Coba is an ancient Mayan city that dominated a vast region of Yucatan around 200-600 AD. The ruins of Coba is a wanderlust destination because you can climb to the top of an ancient Mayan pyramid and overlook the jungle of the Yucatán Peninsula.
Coba is located on the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo in Mexico. Its main pyramid, the tallest on the Yucatan Peninsula at 42 meters tall (137 feet), is open for tourists to climb. The view from the top is astonishing.
At its peak, Coba had a population of over 50,000 people. The city controlled farmlands, lagoons nearby, and seaports like Tulum, Xel Ha and Xcaret to trade with what is now Belize and Honduras. “Cobá” means water stirred by wind. The name likely came from the fact that the city was surrounded by two lagoons.
科巴在墨西哥猶加敦半島的Quintana Roo州，這個遺址的主要金字塔是猶加敦半島上最高的馬雅金字塔，有42 公尺高，開放給遊客攀爬，爬到頂端的景十分壯闊。
科巴在極盛時期的人口超過五萬，這個城市掌控了農地、附近的兩個潟湖、還有好幾個海港，像是土倫、Xel Ha 和 Xcaret，貿易範圍到今天的貝里斯和宏都拉斯。科巴的意思是被風吹皺的水，這名字大概是從附近的兩個潟湖而來。
After 600 AD, the emergence of Chichén Itzá changed the political landscape and challenged Coba’s dominance. However, due to its religious significance, Coba remained an important site. Although most of the structures were constructed between 500-900 AD, some new buildings were added between 1200-1500 AD. The city was abandoned after the Spanish conquered Yucatan around 1550.
Archeologists uncovered Coba in the mid 1800′s but were unable to study or excavate it until the 1920’s due to the dense jungle and the Caste War of Yucatán.
西元六百年以後，奇琴伊薩崛起，改變了猶加敦半島的政經情勢，挑戰了科巴的權力地位，但科巴即使式微之後仍然保持重要宗教地位。這個城市大部分的建築是在西元 500-900年之間建造的，但有些建築是在西元 1200-1500之間才增建的。西班牙人 1550 年左右入侵猶加敦半島之後，科巴逐漸成為廢墟。
考古學家大概十九世紀中就發現了科巴，但因為叢林茂密和猶加敦階級戰爭，一直到 1920 年才開始好好研究科巴。
Unlike the more cultivated and repaired Chichen Itza, Coba is more raw. The site is situated in the jungle. Most of the buildings are still buried in the jungle covered by trees. I really like the mystical vibe here. The raw state lets your imagination run wild.
There are three ways to explore the ruins of Coba: walking, renting a bicycle, or hiring a chauffeured tricycle. Many people recommend riding a bike. We walked. Walking in took about 35 minutes from the entrance to the main pyramid, the Nohoch Mul Pyramid. Coming back…we were so hot and my legs didn’t want to work after being all tensed up coming down the pyramid, so we hired a bike chauffeur for 75 pesos.
Coba allegedly has the most extensive network of stone causeways in the Mayan civilization. These roads are called sacbes (white roads). You would be walking on these raised stone pathways the same way the Mayans traveled centuries ago. These white limestone roads connected settlements with the urban hub Coba. One sacbe even goes 100 km (62 miles)! The infrastructure really shows the power of this metropolis.
逛科巴有三種方式：步行、租腳踏車、或雇人力三輪車，很多人推薦騎腳踏車，我們是用走的，從入口到主金字塔 Nohoch Mul 大概走了 35 分鐘，回程嘛，從金字塔下來嚇得半死爬完之後很腿軟，又熱，於是花了 75 披索坐馬雅計程車。
Coba has two ball courts that are easily explorable. Both courts are much, much smaller than the one at Chichen Itza. These are courts for Mesoamerican ballgames. Players (or captains of each team) use their hips, knees and waists to hit a rubber ball and pass the ball through a stone ring to score.
科巴有兩座球場，比奇琴伊薩的球場小很多，是中美洲蹴球的球場，球員 (或好像隊長才可以) 用屁股、腰或膝蓋傳橡膠球，把橡膠球頂到石頭環裡來得分。
I have a serious fear of heights. When I went to the Willis Tower in Chicago with my sister, I was pretty much on the floor the whole time. I cried as I inched closer to the glass-floored skydeck.
But hey, I’m in Coba. How could anyone visit this ancient city which has the highest and still climbable pyramid and shy away from climbing because of some stupid deep rooted fear of heights!?
我有懼高症，想當年跟我妹去芝加哥 Willis Tower 從頭到尾都蹲在地上，到玻璃地板的摩天樓直接開始哭，爬基隆孝子山也是，整趟用屁股摩著下山，從頭哭到尾。但是到了科巴怎麼能不爬金字塔 !?
Going up was okay as long as I kept my head down. As much as I wanted to capture the incredible view of the jungle that spread out under my feet like a lush green carpet that reached the end of the horizon, I couldn’t work up the courage to get close to the edge. (Of course now I regret it!)
Coming down was rough. The 120 steps were steep! I was on my butt the whole time. The edges of the stones are getting pretty slick. I suspect that one of these days the local authorities will close the pyramid from the public to preserve the ruins and avoid accidents. So visit Coba while you can!
Bring insect repellent and lots of water when you visit Coba. You’ll need them. It’s not the end of the world if you run out of water though. There is a souvenir shop at the entrance and a beverage stand near the main pyramid.
After Coba, we came to Tulum for dinner at the ultimate grilling restaurant, Hartwood.
American chef Eric Werner from Brooklyn and his wife and restaurant manager Mya Henry opened this open-air restaurant near the beach front of Tulum in 2010. It’s true farm- and ocean-to-table cuisine. Produces come from Mayan farms, and fish comes from the ocean or lagoons on the peninsula. The restaurant uses local ingredients, but the food is not Mexican.
Situated on limestone with a rich biosphere protected by UNESCO, Tulum is largely off-grid, and so is Hartwood. Solar panels power the lights. Candles light up dinner tables. Food is served raw or cooked on a wood fire grill or oven in the open kitchen. And wood fire is the way most of the people here in Riviera Maya prepare food.
去完科巴，晚上跑到土倫海濱的超夯餐廳 Hartwood 吃晚餐。
2010 年美國紐約布魯克林來的廚師 Eric Werner 和他老婆兼餐廳經理 Mya Henry 在靠近土倫海濱開了這家露天餐廳，是標準的產地到餐桌，蔬果是從馬雅農田來的，漁獲是從加勒比海和猶加敦半島的潟湖來的，Hartwood 用當地的食材，但做的不是墨西哥菜。這家餐廳從開幕以來上了無數大報和美食雜誌，開幕將近七年，絲毫沒有退燒的趨勢。
Hartwood’s menu changes daily and is written on a chalk board that is brought to your table as you order. House specialties are jicama salad (ensalada de jicama), octopus (platillo de pulpo), and agave barbecue glazed ribs (costillas al agave). And obviously any fresh catch of the day would be a great choice.
Hartwood 的菜單天天改，菜單寫在黑板上，要點菜的時候，服務生會把黑板搬到你的桌子旁邊介紹菜單。招牌菜是豆薯沙拉(ensalada de jicama)、火烤章魚(platillo de pulpo)、和龍舌蘭肋排(costillas al agave)，還有當然每天的新鮮烤魚想必都很好吃。
The cooking here is primitive and minimal and the flavors are bright and modern.
I ordered a jicama salad out of curiosity. Aaron got a roasted vegetable and smoked fish dip. Jicama is a native Mexican vine with edible tuberous roots. Jicama is cut into white squares, drenched in honey lime vinaigrette, set in a bed of purple prickly pear preserve and pale-green mint cream, and the flavors are brightened by mint, orange and roasted sunflower seeds.
我好奇點了豆薯沙拉(ensalada de jicama)，豆薯 jicama 是一種墨西哥藤蔓植物，它的塊莖可以吃，豆薯被切成白白的薄方塊，淋上蜂蜜萊姆油醋，底下是紫色的仙人掌果實醬汁和白綠色的薄荷醬，一口配上柳橙、薄荷葉和烤過的葵花子一起吃。
For the entrees, I ordered roasted octopus (platillo de pulpo) and Aaron ordered grilled snook (filete de robalo). Robalo, or snook, is a flaky white fish. A bite of the fish with charcoal grilled fish skin, dipped in cilantro cream, topped with a small piece of jalapeno — was paradise in my mouth!
我的主菜點了烤章魚(platillo de pulpo)，Aaron 點了烤鋸蓋魚 (filete de robalo，英文叫 snook)，是一種白肉魚，鮮嫩的魚肉，火烤的魚皮，沾一點芫荽醬，切一塊墨西哥辣椒放在上面，各種味道在舌間爆發又融合在一起，我非常滿意我的烤章魚，但是他的烤魚更上一層樓。
So full by this point, we still couldn’t say no to ice cream. I’m glad we didn’t. Our cinnamon and cheesecake ice cream was served in a clay bowl. The ice cream had a texture in between creamy milk ice cream and light gelato. The cinnamon ice cream tasted like deep fried cinnamon goodies with lots of crunchy sugar on top. The cheesecake ice cream was beyond cheesecake filling, but with a hint of cracker crumbs bottom.
We were both very happy with this dinner! (Aside from that it was extremely humid and hot. Aaron was drenched in sweat.) Some say the restaurant is overpriced. The cost is certainly $$$$ fine dining Yucatan standard, but normal dinner price U.S. city standard. Make your reservation early! On days they don’t take reservation by email, I read that it takes getting in line in person as early as 2 p.m. to snag a table.
我們都吃得超滿意 (除了實在有夠熱，一邊吃飯一邊滴汗)，有人嫌這家貴，基本上是猶加敦半島 $$$$ 高檔餐廳價位，美國大城市晚餐餐廳正常價，我們兩個人，兩道前菜、兩道主菜、一份甜點、兩杯啤酒、一杯調酒，總共 127 美金。想朝聖的話，機票訂好就可以看能不能訂位了，不接受網路訂位的幾個月份，據說有時候下午兩點就得要來排隊搶位子。
Dinner only, 6-11 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday
Dinner for two with drinks and dessert costs about USD $125
Cash only. Pesos preferred.