Two Days in Coba & Valladolid, Mexico
After a week spent in beautiful Tulum, we decided to head further inland for an additional two days in Mexico. As picture-perfect as Tulum Beach, the food, the hotels and the scene is, it does feel like you are biking through a little bubble. Even though most of the hotels’ and restaurants’ employees are locals and happy to chat about their culture and origin, it is important to keep in mind that Tulum draws in lots of tourists (which also reflects on the prices) and has adapted accordingly over recent years. None-the-less, one of my favorite vacation destinations we have ever been to. It is hard to compete with a spicy margarita, ceviche and the beaches in Tulum! Read more in the full Tulum travel diary here.
Our Destination: Coba, Quintana Roo + the Mayan ruins.
After my sister’s boyfriend spent more than three weeks touring Mexico over New Year’s this year, seeing all his photos and hearing his stories of 2€ tacos on the street, it was our mission to experience a bit of the same authentic flair as well. I started looking into options that were reachable for Tulum and came across the Mayan ruins in Coba, which happen to be within walking distance from a hotel that has been on my personal travel bucket list for just about a year now. The Coqui Coqui Coba!
Coba is located around two lagoons, Lake Coba and Lake Macanxoc. “The city is home to one of the largest networks of stone causeways of the ancient Mayan world, and it contains many engraved and sculpted stelae that document ceremonial life and important events of the Late Classic Period (AD 600–900) of Mesoamerican civilization”. It is also the home of the Coqui Coqui Cobá Papholchac Residence & Spa. The ultimate hideaway for everyone seeking to feel like Indiana Jones himself for a few days, bathe in coconut milk and rose petals or bake under the Mexican sun with an occasional dip in the private turquoise pools of the small boutique hotel that features a mere six rooms.
As much as I would like to find the words to describe the Coqui Coqui hotel in Coba, I know I won’t be able to do better than the poetic text their website has to offer. So I won’t, instead I will let you do the reading over there. Instead, I will just leave you with a few tipps that stuck with me the most of our fairytale-experience:
- Splurge a spa treatment, if available, the 3-hour Coqui experience.
- Two nights are a perfect length. There is not much to do in Coba, hence I wouldn’t stay longer. We arrived on Sunday in the afternoon and left on Tuesday at 6pm.
- Try their local, homemade honey with pink pepper!
- Visit the Mayan ruins as early in the morning as possible. The ruins are within walking distance (10 minutes from the hotel) and admission costs around 4-5€, but it gets hot and the lines fill up quickly as the day progresses.
- Buy candles and honey as souvenirs, because let’s be honest, nobody really enjoys those typical touristic gifts. Instead, spoil your friends (better yet, yourself) with something made in the region. I purchased my first Coqui Coqui candle at The Apartment by The Line in NYC long before knowing about the hotels. It cost 82$ back then… at the hotel it is about 50€ (still not cheap) but guests staying at the residence receive an additional 20% off on all purchases.
Located a good hour from Coba (by car), you will find the city of Valladolid with a population of approximately 50.000. Without having seen the rest of Mexico, I feel like we were able to immerse ourselves into the local culture a bit more by visiting Valladolid. We got extra lucky, since it was Carneval on the day of our visit, hence the whole city was dressed up in colorful flags and people were on the streets dancing to live music. Even on any other day, I would expect Valladolid to be worth a stop. Some call it the smaller version of Merida, the pulsating capital of the Yucatan state.
What to expect and do in Valladolid? Colorful colonial streets (Las 5 Calles), a beautiful church in the city’s main square, friendly faces and cenotes in the area. Considering it is a small city, there is not too much typical sightseeing to do (at least from my research was able to tell us), but just wandering the streets for a half day, sitting down for lunch in the sun, a stop at the Coqui Coqui perfumeria and spa before ending the day with dinner in the courtyard at Hotel El Mesón del Marqués made us happy tourists in Mexico!