The Voyage: 24 Hours in Cuixmala

May 30, 2018

If secluded beaches, roaming wildlife, and endless coastal scenery sound like your kind of vacation, we’ve found the spot for you: Cuixmala in Costalegre.

But Costalegre isn’t precisely a “spot,” per se – it’s a 150-mile stretch of beaches, capes, and bays along the Pacific Coast in the Mexican state of Jalisco. Situated between the ultra-popular destinations of Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, Costalegre – which literally translates to “Coast of Joy” – is the off-the-beaten-path locale of choice for modern travelers and celebrities alike.

In the 16th century, the area was a hub for ship building and repairs, as it served as a jumping-off point for voyages to the Philippines. Today, Costalegre is an idyll overflowing with lavish hideaways – and margaritas: Jalisco is the center of Mexico’s tequila industry.

Dotted with golden-sand beaches, magical, tree-covered coves, and picturesque villages, Cuixmala was just what we were looking for as the backdrop of our spring photoshoot. Here, we offer our favorite picks for a weekend’s worth of to-dos.

9 AM: Relax at Cuixmala
Once the private estate of politician and tycoon James Goldsmith, this 25,000-acre spot is now an eco-conscious resort lush with lagoons, beaches, and plenty to do. First things first: Dip your toes in the Pacific, and wave hello to the pelicans and zebras (yes, zebras) that roam the area. Then, head to the pool and lounge the rest of the morning away.

12 PM:  Brunch at Casa Gomez
Enjoy brunch with a view at this open-air gem of a restaurant. We recommend trying the organic fruit plate or the traditional Mexican egg dish. Be sure to order a coffee – the beans are grown and roasted in the nearby mountains of Colima.

3 PM: Bike Tour
Explore Cuixmala’s biodynamic farm, coconut and banana plantations, and citrus and mango orchards on wheels. Then, cruise through the palms on lovely paved routes, or head to the lagoons to feel the sea breeze ruffle your hair. Make a few stops along your tour, too – we’re partial to the Marine Turtle Sanctuary, where you can learn how 10,000 nests and a half-million baby sea turtles have been saved at Playa Cuixmala since 1988.

6 PM: Bird Watching
Cuixmala is home to 270 types of migratory bird species. During the day, you’ll likely catch a glimpse of great brown pelicans or the exotic roseate spoonbill. But in the evening, take an electric boat tour to see thousands of birds roosting around the lagoons.

8 PM: Dinner at Casa Cuixmala
Hailed as a Moorish palace in mainland Mexico for its white ceilings illuminated by candlelight, this intimate space serves up only the freshest ingredients: Everything is sourced from the resort’s sister property, an organic ranch in the highlands at Hacienda de San Antonio – or, even more locally, the organic farm within the grounds of the resort itself.