First Week in El Cuyo

So we’ve been here a week and it’s time for a report on El Cuyo.  The trip started out stressfully when we got to Harlingen and found our flight was delayed by 3 hours because of bad storms in Houston.  We barely made the connection to Cancun in Houston and then waited on the tarmac for almost an hour waiting for takeoff since so many planes were diverted to Houston after the storm passed. We got to the Cancun airport later than expected to find that the car rental (just like Costa Rica) had some “mandatory” insurances not listed on the website.  In the end,, because we didn’t want to leave a $12000 deposit, we took a cab to our hotel and arranged for a transport to El Cuyo for the next day.  It’s about a 2 ½ ride through the jungle of the Yucatan to get to ElCuyo.  Doug and Sue rented a car and followed us.

You approach El Cuyo via a causeway over a laguna where pink flamingos wade.  The paved road ends in the center of town and there is one road heading east that has the rental houses for the turistas.  Ours is across the street from the beach and about a 10 minute walk to town.  At first look, we thought that we should have bought twice as many groceries in Cancun;  there seemed to be small little tiendas on every block, but little in the way of fresh food.

It took a few walks to town and some laughing and trying out my very basic Spanish, but we found the vegetables (sold by the Mayan ladies who get off the bus at 7), the chicken lady, the bakeries, the  carneceria and about 5 restaurants.  We’ve tried three of the five and the food is good, very inexpensive (four of us ate for $13.00) and authentic.  Our accommodations are nice-basic but clean and sufficient.  We’re on the second floor which gives us a view of the ocean and fewer bugs.  There are some mosquitos and sand fleas, mostly at dawn and dusk, but it is the jungle.  And we have two sweet little green iguanas that eat bugs!

The beach goes on for miles.  At the most we may have seen 20 people on the beach all day.  We have met locals and Americans.  One neighbor for the month is John, a wildlife manager from Colorado who has been coming here since the 90s.  Yesterday he mentioned that the beach was the busiest he has ever seen it here—there were four kites up!  John brought over a bag of shrimp for dinner and we got a lot of information about the town.

When we arrived, Enrique was here to help us with moving in.  He is a young man who lives in a cabana at the back of the property.  He rakes the yard, turns the night yard lights on and off and speaks no English!  This stretch of the Yucatan coast used to be coconut plantations so there are tons of coconuts.  Enrique used his machete to open the green ones for us for fresh coconut water.  I have gathered some yellow coconuts and opened them up for the meat—yum.

The wind—we got here late in the day last Wednesday and the sea was calm and the wind light.  Thursday the wind was light (Paula got out on the 13 for one slow ride) and we got to know the town and talk to folks around.  Friday looked light with an El Norte coming for Saturday, so we hopped in Doug and Sue’s car and took a tour looking for a cenote and the town of Tizimin.  We found a cenote in Kikil and the town of Tizimin was really busy getting ready for the Festival of the Three Kings. We’ve got some funny stories, but we’ll wait till we see you all to tell them.

Saturday the El Norte came in with a fury—34 mph winds and huge waves.  Sunday, the wind died so we could try to put up a kite, but the waves were still big and scary.  We practiced getting the board on and trying to negotiate the waves.  Monday was better- the waves were a bit smaller and the wind good.  We did a bit better—Butch had two great sessions.  Tuesday and Wednesday we got out on 12s, and 10 and were much more successful.  We figure if we could learn in these waves, we’ll be good for the ocean in Padre.  Here there were five or six rows of breaking waves and many broke over our heads while kiting!



2 thoughts on “First Week in El Cuyo

  1. Hello, I’m headed to El Cuyo Feb 1, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog but am concerned with renting a car in cancun, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Joe


  2. I hope you are a good wave sailor. We’ve been here a month and the only decent wind comes on an El Norte where the waves are 5-8 feet–and there are several rows of breaking waves. I’m not sure we’ll ever consider ooming here again. If you are planning on taking lessons, we’ve only seen instructors who walk along the shore while their students thrash in the waves. They also take 20-30 minutes to sail the gear upwind while the student walks up and waits
    As far as car rentals go…here is what we learned. You will find ridiculously low prices on a third party site like expedia, The prices are so low, you may be tempted to buy all the insurances as well. Then when you get to the rental counter you are told that those insurances are not accepted and you have to buy their insurance. The only mandatory insurance you have to buy is the Third party liability, which we paid $11 per day. The collision Damage should be covered by your credit card BUT it means that you pay for the damage and then make a claim to your credit card for reimbursement. We think this is why they say that the insurance you bought (through an American company) is not accepted–because you would have to pay up front for the damage. If you do get a car company to allow you to use your credit card insurance, they will ask for a huge deposit (10-100% of the value of the car), since they don’t want to be left without any assurance that they will get paid. I am cautious about that since it would probably tie up the use of that card for the rest of your trip.

    Renting the car at the airport is the worst place. If I were to do it again, I would take the bus to Cancun–very cheap, it is like a big city tour bus and runs every half hour. DO NOT take a cab right out from the airport- they charge a ridiculous fare ($68) to get you to the city center or your hotel.

    We eventually rented from easywayrentacar,com. Their website says they accept your credit card insurance, they charge $11 per day for the mandatory insurance, $3 per day for an extra driver (as opposed to $10 per day at the airport) and it was a way easy process. All the major brands have places in Cancun proper and you would save at least 16% by not haeing to pay the airport fee. There are also a ton of off name car rental companies outside the airport but haven’t done any research. We ended up paying $320 for 2 drivers, 10 days.

    There is another option if you are adventurous (and depending what time your flight gets in). You can take the bus from the airport to the Cancun bus (ADO) station (north end of town), then get a bus to Colonias Yucatan (I think it runs 6 times a day) and then take a bus from Colonias to El Cuyo (28 miles with more frequent stops) that puts you in the center of town. There are at least 3 buses a day that come here. The question is how long you would have to wait in Colonias for the connection. I couldn’t find info online, but have been assured by the folks who got off in El Cuyo that you can buy the tickets at the Cancun bus terminal. Once you’re in El Cuyo you don’t need a car. We are staying in a house that is one of the farthest from the center and it is a 1 km walk. Not bad unless the bugs are out. That reminds me BRING SOME BUG DOPE, THE MOSQUITOES ARE VICIOUS AT DUSK AND DAWN.

    I am in the middle of writing a pretty long description of our experience and have to get some pictures to add to it.

    Hope this helps.


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