Mexico is well-known for its bustling Pacific coastline, popular beaches, quiet coves, and sleepy fishing villages. But it’s the Costalegre which can be the best-kept secret of the country! With its sandy unpaved roads, one of America’s largest bays, and gentle arching sand curves on the backdrop of towering mountains, this quaint coastal spot is a true hidden gem in Mexico. Like every newly discovered spot, the Costalegre is also gradually drawing tourists and big hospitality players around. But even a few years ago, you could enjoy a freshly grilled fish taco here underneath a thatched palapa, without a single building or hotel in sight!
Running south from Puerto Vallarta toward Manzanillo in Mexico, the Costalegre is a long stretch of coastline. The place has everything matching the name’s literal meaning — ‘the happy coast.’ Here you’ll find miles of pristine golden sand being washed in and away by churning and crashing Pacific waves. Mountains creep back from the horizon of the coastline, creating a carpet of lush forests. Palm tree groves spring up from low creek beds, forming a landscape more similar to the coastal corners of Southeast Asia or Hawaii.
The Changing Scene
The landscape of the Costalegre seems to be the perfect blank canvas for a thriving tourism scene with restaurants, nightclubs, and all-inclusive resorts. But surprisingly, unlike the other beach destinations of Mexico, this area has remained purposefully protected and low-impact for several decades. But still, the boom of development has touched its shore too. The recent launch of the Four Seasons Resort Tamarindo and another multi-million dollar luxury development project named Xala opening in consecutive phases have caused a surge in tourists and other big industry game-players.
The Gatekeepers of the ‘Last Coast’
Even with the recent development of tourism, the Costalegre largely remains unique with an abundance of raw and wild nature. And it’s not just mere luck! While almost all beautiful parts of Mexico are discovered and then invaded by deep-pocketed developers and glamorous hoteliers, the coastline of the Costalegre is still uniquely owned by five local developers. Acting as the gatekeepers of the paradise, they control the surrounding area and in collaboration with local communities and governments, also have laid out rules, regulations, and guidelines for keeping the location protected. Keeping it untouched on purpose, they’re developing the Costalegre to be undeveloped with the most intentional designs, making the destination the true ‘last coast’ of Mexico.