Costa Alegre is a spectacular 160-km (99-mi) coastline spanning from the port of Manzanillo, in Colima, to Puerto Vallarta, in Jalisco. It lies 950 km (589 mi) from Mexico City and 400 km (248 mi) from Guadalajara. The average year-round temperature ranges between 25º and 27º C (77º and 81º F).
Costa Alegre consists of the bays of Barra Navidad, Tenacatita, Careyes and Costa Majahuas, as well as numerous beaches, such as Cuastecomates, Barra de Navidad, Melaque, El Tamarindo, La Manzanilla, Boca de Iguanas, Los Angeles Locos de Tenacatita, El Tecuan, Cuixmala, Careyes, Playa Rosa, Playa Blanca, El Negrito, Chamela, Férula, Las Alamandas, Chalacatepec, Peñtas, Majahuas, Cruz de Loreto and Punta Peñitas.
Costa Alegre is a unique paradise where you can enjoy countless recreational activities, including fishing, scuba diving and snorkeling at places like Barra de Navidad and Bahia de Tenacatita; ecotourism outings at original places such as Hotelito Desconocido; golfing on some of the world’s best courses; or you can get a relaxing massage at one of the modern spas. What’s more, Costalegre offers gorgeous scenery, including an interesting variety of plant and animal species, various lakes, lagoons, dams and estuaries. The natural diversity will leave you fascinated.
If you’re looking for rest, relaxation and close contact with nature, Costa Alegre has just the place.
Boca de Iguanas. Located northwest of Tenacatita Bay, 25 km (15 mi) northwest of Barra de Navidad, off Highway 200. This is a 2-km (1.2-mi) beach with fine sand, a gentle slope and moderate waves. It is the ideal camping site to enjoy the ocean breeze and the mountainous landscape of the Pacific coast.
If one thing characterizes Costa Alegre, it’s the wide variety of sites it offers for ecotourism outings.
Bahia de Tenacatita. Lies 40 km (25 mi) from Barra de Navidad, at Km 30 on Highway 200. This bay’s beach strip is about 2 km (1.2 mi) long. From the hills of this beach’s outer limits you can appreciate the fantastic scenery of lowland jungle, palm trees and surrounding mountains. While you’re here you can also take a boat ride through the mangroves of La Vena, where you can observe a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Playa Majahuas. Located at Km 116 on the Melaque-Puerto Vallarta Highway 200, 145 km (90 mi) from Barra de Navidad and 15 km (9 mi) from Tomatlan. At this beach you can visit one of the most important turtle sanctuaries in the state of Jalisco, where they carry out wildlife conservation and protection programs.
La Manzanilla. Lies 23 km (14 mi) from Barra de Navidad. Take Highway 200 to Km 14, then follow the turnoff for 1.5 km (about 1 mi). This 2-km (1.2 mi) beach forms part of Tenacatita Bay. This area consists of mangroves and river estuaries where you can observe caimans in their natural habitat.
Isla Navidad. Located an hour and a half from Manzanillo, Colima, off the Guadalajara-Manzanillo Highway. Here you can hire guides who will lead you on an eco-tour of the beaches, an island and a lagoon. This exclusive destination also has a first-rate hotel.
El Tamarindo. Located 20 km (12 mi) from Barra de Navidad, in Cihuatlan, and 250 km (155 mi) south of Puerto Vallarta along Highway 200. This is a fascinating ecotourism resort in the middle of a protected jungle. The 150-hectare (370-acre) area has a wildlife reserve, a natural marina and more than 20 villas, among other attractions.
Playa Rosa and Playa Blanca. Located 62 km (38 mi) from Barra de Navidad, at Costa Careyes. These two precious beaches are divided by a large rock formation. Both beaches have beautiful sand, excellent hotels and lovely natural attractions. At either of the two beaches yo u can enjoy absolute relaxation a nd direct contact with nature, as both offer abundant vegetation and a wide variety of bird species.
Hotelito Desconocido. Located 160 km (99 mi) from Barra de Navidad and 90 km (59 mi) south of Puerto Vallarta, off Highway 200. These lovely bungalows are surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape that is home to indigenous plants and a wide variety of tropical species. These rustic bungalows, called palafitos, are built on stilts along the shore of an estuary. Here you can go hiking in the surrounding areas and share in the experience of releasing newborn turtles.
In Costa Alegre you’ll find ideal spots to go fishing.
Barra de Navidad. Located 55 km (34 mi) from the port of Manzanillo, off Highway 240, and 216 km (134 mi) from Puerto Vallarta, off Highway 200. This beach is 2 km (1.2 mi) long. This is a very attractive place to hook inshore and offshore game fish. Here you can catch species such as sailfish, tuna, marlin, dorado, wahoo, snapper, bass and yellowtail. At the Barra de Navidad Lagoon, which has three small islands, you can catch mullet, snapper, bass and pargo.
Bahia de Tenacatita. Lies 40 km (25 mi) from Barra de Navidad, at Km 30 on Highway 200. This bay’s beach strip is about 2 km (1.2 mi) long. The waters of this bay are a strong draw for fishing enthusiasts. Here you can find dorado, bonito, bass, yellowtail and skipjack tuna.
Playa Mahuajas. At this spot you can catch species like mullet, carp, catfish, snapper, bass, pargo, yellowtail and crab.
La Manzanilla. Lies 23 km (14 mi) from Barra de Navidad. Take Highway 200 to Km 14, then follow the turnoff for 1.5 km (about 1 mi). This 2-km (1.2 mi) beach forms part of Tenacatita Bay. This place is ideal due to its abundance of snapper, bass and pargo.
Careyes. Located 62 km (38 mi) from Barra de Navidad, at Km 54 on Highway 200. Here you can visit two beaches: Careyes and Playa Rosa. This is a great spot to catch inshore and offshore game fish, including sailfish, marlin, tuna, sierra and dorado.
Presa Cajon de Peñas. Located at Km 130 on Highway 200. At this dam you can catch tilapia, largemouth bass, prawns, catfish and a mollusk called tegololo, a delicious yet rare species that is in high demand and which can only be found here and along the coast of Veracruz.
In Costa Alegre you can enjoy very pleasant nature experiences while hiking or horseback riding.
Playa Cuastecomate. Located in the town of Cuastecomate, 3 km (2 mi) west of the Melaque-Puerto Vallarta Highway 200 junction and 8 km (5 mi) from Barra de Navidad. At this attractive beach you can take long walks and enjoy extraordinary sunsets. At night, you can sit down to a delicious seafood dinner at any of the restaurants along the coast.
Careyes. Located 62 km (38 mi) from Barra de Navidad, at Km 54 on Highway 200. Here you can visit two beaches: Careyes and Playa Rosa. This fine sand at this beach is ideal for taking walks or going horseback riding while appreciating the charming and magical scenery along the way.
Punta Melaque. Located about 5 km (3 mi) from Barra de Navidad, off Highway 200 in the direction of San Patricio-Melaque. This spectacular place has a lookout where you can take in a beautiful view of the ocean, the lush vegetation and a lowland jungle. The big challenge is reaching the top of the lookout; you can go on foot or on horseback. Nearby, you’ll find plenty of places to explore.
Las Alemandas. Located in Quemaro, at Km 83 on Highway 200, between Barra de Navidad and Puerto Vallarta. This exclusive place invites you to explore 600 hectares (1,482 acres) of private grounds while walking or riding a horse along trails surrounded by lush vegetation.
Costa Alegre is a treasured destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. In these waters you’ll find ideal conditions to explore colorful underwater settings.
Barra de Navidad. Located 55 km (34 mi) from the port of Manzanillo, off Highway 240, and 216 km (134 mi) from Puerto Vallarta, off Highway 200. This beach is 2 km (1.2 mi) long. A 15-minute boat ride from this beach will take you to an interesting scuba diving area called Morro Prieto, where you’ll see a submerged black rock formation that descends 5 to 12 meters (16 to 40 feet) deep. At this spot you can observe various coral species and schools of surgeonfish.
Los Angeles Locos de Tenacatita. Located at Km 21 on Highway 200. This beach offers rentals and excellent conditions for scuba diving and snorkeling. The calm clear waters, marvelous scenery and abundant coral are an open invitation to enjoy an underwater adventure.
Bahia de Tenacatita. Lies 40 km (25 mi) from Barra de Navidad, at Km 30 on Highway 200. This bay’s beach strip is about 2 km (1.2 mi) long. This is the ideal spot to snorkel along reefs with schools of colorful fish. Among the species you’ll see here are moray eels, snakefish and clownfish. The visibility is so clear that you see shadows of the rippling water on the bottom.
Chamela. Located 73 km (45 mi) from Barra de Navidad, off Highway 200. The clear waters at this spot are perfect for snorkeling among a wide variety of fish and multicolored coral.
Punta Perula. Located 85 km (53 mi) from Barra de Navidad, on Chamela Bay. The calm semi-clear waters in this cove invite you to explore the beautiful depths. You can rent boats on the beach.
Isla Cocinas. Located on Chamela Bay, 73 km (45 mi) from Barra de Navidad, off Highway 200. These mild clear waters are ideal for scuba diving. You can observe such species as bass, mullet, catfish and grouper.
Costa Alegre has three locations where surfing and windsurfing enthusiasts can put their skills to the test.
Barra de Navidad. Located 55 km (34 mi) from the port of Manzanillo, off Highway 240, and 216 km (134 mi) from Puerto Vallarta, off Highway 200. This beach is 2 km (1.2 mi) long. This beach has medium-sized waves, making it a great spot for surfing and windsurfing.
Playa Cuastecomate. Located in the town of Cuastecomate, 3 km (2 mi) west of the Melaque-Puerto Vallarta Highway 200 junction and 8 km (5 mi) from Barra de Navidad. The moderate waves here allow you to get in some good surfing and windsurfing on a beach with jungle landscape and small islands of the coast.
Playa Majahuas. Located at Km 116 on the Melaque-Puerto Vallarta Highway 200, 145 km (90 mi) from Barra de Navidad and 15 km (9 mi) from Tomatlan. The big waves at this beach present quite a challenge for surfing enthusiasts. A local surfing tournament takes place here during Easter break.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
San Patricio-Melaque, located 5 km (3 mi) from Barra de Navidad along Highway 200, offers some of the region’s most representative crafts. Here you’ll find everything from handicrafts made of conches and seashells to wooden and ironwood figures. You can also buy onyx and marble objects, copper and ceramic items, and wool, cotton and acrylic textiles.
FESTIVALS AND TRADITIONS
Various towns of Costa Alegre carry out interesting religious festivities. In Barra de Navidad, from July 5 – 13, the town hosts a celebration in honor of its patron saint San Antonio de Padua. On Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, you can witness the celebrations of Cristo de los Brazos Caidos and Cristo del Ciclon. During both events you’ll see processions, rosaries and fairs with fireworks shows, among other activities. In San Patricio-Melaque, from March 9 – 17, various festivities take place to pay tribute to patron saint San Patricio, including processions, religious rituals, fireworks displays and a food fair. The town also offers a running of the bulls, late-night rodeos and dance performances from March 10 – 20. Other important regional festivities include a sugar cane fair and a weeklong cultural event in Cihuatlan in April; a taurine fair on Nov. 22 and Dec. 21 in La Huerta; and the San Miguel Arcangel Festivities in La Manzanilla on Sept. 29.
In the towns of Costa Alegre you can try delicious fish and seafood dishes, especially in Barra de Navidad and San Patricio Melaque, which lie 55 km (34 mi) and 60 km (37 mi) from Manzanillo, Colima, respectively. Other good places to enjoy excellent cuisine are Bahia de Tenacatita, located 40 km (25 mi) from Barra de Navidad, and Punta Perula, at Bahia de Chamela, 85 km (53 mi) from Barra de Navidad. At these destinations you can indulge in grilled or garlic shrimp, red snapper fillet, octopus and crab. The fresh fish and seafood dishes are simply irresistible.
In Costa Alegre, you can visit various stores that sell silver items, necklaces, bracelets with stone settings, embroidered clothes and papier mâché items. In Melaque you’ll find shops selling crafts and textiles, while at Careyes and Tamarindo you can visit chic boutiques and jewelry stores or purchase regional art.
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Costa Alegre is a coastal strip that stretches from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, to Manzanillo, Colima, along Highway 200. To arrive at Puerto Vallarta from Guadalajara, which is a 352-km (218-mi) ride, take Highway 15 to Highway 200. To reach Manzanillo from Guadalajara, which is about 300 km (186 mi), follow Highway 54 to Highway 200.
Gustavo Diaz Ordaz Puerto Vallarta International Airport. Located 6 km (4 mi) north of downtown Puerto Vallarta, at Km 9.5 on the highway to Tepic. Tels. (322)221-1325, (322) 221-1380 and (322) 221-1298
Puerto Vallarta Bus Terminal. Located 14 km (9 mi) north of the city center, at Km 9 on the Puerto Vallarta-Tepic Highway, in the Las Mojoneras neighborhood. Tel. (322) 290-1009
Playa de Oro Manzanillo International Airport. Located at Km 42 on the Manzanillo-Barra de Navidad Highway. Tel. (314) 334-1226
Manzanillo Bus Terminal (TAMA). Located on the corner of Miguel Hidalgo and Galeana, in the Historic Center. Tels. (314) 332-0123 and (314) 334-1050
EMERGENCY NUMBERS AND INFORMATION
Costa Alegre Regional Tourism Office. Tel. (315) 355-5100
Red Cross (In Cihuatlan). Tel. (315) 355-2301
Emergency Highway Road Service. Tel. 078
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