El Cuyo: Quite by accident

Filed under: Places to Visit - by Louise Hennessy

“El Cuyo” is what happens when your co-pilot is not wearing her glasses.

Allow us to elaborate…

Maps and GPS at the ready, we were actually aiming for Río Lagartos, on the northern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Having opted for the non-tolled (more scenic) route, perhaps it wasn´t going to be as straightforward, but it was hard to see how we could go off course. Perhaps we should have got an inkling when we ended up flying past our first right turn, thus depending on “Lola” (our endearing nickname for the GPS) to find another route for us.

The alternate route was wonderfully vehicle-free, and led us right into the heart of Yucatan village life, along with the friendly faces of the handful of people we passed by at certain points, and a beautifully-shaded country lane where the trees met overhead to form a natural archway.

cuyo

By roughly calculating the distances, we knew we couldn’t be that far away from our destination, and settled into enjoying the lovely surroundings, when all of a sudden, the landscape changed. It was as if we were on a bridge, but we weren´t.  Either side of the lane, large pools of water came into sight, prompting the question,

“Is it a lagoon?”

In turn, the response from our co-pilot came back as,

“No, I think they are just big puddles.”

Perhaps the comment would have sufficed until we started to make out hundreds of pink dots in the “puddles.”

“Flamingos!” 

Cuyo

And indeed, flamingos they were, and extremely close to our lane; close enough, in fact, to stop the car and get some superb pics. And they never so much as batted an eyelid or ruffled a pink feather, simply carrying on as normal, majestic and absolutely beautiful.

This is when we realised we were not on our way to Rio Lagartos and had inadvertently arrived in El Cuyo (pronounced ‘el COO-yo’).

We came across this tiny fishing village quite by accident, and were only more than happy to park up and explore a little. It had a deliciously sleepy feel to it, along with the friendly-looking houses and occasional establishment painted in colours typical of a coastal spot. Laid-back restaurants offering fresh fish and all kinds of seafood were dotted here and there, and the welcoming sun beat down, urging us to head towards the sea.

Cuyo

The beach itself was outlined by the greenery of palms and other beach plants; a huge contrast to take in, next to the brilliant blues of the sea and sky, and the dazzling white sand. If you ever wanted to say you had been on a deserted beach in the Caribbean, then this would safely be the place to say it, and just a stone’s throw away from the minute centre of El Cuyo. To preserve the generous helpings of flora and fauna, El Cuyo is a protected area.

Cuyo

All in all, we have to say a huge ‘thank you’ to our co-pilot for not wearing her glasses that day and for having depended on Lola to lead us down the right road. If not, we would never have discovered this idyllic gem, perfect for anyone in search of peace, a romantic hideaway, or an encounter with nature…

Don’t forget to ask our concierge for tips on visiting El Cuyo.

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