Chichen Itza vs Coba - 2nd try

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#1
Victoria BC
1,018 Posts
Joined Sep 2004
I don't know what happened to the first post, but it is blank ... go figure

Anyways, the question was has anyone been to both of these Mayan ruins. I've booked a trip to Chichen Itza, but have been told that Coba is better as you are still able to climb on the ruins, etc.

We are staying at an all inclusive so I don't have the ships clocks to be conscious of (sigh, I'm gonna miss my cruise this year).

Thanks for any feedback you can provide.
#2
North Carolina
4,122 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
I've been to both. I like Chichen Itza better. There are more structures and they are reconstructed more. Although I've climbed every structure at Chichen Itza, I've also been there when you could not climb anything. For me, not being able to climb the structures is not a deal breaker, and doesn't take away from my enjoyment of the history of the sites.

The only one I've climbed at Coba is the largest pyramid It's not as ornate as the largest pyramid at CI, but it is taller and the view is spectacular.

CI gives you Mayan and Toltec history. Coba I believe is purely Mayan. Coba is more spread out so you'll do more walking, or rent a pedicab. Cob a is a shorter drive. My first trip to Coba we were the only people walking around. It was us and some very large wild boars. They have made it very tourist friendly over the years.

You might check out the trip advisor Cancun forum. There are a few folks over there that can give some comparisons between the two sites.
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#3
Cozumel, Mexico
333 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Originally posted by winesfine
I don't know what happened to the first post, but it is blank ... go figure

Anyways, the question was has anyone been to both of these Mayan ruins. I've booked a trip to Chichen Itza, but have been told that Coba is better as you are still able to climb on the ruins, etc.

We are staying at an all inclusive so I don't have the ships clocks to be conscious of (sigh, I'm gonna miss my cruise this year).

Thanks for any feedback you can provide.
for your first visit to a Mayan archeological site, ChichenItza is a better choice, over there you can see more temples and imagine better the way of life of this old civilization, enjoy your first visit to ChicheItza, then you can go to Coba or Tulum as these sites are closer to Cancun and Playa Del Carmen and you can go on your own and hire a guide at the site.
#4
Coastal NC
3,244 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I have been to both and Chichen Itza is much larger, structural wise, than Coba. Coba was more spread out. Did a lot of walking before we came to the ruins. Seemed small after going to Chichen Itza and seeing it first. Also there are some really nice markets on the outside of the entrance to Chitza Itza. You can go out there and barter for better prices.
#5
Regina, Sk
228 Posts
Joined Nov 2003
I've been to both Chichen Itza and Coba (as well at Tulum and Xuntunatich). I would say that Chichen Itza is the best choice of any of them. A lot of different type of ruins, some restored some not. You can't go wrong with this choice!

hova
#6
Central Coast of California
3,973 Posts
Joined Jul 2005
Originally posted by winesfine
I don't know what happened to the first post, but it is blank ... go figure

Anyways, the question was has anyone been to both of these Mayan ruins. I've booked a trip to Chichen Itza, but have been told that Coba is better as you are still able to climb on the ruins, etc.

We are staying at an all inclusive so I don't have the ships clocks to be conscious of (sigh, I'm gonna miss my cruise this year).

Thanks for any feedback you can provide.
When are you headed to Playa del Carmen area??? Wea re doing an all-inclusive in September....We are doing the CI tour through a private guide as well....if you go before me...please post a review or e-mail is [email protected]

Angela from California
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#7
Spokane, WA
326 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Just returned from Carnival's Coba excursion last week, and I have been to Chechen Itza (?spell) in '90s. There's no question that artitectual beauty, restoration/preservation are much better at Chechen Itza. Its place on the New 7 Wonders of the World list is justified. Coba is in much worse condition, climbing the main Pyramid is intersting (and physical demanding), btw Coba, located inland is only a few degree north of equator; therefore, a furnace. I'd say Chechen Itza is like Yellow Stone National Park, while Coba is akin to a Wyoming State Park.
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#8
Sacramento, CA
75 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
You should probably go over to tripadvisor.com which is for vacations/hotels/etc.


Originally posted by winesfine
I don't know what happened to the first post, but it is blank ... go figure

Anyways, the question was has anyone been to both of these Mayan ruins. I've booked a trip to Chichen Itza, but have been told that Coba is better as you are still able to climb on the ruins, etc.

We are staying at an all inclusive so I don't have the ships clocks to be conscious of (sigh, I'm gonna miss my cruise this year).

Thanks for any feedback you can provide.
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#9
Chicago, IL
114 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
I've been to both. Chichen Itza is more beautiful but to be able to climb the pyramid in Coba was worth it. You are above the trees and can see for miles. Coba is huge and in the jungle, not as excavated as Chichen Itza so you get a feel of what the ruins looked like when they were discovered. Part of Coba you can either ride a bike or guides take you on a rickshaw (pulled a cart with you in it while guide was on the bike) because it it so big. Coba was way less crowded.
#10
Philadelphia area
600 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by SpokaneDan
Just returned from Carnival's Coba excursion last week, and I have been to Chechen Itza (?spell) in '90s. There's no question that artitectual beauty, restoration/preservation are much better at Chechen Itza. Its place on the New 7 Wonders of the World list is justified. Coba is in much worse condition, climbing the main Pyramid is intersting (and physical demanding), btw Coba, located inland is only a few degree north of equator; therefore, a furnace. I'd say Chechen Itza is like Yellow Stone National Park, while Coba is akin to a Wyoming State Park.
I agree with ‘Dan that Chichen Itza is a world class, and that Coba is a secondary site. Chichen Itza is more developed, more touristy, more well know, more reconsolidated, etc. It is simply the most (or second) most famous Mayan site.

But Coba should not be dismissed. For many people Coba might be preferred. Coba is not in “worse shape”. Coba simply has not been excavated and consolidated (i.e., reconstructed by archeologists) as other sites. It is overgrown. If you or your kids like Indiana Jones type adventure in real ruins, then Coba is definitely much more suitable than Chichen Itza. Kids can run around a lot more in Coba than in Chichen Itza. You can climb more structures than in Chichen Itza.

Coba is not “only a few degree north of equator”. Coba is 20° 29’ north of the equator, which is essentially the same as Chichen Itza, which is at 20°41’N. (A bus from Cancun is NOT going to drive you thousands of miles to within a few degrees of equator someplace in South America for a day trip). But Dan is correct that Coba can be hot. Both of the sites are very hot. But, if you are worried about the heat, then Coba is definitely preferred, because in Coba you almost always are walking under a jungle canopy, whereas in Chichen Itza, most of the time you are walking in the grassy plazas with the sun beating down at you.
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#11
Nebraska
947 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
Looking for a little intel here. We are cruising in February and will port in Cancun. We have 10 hours in port. My husband really wants to rent a car and drive to Chichen Itza for a couple hours. Just wondering if anyone has done this and if there are any problems with time, road, safety, etc.

Thanks for any help
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#12
North Carolina
4,122 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Originally posted by gtojr
Looking for a little intel here. We are cruising in February and will port in Cancun. We have 10 hours in port. My husband really wants to rent a car and drive to Chichen Itza for a couple hours. Just wondering if anyone has done this and if there are any problems with time, road, safety, etc.

Thanks for any help
Are you sure your port if call is Cancun? Cruise ships haven't been calling on Cancun for a very long time.
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#13
South Carolina
439 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
We have done Chichen Itza, Tulum, and Coba. We just did Coba this month. Coba was fun in the fact that you can still climb the largest pyramid. It is a long climb and I wouldn't suggest it unless you are in good shape. I saw a lot of people having some trouble. The view from the top is spectacular and worth the climb. Other that that there are only a few other ruins there. Chichen Itza has a lot more to see and when I was there you could climb the pyramid but I have heard that you can't anymore. If you are really interested in the ruins and the history I would go for Chichen Itza. However you can do an adventure tour that includes ziplining, repealing, kayaking, and swimming in a cenote before you get to the ruins. We did that with Coba and I think you can do it with all of them.
This is the big pyramid at Coba

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#14
Stuart, Florida
83 Posts
Joined Apr 2013
Originally posted by gtojr
Looking for a little intel here. We are cruising in February and will port in Cancun. We have 10 hours in port. My husband really wants to rent a car and drive to Chichen Itza for a couple hours. Just wondering if anyone has done this and if there are any problems with time, road, safety, etc.

Thanks for any help
We drove from Cancun to Chichen Itza about 10 years ago, there was an excellent highway between the two, it was nearly completely devoid of any traffic, but a little pricey, as I recall. It runs adjacent to local roads which are free, but much slower. But, as I recall, it's a pretty good hike between the two, maybe a little far for so little time? I'm sure you can figure that part out. We stayed at Mayaland, it is an incredible place adjacent to the ruins. When we first went to Chichen Itza on a previous trip (an excursion from Cozumel), I only went because my wife made me. I left the ruin site with my jaw hanging, with the thought "we're coming back here!" Definitely go if you can.
#15
Salvador (Bahia, Brazil)/Boston
1,453 Posts
Joined May 2009
I really prefer driving, but in your case I might opt for a bus tour. It is 2 hours on the toll road to Valladolid from Cancun, and a further distance (maybe almost an hour?) to Chichen Itza. For Coba, you'd have to go down the 307 through Tulum, which is almost 2 hours, and then up to Coba. I like them both, but for different reasons. If I just had to do one ruin in that area, I'd probably opt for the smaller site at Ek Balam (also near Valladolid and with a pyramid to climb) and also go to a cenote to swim. Or combine a more minor, but amazingly sited, ruin in Tulum with a swim at the spectacular beach there.