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What is Aldea Kuka?

What is Aldea Kuka?

The beginning of an adventure

My  mother is very adventurous. She thus orchestrated, in December 2000, a crazy travelling adventure without a destination, driving all the way to Merida, to explore whatever came our way around the Yucatan Peninsula.  We thus drove all they way to Rio Lagartos, and then someone told us about a very special island that one could only reach through the small harbor of Chiquila.  After a couple of hours of driving on a small dirt road, we arrived late at night to the town Chiquila, a small, quiet town, with dim lighting, with a few dogs running here and there.  When we approached the port, some fishermen asked us whether we wished to take a small ferry boat, to Holbox island. We had never heard of Holbox island.

“Holbox”, the fishermen told us, was the Mayan word for “Black Hole”. We decided to follow their advice and crossed to the island in a small ferry boat that was quite old and noisy. We were hesitant about the destination: a “black hole”, in the middle of nowhere, an island no one had ever really heard of, a little but beautiful fishing town apparently. We did not really know whether the destination would be worth going, but with my parents, and us as kids, we were hungry for the unknown, trying to decipher each moment and noises of nature. And this journey into the unknown in a magical country like Mexico became an adventure worth a thousand lives.

A detail called my attention. While on the boat, I observed a lot of pleasant and very friendly people, who, when they realized that we had no idea of our destination – assured us that we would soon find paradise. These people were travelling with all kinds of food and merchandises. When getting off the boat, we noticed that the means of transport of the people was very particular. A golf cart painted in yellow and black, similar to a New York taxi, approached us. The funny thing was that they were very few and so, when we tried to catch one of these taxis, there were none.

We walked through a small sand street which led downtown. We started walking while pulling our suitcases wondering whether there were hotels or flats to rent. We finally reached a town square, where the villagers were celebrating the 15-year old birthday party “quinceañera” of one of the villagers’ daughters. As soon as we were near, the party host came straight to us, took our suitcases while at the same time welcoming us with a smile and placed us, without asking, on one of the tables. He then asked us where we came from, and generously offered us to drink and eat dinner. We were welcomed as guests.

It was quite an unforgettable evening, filled with joy and happiness, meeting and dancing with nice and pleasant local people. When the party was over, we were all exhausted but with happy feet.  The party host  then drove us to a small hotel, through a sand road with no lights but the golf cart’s. Even though we could hear some waves (albeit small), we were unable to see anything. We were welcomed by a nice couple who gave us a very cozy room, with snails outside the door and comfortable hammocks.

The next morning, we woke up in paradise, the beach was mind-blowing. It looked like a pool of turquoise, green and blue colors. There was nobody else around us, we were alone at the beach. The land lady prepared us a delicious Mexican breakfast, which fed our inspiration to begin the adventure of exploring this beautiful island.

My father and I decided to take a walk with the intention of reaching the end of the island (and the northernmost point on the Yucatan Peninsula), the place is called Cabo Catoche. We started walking around 9 in the morning. We crossed a river, and we walked for almost 5 hours until we realized that Cabo Catoche was farther than we expected. We saw flamingos, pelicans, rattlesnakes, starfish. We had never seen a beach like this one, a beach beyond words for us. Our adventurous hearts were satisfied with the idea that we had just discovered the most beautiful place in the world. We were in paradise. It took us about 5 hours to return and when we finally crossed the river again, it was quite late at night. Upon arriving at the hotel, our hosts reminded us of our foolishness as apparently there were many crocodiles on the river at night, which amazed us, as we had no idea of the danger we had just survived.

We spent almost a week enjoying this place, eating lobster and fresh fish like never before. We could savour some delicacies on the shore that we will never forget. We fell in love with Isla Holbox and decided to return as much as possible. We did it a couple of times more, and in 2013, we decided to purchase a piece of paradise in this land.

The Aldea Kuká project is a story to tell. It started as a family dream. One afternoon while on vacation in Holbox island, we started making drawings with a branch on the sand.

A place in harmony with the environment and with the style of living of local people

The idea was to replicate a small Mayan village, with palapas, created with the style of construction like that of the log cabins where the Mayans used to live in and where they live nowadays. A log cabin, with walls of sticks and palm roofs. Our idea for the interior decoration was for the palapas to reflect the art and cultural heritage of different Mexican local and indigenous communities. An interior decoration that would display furniture and objects that we would have to seek by travelling all through the country in a special quest (a new adventure!) for local art and cultural heritage. We thus travelled around Chiapas, Oaxaca, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo. We met wonderful and very creative artists, who crafted special (and some unique) pieces to decorate our rooms with natural fabrics and environmental-friendly materials: wood, cotton, henequen, wool, silk, pottery, etc.

We built a strong connection with all these communities, and we decided to establish a program by which once a month we would host one of these artists to come, exhibit and sell (and explain) their art and cultural heritage to our guests.

 

A self-sustaining boutique hotel to promote sustainable tourism and responsible travel

During our many travels to Holbox, we quickly realized the importance of preserving this paradise for our children, for our future, as well as the importance of protecting its wildlife and local communities from the overtourism that had been invading other islands or areas around the Yucatan Peninsula or near Cancun.

For this reason, we decided to promote sustainable tourism and responsible travel in the island. Who knows, others hopefully would soon follow. So we decided to get involved with the local community to promote new practices and to build an environmental-friendly hotel.

The first thing that came to mind was to have a wastewater treatment plant in order for our small hotel not to pollute the paradise where our own children or grandchildren would be swimming and walking barefoot. We then put in place softening and purification of drinking water equipment, in order to be able to dispense purified water in all the taps of the hotel, avoiding with that the excessive use of PET in bottles of water. We are also in the process of building a source of solar energy for the hotel. Finally, we designated an area in the hotel where we planted a group of trees in order to offset CO2 emissions generated by the construction and operation of the hotel.

We believe that small but concrete actions, have a great impact.

Aldea Kuká is also about preserving Holbox and respecting our cultural heritage

This is how this great adventure began. An adventure that has taught us more than we were expecting. An adventure that has opened our eyes to the importance of promoting the value of our environment with the help of local communities and respect our home, our planet. It has taught us not to underestimate the strength of meteorological phenomena, and the power of nature.

Aldea Kuká is meant to be a hub of Mexican and indigenous art, as well as a self-sustaining project.  This is, for us, the basis of a sustainable tourism business model, by which, in addition to seeking economic profitability, takes care, respects and preserves our environment, and as well as the rich cultural heritage of our country, for an eternal piece of paradise.

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