????

    • November 26, 2015 at 12:12 am — Reply

      unfortunately Im NOT the elegant chick in the boob tube dress 😉 I was the frumpy one in the climbing shoes, bumping down the pyramid on my bottom getting my shorts filthy ! In my next life I hope to be reincarnated as a glamour puss 🙂

  3. November 30, 2015 at 7:55 pm — Reply

    I have climbed that thing twice. TWICE. Both times it seemed like a good idea until I got to the top and had to face the terrifying climb back down. My kids scamper around on it like goats while I cling to every step. I have tried to convince someone that installing a zip line up there that runs all the way back to the entrance would be a great idea, but so far no luck.

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