9. Cancun: Coba Ruins Self-Guided Tour
Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map all in one.
Once downloaded, your walking tour of the Coba Ruins begins at the site’s entrance. As you enter and get your first look around, you’ll hear the story of how the astonishingly advanced Mayan civilization rose and fell. You’ll also hear some little-known facts about the unique trees found in these ruins, and the importance they once held in Mayan society.
The first major landmark you’ll see is a ball court. Unlike similar courts found at other sites, this one was likely used for ceremonial purposes, to depict a struggle between dark and light. Pretty high stakes for a ball game!
It’ll be hard to miss the next stop: it’s the imposing La Iglesia Pyramid. A close look will reveal some residue from the paint which once coated this entire pyramid. A little farther down the path is the Crossroads Pyramid, which presents an unexpected twist on the usual Mayan architectural style.
As you walk, you’ll notice a surprisingly-intact network of ancient roads criss-crossing the site. These white stone roads were actually hugely important to Mayan cities, and have a lot to say about life over a thousand years ago.
You’ll also encounter the Stelae—a type of large, rectangular stone with detailed designs carved into them. On your tour, you’ll uncover their meaning and why the Mayans created them in the first place.
The Pyramid of the Painted Lintel is your next major landmark. Bright colors once adorned this impressive limestone structure, and you can still find traces of those colors today.
As you pass a second ball court, you’ll learn all about the religious beliefs and practices of the ancient Mayans, as well as the infamous calendar by which they tracked the passage of years.
Finally, you’ll find yourself at the foot of the Nohoch Mul Pyramid, the second largest Mayan pyramid in the entire world. Even better, this is one of the last remaining pyramids you can actually climb! Scale the 120 steps and survey the Coba Ruins from a whole new perspective. Your tour concludes here.