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Fun and Games in Coba, Mexico

The site of pre-Colombian ruins on the Yucatan peninsula, Coba, reachable on a day trip from Cancun, was at one point inhabited by over 50,000.

Coba’s Nohoch Mul is the highest pyramid in the Yucatan (42m), and we chose this site as you’re still permitted to climb to the top. There’s a rope to assist climbers, but take care – it's a long, bumpy way down and the steps are uneven.

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Cancun is about 130km away, and there are two roads in: the southern route is more modern, and there’s a more rural route to the west. Tour buses are available, although renting a car provides more freedom and photo ops. Watch out for the topes, or speed bumps.

There are several ball courts in the ruins – they were used to play a game involving the use of the hips, forearms or head to project a rubber ball through limestone hoops located high up on a smooth, sloped surface on either side of the court.

The local guides told me that the captain of the winning team would occasionally be sacrificed, as it was considered a great honor and some games lasted for weeks. The locals have a wicked sense of humor though, and I've seen conflicting reports about who gets sacrificed.

In any case, there’s a scull carved from limestone at mid-court, apparently to remind everyone that this was more than a game.

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The site of pre-Colombian ruins on the Yucatan peninsula, Coba, reachable on a day trip from Cancun, was at one point inhabited by over 50,000.

Coba’s Nohoch Mul is the highest pyramid in the Yucatan (42m), and we chose this site as you’re still permitted to climb to the top. There’s a rope to assist climbers, but take care – it's a long, bumpy way down and the steps are uneven.

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Cancun is about 130km away, and there are two roads in: the southern route is more modern, and there’s a more rural route to the west. Tour buses are available, although renting a car provides more freedom and photo ops. Watch out for the topes, or speed bumps.

There are several ball courts in the ruins – they were used to play a game involving the use of the hips, forearms or head to project a rubber ball through limestone hoops located high up on a smooth, sloped surface on either side of the court.

The local guides told me that the captain of the winning team would occasionally be sacrificed, as it was considered a great honor and some games lasted for weeks. The locals have a wicked sense of humor though, and I've seen conflicting reports about who gets sacrificed.

In any case, there’s a scull carved from limestone at mid-court, apparently to remind everyone that this was more than a game.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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