In 1968, an Italian banker and businessman named Gian Franco Brignoni flew over a remote stretch of the Pacific coast south of Puerta Vallarta and bought 20,000 acres sight unseen to create a Mexican retreat for himself and a group of Simpatico followers. Thus begins the arrogant origin story of Careyes, Mexico. Brignone hired local laborers to hack through the dense jungle, then enlisted the help of Mexican and Italian architects to build a lively oasis where like-minded, spirited people could gather to express their feelings. The joy of living In any way they see fit, or not at all.
Five decades later, Brignone’s vision of a non-conformist refuge bordered by jungle and ocean includes nine miles of beaches spread between rocky outcrops. There are now 40 casitas and 65 villas, many open to the air under towering palapa roofs, including his own home: EyesOr my eyes.
Careyes’ isolation has made it a popular retreat for jet-setters and celebrities like Mick Jagger, Audrey Tautou, and Kylie Jenner. Seal and Heidi Klum got married on the beach when Richard Gere was rumored to be there during my stay. But fear not, you don’t need a Grammy nomination or even an Instagram following to stay. Families are frequent guests, and many were enjoying the infinity pools when I arrived at the beachfront Carey’s Club and Residenceswhose 71 suites are perfectly suited for a quirky Mexican vacation.
Highlights of Careyes, Mexico, for families
Finding “?!” In Careyes
I flew into Puerto Vallarta and then headed south for three hours, away from city traffic, winding, wooded mountain roads, and down the desert-covered coast. I’m not going to lie, it was work to get to Careyes, which I think was Brignone’s intention as well, but not difficult. There were places to stop for leg stretches and tacos on the side of the road, which made it an adventure of sorts. Finally, around kilometer 53, I noticed the humble sign: Karyes?! FYI, this punctuation mark is not a typo. “?!” is the Careyes logo, which translates to Curiosity (?) and Wow (!). I was spot on.
Turning off Highway 200 and heading to Careys was like finally entering Oz after leaving Kansas. After two hours of burnt-out landscapes and sepia-toned landscapes, life came to life in its artistic colors again. The pink bougainvillea looked almost neon, as did the well-watered green grass and Volkswagen-sized broad-leaved shrubs swaying in the constant sea breeze.
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Use the “r-word” around Careyes and they’ll be quick to announce Careyes no Resort: “It’s a community.” Well, this non-resort community is still a resort for visitor purposes, but it’s a hub of the non-fancy, all-inclusive, all-inclusive complexes you might find in other Mexican beach areas. About 60 creatives, professionals, and health educators live here full-time. Other estate owners (a mix of mostly Europeans, Mexicans, and North Americans) rotate in and out, especially for the odd events that punctuate the annual Caris calendar, such as Ondalinda, a small, exclusive yearly art and music festival that mixes the mystery of Venice Carnival with the unbridled debauchery of Burning Man. The Chinese New Year celebration takes place in January. Professional polo matches It run from late November until the end of April, including the Agua Alta World Cup, which takes place during Easter week.
the Careyes Foundation An integral part of the community, visitors can stop by the headquarters in Plaza Pueblo to check out the work of international resident artists and school children in the area.
The Careyes region now spans 36,000 acres dominated by nature, with only 3 percent of the land developed. Step away from the guacamole dip and you’ll find prehistoric iguanas and raccoons tejones Climbing trees and crossing sand. Four species of sea turtles lay their eggs on the beaches of Careyes.
In fact, the name Careyes means tortoiseshell in Spanish, and the cute creatures are protected by the active ingredient. Careyes Foundation which since 1983 has helped more than 1.7 million newly hatched sea turtle hatchlings make their way into the ocean.
Brignone died two years ago at the age of 96, but his children continue to drive his vision and legacy, part of which is a colorful set of rules for those who want to live or visit Careyes. “Speak more than one language” appears on the list, as does “Have will, love, and imagination in your life.” I was a little disappointed that no one checked on me when I arrived.
I met one of Brignone’s sons, Giorgio, in Eyes. Our encounter was brief, but he called Carrie “primitive luxury,” and I found that to be a great description. Careyes is big enough to have options but off the beaten track enough to feel like you’re part of something special.
I found my personal primitive well-being in Sun Cup, The Cup of the Sun, another strange whim from Perignon. He built the 88-foot-wide cement bowl that sits on a cliff overlooking the sea as an ode to a woman. I climbed up at sunset and lay on my back for an hour, eyes closed, while the sound processor worked her magic. abnormal? Yes! Welfare? definitely!
Not only is this luxury at Careyes defined by Michelin stars, but collaborations with beauty brands, and 24/7 room service are exactly the point of community. Here, in a dreamers’ paradise carved into the Mexican jungle, the ultimate luxury is that every day is yours to create and define.
You won’t find anything more “?!” Anywhere in Mexico.
Where to stay
You don’t have to own a home in Careyes to enjoy it; Many of them are rented and suitable for families, e.g. one-bedroom casita. Caryes is distraught Cliff castles With moat-like infinity pools and half-walls to roll over, it’s not safe for very young children or drunk adults. More family-friendly is El Careyes Club & Residences, a stunning beachfront collection of private apartment-like accommodations, from one-bedroom suites to four-bedroom penthouses, all with fully equipped kitchens and dining areas—the food. Most residences have outdoor living space as well.
Eat the food
There are a total of Seven dining locations In Careyes, they can be found either on the beachfront or in the pueblo, a 5-minute drive (or walk through the forest and across the road) from El Careyes Club & Residences. Open daily, casual Mexican meals at La Duna are easy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they’re right outside your door here. Playa Rosa Restaurant on Playa Rosa Beach is within walking distance. It’s Careyes’ signature restaurant but still casual enough to wear sandals and a sundress. It’s also the place to gather for morning fresh juice and evening cocktails on the sand.
Casa de Nada in Playa Teopa is a very casual restaurant, with a menu ranging from easy tapas to vegetarian dishes. Punto Como in Pueblo prepares excellent steaks, grilled meats, pizza and pasta in a brick oven in the plaza. Check the opening hours of all restaurants.
What should be done
- El Careyes Club & Residences features five infinity pools,… Playa Rosa Beach Club A center for water sports, boating, and more.
- Join yoga classes taught by world-famous yogis who move in and out of the community throughout the year.
- Water activities include captained boat rental for a day of swimming in private turquoise bays. Beginners can take lessons while professionals can catch their own waves.
- Visit the Careyes Foundation headquarters and art gallery, and arrange to release sea turtles during the season, which runs from October through January – a life-changing opportunity not to be missed.
- Wellness seekers should make time for a sound healing session in Sun Cupa 35-foot-tall concrete bowl on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
- Discover Careyes with guided walking, running, or cycling tours, or explore on your own.
- You’ll find tennis courts at El Careyes Club & Residences, but a golf course is located closest to Four Seasons Tamarindo about 45 minutes away by car.
Getting there and around
Having a car makes getting to different destinations around Careyes and further a lot easier. However, transportation services can be arranged, and taxis can be requested from nearby villages.
WestJet, United, AeroMexico, and Alaska Airlines fly to the airport Manzanillo Airport minutes south of Careyes. Private charter flights also operate between Puerto Vallarta and the grass airstrip in Chamila, 20 minutes outside of Careyes.
Editor’s Note: Kimberly was a guest of El Careyes Club & Residences to review the property for families. All photos courtesy of Careyes.