Coba ruins are located about 40 minutes south west of Tulum. The site itself is located around two lagoons. A series of elevated stone and plaster roads radiate from the central site to various smaller sites near and far. These are known by the Maya term sacbe (plural sacbeob). Some of these causeways go east and the longest runs over 100 kilometers (62 mi) westwards to the site of Yaxuna. The site contains several large temple pyramids, the tallest, in what is known as the Nohoch Mul group of structures, being some 42 metres (138 ft) in height. Ixmoja, at Coba, is the tallest pyramid on the Yucatan peninsula. On a clear day Ixmoja can be seen from the top of the main pyramid, the Acropolis at Ek Balam. It is believed smoke signals were used atop of these two pyramids for communication between the two cities.
Coba is estimated to have had some 50,000 inhabitants (and possibly significantly more) at its peak of civilization, and the built up area extends over some 80 km2. The site was occupied by a sizable agricultural population by the 1st century. The bulk of Coba's major construction seems to have been made in the middle and late Classic period, about 500 to 900, with most of the dated hieroglyphic inscriptions from the 7th century. However, Coba remained an important site in the Post-Classic era and new temples were built and old ones kept in repair until at least the 14th century, possibly as late as the arrival of the Spanish.
Coba traded extensively with other Mayan communities, particularly the ones further south along the Caribbean coast in what is now Belize and Honduras. It utilized the ports of Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Tankah, Muyil, and Tulum.
This is a wonderful site with a lot of shaded walking/bike (rental) paths. Again, try to arrive early, hire a guide. Spend the later afternoon cooling of in one of the area cenotes or area beaches on the way back home.
Located in the north of the Yucatan Peninsula are the ruins of Chichen Itza are an expansive pre-Columbian archaeological site built by the Maya civilization. The drive is about 3 hours away from Puerto Aventuras, Playa del Carmen or Akumal. Chichen Itza means "At the mouth of the well of the Itza" in Maya , which was probably a reference to the two large, natural sink holes, called cenotes, that could have provided plentiful water year round at Chichen, making it attractive for settlement. This derives from chi', meaning "mouth" or "edge", and ch'en orch'e'en, meaning "well." Itza is the name of an ethnic-lineage group that gained political and economic dominance of the northern peninsula The most popular cenote for visitors is the "Cenote of Sacrifice", which would draw worshipers of the Maya rain god Chaac.
The site contains many buildings in various states of preservation; including temples, palaces, stages, markets, baths, and ballcourts. Dominating the center of Chichen is the Temple of Kukulcan (the plumed serpent god), often referred to as "El Castillo" (the castle). On the Spring and Fall equinox, at the rising and setting of the sun, the corner of the structure casts a shadow in the shape of a plumed serpent along the side of the North staircase.
We advise arriving there as early as possible as tour buses come in around 10:30 or so and the afternoon sun can be quite strong.
Tulum ruins are located about 25 kilometers South of Akumal and is one of the most visited arquelogical site in the region, due in part to its proximity to Cancun. Tulum is the site of a Pre-Colombian Mayan walled city serving as a major port for Coba. The ruins are situated on 12-meter (39 ft.) tall cliffs, along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea.
Tulum was one of the last cities inhabited and built by the Mayas; it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to have been the cause of its demise. One of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites, Tulum is today a popular site for tourists. The ruins also have a gorgeous beach area where visitors can cool off in the ocean.
Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is filled with amazing locations, wildlife and activities for all types of adventurers, couples and families. Below are links to resources and more information to help make your vacation a fun and wonderful experience.