Cuyutlan is a sleepy little village with a long history that is known for its coconut farms, salt and the green wave. This little pueblo was the capital of Mexico for two nights in 1858 while Don Benito Juarez was locked in a battle for control of Mexico during the War of the Reform. Located 45 minutes south of Manzanillo, today Cuyutlan is a blip on the railway that connects the port with the rest of the country.
In times past the production of salt from the local estuary was an important source of income for the local community. A local cooperative still makes some of the most gourmet salt that money can buy. The saleros use the same techniques that have been used for over 600 years. Salt water is dried in the hot Colima sun and packaged for sale. For a little over one dollar per kilo you should definitely pick up a bag.
All over Mexico people know Cuyutlán for the green wave or la ola verde. The black sand beach break is a wave magnet picking up swell from just about every direction. During the summer months the surf can reach up to 20 feet on a decent swell and create some pretty heavy rip currents. In the winter months the ocean is much calmer picking up the mild north swells. The water temperature rarely drops below 80 degrees Fahrenheit attracting snowbirds from the northern latitudes, as well as a few from Guadalajara.
The wave at Cuyutlán is a heavy beach break barrel. There are a lot of close outs but when the sandbars are set up correctly there are also some gems to be found.
The bodysurfing is particularly good.
El Tortugario, or more formally known as, el Centro Ecológico de Cuyutlán is an education and community center that is dedicated to the protection of the three different turtle species found in the area and the incubation of their eggs until they can be released into the ocean. The mission of the Tortugario has grown to include the preservation of the Palo Verde Estuary and the abundant wildlife that is found therein. The estuary tour is particularly enjoyable and gives you the opportunity to see the birds, crocodiles, iguanas and more in their natural habitat. The Tortugario is located about one mile south of Cuyutlan.
El Museo de la Sal
If you read Spanish the Salt Museum is an interesting way to spend 45 minutes. The production of salt was an important source of income for the region going back hundreds of years and built a thriving middle class in the first half of the twentieth century. Most of the houses in the center of the Pueblo were once owned by workers at the salt plantation. While there is still active salt production the price for salt has continued to drop and the industry is not what it once was.
The museum has some great pictures of old-time Cuyutlan and stories about how a couple of tsunamis reshaped the village. It is interesting to think about what it was like to ride the train to the beach, eat some seafood and drink some beers a hundred years ago.
A few miles down the free road to Manzanillo you can see how they have been producing salt in this area for centuries. Salt water is left to dry on plastic sheets in the scorching sun until the water evaporates and the salt crystals are brushed into large piles. The midday sun makes the work excruciating but also produces the finest grains called flor de sal.
Where to Eat
The tacos in front of the Benito Juarez head in the main plaza are excellent. Make sure to put a few grains of that gourmet salt on your tacos.
The Hotel Morelos has a great breakfast
The tortilla shop on calle puerto vallarta
The tortilla shop makes simple breakfasts and always stocked with beans and tortillas. Nothing like waking up to the smell of freshly cooked tortillas!
Cuyutlan enramada mario
Enramada Mario has all the classic seafood dishes and a few specials depending on what the catch of day happens to be.
Fried bananas in front of the church
If you enjoyed this article you will love the blog entry on my favorite beaches within a couple hours of Guadalajara and my Guadalajara guide