A statue dedicated to the pirate Jean La Fitte can be found next to the water by the fishing boats
In February 1823, the infamous pirate Jean Lafitte, severely wounded from an encounter with Spanish warships, sailed his schooner General Santander westward from the coast of Cuba into oblivion. Lafitte’s fate has remained a mystery for 183 years. Historians and his biographers have offered different theories. Some believe he died of his wounds and was buried on Isla Muheres, Yucatan’s Isle of Women. Others believe he was buried at Dzilan de Bravo and a monument was erected to mark the site after a hurricane washed the original grave into the sea. Some more fanciful theories are that he recovered from his wounds and sailed to the Mediterranean where he succeeded in rescuing Napolean Bonapart from St. Helena. There are many theories. But the one that seems to have the most credence is the one passed down as fact over the generations by the families of Dzilan de Bravo. According to oral history, the dying Lafitte was brought ashore by his brother Philipe and his daughter Lucia. When Jean died, he was buried in the local churchyard. Lucia remained in the village, was adopted by Inez Estrada Cedil, was later married, and the blue-eyed dynasty was begun.
Although Dzilam de Bravo shares the coast of Yucatan with Cancun and Cozumel, it offers a far different Mexico than those famous resort cities. Dzilam is a small fishing village nestled on the northwest coast, literally at the very end of the road. It surrounds a charming traditional plaza that seems timeless and probably hasn’t changed in two centuries or more. There is a sense of serenity here where coconut palms and enormous flowering trees, like giant bouquets, cast cool shadows down and great flights of flamingoes turn the sky crimson at dawn.
The people in this remote Mayan outpost are no less beautiful than their surroundings. Surprisingly, many have red hair and blue eyes and you will soon learn that they are direct descendents of the blue-eyed gentleman pirate Jean Lafitte who sailed this coast in the 19th Century. They are friendly, outgoing, and they seem to realize their corner of the world is uniquely blessed and they are happy to share those blessings with visitors.
The central reality here is the sea and its bounty. Each evening, the men of the village return with grouper, octopus, shellfish and other delights that are served within the hour in the town’s marvelous restaurants. You can dine on world-famous Yucatecan seafood recipes as you watch the sun set into the sea.
Dzilam de Bravo is a magical place, a hidden paradise at the end of the road.