The Magic of El Careyes

Posted on 09. Sep, 2009 by in Lifestyle

words by Ally Jones

My life has come full circle. I last reported on a Mexico adventure in the very first issue of h, where I spent a blissful week decompressing and kicking my addiction to television in Sayulita, Mexico, a charming fishing village 30 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta.

Now, two years later, I am invited to the El Careyes Beach Resort in Mexico’s best kept secret, Costa Careyes (not that far from Sayulita actually) mid-way between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo on the Pacific Ocean. I knew this would offer me a wonderful opportunity to take stock and see if I could again unwind and stay far away from the computer and television. Upon arriving at El Careyes on a warm day in late April, I realized this was what decompressing in Mexico was all about. There was literally magic in the air, and although I really love exploring new cities, I knew I probably wouldn’t venture out of this haven even if Heidi Klum and Seal invited me over for dinner at their nearby spread (an entirely
unlikely scenario).

To begin with, my suite is incredible – it’s bigger than my entire apartment in L.A. and my view of downtown L.A. is replaced with a view of the ocean from my deck that sends goose bumps down my spine.  Everything I need in life is right here. I have a beautiful, winding, free-form swimming pool with the ocean steps away, a lovely restaurant (La Lantana) that promises many delightful meals, a private screening room stocked with movies, a library, spa, gym, and a business center that has the calm of a spa. I promise myself I’ll only check email once a day (which quickly becomes every other day).
I was very fortunate to share El Careyes with some of its Italian royalty who where in town for a wedding, the Brignone family. This brings me to the Resort’s roots. El Careyes Beach Resort was founded in 1968 when artist and architect Gian Franco Brignone came for a visit to Mexico. While flying over the untouched Coast of Careyes, he realized his dream to create an enchanting and environmentally conscious resort that combined the sensuality of the Italian and Mexican cultures. He named it Costa Careyes (the Turtle Coast) because the beaches provide both sanctuary and nesting ground for giant sea turtles. The Resort holds up to his vision with its Mediterranean and Mexican architecture, pristine shores, private bay, and preserved natural landscape. Sensual it is. With 48 rooms and suites, there are also three casitas that feel like they belong in an exquisite romantic movie.

I spent many blissful days at the pool watching these incredibly dressed Italians enjoy life with a gusto that I immediately admired. I also made a new friend in General Manager Miguel Rivero, who lends his own magic to this paradise. He takes good care of everybody at El Careyes, and although he’s one of the hardest working men I’ve met, you wouldn’t know it, because he does it all with an ease and grace that everybody around him warms to. He’s been here for many years now, so I take the opportunity to find out about the really important things: What’s his favorite food at La Lantana? He lights up: “For Breakfast, Huevos Motuleños, they are delicious. For the afternoon, Vuelve a la Vida (or a fish or shrimp soup), and for the evening, the rib eye or chicken rolls with cuitlacoche.” Over the week, I test his favorites, each and every one of them, and they are incredible. I also indulge in a platter of fresh seafood that I will not soon forget; from lobster to ceviche, to mahi mahi, to shrimp, and swordfish, it is nirvana (and the margaritas didn’t hurt either)!

He also fills me in on what makes El Careyes so magical: “This is a very peaceful place. You get a better quality of life that is beautiful and filled with gorgeous sunsets.” I ask him if he has a favorite season: “I like every single day here! We only have two seasons, rainy and dry. The rainy season is really hot, however it is the best time of the year to swim at sea and the sunsets are breathtaking: The sea turtles hatch on the beaches and the landscapes are a lush green. The dry season is cooler, the hotel is full of activity but landscapes are grayish. I personally like the end of the rainy season which is November or early December when everything is green and fresh.”

I can definitely see the appeal of living here year round. Back at the pool, I spend my days fantasizing about writing a novel, one in which days and seasons and words connect effortlessly, cell phones don’t ring, and evenings are spent walking the beach and indulging in that incredible screening room. During the day, I would take boat rides, go horseback riding, and relax in the quiet spa. I would never get bored with the food, and the international travelers would replace the television set. There are many reasons to venture outside of the resort, I know this, but for now, I am satiated with the Magic of El Careyes; it’s warmth, sunsets, inviting calm, and intoxicating scents. I definitely sleep and dream better here and even find that elusive calm I live for.

As the dreaded departure day arrives, I slowly pack up my belongings and say my goodbyes as I make my way to the airport in Manzanillo. I take one last moment before getting in the van to soak up El Careyes. A thought brightens my departure —   I know I will be back some day soon to take stock again, decompress, and pay homage to Gian Franco Brignone and his vision.

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One Response to “The Magic of El Careyes”

  1. Susan Valks

    09. Sep, 2009

    The Brignone’s are hardly royalty, or you might say, wear no clothes. They don’t own the resort you stayed in, but a few homes that they build and sell to manage and rent.

    a bunch of juicy stories on this blog

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