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There is so much conflicting information on the web about how to visit the Coba Ruins. Can you still climb the Coba Ruins? Is there a collectivo to the Coba Ruins? How can you visit the Coba Ruins from Tulum (without a rental car or crazy expensive tour)?
Luckily, I have all the answers for ya right here.
Daniel and I did a day trip to the Coba Ruins and nearby cenotes and had an awesome time. Here’s a step by step guide on how to visit the Coba Ruins from Tulum without a car!
How to Visit the Coba Ruins Without a Car
First things first, how do you get there? There are plenty of options to visit the Coba Ruins no matter what budget or schedule you’re working with. Use the info below to visit the Coba Ruins from Tulum by collectivo, bus, or taxi on your trip.
How to Visit the Coba Ruins by Collectivo
The first thing that comes to mind is grabbing a collectivo on the street right? A lot of forums discussing how to visit the Coba Ruins mention a collectivo, but I couldn’t find any definitive information.
Well, there is a collectivo to the Coba Ruins from Tulum, but it’s probably not your best option. The collectivo is located on the corner of Tulum Ave (the main highway) and Calle Osiris Nte.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure about either the price or times that it runs. It was definitely there early in the morning around 7 am when we were headed to the bus station, and is easy to spot because it’s a large van with “Tulum – Coba” written on it.
The collectivo to the Coba Ruins is only a 5 minute walk from the bus station, so my advice is to just check it out on your way to the bus. If it’s there, jump on, if not, continue to the bus station. (And if you do try it out, please comment below with the info!)
How to Visit the Coba Ruins by Bus
Right now, the best option to get to the Coba Ruins from Tulum is by bus. I highly recommend getting the first bus out at 7:20 am to avoid the crowds.
This bus leaves from the Terminal Autobuses Tulum ADO station. The brand is Mayab, which is “second class” and just means it’s a little cheaper and slower. The cost for the one way ticket to the Coba Ruins (you’ll be on the Valladolid Route) is 50 pesos per person and the drive takes about an hour.
If you don’t want to get on the 7:20 am bus, there are more out about every hour. The only problem is the second class Mayab busses aren’t listed online.
Because of that, your best bet is to go to the ADO bus station (it’s near all the bars and restaurants in Tulum) and check out the time tables they have on the wall to find the best one for your schedule. You can also ask your hostel to call and ask for you.
Getting back to Tulum from the Coba Ruins by bus is similar. There’s a storefront selling ADO tickets right near the entrance to the parking lot for the ruins. Here they’ll tell you the schedule. There’s a first class bus back to Tulum from the ruins at 3:10 for 86 pesos per person. Or, you can wait until 5 pm or 7 pm for the second class Mayab bus.
How to Visit the Coba Ruins by Taxi
Don’t feel like dealing with buses and timetables? Then you can also visit to the Coba Ruins from Tulum by taxi. Obviously this is the most expensive option, but also the easiest. I know the taxis from Coba to Tulum have a set price of 450 pesos for the trip, so I assume the way out from Tulum to Coba should be a similar price. Of course, always try to negotiate!
How Much Does it Cost to Visit the Coba Ruins?
The entry fee for the Coba Ruins is 70 pesos per person. There’s also a “video” fee. If you want to bring in a go pro or shoot video, you’ll have to pay an extra 45 pesos for it. Luckily, photos are still free (for now).
It’s pretty weird, but I don’t really mind because the money is going to support the upkeep of the site.
When to Go to the Coba Ruins
Like I said above, GO EARLY! The ruins get pretty crowded, especially on the top of the pyramid. There’s not much space and of course everyone wants to climb it. If you want some time to snap a pic or enjoy the view in peace, you need to be at the ruins around opening time at 8 am.
The most magical part of the ruins is wandering the secluded tree lined walkways and exploring the different sites, imagining what life was like when it was a bustling Mayan city. Being packed in with 100 people while you do it is gonna ruin the experience a bit.
On our trip, we spent 8:30 to 11 am exploring the ruins, and when we left the lines to enter were long and it was a madhouse.
Can You Still Climb the Pyramid in the Coba Ruins?
First things first, yes, you can still climb the Coba pyramid. A lot of rumors say this ended in January 2018, but we just climbed it on January 20, 2018. It will probably eventually be closed off to tourists, but it isn’t yet.
The large Mayan pyramid is called Nohoch Mul, and is really impressive at 137 feet tall. Honestly it wasn’t too bad to climb (I did it in flip flops) and a little extra effort is so worth the amazing view of the surrounding jungle from the top.
My second favorite area of the Coba Ruins was the Grupo Macanxoc. It’s far down a green tunnel of trees which makes for a super peaceful walk, and is one of the most interesting sites there. The paths are super easy to follow to every part of the ruins, and it’s not difficult to see it all without a map or guide (although you can hire one at the entrance to tell you more about the site).
There are a bunch of different ways to explore the Coba Ruins: by foot, by bike, or by cart. We chose to explore by foot, but just be warned the site is massive. The Mayan pyramid you can climb, Nohoch Mul, is about 2 km from the entrance, and other parts of the park are even farther.
But, whats the rush? I’m glad we did it on foot, especially because we rented bikes later to visit the nearby cenotes.
If you do choose it rent a bike, the cost is 50 pesos per person. There are also bike carts, where you sit on the front and a man drives you around. These are 150 pesos for a 1 hour and 20 minute tour.
What To Pack For the Coba Ruins
When we visited the Coba Ruins we left our hostel in Tulum around 6:30 am and didn’t return until about 5. It was definitely a long day, so here’s everything I brought so I would be prepared:
- Small backpack (I love the daypack from my Osprey bag)
- Water bottles (either one large one or two small ones, especially if you go in the summer months)
- Snacks (always)
- I wore flip flops but there’s a lot of walking, climbing, and bike riding so you may want to consider hiking boots or sturdy shoes instead.
- Swimsuit to visit the nearby cenotes
- Camera or GoPro
- Cash for buses and the entrance fee
- Biodegradable sunscreen (buy it here or pick it up at Walmart in Playa del Carmen)
What To Do After Visiting the Coba Ruins
We were hungry when we left the Coba Ruins so we stopped for an early lunch. Little did I know I was about to eat one of the best meals I had in Mexico!
Definitely don’t miss the El Faisan restaurant in the parking lot of the Coba Ruins.
When you’re there order the poc-chuc, a traditional Mayan pork dish. It was honestly one of the most delicious pieces of pork I’ve ever had. I just pointed to a picture on the menu cause it looked good, and it totally blew me away. It was really flavorful and came with a bean dip, chips, guac, tortillas, and rice. Try it, you’ll love it.
After the ruins, it’s time to cool down at the nearby cenotes.
I had a lot of info to share on the best way to visit these, so I wrote a separate post. Read it here to learn how to combine the Coba Ruins with a swim in three refreshing cenotes to complete your day trip from Tulum!
The Coba Ruins offer stunning views and you can capture them like a pro with this 8-week travel photography course from Nomadic Matt. Or, stick around and check out the Mexico Guide where you’ll learn how to visit the Lake of 7 Colors, go swimming with the turtles in Akumal Beach, and more.