Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Villa Purificacion

Villa Purificacion is just barely part of the Costalegre since it is about an hour inland off highway 80. It is in the municipio of La Huerta which is the same municipio as La Manzanilla on the coast. The town of La Huerta is in the same valley as Villa Purificacion a little to the south west.

This town was founded by the Spanish back in the mid 1500's but I've not found much more history on this pretty little town. The road in from highway 80 is flat, narrow and you'll probably run across lots of farm vehicles along the way including burros and carts. Lots of sugar cane, corn, fruit orchards and supposedly - cotton.

The town has a nice plaza with almost everything of importance on the edge of it. It has the appearance of a colonial town but has not been preserved as one so there are newer buildings mixed with old. The church is looking pretty tired on the outside but is in perfect shape inside. The one 'fancy' hotel, behind the church, looks good, has secure parking and is less than $20us

Villa Purificacion Plaza

Villa Purificacion government offices

Villa Purificacion street

More Villa Purificacion fotos

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Calechosa Bay - We're being surrounded

Yet another development on the Costalegre just outside of Melaque across the bay from Cuastecomate. This has been a very private community beach mostly visited by local surfers and known as Ranchito Beach. Growth and more growth all aimed at gringo bucks.

Here's the sales pitch ....

About Calechosa Bay
Calechosa Bay is a small, planned, sustainable community overlooking the ocean, six kilometers north of Melaque, Jalisco, Mexico. Facing south in a beautiful and secluded bay, it rises up from a rocky beach to a height of 70 meters, providing magnificent ocean views from all lots. Between the southern boundary of Calechosa and the ocean there is only a one-lane road and the Federal Zone (a strip of twenty meters from high tide). Phase One will offer six building lots of between seven and eleven thousand square feet. In Phase Two, about ten more lots will be offered. Phase Three will offer twelve condominiums on two remaining lots. There will be twenty-six lots in all, some of which are reserved for partners in the development.

Calechosa Bay Web Site

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Experience Mex-ECO Tours on the Costalegre

Each of the tours organised by or in conjunction with Experience Mex-ECO Tours supports its local community in one or more of the following ways:

• Economically

• Environmentally

• Educationally

This is made possible through working together with community representatives, discovering exactly what their needs are and combining their needs with the interests of our clients. In this way we aim to provide ‘something for everyone’.

Experience Mex-ECO Tours also works on local fundraising projects, such as ‘Ayuda a Los Niños’, which provides support for local children; and C.A.M., the only special needs school in the area. As well as this we receive longer stay volunteers from abroad to support local teaching and Sea Turtle conservation projects.

The aim of Experience Mex-ECO Tours is to leave a number of local groups with the ability to organise and maintain their own tour projects without outside help, allowing them to benefit from the growing number of tourists that are arriving to Mexico’s Pacific Coast each year.

Experience Mex-ECO Tours is managed by Zoologist, Ruth Hazlewood, and marine biologist Daniel Patman.

Both have extensive experience of life and travel in Mexico, as well as spending time working as part of the ongoing efforts towards sea turtle conservation on Mexico’s Pacific Coast.

Each of the tours operated by or in conjunction with Experience Mex-ECO Tours will be led by a bilingual member of staff (English and Spanish), usually employed from within the local area. Our staff are all appropriately trained and have extensive knowledge of the locations in which they work.

We look forward to meeting you and hope that you have the time to experience some of our tours and activities during your stay in the Costalegre.

Mex-ECO Tours Website

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Who Controls Paradise?

The New York Times
Published Sunday, May 20, 2007

Who Controls Paradise?

COSTA Alegre, Mexico


Goffredo Marcaccini at his estate in Jalisco, Mexico, where he lives with his wife, Alix Goldsmith. They are opposed to a development project involving two of Mexico’s most powerful families.

Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

CRUISING along the swerving, mountainous roads of Mexico’s western coast, past trees and vines, blue lagoons and scattered wildflowers, Goffredo Marcaccini stops his Jeep and thrusts his head out the window. “Ahhh,” he croons, inhaling the morning air. “The smell of the earth! Nice, like the scent of a woman!” His reverie is short-lived. Farther along, he encounters roadside debris, including a bright blue Pepsi can. “Modern man,” he says, wincing, “is the cancer of the earth. We are only here to destroy.”

Mr. Marcaccini is a self-described romantic, a naturalist who waxes poetic about mangroves, giant sea turtles and the beauty of parakeets. He is also an heir to the late British corporate raider James Goldsmith, who once lorded over this richly virginal expanse of nature as though it were his own empire.

Since Mr. Goldsmith’s death in 1997, Mr. Marcaccini and his wife, Alix, the daughter of Mr. Goldsmith, have managed the late patriarch’s most prized asset: Cuixmala, a 2,000-acre private estate with several villas on the Pacific that at various times housed Mr. Goldsmith’s three families, mistresses and high-powered visitors including Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger and Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

These days, though, there’s trouble brewing on Cuixmala, which is nestled inside the 32,473-acre Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve, a rolling expanse of federally protected coastal land.
In an effort to expand tourism beyond destinations like Cancún and Puerto Vallarta, Mexican officials recently authorized the development of two resorts in the area. The most controversial project, called Marina Careyes — also referred to as Careyitos — is backed by Roberto Hernández, the powerful Mexican banker and developer who sold his financial services firm to Citigroup six years ago for $12.5 billion. Mr. Hernández’s minority partners are Gian Franco Brignone and his son Giorgio, Italian real estate magnates who relocated to Mexico and built a series of sumptuous properties in the state of Jalisco that made it a magnet for the super-rich.

The result is a pitched battle over land rights between Mr. Goldsmith’s heirs and two of the country’s most powerful families — a clash that sheds light on the fault lines between traditional luxury resort developers who favor golf courses, swimming pools and spas, and a newer breed of conservationist-entrepreneurs who champion eco-resorts where guests hike and canoe for recreation. The standoff smacks of a blood feud with roots going back decades to early land squabbles involving the Goldsmiths and the Brignones.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Fishing El Tecuan

My friend Ron from Seattle was down for a few weeks and we took Armando (a local carpenter) with us up to Tecuan for some rock fishing. It's a bit of a drive and probably better to do in the morning than late afternoon. The road in from the highway is not that good and driving it in the dark is a challenge. There is also less traffic on the highway headed north in the morning than in the evening going south.

If you catch any fish at this beach or not it's just a beautiful place to visit. There is nothing there but beach, the rocks and an abandoned hotel back from the beach. There is a river mouth on each end that only fill with water in the rainiy season (summer). The rest of the time they are small lagoons like much of the coast.

Yes we did catch nothing ....

Ron on the rocks with a line in

At the end of the rocks

Rocks awash

A tide pool looking south

Last minute try before dark

Monday, March 12, 2007

Country Horseback Riding on the Costalegre

This tour is provided by Sea to Sierra based in Barra de Navidad

Some photos of the Plantation horseback riding tours Sea to Sierra with experienced horsemen Horacio and Ariel, two cousins from Aguacate, have been offering this season. The Plantation tour is a 2.5 hour ride for $500 pesos and everyone who's taken it has commented on how well trained the horses are and what a pleasurable experience it has been. We make sure you are comfortable too, adjusting the stirrups and making sure that we match you up with a horse that suits your abilities.

Having the stirrups adjusted for the ride, it takes a bit of time because they are attached with a leather thong not a buckle but the comfort gained makes it worthwhile and we don't mind taking the time.

Ariel also checks the rest of the tack prior to setting out.

It's a good idea to bring along sunglasses, a camera and a hat. These people were from Kamloops and Calgary and they had cowboy hats which fit with the tour really well, but any sun hat will do.

Guides Ariel (in front) Horacio (behind him) setting out from the coral in Aguacate...

and the tour clients on their mounts following behind.

View along the route.

Starting in Aguacate we ride through the plantations, orchards, farms and wilderness behind the little farming and ranching communities of Aguacate and Jaluco. Horacio is completely fluent in English and will answer any questions you may have on the ride.

Riding through a narrow trail, Ariel weilds a mean machete on the brush.

View overlooking Aguacate and Jaluco from the top of the hill.

Riding along one of the farm roads.

Riding a trail that runs through palm, banana and mango orchards in Aguacate.

We now have another new horseback riding tour available that runs from Aguacate, along Arroyo Seco under the highway around the back of Laguna Navidad, then over to Playa de Cocos on Isla Navidad and back. This is a 5 to 6 hour tour at a cost of $950 pesos per person. While the Playa de Cocos ride is not technically difficult non-riders may find it a lot of time in the saddle and prefer to opt for the shorter plantation ride.

If anyone is interested in more information about either of these horseback riding tours drop by our store at Veracruz 204 in Barra de Navidad, we are right across from the newly remodeled Jardin (town square). We are now open from 9 am to 2:00 pm and from 5 pm to 7 pm Monday through Friday, 10 to 2 on Saturdays and 10 to noon on Sundays. Or give us a call at the Office: 355-5790 or the House: 355-8582, or my cell 044-315-100-0282. All three numbers have voice mail if you don't happen to reach us leave us a message.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Behind Cihuatlan Jalisco and the Marabasco river

I've been up these roads, to the dam and even miles beyond where the road ends in the head of a valley. Each time the trip is different depending on the season (how green or brown) or condition of the dam. In the dry season they add about 10 feet of earth behind the cement dam to help divert more water to the irrigation canals on either side of the river. The south side of the river is Colima and to the north is Jalisco - both with lots of farming on the river delta.

There is a little town of Marabasco just south of the bridge with a No-Tell motel along the way. Turn left just before you reach town and you can follow the irrigation canals up to the dam. The area is popular for fishing and cooling off during family outings. Some kids told us about a well on the Colima side that they say dates back to the times when the indigenous peoples lived there - it's possible!

Banana Plantation
Marabasco River
Marabasco River

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Majahuas, Perula, Chamela, Tecuan

Majahuas - Full of natural beauty, this collection of beaches and lagoons is located 15 kilometers from Tomatlan. One of the most important tortuguero fields of the state of Jalisco operated by the Center of Coastal Ecology of the University of Guadalajara for the protection and conservation of the marine turtle.

Bahia de Chamela - Located 157 kilometers south of Puerto Vallarta, this bay boasts the greatest number of islets in Mexico. Here you can rent boats for either fishing or touring around one of the 11 nearby islands inhabited by hundreds of bird species. On the south end of the bay is the small community of Chamela. On the north end of the bay is Playa Perula which is a good sized town with many motels, RV parks and restaurants lining the long beach.

Chamela-Cuixmala Protected Area
Also in this region is one of the most important protected areas in Mexico. With its many distinct climate zones, it is home to a high concentration of animal, reptile and bird species found only in Mexico. A biological station there includes a museum at km 59 on the highway from Barra de Navidad; and with luck you may see armadillos, crocodiles, iguanas, deer, foxes and raccoons.

El Tecuan
The turnoff to El Tecuan is several miles north of the Tenacatita turnoff from Highway 200. The road takes you through the hills toward the coast, passing through mango orchards over cattle guards and often through herds of cows.

There is a deserted resort (Hotel El Tecuan) perched on a hilltop overlooking the flats and the open-ocean beach at El Tecuan. The strand is solitary and surfing can sometimes be good here. There are no restaurant or other facilities along this stretch of sand so bring what you need.

The skeletal remains of a hotel developed by General Garcia Barragan, Mexico's Secretary of Defense in the 50's, sit on a parcel of land overlooking the ocean. The property was given to him by Mexican ex-President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz for his service to the country. The general built the hotel, swimming pool, tennis court and even a private landing strip but died before he could complete the plans. The hotel was leased out by family for several years but fell into disrepair and has since been looted, raided and stripped of anything of value.



Playa Tenacatita, named for the bay on which it is lies. Tenacatita is a lovely and usually calm beach about 30 kilometers north of San Patricio Melaque and 95 kilometers north of Manzanillo. Many seafood palapas line the shore.

Playa Mora, the snorkeling beach, is accessible by a steep, short, uphill dirt road running north from Playa Tenacatita past the palapas. This small beach is filled with RV and tent campers in the winter months.

Playa La Boca north of Tenacatita is not as popular because of its rough surf and steep beach. Its isolation and strong surf, make Playa La Boca great for beachcombing, walking and surf-fishing. Playa La Boca sometimes acts as an overflow area for campers who can't get into Playa Mora.

Along the road into Tenacatita you pass through the two small villages of El Rebalsito and La Rosa.

La Manzanilla

La Manzanilla

La Manzanilla (gets its name from a tree which grew in the area called Manzanillo, the apple like fruits are Manzanillas [possibly derived from Manzana]). It's less than a kilometer (½ mi) in from the highway to the beach at La Manzanilla, on the southern edge of large Bahía de Tenacatita, 78 kilometers north of Manzanillo. Hotels and restaurants line the main street of the town. Rocks dot the gray-gold sands and edge both ends of the wide beach. The bay is calm.

Next to the village is a Mexican Federal Ecological Zone (a high tide mangrove lagoon), home to Egrets, Heron, King Fishers, Ibises, Anhingas, and Caimans (part of the crocodilian genus) plus several miles of shrouded waterways accessible with a local boat guide or on your own in a kayak.

Boca de Iguanas is just a few kilometers NW up the beach past the mangroves. Boca offers a nice beach, two trailer parks and a small store with adjoining restaurant.



Cuastecomate beach is accessible from Barra de Navidad or Melaque by leaving Highway 200 at Melaque's last exit on the west as you reach the highway 80 junction (near the military base).

A paved road winds over the hillside to the beach on Cuastecomate Bay, where the small village is. Palapa seafood restaurants line the beach.

The waters of the bay are generally calm, making for good, safe swimming even for children, kayaking and a good snorkeling spot out along the rocks.

Besides the restaurants on the beach and houses, there is not much but one large hotel (Hotel Royale Costa Sur- under repair) and a few B&B's



Melaque is a busy community located 4+ kilometers northwest of Barra de Navidad on Bahia de Navidad in the state of Jalisco. This area is actually comprised of three beachfront villages; San Patricio, Villa Obregon and Melaque - all generally referred to as “Melaque”. The small village of Melaque has been a vacation retreat for Mexicans for generations. San Patricio is a kilometer strip in the middle of the three villages that contains a colorful town square and lots of retail shops. Villa Obregon, to the east, is much more residential. The three 'municipios' form the largest community along the coast between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo.

Playa Melaque is the main beach in the area, and it is good for swimming, boogie boarding and skim boarding. The waves are more gentle on the protected west end. There is reasonably good snorkeling on the west end of town along the new Malecon. Lots of hotels and palapa restaurants line the beach.

Barra de Navidad

Barra de Navidad

The town of Barra de Navidad (Christmas Sandbar) with a population of 7000+ is a small farming and fishing community located on the east end of the Bahía de Navidad, 60 km north of Manzanillo. In recent years, the Jalisco state government has promoted Barra as a tourist attraction of the Costalegre. The beachfront fronting the sandbar arks toward Melaque 4.5 kilometers to the west.

The history of "modern" Barra de Navidad dates back to the mid-1500's when the Spanish used it for ship building, repairs and a jumping off point to the Philippines.

The large lagoon behind Barra de Navidad is criss-crossed by small fishing boats gathering scallops and transporting visitors and locals from Barra to Isla Navidad and the Grand Bay Hotel, recently voted the Number One hotel/resort in Mexico by the Travel Channel. These boats (panga taxies) also carry passengers to and from the small Colima community of Colimilla where restaurants line the shore.

Costalegre Jalisco - Mexico


The stretch of coastline located between Costa Majahuas and Cihuatlán is the Costalegre or “happy coast.” Others describe the Costalegre as the area between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. Either way it is still "the happy coast".

This ecologically protected region of Jalisco is now a popular tourist destination due to its great beaches. Spanning 150 kilometers, Costalegre consists of a number of beautiful beaches such as Majahuas, Playa Perula, Chamela, Careyes, El Tecuan, Tenacatita, Boca de Iguanas, La Manzanilla, El Tamarindo, Cuastecomate, Melaque and Barra de Navidad. A wide range of accommodations are available, from simple hotels to luxury resorts.

The first recorded contact with outsiders was a military party led by Francisco Cortes, cousin to Hernan Cortes, the famous conqueror of Mexico. In 1524 Cortes led a party from Colima north through Autlan as far as Tepic, returning the next year down the coast to the Bay of Banderas
Costa Alegre
Related Posts with Thumbnails

The Costalegre

I have long thought that Costalegre was an agreed upon catch word for the Costa Alegre. Now I'm finding there is another long time standard, Coastecomates. This is about that area as well.

The stretch of coastline located between Costa Majahuas and Cihuatlán is the Costalegre or “happy coast.” Others describe the Costalegre as the area between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo. Either way it is still "the happy coast". Pacific Coast of Mexico

Sparks Costalegre
Sparks Mexico Web