Home NewsPeninsulaBeach Communities El Cuyo does not want to become the next Holbox

El Cuyo does not want to become the next Holbox

by Yucatan Times
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El Cuyo, Yucatán: the last colorful piece of paradise in the Gulf of Mexico.

This fishing village is an anomaly in one of the most desirable seas on the planet, probably the last stronghold on the Yucatan Peninsula that has not yet fallen into the clutches of tourist development. Beaches with transparent waters, flamingos, and pink-tinted salt flats make anyone who visits fall in love with them.

El Cuyo is a small town in the Mexican state of Yucatán is located right in the place where the Caribbean still dominates the Gulf of Mexico and imposes its turquoise hue on it.

Its safe passage is its privileged location, within the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, at the intersection where the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean meet and surrounded by coastal lagoons where pink flamingos nest.

Its closest neighbor, just 40 kilometers away, is Holbox Island, a paradise that in just a few years has succumbed to the excesses of tourist exploitation, putting its delicate ecosystem at risk.

El Cuyo does not want to be the next Holbox. Its inhabitants look with suspicion on what has happened to their neighbors in the State of Quintana Roo, and assure that it will not happen there.

“We value our lifestyle and our community too much and we will not sell our souls to the devil, as it happened in Holbox,” says Alfonso, a local fisherman, as he untangles his nets tangled from the previous night’s work.

And the hackneyed expression of “fishing village”, often used in promotional brochures to describe places that years ago gave up fighting with the sea, is totally true here in El Cuyo.

691 fishermen work in El Cuyo, 45% of the town’s population. In addition, the seafood processing and selling industry employs many of the town’s women.

The bulk of the town’s income continues to be derived from fishing and not tourism. The beachfront hotels are family establishments and sustainable wooden houses.

The only ATM was installed in 2022 (it works sometimes) and power outages are common. Outside the perimeter of the town, asphalt is conspicuous by its absence and the roads are sandy beach tracks.

If a traveler comes to El Cuyo it is because they like nature.

The best way to explore this beautiful port is with a local guide aboard an all-terrain vehicle to navigate tracks and sandbanks. As soon as you start the path, you pass the town cemetery on the right featuring several small tombs with blue and yellow roofs, on which several iguanas snooze.

Here, in the Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve, is the largest nesting area for the pink flamingo, with colonies of more than 25,000 specimens during the breeding season in June.

The dirt track is flanked by the estuary on one side and the sea on the other. Each stop is an opportunity to dive into a beautiful, temperate, and turquoise sea that is difficult to get out of.

On the beach, the remains of nests excavated by hawksbill turtles can be seen everywhere, and white turtles in the sand remind us who are the true owners of these pristine environments.

Visiting El Cuyo is a trip simply different from visiting any other destination. Feeling the sea breeze on your face and the smell of sea salt in the air makes you feel free, and if you close your eyes you inhale paradise.

TYT Newsroom

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