El Cuyo for a Long Weekend
Updated: Feb 20
When Russell told me he had booked a weekend getaway to El Cuyo, I asked "Where????" I had never heard of it. As it turns out, it's a small fishing village that's located in the far northeast corner of the Yucatan Peninsula. It's basically where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean Sea.
Because we weren't really sure what the road situation would be like for the drive from Merida, we hired Kaxaant Travel to take us there. That was a great decision. We were able to relax and take in the scenery (as well as catch a quick nap) while Angel handled the driving duties.
After about 3.5 hours, we crossed a short bridge over a marshland and officially arrived at El Cuyo. We quickly noticed that although the main road was paved, each of the crossroads were made up of compacted white sand. This definitely looked like a place to get away from it all!
I wish I had a whole host of activities to report on, but truth be told, we basically just did a whole lot of nothing and enjoyed every minute of it. For long periods each day, we just sat on the beach, watched the waves, and listened to the wind. Soooooo relaxing!
When we felt the need to move a bit, we would search for shells, each of us trying to one-up the other with our finds. (He found the prettiest, but I found the biggest.) PRO TIP: The best spot for collecting shells is at the far west end of the beach at the jetty. They wash up there by the bucket full.
There is a large red and white lighthouse in the middle of town. If you look closely you'll see that it's built on top of an old Mayan ruin. We thought that it was kind of quirky that they never lit it while we were there. Maybe nowadays they use it more for decoration rather than for function.
While in town, we also had some fun watching a youth baseball game that was being played in a newly cleared field. It seems like everyone from the village was involved one way or another - - - playing, coaching, or cheering - - - plus a few entrepreneurs who were selling snacks.
For those of you looking for more adventure, check out El Cuyo Kite School. We saw quite a few people trying it out, with varying degrees of success. We really enjoyed watching the experts flip and fly through the waves (as well as the beginners who just flipped and then flopped).
With respect to food choices, there were a few places to choose from. For dinner, we absolutely loved El Chile Gordo. They offer a 500 peso (about $25 USD) per person pre-fixe nine-course menu that includes a mezcal margarita. The menu changes daily and space is limited to only a few diners (about 4 to 6 in total). To reserve a table you stop by in advance and pay a 50 percent deposit. While you're there you can also let them know about any dietary restrictions you have so they can accommodate your needs. (In our case, we let them know we wanted everything prepared "sin cebolla" - without onion.)
Naia Cafe is the go-to place for breakfast or lunch. This cute little open-air spot offers all kinds of treats, including sandwiches, salads, and smoothies, along with cake, brownies, and cookies if you want something sweeter.
Even though El Cuyo seems to be off the beaten path, it certainly seems to have been discovered by quite a few folks. As we nosed around, we came across several upscale vacation rentals along the beachfront. We also ran into families who were vacationing from far away places like Israel and Switzerland, not to mention the expats from the UK and Argentina who are calling the village home.
All in all, we would recommend El Cuyo as a great place to relax and unwind. Beautiful beaches, friendly people, and good food. What more could you want?
Note: El Cuyo does not have a bank or ATM so be sure and plan accordingly!