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
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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