Experience the vibrancy of the Pacific Coast at two resorts where brightly painted villas and verdant surroundings combine for an unforgettable getaway.
Writer: Jacquelyne Froeber
1 of 10Photographer: Luca Trovato
Tropical hues of blue, yellow, and pink dot the rugged waterfront terrain at Costa Careyes resort. The kaleidoscope of cliffside villas, casitas, and even castles stands high above the water, artfully arranged on seven miles of shoreline. The Sol de Oriente (pictured at left) and other large villas called "castles" seem to float like islands in the center of wraparound pools.
This vivid pink cottage is one of Costa Careyes' three bungalows overlooking the ocean (scan the surf for whales!), just steps from the soft Playa Rosa sand.
3 of 10Photographer: Luca Trovato
This bright blue villa is named Nido de Amor, Spanish for "Love Nest." It overlooks the sparkling blue ocean on one of the highest points on the property—more than 89 feet above sea level.
4 of 10Photographer: Luca Trovato
Villa Nido de Amor has three bedrooms; one opens directly to the infinity pool and Pacific views to the horizon. The private infinity pool seems to dangle over the rocky terrain; the sound of crashing waves lulls you to sleep. Best. Zzzz's. Ever.
5 of 10Photographer: Luca Trovato
The tantalizing scent of homemade pizza dough wafts through the air at Punto Como restaurant (left). One of five restaurants at Costa Careyes, this casual spot plays films and documentaries on an outdoor movie screen, with specialties such as sweet maracuya (passion fruit) margaritas and a slice of thin-crust pie for lunch, or thick Argentine steaks for dinner.
6 of 10Photographer: Luca Trovato
Costa Careyes was founded in 1968 by Gian Franco Brignone (left). One of his signatures: cuccia del cane, or plush day beds that face the water. "We have an international vibe mixed with the wonderful traditions and joys of life in Mexico," Gian says. "It's private and peaceful here."
7 of 10Photographer: Luca Trovato
Along the white-sand shore of Banderas Bay, pops of color start at the bright emerald treetops of surrounding Orbignya palms, and even fly through the landscape on the cobalt wings of native San Blas Jay birds. The earthy tones of Imanta resort's 11 villas—each built with native Imanta granite found on the site—blend into the natural surroundings.
A bright stairwell leads to the rooftop Observatorio (left), which has arguably the best view of the resort's descending villas, patios, and plunge pools overlooking the private beach. Also in the Observatorio tower, guests can enjoy tapas or a pampering Thai massage.
The lounge and pool area of Casona Los Templos (left) offer unspoiled views of the surf, where you're likely to spot whales and dolphins. Inside the villa, local tribal art adds a touch of color to the serene white-and-cream walls. "Imanta is a good reflection of the soul of Mexico," says architect Bob Shemwell. "It's modern, but at the same time it draws on the history and culture."
9 of 10Photographer: Luca Trovato
Luxurious waterfront villas and stunning infinity pools blend seamlessly into the edge of Imanta's 250 acres of lush jungle. Beneath ripening green coconut trees, keep an eye on the surf for sea turtles, or head to the alfresco Tukipa restaurant for citrus ceviche and a cocktail freshened with cucumber. (You are in the native home of tequila.)
Seafood from the resort's restaurants, like the dish pictured at left, is all locally caught.
10 of 10Photographer: Luca Trovato
To Get Here
Fly into Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) to reach both Costa Careyes (a 2 1/2-hour drive south) and Imanta (about an hour north).