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From top, left to right: Cabo Corrientes; Costa Majahuas; Bahía de Chamela; Costa Careyes; Bahía de Tenacatita and Tamarindo Beach
From top, left to right: Cabo Corrientes; Costa Majahuas; Bahía de Chamela; Costa Careyes; Bahía de Tenacatita and Tamarindo Beach
Official seal of Costalegre
The Virgin Coast, Joy Coast
Coordinates: 20°40′N 105°16′W / 20.667°N 105.267°W / 20.667; -105.267Coordinates: 20°40′N 105°16′W / 20.667°N 105.267°W / 20.667; -105.267
Country Mexico
State Jalisco
MunicipalityCabo Corrientes
 • Municipality1,300.7 km2 (502.19 sq mi)
7 m (23 ft)
 • Total177,830
 • Municipality
Time zoneUTC-6 (CST)
Postal code
Area code(s)322

Costalegre is a series of different beaches, capes and bays of all sizes and extensions distributed alongside the Pacific Ocean on the western coastline of the Mexican state of Jalisco, in an area located between two other major and very well-known tourist centers, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco and Manzanillo, Colima. In recent years[when?], the Jalisco state government has promoted this zone as a tourist attraction, grouping all these beaches under the common name of "Costalegre", which literally translates as "Coast of Joy", but the area has been known as "The Virgin Coast" of Mexico for a long time. Each bay or beach is almost next to the other one, separated only by large rock formations, cliffs, and uninhibited terrains, so you can move from one to another in a matter of minutes, mostly using local boats or water taxis (pangas). Most of these beaches are small-size bays, and a couple of them have no real population on their surface, but are placed near small fishing villages which provides hotel accommodation and food. One of the largest bays, Barra de Navidad also has a large lagoon and a first-class international hotel, considered one of the best of its category in Mexico, and Costa Careyes is considered one of the top resorts and VIP communities in the world, usually visited by famous actors, singers, and artists, so due to the variety and extension of the coast, you can find any kind of entertaining and natural attractions, which ranges from Ecotourism in wild and partially virgin and isolated beaches, to high class Spas, Golf courses, Polo fields, and international convention centers.

The general history of the Costalegre area dates back to the mid-16th century when the Spanish used Bahía de Navidad for ship building, repairs, and as a jumping off point to the Philippines. A monument has been erected in memory to these journeys at the end of the jetty of Barra de Navidad. Ruy López de Villalobos's (1500–1544) fleet of six galleon ships, the Santiago, San Jorge, San Antonio, San Cristobal, San Martin, and San Juan, left Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico with 370 to 400 men on November 1, 1542. Perhaps, on the early morning of November 21, 1564, armed with five ships and 500 soldiers, Miguel López de Legazpi and his sail-captain Andrés de Urdaneta sailed from the port of Barra de Navidad, New Spain, in what is now Jalisco state, Mexico.

Costalegre Bays and Beaches[edit]

Bahía de Banderas (Flag's Bay)[edit]

Officially, not a part of Costalegre itself, but separates Puerto Vallarta from the rest of the coast, and marks the top most northern point of Costalegre.

Cabo Corrientes (Cape of Currents)[edit]

Founded in 1944, Cabo Corrientes is a Municipality with over 80 kilometers of scenic highways and 200.106 hectares of forest surrounded by rivers and cascades. Some of its beaches are already very well known due to its proximity to Puerto Vallarta, like Las Ánimas, Quimixto and Yelapa, often considered as part of Vallarta by the tourists, but which are in fact just a minor part of the large Cabo Corrientes's coast. The Tuito is the municipal head of Cabo Corrientes and the oldest population of the municipality. It is located 40 km (25 miles) south of Puerto Vallarta. The ruins of the Ex-Hacienda San José are an attraction that dates from 1875; as well as the ancient petroglyphs in Las Juntas and Los Veranos.

In Boca de Tomatlán, pangas (taxi boats) take tourists to the beaches.

Las Ánimas — is a sand beach in a zone suitable for diving, with coral formations and the associated marine fauna.

Quimixto — Known for its horse rides and long walks, has a 10-meter high waterfall; has a large restaurant zone. In the passage between Quimixto and Yelapa there are small beaches such as Las Caletas, Majahuitas and Colimilla. Suitable for diving, with coral formations and the associated marine fauna.

Yelapa — A large creek where the Tuito river ends. It has a small and traditional town, with a beach and swimming.

Mayto — More than 15 kilometers of beach. Here is located one of the largest of Mexico's protected sea turtles reproduction fields, part of the international Sea Turtle Restoration Project where guided routes are offered to know a little more about the species that arrive at this beach. On scheduled times, it is possible to participate in the release of newborn turtle babies to the sea. The place has a colorful hotel, but Mayto is more dedicated to the turtle's preservation than tourism.

Tehuamixtle — A place known for its large oysters, has a beach about 200 meters long.

Costa Majahuas[edit]

A long coast with several beaches: Punta Las Peñitas, Hotelito Desconocido, Majahuas, Peñitas y Chalacatepec.

Chalacatepec — is a beach 25 minutes from the municipal head of Tomatlán. On its shore there is a pirate ship wrecked long ago which now forms part of the traditional legends of the place. La Peñita Pintada — (Painted Lil'Rock) gained its name due to a natural granodiorite cavity, whose walls, bottom and ceiling have several ancient paintings on them. Owing to the large number of visitors, there are visitor periods scheduled only on specific times of the year.

Bahía de Chamela[edit]

A large, undeveloped bay surrounded by several islands. Home to marine and terrestrial birds, it has more than ten kilometers of varied marine and fluvial scenes. It has an assembly of small islands like La Colorada, Cocinas, San Andrés, Pajarera (reserve of exotic birds and ideal place for diving), Novilla, Esfinge, San Pedro, San Agustín, and La Negrita, all of them accessible by boat.

Costa Careyes[edit]

Costa Careyes is a private community located on the South Coast of Jalisco on Highway 200 Melaque – Puerto Vallarta at Kilometer 53. There are several beaches in the Careyes Bay. Teopa Beach is the largest and includes a sea turtle preservation sanctuary[1]. The community was founded in 1968 by Gian Franco Brignone[2] as his private estate. The Castles, Villas, Casitas, Bungalows and Restaurants that comprise Careyes today function as a resort and are known for the "Careyes Style" of architecture.


Cuixmala is 10 minutes of the south Careyes, in the vegetation of a 3 km beach. It was the private estate of James Goldsmith, and was originally conceived as a private home for his family and friends. It has a 25,000 acres (100 km2) of land, lagoon and beaches. Originally designed by Robert Couturier, it is now an eco-resort based on green culture. Its name means "the soul's resting place" in Spanish[citation needed].

Bahía de Tenacatita[edit]

Some kilometers ahead of Tamarindo Beach, it is located Bahía de Tenacatita, one of largest bays of the Mexican Coast. This zone has crab, snail, clam, lobster and squid fishing, according to the time of the year. Both sunrise and sunset can be seen over the sea during winter. It has seven beaches: Manzanilla, Boca de Iguanas, Los Ángeles Locos, Punta Serena, Tenacatita and Tecuán.

Bahía de Navidad[edit]

This is the most urban developed bay, located at the south of Costalegre series of beaches. It has a traditional town named Barra de Navidad with a population of 7000+, a small farming and fishing community located on the east end of the Bahía de Navidad, 60 km north of Manzanillo. The beachfront fronting the sandbar arcs toward San Patricio, Jalisco 4.5 kilometers to the west.

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. Taxi boats also carry passengers to and from the small community of Colimilla where restaurants line the shore.

Melaque — Towards the northwest of Bahía de Navidad, is the extensive beach of Melaque, of smooth surge, regular slope and sand of texture average gilded gray color. Melaque is conformed by the towns of San Patricio and Villa Obregón, this last one also has its own series of small beaches known as "Beaches of the Sun". The locality of San Patricio takes its name from the Irish Saint Patrick, and celebrates him on Saint Patrick's Day, 17 March.

Cuastecomate — A beach of fine gray sand that extends throughout 250 meters. Suitable for aquatic sports such as sailing, swimming, diving and fishing.

Tamarindo is a peninsula in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It has a professional 18-hole golf course south of Tenacatitla. A 150-hectares ecological reserve where an extensive variety of animals coexist, including armadillos, iguanas, deer, raccoons and many exotic birds.



Mariachi groups are usually hired for festive occasions.

Huichol people[edit]

A Huichol artisan in traditional dress.

In the north of Jalisco, the indigenous Huichol people live in towns in mountainous areas that are difficult to access. They call themselves wixarica, "The People," in their own language. The name "Huichol" is derived from the name that was given to them by Nahuatl speakers. Along Constalegre it is possible to find Huichol handmade crafts, drapes and traditional toys.

Related to Nahuatl, the Huichol language belongs to the Coracholan branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family.



Jalisco is the center of the Mexican tequila industry. The volcanic soil covering much of the state of Jalisco is particularly well suited for the cultivation of the blue agave plant, which is used as the base for tequila.

Traditional alcoholic drinks Aguamiel and Pulque are made from maguey, similar to the plants used to produce tequila.

Along the streets of the town street vendors sell Tejuino, a cold beverage made from fermented corn. Tepache is also found on these places, a drink made out of the flesh and rind of the pineapple, sweetened with brown sugar and cinnamon. Both are slightly fermented and have a minimal alcohol content.

Traditional food[edit]

Dishes of Jalisco include Birria, (a spicy meat stew, made of goat,cow or iguana meat), red or white pozole, sopes, guacamole, frijoles charros, Menudo (stew made of hominy and tripe with a red chili base), torta ahogada (a Mexican sandwich "drowned" in a spicy sauce), Carne en su jugo, Enchiladas rojas y verdes, Cuachala (a chicken or pork stew), tamales, Lamb al pastor. The traditional Yelapa Pie is found only on Yelapa beach. Many kinds of fish and seafood are available in the large coastal region of Costalgre.

Hurricane Patricia[edit]

Friday, October 23, 2015 Costalegre was hit by Hurricane Patricia a Category 5 storm, which was the most powerful cyclone ever measured in the Western Hemisphere with sustained winds speed up to 320 km/h (200 mph). Hurricane Patricia made landfall October 23 at 7:45pm with catastrophic damage. The center of the storm hit Cuixmala in the Costalegre.[1][2]


  1. ^ NOAA/ National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center, Hurricane PATRICIA Public Advisory, Oct 23, 9:00am PST
  2. ^ "AP, Mexico braces for strongest hurricane in Western hemisphere, By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN, with Associated Press, Oct 23, 11:53 AM EDT". Archived from the original on 2015-10-24. Retrieved 2015-10-24.

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