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