You really do feel like you are in the middle of nowhere, after a few hours of driving through this:
We did eventually come across Coba. This was an ancient Mayan city that was founded around 100 AD and abandoned about the time the Spanish showed up, with the hey day really being about 800 AD. Due to the jungle, you don't really realize how large the site is. We checked out some of the buildings at the entrance, which included a small pyramid and a ball-court.
There was no shortage of flora and fauna:
Then after walking for about 45 minutes through the jungle (think hot & humid), we came across the large pyramid in Coba, Nohoch Mul.
We didn't come all this way to not climb up to the top, but once you're up there, you realize there really is nothing around you but jungle!
Once we climbed up and down that pyramid, good sense got the best of us and we decided to rent a bicycle taxi to take us to the last site and back to the entrance. Our final stop at Coba was to see the stelea (big carved stone tablet) that predicts that the end of this phase of the Mayan calendar in 2012! There are a lot of these stelea all over the place here, but this one particular stelea explains the Mayan creation myth and seems to say that this phase will be over in just a couple of years. Here it is:
As you can see, unfortunately, because these stones are all made of limestone, they basically melt in the rain, so there isn't much left to check out and the details are pretty sketchy. In case you're worried that the end really is near, it won't be because the Mayans predicted it. Apparently the Mayan's thought there would be 9 cycles of existence, and this only predicts then end of the 7th cycle. So... after a bike ride back to our car, we headed back into the jungle, but that will be a story for a little later...