The Ultimate Cancun to Coba Guide (2023): How to get there & Things to do

Planning to have a day trip from Cancun to Coba? You’re in the right place!

Taking a day trip from Cancun to Coba is an experience you do not want to miss.

Cancun is famous for its amazing beaches and great nightlife, but there is so much more to the area than that!

The Yucatan Peninsula has a rich history, dating back to the start of the Maya civilization around 2600 BC! 

A day trip to Coba is a great way to gain insight into this fascinating culture and see first-hand pieces of the civilization they built.

If you want to learn more about how to spend a day at Coba, keep reading for the ultimate guide to visiting there! 

Coba Aerial view

Cancun to Coba: At a glance

The Coba ruins are located about a 45-minute drive to the west of Tulum.

These ruins are different from some of the other famous Mayan ruins in the area, because the site is huge, and only a small portion of it has been excavated.

You can explore the site on wide walkways, surrounded by thick jungle and untouched ruins.

Coba is not just one site to visit, but instead is a  series of small settlements that are all connected and lead to Nohoch Mul- the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula!

Archeologists believe this area was inhabited by the ancient Mayan people from 100 BC until the Spanish arrived in the 16th century!

When you visit you can explore the site on your own, or pay for a guide who will teach you about the site and its history. 

👉🏻 How long is the drive from Cancun to Coba?

It takes around 2 and a half hours to drive from Cancun to Coba. The exact time will depend on where you are staying in Cancun, and if there is any traffic.

View of Coba Temple Xaibe surrounded by trees.
Xaibe Coba Temple

👉🏻 Is Coba Mexico worth visiting?

Yes! Coba is an amazing archeological site that is different from many of the other famous ruins.

Coba is surrounded by thick jungle, and only a small portion of the area has been cleaned up for visitors.

Unlike other, smaller ruins, Coba is a sprawling site with several different areas to check out.

You will see some small pyramids, ball courts, and of course, the famous Nohoch Mul pyramid. 

👉🏻 Is it safe to travel to Coba, Mexico?

Yes, it is safe to travel to Coba.

Getting there can feel like you are really going off the beaten path and into the jungle. The Coba ruins are located next to a small town that is built along a lagoon.

There you can stop for some food, or even spend a few relaxing days. 

Multum Ha with blue waters, view from the small bridge.
Cenote Multum Ha

How to get to Coba from Cancun: 4 options

You have four different options to get from Cancun to Coba. Here is a rundown of each option, so you can pick which is best for you. 

1. Drive from Cancun to Coba

Renting a car is a great way to visit Coba because it allows you to make your own schedule and explore the surrounding area. It is easy to drive from Cancun to Coba.

You will leave Cancun and head south towards Tulum, as you approach Tulum all you need to do is look for the signs to turn towards Coba.

The drive from Tulum to Coba takes about 45 minutes.

The ruins have a large parking lot, and when you finish exploring the ruins you can head to nearby cenotes or stop in the village for a meal. 

2. Bus from Cancun to Coba

You can use public transportation to get from Cancun to Coba. The public transportation in Mexico is safe and reliable.

To get to Coba from Cancun, first, you will need to take an ADO bus from Cancun to Tulum. These buses run several times an hour all day, but it is a good idea to get an early start to the ruins.

You can beat the head, and some of the crowds, when you go early.

To help you get to the ruins early, you could spend the night in Tulum the day before you plan to visit Coba.

From Tulum, you will take a Mayab bus to Coba. The first one leaves around 7 in the morning, and you will need to check the return bus schedule.

These schedules change often, so make sure to get an up-to-date schedule when you purchase your ticket. 

3. Taxi to Coba from Cancun

As you probably know, taxi drivers in Cancun will take you anywhere.

This means they will happily drive you all over the Yucatan Peninsula- but you will pay for it.

If you want to use a taxi, make sure to discuss the rate before you get into the taxi. 

Choo Ha Cenote stair entrance.
Cenote Choo Ha

4. Coba tours from Cancun 

Taking a day tour from Cancun to Coba is a great way to let someone else handle the logistics and let you enjoy the ruins.

You do not need to worry about schedules, driving, or directions when you book a day tour. And, most day tours include stops at other interesting sites in the area, such as cenotes, so you get to make the most of your day.

Here are some of the best tours from Cancun to Coba:

👍🏼 Day Trip To Tulum and Coba Ruins Including Cenote Swim and Lunch from Cancun

4.0 ⭐️ 510 Reviews

Visit two impressive archeological sites and learn about the ancient Maya.

This day trip tour includes transportation from your hotel, and the first site you will visit is the Tulum ruins.

You will admire these ruins overlooking the ocean. From there you will go to take a refreshing swim in Cenote Kuxtal before heading to Coba.

At both archeological sites, your guide will help you gain insight into this ancient civilization.

Your tour includes a buffet lunch and lasts about 11 hours. 

This tour was much better than expected. The tour guides were awesome and funny. Well organized and a full day well spent. a jam packed tour covering a lot of ground – 4 places in one day. Highly recommended.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ James_J, Jan 2023
Choo Ha Cenote with turquoise water.
Swim on one of the cenotes in Coba on this tour.

👍🏼 Private tour to Coba Ruins and Swim in Cenote

5.0 ⭐️ 55 Reviews

Let your private guide teach you about the fascinating history of Coba.

You will be picked up at your hotel and taken to Coba, where your guide will teach you about this ancient city and take a bike tour.

From there you will visit Cenotes Tamcach-Ha and Choo-Ha and get to swim in the refreshing water.

Before heading back to Cancun you will enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant.

This tour lasts between 7-8 hours. 

Dulce and Pasqual gave us a great day! The information was first rate, the attention to our needs was first class. Coba was great, the cenotes were refreshing and lunch was delicious. Would highly recommend!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Joana_D, May 2021
Turquoise water of Cenote Tancach Ha.
Cenote Tamcach Ha

👍🏼 4 in 1: Mayan Tour to Coba, Tulum, Cenote, Shopping, and Lunch from Cancun 

5.0 ⭐️ 11 Reviews

Make the most of your day and see top spots in the Yucatan Peninsula with this tour.

You will start your day by visiting the Tulum ruins where your guide will walk you through the site.

Next, you will visit Coba where you can admire the great Nohoch Mul pyramid and learn about Mayan culture.

Next, you will get the chance to go for a swim in Cenote El Gloria.

You will finish your tour with free time to explore the Quinta Avenida in Playa del Carmen.

This tour lasts about 12 hours and includes a buffet lunch. 

Our Tour guide Ronando was very helpful and Nice to me and my wife. We had a great lunch and the tour was full of historical facts of the area.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Thomas_C, Apr 2023
Nohoch Mul Pyramid surrounded by trees on a sunny day.
Visit Nohoch Mul pyramid on this tour.

Things to do in Coba

While many visitors take a day trip to visit the Coba ruins, you can also choose to spend a few days in the Coba village.

The village sits along the Coba lagoon and is a chill place to relax for a few days.

Whether you choose to spend a few days here or just want to make the most of your day in Coba, here are some things in the area you do not want to miss:

👉🏽 Visit Coba Archaeological Sites

No trip to this area would be complete without a visit to the Coba ruins.

Whether you want to explore the ruins on your own or pay extra for a guided tour, you will be happy you went there.

Guides can offer you knowledge and insight into the site that you will not get from a solo tour; however, either way will be a rewarding experience. 

👉🏽 Check out nearby Coba Cenotes

Coba has three amazing cenotes that you do not want to miss while you are in the area.

You have two options to visit the cenotes, you can visit them after you see the ruins, on the same day, or you can spend the night in Coba and make a day of visiting them.

The Coba cenotes are cave-style cenotes, which means that you will have to go underground in order to visit them.

There you will be treated to views of amazing rock formations and clear, fresh water to swim in. 

Cenote Choo Ha's garden and multiple signages.
Cenote Choo Ha Garden

👉🏽 Visit Punta Laguna

Punta Laguna is located 14 kilometers from Coba and sits near the border of Quintana Roo and the state of Yucatan.

The Punta Laguna Reserve is a protected area where you can take a guided hike through the jungle.

Your guide will help you appreciate the flora and fauna and teach you about the area.

Living in the protected area are several Maya communities, and you can purchase artesanias and local products, such as honey, from them.

In addition to the nature hike, you can go zip lining into a cenote, participate in an authentic Mayan ritual, and go for a canoe ride.

There are also ancient Mayan ruins on the site! 

Getting around the Coba Ruins

As mentioned already, the Coba ruins are not like the other famous ruins in the area.

Instead of being one site that you can quickly walk around, Coba includes several different sites.

These sites are separated by jungle paths, and you have several different ways to move from one to another:

✔️ Walking

The Coba ruins are big and the different structures are spread out, but it is not too huge to walk.

Since Coba is in the jungle, you can count on the trails having some shade- plus it is a beautiful area to walk around and explore. 

If you choose to walk the ruins, be prepared to get in a lot of steps.

You will want to get to the ruins early, they open at 9:00 am, to make sure you make it to all the sections you want to visit.

Even with the trees all around, it will be sunny by the middle of the day.

Make sure to pack a hat, sun protection, and drink plenty of water! 

Bike route in Coba surrounded by tall trees under a blue sky.
Bike route in Coba

✔️ Renting a bike

Renting a bike to explore Coba is a fun way to see the different sites.

The paths between the different areas are wide and in good enough condition to be safe for biking.

There are plenty of bikes to rent, and it is cheap- it will only cost you a few dollars for the day! 

✔️ Hire a bicitaxi

If biking is not your thing, and you don’t have the time, or desire, to walk around the ruins, you have a third option- hiring a bicitaxi.

Bicitaxis are actually tricycles, with two weeks and a seat on the front, with the driver steering and pedaling behind you.

For around $10 a ride, your driver will take you from the entrance to the main temple and back.

They do not go all over the site to different ruins though, if you want to do that you will need to walk or rent a regular bicycle.

Where to stay in Coba

Staying in Coba gives you time to explore nearby cenotes and take advantage of the relaxed atmosphere.

Here are our recommendations for where to stay in Coba:

🛏 LUXURY: Coqui Coqui

Exterior view of Coqui Coqui hotel.
Coqui Coqui

Enjoy a luxurious stay at the Coqui Coqui Papholchac Residence and Spa.

You will be in the middle of a beautiful jungle setting and the hotel offers you a swimming pool, terrace, and on-site restaurant to enjoy.

Guests love the beautiful setting, amazing service, and delicious food at the hotel. 

🛏 MID-RANGE: Aldea Coba An Escape Boutique Experience ️

Premium room with a garden view and access on the pool area.
Aldea Coba An Escape Boutique Experience – Photo © Expedia

Located just 2 kilometers from Coba, the Aldea Coba offers guests comfortable rooms with air conditioning and private bathrooms, and some rooms have garden views.

The hotel offers a concierge service and an outdoor swimming pool for guests to enjoy.

There is an onsite restaurant that serves delicious and beautifully presented meals.

Guests here love that they can comfortably relax after days exploring Coba.

🛏 BUDGET: Itza Coba

Itza Coba

Being on a budget does not mean you have to be uncomfortable.

Hotel Itza Coba offers guests the choice between a standard double room and a family room.

The rooms all have air conditioning, private bathrooms, and WIFI.

The hotel is conveniently located less than 1 kilometer from the Coba ruins and has an outdoor pool and garden for guests to enjoy.

This three-star hotel offers room service and your choice of breakfast. 

Cancun to Coba travel tips

You want to make your day at Coba one you will not forget- for all the right reasons.

A little bit of planning can help you have a great time exploring the ruins and learning about the ancient Maya.

Here are a few tips to make your visit great:

📌 Wear comfortable shoes. Regardless of how you want to explore Coba, you will be moving around a bunch and need to be comfortable. Start by wearing comfortable shoes- your feet will thank you for putting on tennis shoes instead of a flimsy pair of flip-flops. 

📌 Protect yourself from the sun. Yes, Coba is in the jungle, but you will not be able to completely escape the sun. Make sure to wear a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to avoid a painful burn. 

📌 Take plenty of water. You will want to make sure you always have plenty of water with you as you hike around Coba. Staying hydrated will help you enjoy your day- thankfully there are places you can buy water in Coba in case you run out!

📌 Plan your bathroom breaks. The only bathrooms at Coba are at the entrance, so go before you start hiking around the site. 

Best time to visit Coba

You can visit Coba all year round.

The weather is milder in the winter months of November to April, and there is a lower chance of rain.

In the summer months, the weather can be very hot and humid, and passing rain showers are common. The summer months have fewer visitors to the area.

So, if you want to experience Coba without crowds, the summer is the time to go- you will just need to brave the heat. 

Regardless of when you visit Coba during the year, the best time of the day to visit is early in the morning.

This gets you a head start before large tour groups arrive, and the temperature is the best.

Going early lets you enjoy the site before the heat of the afternoon creeps in.

Choo Ha cenote with blue waters.
Cenote Choo Ha

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Coba famous for?

Coba is famous for its Mayan ruins located in the jungle.

There you will find several small pyramids and excavated areas, in addition to the famous Nohoch Mul pyramid.

This pyramid is the tallest in the Yucatan Peninsula and stands 42 meters high!

How long does it take to visit the Coba ruins?

It depends on how you want to explore them!

If you decide to walk around the site, you could easily spend all day there- from when it opens at 9:00 am until when it closes at 4:00 pm.

Renting a bike will speed up your exploration.

Or, if you do not have a lot of time, you can use a bicitaxi that will take you from the entrance to the Nohoch Mul pyramid and back. 

Entrance of Cenote Choo Ha with a small pathway.
Cenote Choo Ha Entrance

Can you climb the pyramids in Coba?

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, you could climb the pyramids at Coba.

During the pandemic, the authorities restricted people from climbing up the pyramid due to Covid protocols and to preserve the ruins.

So far, they have not reopened the pyramid for climbing. 

Are the Coba ruins the same as Tulum?

No, these are two separate archeological sites that are very close to each other.

The Tulum ruins sit on the coast with great views of the ocean.

The Coba ruins are located just west of Tulum and are in the jungle. 

Do you need tickets for the Coba ruins?

Yes, you will need to pay the entry fee when you arrive at Coba.

It costs 100 pesos to enter the archeological site. 

How much does it cost to enter Coba?

It costs 100 pesos to enter Coba. 

Cave gping to Cenote Choo Ha.
Cenote Choo Ha

How long is the walk to Coba?

It is about 2 kilometers from the entrance of Coba to the Nohoch Mul site.

If you do not want to walk this far, you can pay for a taxibici to bike you to this area and back.

It costs less than $10 dollars for the ride. 

Can you do Tulum and Coba in one day? 

Yes, the two sites are located close to each other- only about a 45-minute drive apart.

If you get an early start in the morning, you can visit both in one day.

The easiest way to get between the two sites is to drive yourself or visit them both on a day tour. 

Entrance of Cenote Tancach Ha.
Cenote Tancach

Final Thoughts: Ultimate Cancun to Coba Guide

The Coba ruins are a great place to visit if you want to get out of Cancun, venture into the jungle, and learn about the history of the Mayan people.

Coba is different from many Mayan ruins that are found on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Coba is made up of several different areas for you to explore, including the famous Nohoch Mul pyramid.

Whether you have been to several of the ruins in the area or not, Coba should be at the top of your list of places to visit! 

About the Author

Hey there! This is Isabella, the owner, and writer of this site. I have been living in Cancun for the past 12 years and although I have been roaming around Mexico, Cancun’s spectacular turquoise waters and pristine beach draw me back to this popular Mexican beach destination. That is why I decided to start this blog, to show you all the beauty you can find in Cancun and share helpful travel tips to help you plan a fabulous vacation in Cancun!

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