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Coba | Exploring Mayan Culture

There’s a Mayan legend that says that when the gods were creating man, they attempted the creation with different materials until reaching the one that worked. At first, this man was built out of wood, but he was too cold and could not love.

The gods then tried clay, but with the rain, the man disappeared. So then the gods finally built man out of corn. And so he was able to hunt, eat, but most importantly love.

On our way to the Mayan Ruins in Coba with Mayan Express, our tour guide explained this and several other Mayan legends that prepared us to explore Coba.

This impressive archeological site sits in the middle of two lagoons and in the midst of a luscious jungle. Coba forms part of an intricate road system known as sacbe (plural sacbeob).

The largest pyramid on site is Nohoch Mul measuring 138 feet in height, making it the tallest in the Yucatan. Standing on top of the large pyramid, you can observe the Yucatan jungle extending over 80 km2. The Coba Mayan Ruins is one of the most important archeological sites in the Yucatan Peninsula. An estimated 6,000 structures remain buried under centuries of thick jungle.

During the Classic Mayan period, the city was an important contribution to the economy at the time and played an important role even post-Classic Period. Today, the city of Coba is home to approximately 1,167 residents. Two of these are Jorge and Paco.

Jorge and Paco live here and work with the Mayan Express tours learning pottery techniques to preserve their culture. The figurines are then available to visitors as souvenirs. With this, the two young boys and the community are able to preserve the Mayan tradition and culture as well as contribute to the sustainability of their communities.

With this idea in mind, a group of local musicians also form part of this sustainability. The local group are the performers who delight visitors with an authentic Mayan show. As the last rays of sunlight hit, we descend into a dark pit that symbolizes the underworld. The Mayan show is a close replica of a “juego de pelota” or ball game which the Mayans believe has to be as close to the underworld as possible.

This fascinating civilization has left us with their great treasures of legends and mysticism. The Mayan Ruins of Coba form part of these treasures waiting to be uncovered. It is a must while visiting the Yucatan Peninsula.

What do you think it’s another Riviera Maya must-see?

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