Much of Mexico’s Jalisco coast, between Manzanillo and Puerto Vallarta has been included under the general classification of the Costalegre, making it a little like the Amafi coast in Italy, a vast stretch of coastline about 150 miles long. Certainly, it’s a big enough place to explore, and these’s lots to see, but just why should you be interested in going there? Well first off, it’s absolutely beautiful, with incredible beaches and amazing surrounds.
Known by most as the Happy Coast, Costalegre is also well known as Mexico’s Virgin Coast due to the high quality of its many beautiful beaches. The beaches and bays, which are almost neighboring and separated by cliffs and rock formations easily traversed with boats or pangas. It’s popular with celebrities, party people and eco tourists, featuring everything from serene marine environments to luxury resorts and spas.
But of course it’s the beaches and bays that make Costalegre so appealing, and here are some of the best:
Home to three great beaches, Bahía Tenacatita is a great spot for families and general travellers with activities and shallow seas that make for safe swimming. Playa Tenacatita will tempt you with crystal clear snorkelling opportunities, as well as an eco-tourism magnet in the nearby mangrove lagoon. Playa Boca de Iguanas and Playa La Manzanilla are also located here, where visitors will find relaxed surf breaks, and lots of space for lying around to tan. Both Playa Boca de Iguanas and Playa La Manzanilla offer accommodation options and restaurants, making them perfect bases for a beach holiday in the Costalegre.
A gorgeous and very sheltered beach situated at the northern end of Bahía de Chamela, an eleven kilometre bay, Playa Perula is perfect if you’re looking to take a long walk, or hit the water for a swim. You can even stay nearby, and local offerings include some affordable digs, and some great palapa restaurants.
For the explorers of Costalegre, there’s nowhere quite like Playa Tecuán, a regularly empty white-sand beach complete with creepy long-abandoned resort. Don’t expect it to be an easy find though, the beach is located some 10 kilometres off the highway, and the road is rough as anything.
Villa haven, Playa Careyes is a popular spot with honeymooners thanks to its reputation as the luxury villa centre, and features lovely examples of Mediterranean architecture. They stand out, but also complete the picture on this stretch of san, where locals have recently been making impressive progress with the hawksbill sea turtle population, which are endangered.
Bahía de Chamela
Featuring two secluded and serene beaches, Playa Chamela and Playa La Negrita, Bahía de Chamela is the Costalegre spot to relax and let the world go by. The area has a few little restaurants, but not accommodations, making it daytrip only. But organise with a boat to stay and watch the sunset over the bay’s nine islands, which is breathtaking.