Tulum Coba From Holbox

From $ 145.00 USD p/p

Book now  
  • Holbox Adventure!
    Archaeological tour
  • 3 person minimum
  • 12 hours tour
  • Tuesday & Thursday
  • Reviews

What's included

  • Round trip Transfer from your hotel in Holbox.
  • Air conditioned Vans.
  • Certified guide at the ruins.
  • Visit to One Cenote.
  • Lunch Buffet Traditional Food.
  • Entrance to the ruins of Tulum & Coba.
  • Duration 12 hours.
  • Price: $ 145.00 USD per person
  • Minimum 3 Person.


The Tour Tulum Coba from Isla Holbox, is a fascinating guided tour, in which you will visit the majestic ruins of Tulum, one of the Mayan ruins considered the most beautiful Mayan Ruins, its located facing the Caribbean sea.

After a guided in Tulum Ruins he ruins of ride Tulum headed to a small cenote to cool off before going to visit the Mayan ruins of Coba, this tour departs from Isla Holbox.

Tuesday & Thursday.  


The origin of its name.

From  XVI century the site it´s been known as “Zamá”,  it is  possible that it refers to the word in Maya that means ¨tomorrow, wich it makes sense since this place is located on the highest zone of this coast, where it is possible to contemplate the sunrise as a magical spectacle.

The name Tulum, must be given recently. The Word that in Mayan means ¨wall¨ is a clear allusion to the Wall that stills inside the ruins, this denomination seems to had been used to refer to the city whenever this one was already found into ruins. El sitio era nombrado Tulum during XIX century, when Stephens y Catherwood “rediscover” the place completely abandoned, it was just before the beggining of the rebellion known as ¨Guerra de Castas (1847).

Tulum is one of the oldest american places that it`s been registered on the occidental world. In 1518, the Spanish conquer Juan Díaz had said that he had seen a city ¨as big as Sevilla¨ , with a tower that without a doubt it was The Castle of Tulum, place that was at that time occupied by an independent mayan leadership and its people.

Its importance.

 Tulum is the best and the most known example of the oriental coast style, name that is used to decribe the architectural type of all the mayan buildings that were constructed on the north coast of Quintana Roo between 1200 and 1550 n.e. Its structures, particularly  “El Castillo” and the “Templo de los Frescos”, they are famous because of its good condition their high quality of its walls paints that they still conserve on the inside of them both.

Bacause is the most highly studied, not only in its architectural aspect but in its ethnohistorical aspect also, the visit to Tulum is fundamental to understand the life and its costumes of the mayan that lived during the postclassic period in Quintana Roo.

The buildings that nowadays are visible in Tulum they belong totally to the last period of prehispanico occupation in the Yucatan península.

Archeological studies that have been published during the past years indicate that there exist evidence to assure that Tulum would had been one of the main mayan cities from XIII and XIV century.

The investigator Ernesto Vargas had pointed the strategic location between the provinces (kuchkabaloob) of Cochuah and Cozumel, wich added to a location on the highest region and its efficient defensive system,

It became in unavoidable settlement for every commercial route and for the exploitation of the very rich marines porducts of the all Quintana Roo Coast. According to this author, Tulum had politicly worked as an independent settlement together with others provinces, until the spanish arriving in XVI century, when it was definitely abandoned.

Also, Tulum is the most known and published site from Quintana Roo, no one traveling around the Riviera Maya should miss the opportunity to get to know this place. Even though Tulum is mostly known because of the beauty of its beaches, the urban design, the Wall and the walls paints are an unavoidable attraction of the acheological zone.

 Site description.

 At the moment we face the old prehispanico settlement, the visitor will be able to see the buildings that were the most memorable(ceremonial and political) in the city at that momment, it is delimitated by the most known Wall in the mayan world. Around, in an area for its own protection it cannot be visited in these days, there were such a big number of houses made of Wood and coconut tree`s leaves, wich of there still a few evidences of it.

The Tulum Wall delimits the main assembly by its sides north, south and west, since the east side is in direction to the caribbean sea.

The site has fives access and two observation towers, wich tell us about the high control that at that moment they used to have on whoever might pretend to approach to the zone..

In the central area of this site are located the main buildings, delimitated by a second interior Wall; a big part of these buildings had a ceremonial type of functions. The castle is the most famous because of its size, location and its singular facade of its superior temple,

We have to mention the current look of the Castle is the result of several contructives stages, the most recent it is represented by two litte temples located on the sides of the main stair. The front of the Castle there is a platform, possible for the dancers, and on the side other buildings that complement the whole set, one of the most relevant is the”Templo de la Serie Inicial” wich means temple of the beggining season, where the most early age that has been documented in Tulum  was found : 564 a.C.

On the North we find “El Templo del Dios Descendente”, wich means the temple of the descendent God; in front of this set we find the main Street: is a Street were a lot of the recidense buildings were located, the most important is the Temple of the Frescos, construction that originally had only one room rounded by a three sides porch. The paints on it walls represent, according to investigator Arthur Miller, a serie of overnaturals residents  beings in the underworld, that by a moment they seem to had been painted between darkness and the bright light, and it is part of the most immportant testimony of the Wall mayan paints. The corners of the building are decorated with serpentine elements that represent its association with Kukulkan.

The “Casa de las Columnas” and The “Casa del Halach Uinik”, located in the main Street area, they are part of some very interesting architectural examples of the residences of Tulum, meanwhile “Casa del Cenote” located in the north zone of the Wall settlement, it has documented the importance that the Mayas would had given to the aquatic culto, specially the one to the cenotes and its dark liquidity that they represent.

The Kukulcán Group, located just to the north from the castle, made off diverse minor structures, the most visible “Templo del Dios del Viento”, named like that because of the roundness of its base, traditionally related to Kukulcán as the God of winds, or to Ehecatl, equivalent deity in the center of México.

The area of the cove is a Little entrance from the sea to the rocks, enough for the mayan ships to dock. Nowadays this area is closed to the turist, because it is an area dedicated to the conservation and sea turtle nesting.

The visitors interested on swimming in the beautiful beaches of Tulum are able to get downstairs through the Wood stair located next to the Cliff, it gets you Access to the south beach of the prehispanic zone and is one of the most viseted area.


The origin of its name.

The lack of epigraphic evidence does not let us know the name of the settlement during the prehispanica era. There are some colonial references from the area, during the thity year of the XX century to call it Kinchil Coba, in the name of the Mayan Sun God and from a geographic area that was related to the mayan words “cob” or “kob”, wich means cloudy or minced, and “ha”, that means water, and this gives place to the name of “ place of the minced water”, in the name of the lakes around the city.

A different traduction to the Word “Coba”, an example is just to mention “Chachalaca Waters” (“cob” as the name of that region bird); “Tuza Tooth” ( also from the Word in mayan “coh”, wich means tooth and “bah”, tuza) or “plenty of water” (from the Word “cob”, plenty and “ha” water). The first one will be the most appropriate in terms of the greagraphic area.

Its Importance.

No doubt we are talking about the most important settlement of the northeast from the Yucatan Peninsula, comparable with size just to Chichen Itza, its enemy along big part of the prehispánica history. Its extension a Little more than 70 square km and a web of 45 roads ( or sacbeob) that communicates to the site different sets, and with other smaller communities, certainly dependen ton their domain.
Between this set of systems shows up Sacbe with a size of 100 km that communicates Coba to Yaxuna, another archeological area in the next state of Yucatan.
The investigation that had been done in the zone before, le tus know that Coba has a long history of occupation that might had been began from year 200 or 100 before this era, when it existed a settlement of low platforms and Wood constructions, wich there is no evidence left but some ceramic fragments.
From year 100 a.C., the zone of Coba begins to show a remarkable demographic growth, social and political, that turned into one of the largest and powerful cities from the north part of Yucatan.
Between years 200 and 600 of our era, the city of Coba seemed to controled a big part of the land, this would had led them to dominate the entire north of the current state of Quintana Roo and several Eastern areas of Yucatan. This all power was evident because of the control of large agricultural areas and hydraulic, well as interaregional trade routes, icluding control of some important ports, as Xelhá.
Even though there still too much undiscovered about this period, Coba undoubtedly held close contacts with major cities from Guatemala and the south of Campeche and Quintana Roo, like Tikal, Dzibanché or Calakmul. To maintain its power they must establish military and matrimonial alliances at the highest level. In this point, is interesting to mention the teotihuacan architecture style( there was a platform from the group of paints that was esplored in 1999), this documentary the existence of links with the central part of Mexico and its powerful metrópolis from the early classic period: Teotihuacán.
From the year 600 A.D, the strengthening of cities from the yacatan Puuc and the subsequent appearance of Chichen Itza in the sociopolitical landscape of the península, they meant changes inthe power structure of coba and its relations with other important mayan cities, this would have forced them to reshape their territorial domains. The information that is now aveilabe allows us to advance the hypothesis that from year 900 or 1000 AD, Coba would have entered into a long dispute with Chichen Itza, in wich they were defeated after losing lands as Yaxuna.

After the year 1000 A.D., Coba lost its political importance, even though it seems to have retained its symbolic and ritual importance, that allowed them to regain some hierarchy during the 1200-1500 period, when serveral Eastern cost style buildings were constructed.
At the time of the consolidation of the spanish península control(1550), Coba was uninhabited, and the city was mention again within the arrival of the travelers John Sephens and Frederick Catherwood, toward the mid XIX century.

Moreover, their historical importance and beauty of its natural surroundings make Coba a must to visit for anyone interested in learning about the archeology of Quintana Roo. The long walk that means visiting all sets enabled the public, the visit provides an opportunity to observe a variety of birds and animals from the region, well as various plant species that form in the selvático regional enviroment.

Site description.

The city is structured by architectural related groups in its chronology and its urban function: there exist some residential complexes, as the Coba group, and other with a ceremonial and funerary function, as the group of Mecanxoc.
Currently open to the visit, the Coba group (where the walking starts), Are open to the visit the Coba Group (which starts the tour ) , where a temple can be seen from almost 25 meters tall , belonging to the Early Classic , known locally as the church; and a complex set of palace and residential buildings are an excellent example of the enormous size and significance of the city in its time . In this area is the Ball , with representations of captives belonging to the period 600-900 AD, and ornamented with depictions of human skulls and hieroglyphic inscriptions on the basement stair risers . The tour of this area allows you to view the start of sacbé 1, which communicates with Yaxuná site , located some 100 kilometers east .

A short distance, is the group where one of the tallest buildings throughout the Maya area, known as Nohoch Mul ( "big hill " in Maya) , a huge base of more than 30 meters high, on which a temple belonging to a later stage of construction , which adds another 12 meters to the structure, to a total height of 42 meters is maintained.

The Nohoch Mul was built during the Early Classic period ( 200-600 AD) , probably to commemorate the sacred power of the rulers of Coba and to serve as a final resting place for some of the members of the ruling lineage ; for political and symbolic importance , they were building houses various building elements, such as the temple, which corresponds to the East Coast architectural style of the period 1200-1550 .

The set Nohoch Mul has another large building : the large platform , a building nearly 30 meters high and 110 meters wide 125 , making it the foundation of peak throughout the northeastern Yucatan Peninsula. Although it has not been explored , it is interesting to note the impressive measures, possibly an unfinished work, as deduced from the absence of any vestiges of construction on top .

In this group , compared to the X structure is Stela 20 , the best preserved site , presenting the Mayan date 30 November 730 .
Nearby is the Xaibé ( cruise or roads) , a unique structure restored a few years ago , consisting of a semicircular building and a staircase - grandstand risers treads and much higher than in human metric. It seems to have worked as a memorial and cross sacbes 1, 5 , 6 and 8.

Southwest of Nohoch Mul is the Group of Paintings , a collection of buildings constructed during the Late Postclassic their name from fragments preserved wall paintings inside the main temple small group . Although modest in size , is relevant because it has the later constructions Coba, built with stones and building materials from older buildings. Near this group is a platform style base - board slope Teotihuacan .

The Macanxoc group consists of a set of low platforms with small temples and shrines , most of which are preceded by a commemorative stelae events relating to the life and activities of the rulers of Coba, some of them women.

Holbox Adventure Experiences

Find More