Tips for Visiting Mayan Ruin Sites

Rent A Bicycle At Coba

At Coba, rent a bicycle. The main temple/pyramid is a long walk through the jungle and the bike ride will save you lots of energy. Many people think that the walk would be “nice” however if you climb to the top of the great pyramid then you will be tired and wished you had a bike to get back on.


Take water with you because many of the sites do not have a store.

Know Where You Are Going

Always stay on main paths. Never wander into the jungle thinking you may see something off the beaten path. At popular ruin sites there are usually lots of tourists and staff walking around but at some of the remote sites some times you could be the only people there.

If you get lost in the jungle it is difficult because often you cannot see the sun so it is extremely difficult to get your sense of direction. Paths crisscross into a maze that can take you deeper and deeper into dense uninhabited jungle.

Bring a working compass or GPS with you. A whistle can also be a good thing if you get lost or separated from your group.


It is better to wear hiking boots/shoes or running shoes instead of sandals. You get better traction climbing stuff and you do not want to fall down off a temple.


Make sure you bring extra film with you at each ruin site. Do not leave your film in the car because the trip back can be time consuming and extremely aggravating on a scorching hot day. Some times a small site that is only listed as a 2-hour visit may have many photographic possibilities while a larger site has less. Don’t forget to bring an extra battery.


Most sites do not have vending machines, stores or restaurants. If you want to eat you must bring your own food. Some sites have picnic tables for this.

The Sign Says

If the sign says to keep off, keep off. You can get kicked out of a site for disobeying the rules and if they have to call the police you will have much aggravation on your hands.

Best Time To Go

The earlier you visit a site the more wildlife you will see. Once the mid-day sun comes many animals seek the shade to cool down.


Some sites have passageways, rooms in temples and other interesting things that require mobile lighting.

Climbing Coba’s Great Pyramid

If you are afraid of heights then you should think twice about climbing to the top of this structure. Once you get up there you have to climb down, which is the hard part. Playa del Carmen If you hang around and sit at the top of the pyramid long enough you will see some pretty hysterical people. Some people get so terrified that they become paralyzed and cannot move. You see them hanging on to the temple at the top trembling with fear.

There is a rope that is attached to the top and runs down to the bottom but this rope is useless because it is flimsy and stretches. If more than one person is hanging on to the rope it sways in more than one direction. There really is no help for you to get down and if you have an accident then getting you out presents a logistics problem and you could be in trouble.

For some people climbing the pyramid is not a problem, in fact we race up and down the structures and have even come to the conclusion that the people who built these structures could possibly have had actual races, probably for children to run up and down the pyramids. It is a lot of fun and we cannot see why this form of competition would not have taken place.