El Careyes Beach Resort
One of the hidden gems of the Pacific Coast of Mexico, this is really two hotels in one. After Christmas and before Easter, El Careyes brims with well-to-do Mexican families letting their hair down. The rest of the year the hotel is a tranquil tropical retreat basking at the edge of a pristine, craggy cove.
The natural scene sets the tone: A majestic palm grove opens onto a petite sandy beach set like a pearl between craggy cliffs. Offshore, the water, deep and crystal clear, is home for dozens of kinds of fish. Overhead, hawks and frigate birds soar, pelicans dive, and boobies and terns skim the waves. Seasonally, at night nearby, sea turtles carry out their ancient ritual by silently depositing their precious eggs on nearby beaches where they were born.
As if not to be outdone by nature, the hotel itself is an elegant tropical retreat. A platoon of gardeners manicure lush spreading grounds that lead to gate and reception area. Past the desk, tiers of ochre-hued Mediterranean-chic lodgings enclose an elegant inner courtyard where a blue pool meanders beneath majestic, rustling palms. At night, the grounds glimmer softly with lamps. They illuminate the tufted grove, light the path to a secluded beach, and lead the way up through the cactus-sprinkled hillside thorn forest to a romantic restaurant high above the bay.
The luxurious rooms and suites, depending on location and size, run approximately $335–575 d in low season, and $375–670 d high. All accommodations have air-conditioning, TV, and direct-dial phones. Additional hotel facilities and services include fiber-optic telecommunications, a 100-person meeting room, a number of shops and boutiques, library, small theater, babysitters, heliport, private landing strip, and a range of business services.
For reservations and information, contact the hotel directly (tel. 315/351-0000, fax 315/351-0100, www.elcareyesresort.com) or through its agent, Mexico Boutique Hotels (toll-free U.S./Can. tel. 800/728-7098, www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com).
El Careyes is a few minutes’ drive down a cobbled entrance road (bear left all the way) at Km 53.5 (100 mi/161 km from Puerto Vallarta, 34 mi/55 km from Barra de Navidad, and 52 mi/84 km from the Manzanillo International Airport).
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition