Our Mexican 10th Anniversary travel blog

Nohoch Mul Pyramid


Don't look down!

Stunning view from the top


(All along the...) Watchtower Pyramid

And together we will flow into the mystic-Van Morrison

Today we took a tour of some Mayan ruins with a personal guide. It was like having our own ambassador to the Mayan world. Gudelio Alanis is his name his company is called Excel Tours. He picked us up exactly at 7am this morning and drove us all around the local area south of Playa Del Carmen where there are some incredible ruins. After a bunch of research on TripAdvisor, I settled on his small private tour company. Booking with them is truly like having a best friend take you on a guided tour.

We drove to Coba early this morning and because we woke up early and had a private guide, we were one of the first people to enter the park today. An ancient Mayan city with estimated populations of over 150,000 people at it's height, Coba is spread out over a wide area. In Mayan, Coba means "city of wind blown water". The area is dotted with lagoons and lakes and we can see huge overgrown mounds of unrestored structures in the jungle all around us. These mounds of vegetation are pyramids and ballcourt structures just waiting to be restored and rediscovered again!

We rented bikes to cover more ground today. It was surreal to pedal our way through jungle canopy on 1800+ year old crushed limestone roads built by brutal hand labor. Mayans built everything with their hands. There were no beasts of burden here. Mules and horses didn't arrive until the Spanish conquistadors came around 1550. These roads made of crushed limestone, called sac-be's, extend out from a central watchtower-like structure in Coba hundreds of miles dead straight and level through the jungle in all directions. The longest sac-be is over 70 miles long! Mayans used these roads for commerce and clearly Coba was a main hub of bustling trade.

All along the watchtower, princes kept their view. While all the women came and went, barefoot servants too-Bob Dylan

We round a corner and through an opening in the trees we see it... The huge Nohoch Mul pyramid. Rising 146 feet above the ground stands this huge partially restored pyramid that was dedicated to a bee god. It's the only temple still permitted by the Mexican government to climb, at you own risk of course. All other major structures have been shut down to tourists. Knowing this beforehand, we had psyched ourselves up to climb it NO MATTER WHAT. With no safety at all but a loose rope down the center, we climbed it. Nervous, anxious, heart racing, sweating, and NOT LOOKING DOWN, we climbed. I got to the top with our guide quickly as Alli made a yeoman effort to make it 3/4 of the way. WOW! Holy crap! What a view! I could see the top of a pyramid in Chichen Itza, nearly 100miles away. I promptly began to freak out and panic a bit as I looked around the stunning, stunning view from so high above the jungle.

Mayan kings believed they were part god. These pyramids were their conduits to the heavens and it is easy to see how mortals felt closer to the gods here. After a nervous look around, I will admit I needed Gudelio's patient assistance to slowly descend that crumbling staircase.

We definitely have to come back here again someday. You could spend a few days right here and still not see everything. We miss both our beautiful girls terribly and all day long we found ourselves repeating to each other "Our girls would looooove this". I Can't wait to share these experiences with them both and someday, we certainly plan to.

We feel lucky to have Gudelio to ourselves for the rest of the day. After leaving mysterious Coba behind by noon, we felt we had already gotten our money's worth by mid day. We had little idea what was in store for us...

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