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Chichen Itza vs Coba: the final guide

21 July, 2016

Mexico is a country known worldwide for very representative symbols. We can recognize Mexico quickly when it comes to their music, cuisine, traditions, and culture. One of the things that make us recognize Mexico immediately is talking about the culture, foods, dress and archaeological sites.

Moreover, in the Yucatan peninsula, one of the cradles of the Mayan culture, highlights the sites of Tulum, Ek Balam, Coba and Chichen Itza. This time, we will explore the main features of the largest ones: Coba and Chichen Itza.

These sites attract a large number of tourists every year. And what could be better than the opinion of these travelers to get to know the experience of visiting these iconic sites from the inside? Some comments and opinions have been collected here in the guide “Coba vs Chichén Itzá“:


 CHICHEN ITZA, MEXICO - MARCH 21,2014 Tourists watching the feathered serpent crawling down the temple (Equinox March 21 2014) Coba Maya Encounter3

Chichen Itza


Breathtaking view

One of the most important features of Chichén Itzá is its breathtaking view. The presence of nature and ancient buildings is very valued by tourists from all over the world.


Incredible place surrounded by nature. To those who love the ancient world, it is a must visit destination. There is mysticism hiding in its walls, where excellent guides will tell you all the stories of this beautiful place”.

An extraordinary experience… a beautiful place that makes you feel the roots. It is a privilege being in one of the new wonders of the world. They should concentrate the gift sellers in a little square, and clear the space to admire the beauty of this place.

The highest pyramid

Cobá is a unique place because it has the highest pyramid in the Yucatan peninsula, which can be climbed to reach the top. The view of the Mayan jungle is simply amazing.


The highest pyramid in Riviera Maya. You can still climb up to the top. It is mandatory to do so in order to see the majestic monument and the jungle”.

“You will be allowed to get to the top of the pyramid and watch a great 360 view of the surrounding jungle. Bare in mind that the climbing is not suitable for people with fear of heights. It is a bit tough and coming down is tougher. We visited with the kids and had no problems (they didn’t get to the top, though).

Showing up early

Keep in mind that this site is one of the most famous in the world. Therefore, many people visit it during the year. Surely, when you visit Chichen Itza there will be several companions.


We recommend you arrive at 9 am, as soon as the place opens. That way, you can do sightseeing earlier and the sun is less strong at that time. And, you will avoid long queues better enjoying the experience.

It is definitely a wonder of the world, I recommend you go comfortable, using sunscreen, a cap if possible. You’ll have to walk more than 2 hours to get to know the whole place and its history. I definitely recommend visiting it. If you go to Merida you can’t miss this”.

A quieter Mayan site

Being somewhere a little less known than Chichén Itzá and being a little further away from major centers, there is no big tourist flow as Chichen. However, more and more people decide to visit this Mayan site every year.


“They say this is a mystical place and that goes without saying, I strongly recommend you carry some bottles of water, comfortable shoes, a cap, sunglasses and going to a cenote afterwards. They are very refreshing

“The day we visited it, it was very quiet, it was raining a bit that’s why there weren’t lots of people. We kind of had the whole place for ourselves. Going to Coba while it rains makes it much more special, no complications. The best part was when we reached the top of the pyramid

Well-preserved buildings

Chichén Itzá is always at constant care. The buildings are kept well preserved and maintained. Also, it is noteworthy to mention its magnitude, as you will find various structures to visit.


Totally worth it, you’ll find well-preserved structures and great guides. The central pyramid is spectacular, as it is the ball game court. There are so many people sometimes.

No doubt Chichen Itza is one of the most interesting sites of Mexico. It has so many attractions that a “quick visit” takes tow hours. If possible, it is very worth it to hire a guide that will explain you the complexities and characteristics of the Mayan culture”.

Original buildings

The site structures of Cobá are very different from those of Chichen Itza. They have their charm and they are almost in the same conditions as when they were found, retaining its essence intact. Touring the site on a bike is highly recommended.


The site is not as the one in Chichen Itza, but it has its charm. Inside the park, you can rent a bike and it takes almost 2 hours to tour the place. It is very hot so carry a lot of water. I think they are the only Mayan site at which you can climb to the pyramid, from the top you can see the woods, the lake and so much more. Near the Mayan site, there are some beautiful cenotes”.

The site of Coba is submerged on the middle of the jungle. If you want to visit it in an unconventional way, rent a bike or a tricycle. They’ll help you get one at the entrance”.


This archaeological site is located in the state of Yucatan north of the Yucatan Peninsula. Its location from the city of Cancun is approximately 2.5 hours or 196 km. It also has to do with the time when you visit it since according to it the sunset plays an important role.


Chichen Itza is 3 hours away from de Playa del Carmen where we were staying at. But no doubt the trip compensates it. I recommend a little stop to stretch the legs and that’s it.

“For those who have the luck of going this time of the year, we advise you to get there at the afternoon, right at the equinox. Those days, pyramid alignment at sunset makes an effect of lights and shadows produced by the sun. You can see the feathered snake, the Mayan god Kukulkán, coming down the pyramid wall, from the world to the underworld. Just spectacular


Coba is closer to Tulum and Riviera Maya, therefore it is also closer to Playa del Carmen although further from Cancun (132 km). Anyway, distances are close enough to visit the site in one day.


It is located at almost 50 km from Tulum, it is worth to visit Coba for being an archaeological area with different architecture examples of the Mayan culture.

Sun and Shades

Note that the site of Chichen Itza does not have much shade so it is important to be protected against sunlight and be hydrated at all times.


The place is amazing. The heat, the sellers, the little shade and overpriced drinks are totally worth it. You can tour the place by foot with no problems. It is all worth it: the Observatory, the sacred Cenote Sagrado, the pyramid… it is really great to see an amazing culture. Some advice: it is hard for the elders and little kids. Bring a cap, an umbrella (really hot in July), water (lots!), sunscreen, be in good shape, you’ll be walking a long distance

Sun and Shades

By contrast, the site of Cobá, being located in the Mayan jungle, you will have the shade of the trees to appease the heat. This is very appreciated by tourists as the weather on the Riviera Maya tends to be hot.


Coba it is located in the middle of the Mayan jungle, it has a lake some nearby cenotes, the archaeological are is wide but you can walk it down with the family. The trails are surrounded with trees, which provides lots of shades. Don’t miss the Mayan communities, it is like travelling back to time. Hope you enjoy it!!!!



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