After a few days on the beaches of Tulum, we did the unthinkable. Packed up and headed inland. While it was hard leaving paradise, we were just trading one for another.
We showered off all the sand, jumped into the car and drove an hour to Coqui Coqui Coba. The drive was a straight shot and the road was dotted with Mayan vendors selling dreamcatchers, hammocks and blankets. We wanted to stop at each and every one, but we had to keep driving to get there before dark.
We reached the small town of Coba, and drove right through it. Past the two story open-air restuarants, the ruins and the little village houses. When we finally got to the lagoon we turned left and made our way along a dusty, unpaved road. When we came to the end of it, we had arrived at Coqui Coqui. We got there just before the sun slipped beneath the horizon, making the views glow purple and orange.
This place is where Indiana Jones would stay if he did luxury.
The Coba residence is one of four Coqui Coqui properties in the Yucatan peninsula. Each property has a boutique, selling their custom scents crafted from the local flora of the peninsula. Their first property, and most popular hotel, is right on the beach in Tulum, but the other residences offer amazing spaces to explore lesser known parts of the Yucatan or simply relax in a beautiful environment.
When Coqui Coqui invited us to stay for a night, I picked their Coba residence because I had seen so many beautiful pictures of the nearby ruins. Instead of waking up and driving to the ruins at the crack of dawn to beat the other tourists, I figured we could spend a night at Coqui Coqui and then slip over to the ruins as soon as they opened the next morning. It turned out to be a great plan!
After settling into our new digs, we sat outside as the sun set and ordered drinks while the staff prepared our dinner. I’m not a big fan of tequila, so I ordered a glass of wine, but Summer got the best margarita I’ve ever tasted. For dinner we had vegetable quesadillas with manchego and fish tacos. All delicious.
After dinner we wanted to hangout in the library and play apples to apples but we were so tired we went to bed. The AC in our room was a welcome addition in the heat.
We woke up bright and early with the sun, because we had a lot planned for the day.
I was snapping pictures of everything in our room because I want a bedroom that looks just like this at home. Each residence has its own signature scent. The Coba residence smelled deliciously of mint and lime during our stay.
When we climbed downstairs, we found breakfast waiting for us.
We finished up with some tea and tasted the different flavors of infused honey that they sell on site. While my tea was brewing I took the moment to explore the property in day light. It’s like living in a dream.
It rained on and off in the early morning but we decided to stick to our plan and hike through the Coba ruins. The site is just a short walk, or an even shorter drive, down the road.
The ruins are spread out, so it took us awhile to find the main pyramid but we bumped into a French couple with Google maps and followed them. The walk isn’t far and you don’t really need a guide (which will cost about 400 pesos) so we passed on that.
We got to the ruins shortly after the site opened, and the pyramid was already getting crowded. I can’t imagine what it would be like later in the day. Definitely spend a night in Coba so you can be among the first to arrive to the site. Oh and keep your cameras and GoPros in your bag. Otherwise they will charge you a videography fee at the entrance.
The climb to the top is the highlight of the ruins. You can see across the jungle for miles. And the breeze is rewarding after climbing so many steps in the sun.
The steps are a bit worn and jagged, but they aren’t that difficult to navigate. We were laughing at all the other tourists sliding down on their butts.
After climbing back down, we hired a bike taxi for 75 pesos. Usually they are meant for 2 passengers but our guy was friendly and let us squeeze 3. We tipped the poor guy 25 pesos for his extra efforts, and he gave us a lot of good information about the ruins on the ride back to the entrance. He basically shared all the stories we missed by not hiring a guide. Like how the prize for winning the old Mayan game (somewhat of a hybrid between soccer and basketball) was being sacrificed… meaning the winner, not the loser, died!
Outside of the site, we grabbed paletas, fruity popsicles, for 20 pesos each. By late morning, the heat had really settled in and we needed something cold.
We returned to Coqui Coqui one last time. Carolina and the other staff had been such friendly hosts, and we were sad to say goodbye. They told us we could stop at one of the roadside restaurants on the way out of town for some local food, so that’s exactly what we did.
Just at the edge of town, we decided on this cute little spot for lunch after noticing a few locals eating there. We all ordered veggie fajitas and Mexican cokes. The house made salsa was amazing – so fresh and the perfect amount of lime.
After lunch we said adios to Coba and hit the road. This time, we had plenty of daylight left to check out the little shops along the way. We quickly spotted a cluster of vendors and pulled off the road.
After shopping around I bought a white scalloped hammock from this girl’s father for 600 pesos. She said it takes the women about two days to weave the simpler hammocks and eagerly posed for a photo with the loom when she spotted my camera. So sweet.
Then further down the road we spotted this shop. Its run by a gentleman and his son, Alejandro. I wanted to buy everything. In the end I got three blankets for 750 pesos and two dreamcatchers for 470 pesos. I also bought a little skull and a coin purse for 100 pesos. I was able to negotiate the prices because I bought a bunch of items from one merchant.
I love how colorful yet whimsical the dreamcatchers look. It was so hard to pick just two because there were so many different colors, patterns and sizes. With our trunk full of new goodies, we had to draw the limit and call it a day. I could’ve easily bought so much more!
We made one more stop at this little corner store (Coke is taking over Mexico!) and then before we knew it, were back in Tulum for a few more days at the beach.
I’m telling you, Coba is such a fun way to explore more of the Yucatan. To see what they have to offer beyond the beaches. It is magical and relaxing. The sky stretches forever and there is jungle almost every which way you look. The colors are muted yet rich at the same time and the people are so friendly. If you can swing it, definitely spend a night at Coqui Coqui Coba. You will love it!
Have you ever been to Coba? Or how about the Yucatan peninsula? What is the best hotel you’ve ever stayed at?
Curious about what else we did on this trip? I have posted our itinerary and will add links as I share more of this vacation on the blog.
A big thank you to Coqui Coqui for inviting us to experience and explore their Coba residence. Photos shot and edited by my brother/photographer sidekick, Bunny Mast.