Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Adventures in Cobá

The boys were itching to see some Mayan ruins, so we took them on a day trip to Cobá, which is thought to have been the largest of all the ancient Mayan cities. The ruins here are not as extensively restored as Tulum or Chichen Itza, but they are much less crowded and you can still climb the big pyramid. The kids were really excited by this.

It took about an hour to drive there from Akumal, along a well maintained highway. We passed through a number of interesting villages along the way, although we didn't have time to stop.

The name Cobá means "waters stirred by the wind". It is situated adjacent four natural lakes, which is very unusual in the Yucatan. This year, the wettest in 75 years, the waters are really being stirred by the wind. There has been so much rainfall that there is some pretty significant flooding at the site, which is right in the middle of the town. These pictures were taken from the ticket kiosk.

There were washouts in the road that were blocked off and partially repaired, water across the road that we had to drive through (holding our breath that we wouldn't hit some giant underwater pothole or be so submerged that the car would stall), but the town appeared to be going merrily along with daily life. They built walkways out of cinder blocks and some people had small boats tethered to their houses.

While the Cobá site is huge, containing an estimated 6500 buildings, few of them have been restored. As you walk along the pathways inside the site, everywhere you look you can see structures covered by jungle growth.

And many of the structures are only partially excavated. It lends to the overgrown lost-in-the-jungle charm. 

We hired a guide to lead us through the group of structures nearest the entrance. He was amazing with the kids, directing the tour mainly towards them. He was so good, he even managed to keep Cal engaged for 45 minutes - which many not seem long, but is almost unheard of for that kid!

The highlight of the ruins was definitely Nohoch Mul, which means "big mound". This pyramid is 42 meters (138 ft) high, which makes it higher than El Castillo, the main pyramid in Chichen Itza. Only one side of Nohoch Mul has been cleared of vegetation, which makes it seem rather wild and very unlike the perfectly reconstructed structures at Chichen Itza.

It was soooo hot climbing this thing in the blazing sun. The boys scrambled up it like billy goats, but Alan and I were considerably slower and more cautious. The steps were uneven and some were slippery, worn smooth by so many feet climbing. Honestly, the kids almost gave me a heart attack the way they attacked it.

We were all sweaty and out of breath by the time we reached the top, but the view was well worth it.

There was jungle as far as the eye can see. Off in the distance you can see the top of a pyramid peeking through the trees, and can just catch a glimpse of one of the lakes.

I learned an in interesting fact at the top of the 138 foot high, 120 step pyramid.

My firstborn doesn't like heights.

I have to admit that it was a little disconcerting standing at the top pondering how best to descend. Look how tiny those people at the bottom are - it was a long way down.

Cal and I scuttled back down on our bums, lowering ourselves one step at a time. It wasn't very graceful, but was much less nerve-wracking than trying to walk down. Alan bravely recklessly walked down as if he was descending a normal staircase. He didn't even hold on to the rope!

Thankfully, there was a small palapa at the bottom selling food and drinks where we stopped for a snack and a rest.

At this point the boys were overheated and started to lose interest, so we decided to ditch the third Groupo and head back the entry. There was still plenty to see along the way.

We finished it all off with a trip into town for a late lunch. We found an amazing little restaurant, and shared some delicious fish tacos, empanadas, quesadillas and queso fundido. Thankfully we have kids who aren't afraid to try new things. Unless, of course, it has too many vegetables in it.

After lunch we headed off on a trip to an amazing ceynote to cool off. But that's a story for another day.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...