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Luxury Along Costalegre

Published Sep 8, 2005 - (Updated Dec 21, 2012)

When you fly into this happening coastal city you get to enjoy not only one of the world's best resorts and the destination of choice for millions every year, but also quick and easy access to Mexico's still-pristine hidden niches along the central Pacific coast.

If you live here, accustomed to the perks that draw tourists, when you want to get away it has to be to somewhere pretty special. Whether for an overnight or a week, the savvy demand not only comfort and character, but also the peace and quiet and unique primal charm that originally lured them here.

Happily, the trial and error component of where to stay while exploring this amazing country has been eliminated by Mexico Boutique Hotels, which stringently qualifies its exclusive collection of accommodations in idyllic settings around the country - seven right in Puerto Vallarta's own backyard.

A string of enchanting getaways stretches from Punta de Mita in the north to Isla Navidad in the south, their attributes - like highly personalized attention and individual style - outstanding. And right now, local residents are invited to check out these off-the-beaten-track gems at discounts of nearly half seasonal rates.

Even if your time here is limited, do yourself a favor and experience one or two. You're sure to go home with a sweeter sense of what this nature-blessed country's all about. Better yet, give yourself a week to do the complete circuit and you'll never look at a Mexican holiday the same way again.

Puerto Vallarta's environs are amazingly diverse biologically, so there's a wealth of land and marine activities to engage in: snorkeling, whale and bird watching, surfing, sport-fishing, mountain-biking, soaring through the tree canopy, golfing on nine spectacular courses—two on these Mexico Boutique Hotel properties and one adjacent - and rejuvenating at three full-service spas.

Located right here in town, Marina Vallarta's Quinta Real Puerto Vallarta still feels worlds away. On a luxurious golf course oasis, its aura of serene sophistication harkens to a gentler, more elegant time. The décor is refined and fabulous, as is the pampering at the world-class spa and the gourmet meals crafted by an award-winning chef.

Half an hour north, on a long, sugary beach rarely seeing footprints, is the secluded and simply elegant Casa de Mita. Good food is a passion at this intimate retreat, each day a surprise of alternating contemporary and classic Mexican dishes. Private balconies with breathtaking views encourage afternoon reads and evening cocktails.

Just 20 minutes south of town and evoking a South Seas mood, the elegantly primitive Majahuitas resort is really getting away from it all. No phones. No electricity. No hassles. Just eight barefoot-with-linen casitas on a secluded white sand cove accessible only by boat. The stars are unbelievable.

Two hours away, Las Alamandas is a luxurious 1,500-acre jungle hideaway with a kilometer of beach and a private airstrip - ideal for those seeking anonymity, rubbing shoulders with movie stars and their ilk the norm. Managed like a private estate, you can expect superior hospitality, as well as two restaurants, tennis, spa and fitness center and golf nearby.

Just a few miles farther south is the chic El Careyes, another exclusive refuge for the who's who. The topography sparks memories of Italy's Amalfi Coast, while rooms and suites overlooking the meandering oasis pool and ocean have a vibrant Mexican spirit. Features include a full-service spa, weight room, dive shop, tennis and restaurant serving international and Mexican cuisine. Cycling and kayaking trips are available, as is polo and horseback riding.

About two and a half hours away, the dream of returning to untrammeled nature comes true at El Tamarindo, refined villas harmonizing with the untamed beauty of this 2,040-acre ecological reserve with its own helipad. Three private beaches offer water sports of every kind, a jungle spa health and beauty treatments. A spectacular diversity of flora and fauna - 182 bird species noted - encourages nature walks and biking on miles of trails. And a challenging 18-hole on-site golf course is said to be one of the most spectacular in the world, not to mention the least occupied.

Just about three hours north of Barra de Navidad is Meson Doña Paz, a spacious mansion with marvelous views adjacent to a championship 27-hole golf course considered one of the world's best and most beautiful. A breathtaking, three-story lobby overlooks a saltwater cove and the main dining room. The ambiance elegant yet sportive, diversions include a gym, tennis, water sports and Isla Navidad's world-class marina.

To learn more about customizing your own adventure, consult Mexico Boutique Hotels. And consider making a long weekend of it during the week, when rates are at their lowest.

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