Costalegre is the Pacific coast of the state of Jalisco, Mexico. The region is about 330 km in length and begins and ends at the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta to the north and Manzanillo to the south, but neither city is considered part of the Costalegre region because they are well developed destinations that don't fit the low-key, natural vibe of Costalegre. The Costalegre region is known for its exclusive private communities for the rich, its spectacular natural scenery, and for its miles of secluded natural coastline.

Bahia Melaque
Villas in Careyes

Cities edit

Map of Costalegre
  • 1 Barra de Navidad — a small fishing community and beach town with good surfing
  • 2 Costa Careyes — secluded luxury community with dramatic ocean vistas
  • 3 La Manzanilla — a quiet beach town that draws fishers and hikers
  • 4 San Patricio - Melaque   — a beach town popular with Mexicans
  • 5 Tomatlán — a beautiful agricultural town with a historic town square

Other destinations edit

Villas in Careyes
Bahia Chamela
  • 1 Cabo Corrientes — northernmost area of Costalegre, along the southern edges of the Bahia Banderas
  • 2 Costa Majuahuas — near Tomatlan, Chalacatepec Beach is here
  • 3 Bahia de Chamela — small bay with several rocky islands (including Isla Cocinas, a popular daytrip), a large protected natural area called Selva de Cuitzmala is here
  • 4 Presa Cajón de Peña — large man-made reservoir, good place for jet skiing and freshwater fishing
  • 5 Isla la Cocinas - rocky coastal island, lanchas leave from Playa Perula
  • 6 Tenacatita - scenic point with isolated beaches (Playa Tenacatita and Playa Herradura)

Understand edit

Isla Cocinas

Costalegre has been viewed as a prime area for tourism development for several decades, though development has been slow and centered mostly on upscale private residences. Tourist facilities were often scattered on remote beaches, with few services. As a result, the deluge of foreign visitors never came. Interest in the region again surfaced in the 2020s as infrastructure programs were started, including building a new airport, widening the Pacific Coast Highway, and building paved roads into beach communities from the main highway. Several international hotel chains have committed to new projects in the Costalegre region and those who once valued its "off the beaten path" feel for the cognoscienti will likely not recognize it in a few years when once deserted beaches sprout all-inclusive resorts and jungles are bulldozed to build golf courses. Enjoy Costalegre while you can!

Get in edit

By car edit

From Puerto Vallarta, drive south on federal highway MEX-200.

From Manzanillo, drive north on federal highway MEX-200.

By plane edit

Most visitors to Costalegre arrive at the Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR IATA), which is a big airport with frequent international flights to North American cities. Manzanillo International Airport (MZO  IATA) may be more conveniently located for you, but there are far fewer flights into Manzanillo.

The Mexican government is building a new airport near Tomatlán's Chalacatepac beach. The airport does not yet have an official name or ICAO code, but it is being referred to as Costalegre International Airport (MX-0199). The airport is scheduled to open in late 2023. It will serve private planes of the well-heeled.

By bus edit

Primera Plus operates two first-class buses per day from Puerto Vallarta to Manzanillo (stopping in Tomatlán), and one per day in the opposite direction (departing Manzanillo at midnight). The fare from Puerto Vallarta to Tomatlan is about M$200.

Autocamiones del Pacifico also operates second-class buses along the route. They are often identified on the schedule with a destination of San Patricio - Melaque or Santiago (which is outside Manzanillo).

The only bus station in the region is in Tomatlán.

Get around edit

Rental cars are most easily available in Puerto Vallarta.

You'll want a car in the Costalegre region because everything is remote. Mexican federal highway MEX-200, known as the Carretera Pacífico (Pacific Coast Highway), is the main road through the entire region. It's a scenic, modern road that at times skirts the rocky bluffs over the coast, at other times runs inland through lush jungles. It's one of Mexico's most scenic and pleasant drives. As of 2023, a highway improvement project is underway to widen MEX-200.

The Pacific Coast Highway is about 330 km from Puerto Vallarta to Manzanillo and would take about 6 hours to drive straight through. Nobody should do that. There are quiet coves with small hotels begging you stop and rest for an evening, there are long beaches where you can walk for hours without seeing a soul.

See edit

Do edit

  • Sport Fishing: With the Pacific Ocean outside your front door, any day can be a great day for prime fishing. Boats can be hired at Barra de Navidad and Isla Navidad. Trophy size blue marlin, black marlin, sail fish, rooster fish, giant tuna, and dorado can be caught in the coastal waters offshore.

Eat edit

In addition to restaurants in the various towns of this region, there are several restaurants in other communities and along the Pacific Coast Highway (MEX-200), including:

  • 1 La Viuda, Carr. Puerto Vallarta - Manzanillo Km.64, Chamela, +52 315 100 8716. Tu-Su 09:00 - 18:00, closed M. Casual palapa style traditional restaurant serving a full breakfast menu in the morning then seafood at lunch and dinner. Regional homemade food. Good margaritas.

Drink edit

Sleep edit

There is a wide range of lodging available along the Costalegre. Although the region is known for its high-priced luxury residences, there are numerous small communities where small beachfront posadas cater to beach bums and surfers and towns have hotels and low-priced rooms that cater primarily to Mexican travelers, but that are also great resources for the non-picky backpacker crowd. By the way, if you're a Kill Bill fan who thought that Bill's Mexican villa looked like a great place to spend a vacation, you can stay there---it's one of the villas at Careyes (not one of their more expensive "castle" properties).

See the articles about each town for local recommendations. There are few accommodations in the north (near Puerto Vallarta) and more to the south (near Manzanillo). The following are a few scattered locations, mostly on isolated beaches away from towns.

Budget edit

Moderate edit

  • 1 Villa Polinesia (Bahía de Chamela), Carretera Puerto Vallarta - Manzanillo Km 71.5, +52 331 857 8382. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Old-school beach resort without a lot of modern amenities, but spectacular scenery next to the ocean. M$1600.
  • 2 Hotel y Bungalows Playa Dorada, Punta Perula, +52 315 333 9710. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Moderate motel-style property on the beach with gardens and swimming pools shaded by palm trees. Rooms are small and dated.

Splurge edit

  • 3 Cuixmala, Carretera Puerto Vallarta - Manzanillo Km. 46, +52 315 351 6050. Expensive private resort with horseback riding, beach cabanas, swimming pools, and an assortment of exotic wildflie. Rooms are modern and oppulent, though food is lackluster and the resort is far away from the nearest town with alternatives.
  • 4 Las Alamandas, Carretera Puerto Vallarta - Manzanillo Km 82, +52 322 205 8054. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. Small, private, luxury resort with 16 suites situated on a rocky coastal area. Gardens, swimming pools, riding stable. M$10,000.

Stay safe edit

The Costalegre is a generally safe region for tourists, just use common sense.

Go next edit

This region travel guide to Costalegre is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!