Let’s consider the posh first. Moving from Puerto Vallarta  south along the luxurious path less traveled, you might first stay at least an overnight in one of the Italian designer–chic cabañas of the Hotelito Desconocido on its pristine seaside lagoon, southeast of Tehualmixtle . Continue on to Las Alamandas , surfing resort for movie stars, moguls, and maharajas.
Next, at least stop for lunch or dinner at regally elegant El Careyes Beach Resort , tucked on a patch of sand on its own exceptionally lovely wildlife-rich little bay. Finally, before Barra de Navidad, lodge a night or two as you explore the sylvan forested swales, meandering golf course, and luxuriously isolated beaches of El Tamarindo  jungle country club and vacation-home paradise for the rich and famous.
On the other hand, for travelers seeking the moderately priced, home-grown delights of South Seas Mexico, the Costa Alegre offers what local people have known about for years: plenty of sun, fresh seafood, clear blue water, and sandy beaches, some of which stretch for miles, while others are tucked away in little rocky coves like pearls in an oyster.
First out of Puerto Vallarta, follow the detour into rustically pristine Cabo Corrientes  country, to bucolic Tehualmixtle  fishing hamlet, and enjoy an idyll sharpened by the local memory of galleons, shipwrecks, and the turn-of-the-20th-century cocaine trade.
Farther south, beachcomb and surf-fish the curving, sandy reach of islet-dotted Chamela Bay  by day while lodging at a friendly local trailer park or homey hotel by night. Continue and spend some time in a small beachfront hotel or your own camp at the scuba, snorkel, and fisherfolks’ haven of Tenacatita .
Continue for more of the same at gorgeous Boca de Iguana  mangrove jungle lagoon and beach, and then hop a few miles farther south to petite La Manzanilla  beach-resort town, where you can enjoy days dining on super-fresh seafood and cozy nights being lulled to sleep by the swish of the friendly La Manzanilla waves.
Whatever your style of travel, the prizes are the small beach-resort towns of Barra de Navidad and San Patricio–Melaque . Here, multiple pleasures beckon: days strolling the beach, gazing out at the languid wave-washed shoreline from beneath a shady palapa, wildlife-watching in the broad mirror-smooth Laguna de Navidad, fishing for wild tuna and dorado, and enjoying fine fare, from steaming streetfront tacos to nouvelle gourmet restaurant cuisine.