As travel editors and lovers of global wanderlust, we’re always on the hunt for “The next Tulum” (aka the new hotspot) and we’ve found it in Mexico’s best-kept secret.
Of course, we’ll always have — and love—Tulum, but unearthing the latest must-visit destination is for us, all in a day’s work Allow us to introduce you to Costa Careyes: A private gem of an island set between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo on the Pacific Coast characterized by playful, colorful architecture, a chic boho vibe, and a laidback Mediterranean sensibility. Like all trending destinations, Careyes has a cool backstory. The once uninhabited, inaccessible 20,000-acre paradise was spotted by plane and then snapped up by eccentric Italian artist and entrepreneur Gian Franco Brignone in the late 60s, who set out to open an eco-chic resort that celebrated Mexican culture. The move made Careyes an instant hit with the bougie European style and celebrity set. Fast forward 50 years and this European-esque enclave on a stretch of deserted coastline is having another moment in the sun so much so it even has its own Burning Man-style festival.
Worth Traveling For
This wildly beautiful private beachside community set on a 200-mile stretch of rugged, untamed, raw coastline is dubbed the “Happy Coast” for good reason. Running through it is a small lone highway that winds through mountains, opening up to vistas that reveal stunning sweeping, deserted beaches, palm tree forests, and not much else. And that’s the allure right there. Time stands still here. The draw of Costa Careyes is not the gastronomy (though there are now five incredible restaurants), shopping (there’s one boutique but no grocery store) or nightlife but relaxing and soaking up the bohemian way of life at any of its gorgeous barren beaches, paddleboarding in its bay or meandering slowly through its cute town square.
Where To Stay
Well this is easy, the private island is still home to just the one main resort. El Careyes Club & Residences is a 35-resident beachfront club built by famed Mexican architects Alberto Mazzoni and Diego Villaseñor in the 1976 whose aesthetic is a love letter to Mexico: earthy materials, brick walls, cobblestone walkways, and a sunset-inspired burnt orange and dusty pink palette. That said, you visitors can book a fully-staffed villa, casita or bungalow on the island, all architectural delights that come with majestic views, charming, colorful Mexican decor, some set into cliffs with swimming pools and private beach access.
Eat + Drink
At the resort you will find the poolside eatery La Duna, serving classic Mexican, or at Pueblo’s Plaza there is an Italian-Argentine style grill and pizzeria and La Coscolina, a vegetarian and vegan restaurant specializing in fresh sushi and healthy salads. Pueblo25 at the resort is high-end and intimate and the place to go for local seasonal produce, seafood, fish (look out for the poached octopus, fish with confit potatoes, or homemade pasta with shrimp and tomatoes) and an impressive Mezcal menu.
The El Careyes Foundation in the town square runs a sea turtle conservation center that ensures just-laid eggs are harvested and protected. In 1983 just ten turtles laid eggs in Careyes and now over 2,000 sea turtles visit the private beach to lay eggs.