COSTA CAREYES, MEXICO
Is there a place in Mexico that is as spectacular as your wildest dreams but without the crowds and development that always seem to come with such an idyllic destination? Is there a magical place along Mexico's coastline that has yet to be discovered by the popular guidebooks, travel channels and the all-inclusive resort crowds? Simply put...are there any secret destinations left in Mexico where one can feel like they have truly gotten away from it all? Such a place does indeed exist, and Carlos Fiesta has been there. It's located along Mexico's west coast on a stretch of jungled coast called Costa Careyes. And it is indeed spectacular.
Costa Careyes is a 4,000 acre resort located well south of Puerto Vallarta and considerably north of Manzanillo. This stretch of coast has changed very slowly over the last 30 years, and the likelihood is high that large scale development will be slow to find this corner of Paradise. Not that the area is not worthy of massive development, it is indeed. This beautiful coast is more amazing than many of the resort destinations already built out along Mexico's west coast. The difference is in the way Costa Careyes was planned. This is not another Fonatur destination with a 10 year government goal to maximize profits at the expense of putting a hotel on every beach. The plan here is a bit more subtle.
This jewel of a destination has been quietly under controlled development for over 35 years, ever since Gian Franco Brignone built the first beachside bungalow here on a spectacular strand of beach. It didn't take long for Gian's jet set friends to figure out where he was sneaking off to for months at a time each year, and soon Mr. Franco began developing additional bungalows and casitas to house the friends and acquaintances that came to visit him in his Pacific hideaway. Giorgio Brignone, the founders son, continues in his father's footsteps in welcoming in new guests to this hidden corner of the world as we proceed into the new millennium.
It has been said that visitors to Costa Careyes don't just slip into another place, they fall into another life. The pace here is magically slow and deliciously simple. The area has no markets, and the ever common scene of competing beachside palapa restaurants is noticeably absent here, save the beachfront Rosa's Restaurant that can steal away your day without you even realizing it. Not that you had anything else better to do.
Even with the low profile afforded by this hidden resort, there is plenty to do. Beachcombing, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, polo, tennis, golf and all the watersports you would expect on a beautiful Mexican beach. But the truth is, because Costa Careyes is so relaxing most people have a difficult time mustering up the energy to take advantage of these calorie-burning options. Sleeping in, slipping into an infinity pool for a refreshing dip, and pulling up a good book are popular exersizes in Costa Careyes. Lunches are simple and usually consist of healthy platters, and dinners and cocktails are often shared with friends old and new. The sunsets? To die for.
Lodging at Costa Careyes is different than most resorts in Mexico. The secluded beaches and green hills are sprinkled with fifty houses, fifty casitas, and one very nice forty-room beachfront hotel. Most of the accommodations in the resort share the common theme of vibrant colors and lush landscaping, accented by the clear blue ocean horizon. Many homes are designed with a splash of Mediterranean flair and Mexican craftsmanship, with a strong emphasis on outdoor living. Tall palapa ceilings and open area living areas allow the spectacular views of the Pacific to dominate most of the rooms. Each lodging option was thought out and built to fit in with the coastal environment, adding to the beautiful aesthetics of the resort. Because most of the visitors to Careyes stay in houses or casitas rather than in hotels, the environment has a private yet dressed-down feel to it. These small and large villas offer the privacy of staying in a home with the conveniences of turndown and laundry service, and fresh flowers daily.
Of the houses located in the resort, the three Castles of Careyes are quite spectacular. These homes are still managed by the Brignones family and can be leased by guests who are looking for the vacation experience of a lifetime. Also available for rent is the spectacular resort of Cuixmala, a 25,000 acre private ranch located south of Careyes. Sitting on a 2 mile long beach in a coconut plantation, it has been said that this magnificent residence is one of the most impressive family estates of the 20th century. British-French billionaire Sir James Goldsmith pulled out all of the stops for this masterpiece, and his former wife Ginette and their daughter Alix still reside in the residence more than half the year in their own private home on the property. Other house options at the estate include seven guest bungalows and three amazing houses: Casa Playa (located directly on the beach), Casa Alborada and Casa Puma, which are set into the lush hills above the beach.
The climate at Costa Careyes is similar to most of Mexico's central Pacific coast. High season runs from October through May, but don't discount a getaway from June through September. Summer rains are generally short and usually only for a few hours in the afternoon, and the ocean water temperature during this time of the year is like a bathtub. The post-rain sunsets will take your breath away.
COSTA CAREYES LODGING