By John Van Dyke ● October, 2012
When you feel like the usual places are getting a little too familiar or a bit crowded, you might think about heading to the south. You will notice something different as soon as you get past the Pemex station leaving old town Puerto Vallarta on highway 200. The highway winds around the shore and you spot some very nice homes along the shore as well as condo projects. The Dreams resort is on this road along with a couple of other lodging facilities. In about fifteen or twenty minutes you will be at Mismaloya. After that is Boca de Tomatlan where the road leaves the shore and heads up a canyon into higher elevation and the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains. The scenery is lush with forests and you can feel a change in climate. Look for the Vallarta Botanical Gardens on your right, about forty minutes out of town. This is a popular spot to stop at. Continuing past the botanical gardens you will find another new place that might be worth a stop – Villa Azalea Inn and organic farm. And just another fifteen minutes down the highway you will come to the town of El Tuito.
At El Tuito, you can turn into the town and explore this charming historic place that dates back to the Spanish, with many remaining adobe buildings around the plaza. From here you can head to the ocean beaches of the Mayto area and the coast of Cabo Corrientes, and the Costalegre. Or, you can continue along highway 200, which eventually comes back to the coast. There are many places to check out once you hit the coast again. The bay of Chamela is a popular place for boaters, providing safe harbor. At Perula you will find a beach seems to have endless sand, and the little one street beach town of La Manzanilla is an enclave of U.S. and Canadians who call it home. And then, there is Careyes, a spectacular rocky cliff area along the coast that is famous for it’s European jet set origins and amazing secluded homes. The Careyes area has been widely featured in architectural and lifestyle publications.
You do not have to be a jet setter to find your comfort zone here. There is something for everyone along this south coast of Jalisco. A three to four hour drive from Puerto Vallarta can take you to much of it, and with an overnight stay, you can relax and enjoy some of the best that this part of Mexico has to offer. You will ask yourself why everyone heads north.
Enjoy the month, and keep exploring