A day trip to the Maya city Coba and Punta Laguna Nature Reserve – Mexico

When people think about a holiday to Mexico, they immediately think of beautiful beaches, palmtrees and resorts. However, Mexico has so much more to offer! In the districts Quintana Roo and Yucatan there are many beautiful places to visit when you’re on holiday in Mexico. Are you looking for a destination which has it all? Think about Mexico. During my holiday, I had a day trip to the Maya city Coba with its ruins and combined it with a visit to the Punta Laguna Nature Reserve.

In approximately 1,5 hours driving from Playa del Carmen, you are in the district where you can find the Coba ruins and the Nature Reserve Punta Laguna. Since the two places are close to one another, you can easily combine these places in a day trip. In this article I will tell you some more about the places and about our day.

We started our day in Coba. After 1,5 hours driving we arrived at the archaeological park of Coba. The Maya city is the longest hidden Maya city of Mexico until know. This former ceremony place was discovered in the 70’s and people are still discovering more ruins. The beautiful pyramid, where Coba is well-known for, is one of the only temples left at which you can climb to the top of the temple. When you are on the top of the pyramid (also known as the La Iglesia, which is 42 metres high), you can have a spectacular view over the jungle and the rest of the archaeological park. If you want to climb the pyramid, you have to be very carefully. The ‘stairs’ are very steep and you can easily fall down. In the middle of the steps you can find a rope on which you can hold on to when you’re climbing up or downwards.

Besides La Iglesia, the archaeological park features many more ruins which are smaller than the La Iglesia, but which make the city very large. Coba is located between two lakes (Lago Cobá and Lago Macanxoc). These lakes are used by wild animals to drink and to come more often. In the past, Coba used to be a well-doing city and it was already inhabited from the 1st until the 5th Century. This can be noticed by looking at the beautiful-decorated building and the many object which are from earthenware. In the 15th Century, Coba was abandoned.

We started by a guided tour through the park, where we walked across all the smaller ruins of the Maya city. We ended up at the La Iglesia, where we had the possibility to climb the pyramid. If we wanted to go back to the entrée of the park, you could take a ‘bike taxi’ or you could walk. We decided to take a bike taxi, where someone took us to the entrance of the park on their bike. At the end he got, of course, a nice tip from us.

The archaeological park of Coba can be visited each day in the week. In the middle of the day, it can be very warm in the park, so it’s recommended to visit the park very early on the day.

Cenotes and lunch
After our visit at Coba, we pay a visit to one of the beautiful cenotes which are in the direct environment of Coba. There are three cenotes which are on just a 10-minute drive away from Coba and we visited one of them. There is a possibility to swim in these beautiful cenotes and gain the experience to swim underground in the clear water. The three cenotes which you can visit in combination with Coba, are Cenote Choo-Ha, Cenote Tamcach-Ha and Cenote Multun-Ha.

After our quick visit to one of the cenotes, we had lunch at a place with beautiful surroundings and where you can have a beautiful view over one of the lakes. The food was simple, but good. The location was just between Coba and Punta Laguna. In the photos above you can enjoy the surroundings.

Punta Laguna Nature Reserve
In the afternoon, we visited the Punta Laguna Nature Reserve. This nature reserve is well-known for its many monkeys which you find there. The reserve is managed by the Maya population which is living in the town next to the reserve. Together with a local guide, we went into the reserve to spot some of the monkeys. After walking a little around, we came at a beautiful place which had a magnificent view over the water, I was stunned (see the photos if you want to know what I’m talking about). During our walk through the reserve, we spotted some monkeys. However, it was very hard to take some photographs of the monkey, because they were constantly moving.

After our guided walk through the reserve, we visited one of the houses in the Maya village. The population live here in houses made of wooden poles with on top of it a straw roofing. The floor of the house is made out of clay and the house itself is very primitive. In a little house there are living approximately five (!) people and the houses aren’t even real houses. It’s actually just a little room. The people are sleeping in hammocks and throughout the day they store the hammacks, so the people can use the room for other things.

It’s very special to have a look at the lifestyle of this Maya population. The mother of the house made us, the visitors, some fresh tortilla’s to eat, which was very kind.

After our visit to the Nature Reserve of Punta Laguna, we went back to our hotel in Playacar, Playa del Carmen. It was a very interesting and beautiful day. These two places are definitely worth a visit if you want to see more than just the beach of Quintana Roo. If you are a real culture- and nature lover, these places cannot be missed to visit during your time in Mexico.

Have you ever been to Coba or Punta Laguna? What did you think about these places? Let me know in the comment section below!

Author: Tamara

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Coba and Punta Laguna - Mexico


  • Cat

    You’re right! Mexico is not just about beaches and ocean! I went to central Mexico for the first time last fall and fell in love with it! I’m heading back to Quintana Roo in March so I’ll definitely check out Punta Laguna Nature Reserve!

  • Laura

    oOo I haven’t been to Mexio yet, but these pictures serve as a kind reminder that I gotta go ASAP. The country is so fascinating to me as it’s so vast; I never actually heard of this area, so I’m glad that it’s on my radar now!

  • Sandy N Vyjay

    For someone fascinated by the Mayan ruins and culture, Mexico is indeed a treasure house. Coba looks so intriguing and the ruins seem to hide a million stories of a time long gone by in their folds. Would love to visit this place someday.

  • Candy & Crystal

    I have never been to Punta Laguna, Mexico. It was so interesting to read about how the people in the Maya village lived. It makes sense to sleep in a hammock to have room during the day 🙂 I’ve actually never slept in a hammock. I wonder how comfy it is.

  • Eloise

    I’ve been to Coba and to the cenotes nearby. I loved it. Being able to climb the pyramid was fun and the cenotes – that were completely underground (whereas the other ones we visited closer to Playa del Carmen and Tulum were more opened) looked stunning. Plus, it was just the two of us down there! A woman who came down as we were leaving almost cried as she found the place so beautiful.
    I didn’t visit Punta Laguna, and I wish I did now that I read your blog. It sounds like a great experience. There are so many things to do in the Yucatan!

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