El Cuyo remains a relatively undiscovered, small beach town on Mexico’s northeastern Yucatan Peninsula. With miles of pristine, white sand beaches and an aquamarine sea, El Cuyo offers what some consider an idyllic, coastal lifestyle. There’s almost no commerce except for a few restaurants and stores. Therefore, you can spend your days reading books on the beach, riding bikes or kitesurfing. If you desire wearing flip-flops and bathing suits in an unrefined beach town, El Cuyo, Mexico may be your new go-to spot.
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Map to El Cuyo
Why Go to El Cuyo
Anyone looking for a gorgeous beach in a rustic, languid beach town should definitely check out El Cuyo. It’s a great escape for those looking to recapture what many of Mexico’s beach towns like Cancun and Playa del Carmen used to be like before major tourism set in. Here in El Cuyo many of the roads are still packed with beach sand instead of concrete. And bicycles are the preferred mode of transport.
Plus you can rent a beachfront 3 bedroom bungalow for well under $100 USD a night. So it’s both pretty and inexpensive. And although it lacks many of life’s modern conveniences (like a grocery store), it makes up for that in unrefined charm.
What to do in El Cuyo
Basically, there’s not a whole heck of a lot to do. Primarily, you can spend your days reading books on the beach. And unless you’re staying at a hotel with beach chairs, please make sure to bring your own chairs and umbrella.
Otherwise, you can hire one of the locals to take you fishing in hopes of finding your meal for the evening. The Gulf waters surrounding El Cuyo are teeming with marine life. Or if you brought your own bikes (as there are no bike rentals in El Cuyo as of yet), El Cuyo makes beach biking a scenic and adventurous way to explore the area amid a backdrop of alabaster sand and turquoise waters.
For the more adventurous souls, you can sign up for kiteboarding lessons. El Cuyo ranks as one of Mexico’s kiteboarding capitals. The shallow shores are filled with fit bodies being propelled by colorful kites.
At night you can grill your own dinner under a sky filled with stars. Kindly ensure to bring your own spices and side dishes as the convenience stores in El Cuyo are greatly lacking. Alternatively you might try dining at 1 of El Cuyo’s few restaurants (see below).
Essentially, depending on your needs for outside entertainment, you can visit for a couple of nights or stay for months on end. For me, 2 to 3 days is ideal. Without external stimulation I tend to bore easily.
Kite Surfing School: Tel. +52 984-807-2567, Web. https://kitesurfmexico.com/
Where to Stay in El Cuyo
You can either stay at 1 of El Cuyo’s 2 main hotels that cater to tourists or find a home rental on Airbnb. With either option try to stay on the beach as close to the center of town as possible. Otherwise you may feel like you are missing true costal living.
For apartment rentals be prepared for cancellations and double bookings. Friends have letted houses only to find out the properties were already rented. In one case a lady showed up late at night with backpack in tow and booking in hand, only to discover someone had already occupied the property (us!).
We stayed at the LunArena beach hotel and can certainly recommend it. The sunset views were amazing. Additionally the rooms come with a kitchenette. However, next time we may try to stay somewhere right on the beach, closer to town with beds larger than a double.
El Cuyo Rentals on Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com
El Cuyo Rentals on Booking.com: https://www.booking.com
LunArena Hotel: https://lunarena-boutique-mx.book.direct/en-gb
Casa Cielo Hotel: https://lacasacielo.com/
Where to Eat in El Cuyo
At present less than a handful of restaurants serve the residents of El Cuyo. And if you don’t feel like cooking at home, which make require importing all of your own food, spices, then eating out may be your best choice. However, be prepared for places not to open till at least 8am or later. So say goodbye to an early breakfast out.
My favorite spot for breakfast is La Conchita in downtown El Cuyo. We feasted on an assortment of Mexican style eggs like “huevos divorciados” with red and green salsa and some freshly squeezed juice. The lunch and dinner menus looked equally scrumptious.
For dinner we opted to fill our tanks at the Hotel Casa El Cielo restaurant located right on the beach. Fresh salsa and guacamole accompanied a tasty grilled fish fillet. In our group of 5 everyone enjoyed their selection.
La Conchita: Calle 37 x 40 y 42, Centro, El Cuyo, Tel. + 52 986-853-4062
Casa El Cielo: Calle Morph 1, Lot 190, Street 15, El Cuyo, Tel. +1 424-835-2896
How to Get to El Cuyo
The best and easiest way to get to El Cuyo is to drive yourself. There are public buses, which will take days and multiple stops. Or you can hire a private driver or taxi which will prove very costly.
Please note driving directions below are merely route overviews without providing every turn. It’s best to consult the Google links below for more accurate information.
From Merida: Take Route 176 east towards Tzimin, then take Route 295 north towards Rio Lagartos. Turn right onto Carr. a Dzonot Carretero and follow that to El Cuyo. Web: Online directions from Google.
From Cancun: Take Route 180 west to Route 5. Take Route 5 north and turn west at Kantunilkin onto Colonia Yucatan-Kantunilkin/Reforma Agraria and follow that to El Cuyo. Web: Online directions from Google.
From Playa del Carmen: Take route 305D north to Route 5. Take Route 5 north and turn west at Kantunilkin onto Colonia Yucatan-Kantunilkin/Reforma Agraria and follow that to El Cuyo. Web: Online directions from Google.