You many not have heard of El Cuyo Yucatan before. This is a small town that just might be a place you want to check out. See our description and what there is to do there to see if this place is right for you.
Where is El Cuyo, Yucatan?
This is where we are talking about. This is a remote small fishing village on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is located in the National Park Ria Lagartos. This area is well know for the thousands of flamigos that call this area home among sea turtles and other sea birds.
What is there to see and do in El Cuyo?
- The beach! The beach in El Cuyo is wide here and there are relatively few people here. The town has 1,700 residents. Going both west and east of this town is virgin beach.
- Flamingos and nature. This is a feeding area for flamingos and many other sea birds. In fact when you drive across the lagoon you just might see some flamingos.
- Fishing tours. This is the prefect spot to go out with real fisherman and try your hand at catching something.
- Kayak tours. You can enjoy nature here kayak through mangrove areas.
- Kitesurfing. This is the big draw here. With good wind and open waters there are several companies that do lessons and tours here.
Where to stay-Hotels and Cabanas in El Cuyo
El Cuyo has traditionally been a place by the sea where fishermen live and people from the interior of the peninsula come to spend a few days by the beach. The result is many cabanas in town. These range from basic cabin to a full on mini house. You can drive around and see any cabanas and see if there is availability. It should be noted there is hardly any cell service in El Cuyo and very limited internet. With this in mind many places take time to get back to you and often have phone numbers from Playa Del Carmen, Cancun or Merida. Some booking online is possible but don’t wait until the last minute to book something here. Here are some choices for you.
- Hotel Aida Luz. This is the main hotel in El Cuyo with basic and clean rooms with air conditioning. It is located on the main square.
- Las Casitas El Cuyo. This is popular with kite surfers and is a beachfront place to stay.
- Airbnb has about 22 rentals on the site to choose from.
Tip: The busier times of the year for a place to stay are New Years, Semana Santa/Easter holiday.
There are also a few cool vacation rentals on booking.com. You can click the link below to see price and what is available for when you want to go. We will say that some of these are a good option and priced well.
Restaurants in El Cuyo
There are basically two restaurants in town. They both are seafood restaurants and similar in menu and prices. There are small lunch counter and taco stands around town. Don’t plan on eating our too late. Both restaurants close around 8:00pm. Both restaurants serve all three meals a day.
- La Conchita is a charming restaurant just off the main square. There is indoor seating and outdoor seating out back.
- Restaurant Miramar is right on the main square in the Hotel Aida Luz.
La Conchita Restaurant
More about El Cuyo
- The center of town is one square. The rest of town is just streets with houses. There are very few businesses here.
- There are basic markets here you can buy a few things. If you are driving and coming for a few days, consider bring fruits, vegetables and any alcohol you want to drink.
- A causeway connects the town across the lagoon to the mainland.
- A lighthouse overlooks the town that was interestingly enough build on a Mayan ruin.
- There is usualy no cell service here and limited internet options.
- Many streets are sand.
- This is a very safe place to visit. There is the national guard stationed there because it is a port and town police, but it really is a sleepy town.
- There are pay toilets and showers near the new pier and on the main square in town.
How to get to El Cuyo
Since this is a remote area of the Yucatan Peninsula a car will the best option. It is nice to see the small villages and scenery along the way and you can stop if you are driving.
Coming from Playa Del Carmen
You will need to leave Playa on the new Playa-Nuevo Xcan Highway. At the end of this toll road (97 pesos) you will go in the direction of Holbox. Go to the town of Kantunilkin and in the middle of town you will take a left at the sign going to Colonia Yucatan. When you reach this small town you will take a right and go in the direction of El Cuyo. It is 38 kilometers from Colonia Yucatan to El Cuyo.
This route will take about 2 1/2 hours but it is an interesting drive passing some small Mayan villages and fields with palms and ceiba trees dotting them.
Coming from other directions
If you are coming from Cancun you will take the 180 Cuota (toll 180 not the old free 180 that is much slower) Highway toward Merida and get off at the Holbox exit. You will drive to Kantunilkin and follow the above directions the rest of the way.
If you are coming from Valladolid or Merida you will go to Tizimin and then take the road to Colonia Yucatan and proceed up to El Cuyo.
Almost all public transportation comes from Tizimin. This is not that convenient if you are coming from Playa Del Carmen.
There are local busses that connect Tizimin to El Cuyo. There are also smaller colectivo vans that go back and forth. No schedules are online for these busses.
Certainly if you are taking public transportation, you should plan on staying a few days so you can relax and make the long journey worth it.
Have you been to El Cuyo Yucatan? What did you think? What was your favorite thing about it? Let us know in the comments below.
This was a good intro to El Cuyo. We decided to visit after reading this article. We found it pretty much as you described. We love reading about different places and learning about discoveries near Playa Del Carmen. We live here in Playa and like to get out but don’t get as much as a chance as possible. When guest come we plan a little get away. Our guest loved how tranquil El Cuyo is. Keep up the good work and we look forward to your next stories and adventures.
We are so happy you went to El Cuyo and had a good time. It was easy to write about because there are not too many restaurants and things to see except visit a peaceful little town. We will be working hard on bringing you more adventures! Thanks for reading.
Is November the right season for flamingos? Do you have a contact for a local guide?
Hello. The flamingos do move around to different nesting and feeding spots but November in Rio Lagartos usually is a good time to see more flamingos. Even year round you can spot some there. If you drive there you will be approached by many guides. The best time of day is early so it is best to arrive the night before and go on a tour in the morning. You can ask around and see what guide you feel most comfortable with and one that speaks English or Spanish.
El Cuyo is a charming place to visit. We like the laid back days there. We often stock up on food before we go because there are limited supplies on the small strip of land. I recommend a good place to stay because you will spend a lot of time there at your hotel or guest house.
El Cuyo is certainly off the tourist map. I go just to get away and enjoy the peacefulness but not for more then 3days. There are so few places to eat and buy food. A little too remote for more time.
Hey just wanted to give you feedback on our trip to El Cuyo. We visited to go kitesurfing. We loved the laid back vibe and chill place. Not too much to do besides beach and drinking. It would be nice if there were some more places to eat there. Definitely drive there and bring some food with you. It is not that bad but nice to have some better options for snacks and drinks.
El Cuyo is one of our favorite places to get away. It is so relaxed. It might be too relaxed for many people but that is the charm. It makes it a lot better to stay somewhere nice and relax.
EL Cuyo is such a tranquil place. Even if there is issues with safety in other parts of the peninsula, I know that this small town is a beautiful place to observe local fisherman and people going about their way of life. Yes there is not nightlife and other action, but still a great quiet place.
Have been here visiting friends. It is a hidden little place. Nice a quiet and quiet beach. It is very different from Holbox and other places. It is more of a fishing village. It is good to go to El Cuyo for a couple of days.
What is the temperature in late May/June? What should I bring to wear?
Hello Cuyo bound
It will be very hot in May and June so dress light and with light colors. There is also a chance of the spring rains so a rain poncho might be good. Sandals always are good in El Cuyo because when it rains the streets can get full of water and shoes with socks get soaked.
Was siting around the other day at a friends place and El Cuyo came up . He bought a place in Holl Box. We talked mosquitos on the island . Is El Cuyo populated with those little pesks. Just wanted to be prepared , as one should be going to Holl Box.
Like Holbox the mosquitos situation varies by season and where you are on the island. We find on the west end of Holbox to be the worst place for mosquitos and also horse flies. In El Cuyo the beachfront gets very little since there is a sea breeze. on the east and west part there are more treed and shrubs and more mosquitos. We have been at different times of the year and there is no problem at all there. The kayak tour in the mangroves on the other hand can be intense some times of the year with mosquitos. These are some of the things that you have to deal with in remote beach locations.
Hi! Thanks for the info on El Cuyo, very useful! Do you have contact details for the kayak mangrove tours?
We had a number but no website. We are not sure if the number works (also El Cuyo has no cell service or very limited) so the best thing to do is ask in town or while you are driving to El Cuyo, about 3 km before crossing the lagoon, you will see on your left a small wooden building in a field with a yellow kayak on it. If there is a car there, drive down the dirt trail and ask there. That is the best way. It is hard to find these out of the way tours but worth it! Let us know if you go.
Are there lots of mosquitoes here like on Holbox?
The western end has more issues with insects in general. Right now the dry season ending and there will be more. Staying beachfront helps because of the breeze, further back there will be more mosquitos.
Would it be posible to go by boat to see whale sharks from El Cuyo in July?? (2018).
This is not very likely. There may be people that can take you but they are more between Holbox and Isla Mujeres. We just went last week and went an hour off the coast from Cancun toward Holbox. El Cuyo is even further to the west and less likely to see them. That is why it is most famous in Holbox and Isla Mujeres. If you really want to see them then we would not recommend you try from El Cuyo.
El Cuyo is a beautiful place and look forward to resolving our land issue there.
Paradise…tranquil, beautiful walking village, beach and complete peacefulness.
Definitely bring food and wine there are no bank machines.
I have problems leaving this beautiful peace of heaven
Locals are wonderful
We are glad to hear you enjoyed El Cuyo. There are even more places like this around the peninsula as well.
Where is the closest place from el Cujo where we can find a market to buy food and wine? We have 3 babies.. The car will be full of luggage leaving Cancun
The best place is in Cancun to shopping. There are only very basic markets in a few places between Cancun and El Cuyo. None of which have wine. So stick up before going.
Great little unknown place.its like old Mexican seaports of long ago.
Hey Seth, just wanted to throw in that it is possible to travel west from El Cuyo along the beach road and come out at Los Colorados. Makes for a round trip type journey.
Almost paradise,if you want a beach all to yourself El Cuyo is the place,and yet you get to meet friendly locals and other tourists.
Enjoy it while it still remains this way.
Is there available fishing options for tourists in
El Cuyo ?
We have not seen any tours advertised but we are sure that if you go and ask around someone would be willing to take you. If you are staying at a hotel there or AirBNB it would be good to ask the owner if they have any contacts. The town is small and offering a fishing tour is a great local tourism opportunity to locals.
Thank you for your overview of El Cuyo. My husband and I have been going to Holbox for 15 years now, but our most recent trip is our last one. Holbox is too populated now, so we want to move on to El Cuyo next. Now that I’ve read the feedback here, I think we’ll probably only stay for a week because we’ll need supplies for a longer trip.
That is nice you are discovering El Cuyo. Everyone says it is the next Holbox but that seems a few years off. The beach is not as shallow and is a little more green then turquoise. We hope ou have a good time there.
If we are going to Las Coloradas, can the fisherman take you to el cuyo by boat? we are taking a car but im just wondering
It is possible but you might have to look around a while to find someone. Since they don’t do it that often, and they have to turn around and come back, and consider the cost of gas, it is not really a cost effective way to go.
Is it possible to get a boat there from either Isla Holbox or Chiquilá?.
Technically yes, since there is not a demand for it there is not regular service. If you ask around you can get a small boat owner to take you. It is a lot of gas for a boat driver to go one way paid and have to return to Holbox empty. It is worth it if you don’t have a car and want to visit El Cuyo for an overnight. Just note that public transport from El Cuyo to other points is basic. A boat would make for an interesting experience and unique way to get around.
Just got back from El Cuyo. Very chill place with nice people and fresh fish restaurants. Not much else but a good place to chill and be with friends.
We’ve been to Isla Holbox, and thinking the next place is El Cuyo. We realize the weather varies in region, is October or November good times to visit El Cuyo? Temperature cooler? Thank You
The weather is usually very nice then. November has a better chance of less rain. October can be rainy and the hurricane season is ending.
We will be staying in San Crisanto for 3 nights and are looking for another spot to stay for 3 nights. Any recommendations ?
We will be heading to the airport in Cancun right after.
Have you thought about Holbox? It is closer to Cancun and a really nice place to spend three days. https://everythingplayadelcarmen.com/the-most-laid-back-island-holbox/
Hello, I spent a week in Chelem and really enjoyed it but it was way too windy(seemingly always) to spend the afternoon at the beach, is there a constant breeze in El Cuyo? Thanks
El Cuyo is also know as a wind surfing destination, so there is breeze. It does not seem to interrupt the beach activity though.