My serene sanctuary in Mexico emerges where the roads seemingly fade away, where the sun gracefully descends into the Pacific, and the population of palm trees and sea turtles dwarfs that of the people. Nestled within craggy, Capri-like caves and floating atop the glassy, blue-green waters of secluded coves, the most tranquil place in Mexico, for me, unfolds along the quietly powerful stretch known as the Costalegre.
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This coastal haven is sandwiched between the bustling tourist hub of Puerto Vallarta to the north and the industrial port city of Manzanillo to the south. In between lies a solitary highway, embraced by the imposing Sierra Madre mountain range, impenetrable jungles, and expansive bays rarely touched by sandy footprints that swiftly vanish beneath the lapping waves.
While Puerto Vallarta has been my home base in Mexico, with a love for the city deeply embedded in my heart, it has evolved significantly over the past decade. Once a small, burgeoning beach town, it has transformed into a full-fledged city on the sea. The skyline now punctuated by cranes and luxury condos, traffic weaving through narrow, cobblestone streets, and the challenge of securing a peaceful night’s sleep downtown – a testament to the price one pays for the paradisiacal allure of Puerto Vallarta.
In moments when the bustling charm of Puerto Vallarta calls for respite, my soul finds solace in the rugged, unspoiled beauty of Costalegre. Deceptively wild, this stretch of land, though undeveloped and teeming with wildlife, is owned by families of developers. Notably, these families, with a commendable sense of responsibility, have pledged to protect the region from rampant development. Here, the Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo, the artistic community of Careyes, and distinctive luxury hotels like Cuixmala, Las Rosadas, and Las Alamandas coexist, providing a haven for well-heeled but casually attired guests seeking villas, private pools, and a five-star escape.
What sets Costalegre apart is the heartfelt commitment of the land-owning developer families. Despite their vast acreage, only a small portion will undergo development. The rest is safeguarded in preserves, ensuring the longevity of this pristine environment.
As I witness the evolving landscape of Mexico, I grapple with mixed emotions. Progress is inevitable, and the hope is that tourism development brings improved lives for locals while preserving the environment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Thus, the knowledge that Costalegre, for now, remains close to pristine and untouched, allowing families to retain their towns and villages with a relatively small tourism footprint, brings me an overwhelming sense of peace.