“This whole place seems unbelievable, kind of crazy. The reaction is “What? Wow!”
That perfectly captures the way I feel when walking around this unbelievable complex of luxury villas and condos on a dramatic stretch of Pacific Ocean coast in Mexico. I and the other writers with me, many of us more than a little jaded after doing this for ages, walk around slack-jawed and have to do a double take when Filippo’s brother Giorgio points out the end of the property line, miles away past several cliffs and coves.
Their father Gion Franco Brignone, an Italian banker who moved to Mexico from Paris, was so stricken with this part of the Mexican coast when he saw it from a low-flying plane in 1968 that he made immediate plans to purchase as much of it as he could before the plane touched down. He pictured it as a gathering place for bohemians and globe-trotters with taste, those who appreciated nature and were willing to travel far to get away from typical civilization.
Now it’s a thriving community of wealthy owners from 42 countries, more like a private club of “the worthy” than a hard-sell real estate development. Parts of it have succeeded (there are now nearly 100 free-standing houses and attached villas) and some have petered out (the previous Luxury Collection hotel that will at some point be reborn as a different kind of project.)
The architecture you find in many upscale homes in Mexico on the Pacific coast originated here. I don’t normally quote directly from company press materials, but in this case the description is spot-on:
Mexican Pacific Style, or Careyes Style as we sometimes like to call it, features huge palm palapa roofs supported by Guayabillo wood beams and the trunks of the tallest jungle Palms wrapped in Amate roots. Bedrooms with built-in furniture are simply adorned to emphasize the subtle curved lines of the walls while doors and windows frame views that only exist in ?! Costa Careyes. Infinity pools seem to extend into the sea to form a direct connection with the horizon and bold exterior colors draw inspiration from the sunrise and sunset. Here nature and design astound in tandem, both playing to the audience and neither missing a step in their complex aesthetic dance.
These are grand, stunning homes that try to wow you with their views rather than with showy designer furniture. The idea is to look out, not in.
In the villa pictured at the top, the infinity pool wraps all the way around the home encouraging you to change your view as lounge in a different spot in the water. (Plus with every bedroom having a doorway to this pool, it doesn’t take much imagination to picture the crazy times that have taken place here in the past…)
Part of the dream aspect of Careyes comes from the architecture, but also in how much has been developed here—while still respecting the land—in an area that’s 70 miles from a hospital and even further from an international airport. There’s a medical clinic with two ambulances, a polo complex, a tennis complex, and a pueblo area with restaurants, bars, and an impressive art gallery. Fiber optic cable provides fast internet throughout and monitored wells combined with modern treatment plants mean this is a place in Mexico where you can drink the water. Horseback riding, scuba diving, fishing trips, and spa services are available within the complex.
A foundation here does a whole range of incredible work with the Costalegre area less fortunate, meeting basic needs, yes, but also giving children structured training in the arts. The foundation is also involved with wildlife preservation, including with a protected sea turtle hatching area and a protected mangrove swamp. (This past season 2016 turtles of four types laid eggs here.)
Along with Las Alamandas and Cuixmala, Costa Carayes has shown that even in a remote area far from where the masses go, it’s possible to attract the right kind of high-end traveler, the kind willing to make the effort to reach a place that truly feels special.
See more at the Careyes website.