After racking our brains all week in our Spanish classes while in Tulum, Mexico we needed to get out of town for a bit so we rented a sweet little ride for the day and set off without a real plan. We knew we wanted to check out the Coba Ruins, other than that we just wanted to cruise around.
Our Ride – El Coche Rojo
We got the cheapest tiniest car they had for $40USD after all fees. We went to all 5 rent-a-car places in Tulum, and we found Payless and America Rental (Which is who we rented from) to be the cheapest. They all played games with the price and telling us that they had just rented the only economy car, so be patient if you plan to rent.
*When looking for the best price and biggest selection of hotels check prices on Booking.com, we’ve found they are the best option and have a great cancelation policy.*
Our first stop was to the Coba ruins, about 45 minutes west of Tulum central. The site was some of the most interesting Mayan ruins I have seen to date. Coba is very spread out, we actually rented a trike with a driver for 100 pesos ($8USD) because Adam was still a gimp for this trip, and we were glad we did.
There were also bikes for rent if you wanted to bike yourself around, or you could walk too! The structures have a lot of Jungle growth around them and are not cleared, like many others are. The structures were also relatively well preserved, and had features like the Mayan ball courts and watchtower still intact.
Adventures on the way
On our drive we started to see little blue signs for a church, so we obliged and followed them. They lead us to a tiny little village with a huge photogenic church. After I had taken shots at every angle of the beautiful old church we were about to leave when I had a great idea….
Since it was such a small town we thought it would be a good place to teach Hannah how to drive a manual transmission car. Everyone who thinks driving in Mexico is dangerous, let me tell you, the few minutes of Hannah trying to drive was the only part of our trip that I felt unsafe!
Our little detour was definitely worth it for the beautiful old buildings. On the way out of the village, we got a bunch of looks from the locals, I can only assume they were impressed by Hannah’s driving!
After leaving Coba, we headed the town of Valladolid, not expecting much but a place to catch another highway to take a different way back. What we did find is a cute little colonial town with a great park and massive cathedral. It was a perfect day in the park for an ice cream cone!
We were glad to get out of town for a little bit, 11 days in Tulum is a bit on the long side for our travel style. Having Spanish class in the morning and my knee still slowing us down, it ended up being a good amount of time.
On a normal trip, I would give ourselves about 5 days to thoroughly explore Tulum. We had a great day trip where we put on 250Km (155 miles) in a day of exploring. We would highly recommend renting a car for a day or two. You can see all of the main attractions that are outside of town all in one day, and at your own pace. You could hit the ruins at Coba or Chitzen Itza at off tourist times, and a few more attractions like a few cenotes, or we really liked our time in Valladolid.
After a long day of touring, we treated ourselves to some strawberry & basil Mojitos (awesome) and a sunset at a beach bar!
Some of life’s best adventures start without a plan…
Places in Mexico to Visit Before or After Playa del Carmen
If you’ve got more time to explore Mexico there are some amazing places nearby you should check out. If you can’t on this trip consider them on your next trip. Make sure to check out some of our other Mexico articles to fuel your wanderlust.