Mexican Caribbean

The Ancientness of the Mayan Pyramids

From as long as I could remember tales of glorious, colossal human existence in historic periods in time, have intrigued me. Dreaming of ancient and obsolescent Pyramids, wondering what secrets they hold had held my amazement my whole lifetime.

The history I learnt at school, does not match the modern-day archaeological finds that are constantly been discovered. In 2022 human remains were found in Ethiopia. They had unearthed one of the oldest human skeletons on the planet dating back 233,000 years. This ever-changing evidence that is bringing a new perspective to human history, is not only complex and enlightening but challenges the intricate technological Civilizations that we have not yet started to understand.

With the world at my fingertips, I knew I wanted to venture to remote and magnificent archaeological sites. Places that had once a bustling cosmopolitan society with hints of cosmic utilitarian lifestyle. The Americas had been calling me for some time, with Mexico having some of the oldest and most travelled roads in history, connecting Europe and Africa to the Pacific Islands and Australasia.

Mexico Mexico

Then there is the Pyramids of Mexico. The Aztec pyramids are by far as impressive as the Egyptian pyramids, but they are not the oldest in Mexico.

The Olmecs apparently came first, to settle in modern-day Mexico. They were widespread and prosperous, but in their time, they did not build any major cities. Its commonly believed that the Mayans were the first to build complexed cities, using intricate technologies and a class system. The Inca in modern-day Peru were next to establish great Cities which linked Peru and Mexico as one, and finally the Aztecs came with complexed technology and ancient knowledge. Modern day DNA testing is proving the links between the constant migration of humans and the mixing of the ancient and superior cultures throughout time, throughout the planet.

The Aztecs and Mayans finally did interact with each other during the 15th and 16th centuries. Upon meeting, the Aztecs became aware that they were much more advanced than their Mayan counterparts.

Zona Arqueológica de Cobá

The Nohoch Mul pyramid is 137 feet in height, making it the tallest temple pyramid on the Yucatan Peninsula. (“Interesting Facts about Coba archaeological site”) Which for me was a ‘must go,’ so Coba it was, next was to find the easiest way to get there, with maximum astonishment and amazement.

With limited time and so much to be fascinated and captivated by, I decided to take the COBA DISCOVERY. I really wanted   to take in and absorb the spectacular and enchanting heritage of the Mayan, while investigating the truth behind this magnificent but decadent civilization.

Taking the first ferry in the morning from Cozumel, I was on my way over the Caribbean Sea to the mainland. In search of the knowledge of the ancients, glorious and colossal. Disembarking in Playa del Carmen, a wonderful host Mary was waiting for me with the most incredible smile. She escorted me to the air-conditioned Van that took us to a Jungle retreat.

I could not believe the serenity of this place,here I was taken to dine on authentic Mexican cuisine cooked on a wood fire. Savoring the ancient ways in which this delicious food was prepared, while marveling at the impenetrable tangle of mass tropical vegetation. Now that I was adequately satisfied, I was definitely ready for the expedition to the two impressive Pyraminds and second largest on the Yucatan Peninsula.

The Pyramid

When visiting Coba its clear that this settlement would have consisted of 50,000 inhabitants, being their peak around 600 AD and 900 AD. Most of the site is not as excavated, as other sites in Mexico. It was incredible to think, every day here they are uncovering secrets of our ancient ancestors. It gives you a feeling like you are wandering through a forest, with many structures still covered in trees. Its easy to start picturing the thousands of wood homes that the working-class Mayans would have lived in.

The Word Coba means ‘waters stirred by wind,’ it has two lagoons around it, the Coba Lagoon and the Macamxoc. For the Mayans Water inlets were always sacred and for purifying. Coba was sustained by its trade of farming and water with other Mayan settlements, which might account for fifty of the largest network of stone causeways in the ancient Mayan world. They called them sacbes (white roads), Over 50 of these roads have been discovered at the site, with sixteen of them are now open to the public.

These ruins are a colossal site, so I was feeling blessed when I found out I could hire a push bike or be peddled around the abandoned, isolated Mayan City. Starting at $65 pesos (at time of publishing), I thought it was a bargain plus it really made better use of my time. Since Covid they have stopped the public from climbing the largest pyramid at Coba, which is called Ixmoja, part of the Nohoch Mul group of buildings. "The pyramid is 42 meters (138 feet) tall and was the heart of the city." (“Coba Ruins Guide: Climbing Ancient Pyramids in Mexico - Expert Vagabond”) Which greatly improves my photos of Ixmoja, without all the modern-day tourists dotted all over them in their brightly colored clothing. It is said that the Coba settlement was abandoned during the Spanish conquest. It was hard to leave this site still with so many unanswered questions, but onward to a traditional working Mayan village.

Tradition Mayan Village

I was welcomed with a mystical ceremony from the village Shaman. It was quite a surreal experience, with a sage cleansing. I got to see a real working traditional Mayan kitchen, and tasted handmade fireside maize tortillas, chili peppers, beans, and squash. I felt so at home I did not want to leave. I was very enthusiastic, when given the opportunity to sample the honey from a stingless native bee known as ‘Xunan Cab.’ This honey contains medical properties and tastes fantastic, so I had to buy some, so I could take home.

The drive back to Playa Del Carmen was a real blessing, giving me a chance to meditate and marvel at the exceptional escapade to one of the most extraordinary Mayan archaeological sites, I have even been to. If I were to do it again, I might take a fix wing flight from the Aeródromo Capitán Eduardo Toledo in Cozumel. Trips flying over and landing to explore the archaeological sites, are coming soon to Safe Tours Cozumel in June 2023.

By Santana Warner