TULUM, Mexico – The ancient archaeological site of Coba is currently experiencing an influx of foreign tourists, particularly from France and Canada, during this summer season. These curious visitors are drawn to explore one of the grand remnants of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization. Nevertheless, the tourism activity in the area is registering an unusually subdued level, which is taking a toll on tour guides and operators who are striving to weather the decline in visitors.
The diligent workers at the Coba ruins, situated in the municipality of Tulum, find themselves grappling with a visitor influx that barely reaches 40 percent of their total capacity, a notably low figure. American tourists, in particular, are feeling the impact of the changing currency dynamics, which no longer afford them the favorable rates of times past.
Meanwhile, Mexican tourists are strategically managing their expenditures and are inclined to acquire provisions from convenience stores like Oxxo. Along this vibrant tourist corridor, domestic visitors become more conspicuous on Sundays. Nonetheless, owing to the tendency of local tourists to stay for just three to four days at most, the Coba ruins often find themselves relegated to the final slots of their itineraries.
Esteban Arguntia, a seasoned tour operator, underscored that the current summer vacation period has witnessed an uptick in the arrival of European tourists, offering some relief amid the overall downturn in visitors to the ruins. “We’ve recently welcomed French tourists who have journeyed to Tulum’s Maya Zone and are savoring the guided tours,” he asserted. Addressing concerns about heat strokes, Arguntia pointed out that foreign tourists are well attuned to the environment they’re in, appreciating the tropical climate’s affability when compared to larger cities like Playa del Carmen or Cancún.
This tour operator also emphasized that a significant portion of Mexican explorers of the pre-Columbian Maya world hail from Mexico City. “Mexicans who choose to delve into history and ecotourism tend to be young couples or friends, though complete families also arrive to acquaint themselves with the site,” he elucidated.
As the global wanderlust persists, the allure of Coba remains unwavering, even in the face of challenging circumstances. While the current influx may be somewhat restrained, the site’s timeless majesty and the commitment of its guardians endure, awaiting the day when footfalls echo more abundantly once again.