The Jalisco Coast
The country between Puerto Vallarta and Barra de Navidad is a landscape ripe for travelers who enjoy getting away from the tourist track. Development has scarcely penetrated its vast tracts of mountainous jungle, tangled thorny scrub, and pine-tufted summit forests. Few footprints mark its many miles of curving, golden beaches.
Cabo Corrientes, Mexico’s great western cape, defines the Jalisco Coast. Beginning at Puerto Vallarta, the Bay of Banderas’s shoreline juts 40 miles (64 km) southwest into the Pacific, forming Cabo Corrientes. Like a giant’s great protecting chin, Cabo Corrientes regularly deflects Pacific storms past Puerto Vallarta.
South of the Cape, the coastline curves gently southeast, indented by a trio of broad beach- and islet-studded bays—Chamela, Tenacatita, and Navidad—all havens for lovers of sun, sand, and surf. Consequently, for most visitors, the Jalisco Coast’s major attractions are its magnificent seclusion and outdoor beach and ocean pleasures. Topping the list are abundant fishing (fresh water, deep ocean, and surf), beachcombing, wildlife-viewing, off-road adventuring, and scuba diving, snorkeling, and surfing.
Except for the twin country beach resorts of Melaque and Barra de Navidad, the Jalisco coast is nearly all pioneer country, with only a few villages. Fortunately, however, you don't need to be a Daniel Boone to enjoy everything the Jalisco coast has to offer. The coastal strip within a few miles of the highway has acquired some amenities—stores, trailer parks, campgrounds, hotels, and a scattering of small resorts, some humble and some posh—all enough to become well known to Puerto Vallarta people as the Costa Alegre (Happy Coast).
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition