Cobá Ruins#7 in Best Things To Do in Tulum
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If you're on a Mayan ruins kick, you should also check out the small site at Cobá, about 30 miles north of Tulum. Cobá doesn't feature the restored, pristine sites of Tulum, nor does it sit atop an awe-inspiring coastal setting, but it still offers history buffs a glimpse of some authentic Mayan ruins. In fact, some argue these ruins are more authentic than those in Tulum because Cobá's have never been extensively refurbished or restored, simply cleared away for the enjoyment of the public. What's more, according to recent visitors, it sees far fewer crowds than the more famous ruins.
The ruins spread over 30 square miles, with nearly 50 roads that spool out from the site's temples. But the top attraction is Nohoch Mul – the highest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan peninsula. Visitors can climb up all 120 of the pyramid's steep, narrow steps to enjoy an excellent and unrivaled view of the surrounding jungle.
Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the ruins are accessible by following signs toward Cobá from downtown Tulum, which is about 30 miles away. The ruins are open daily for a small fee. To get around the site, you can walk, rent a bicycle or hire a driver to take you around in a rickshaw. Official licensed guides are also stationed at the ruins should you be interested in a guided tour. Similar to the ruins, you'll want bring enough pesos to cover admission and transportation as credit cards are likely not accepted here.
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#1 Playa Paraiso
Just south of the Tulum ruins, the wide Playa Paraíso makes a relaxing end to a day exploring the area. With the recent arrival of the Playa Paraíso Beach Club, this stretch of sand has grown extremely popular with Playa del Carmen and Cancún daytrippers, as well as Tulum vacationers. But what it doesn't boast in seclusion it makes up for in activity – you'll find plenty of opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving, plus a few hammocks, lounge chairs and umbrellas to choose from (if you get to the ruins early, you'll arrive at the beach in time to secure one), and a few beach bars should you want refreshment.
Reviewers were divided on the necessity of paying for access to the beach club. Some said the price (250 pesos, or about $13 for two beach chairs) isn't worth it, while others found the cost reasonable for the convenience. To save a little money, you can pack your own towels, chairs and snacks. As for the beach itself, some travelers described the shoreline as "beautiful," while others were disappointed with the amount of smelly seaweed.
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