I wrote about Costalegre a few months ago, but recently had to go to Manzanillo to visit family and friends, and so had the opportunity to see how things are progressing along this coastline south of Vallarta. The ride down on highway #200 and through Costalegre is a beautiful drive, but it can also be very slow, especially around El Tuito and again just north of Barra de Navidad. In these locations the road is narrow, very windy and can be quite slow if you get stuck behind large trucks. In between these two points the road is being widened and repaved, still with two lanes but now wide enough for a car to pull over a bit and allow someone to pass. Construction continues on the highway, while also widening some of the bridges, but at the pace they are going, they are going to be working on this road for some time to come.
I have travelled this road numerous times over the past 30 years, and although the highway has improved, there really haven’t been a lot of changes on this coastline. Careyes, Cuizmala and Las Alamandas are still there, but the hotels of Tamarindo and Hotelito Desconocido, are not. El Tucan has been shut down for many years now, but it seems the hotels around the bay of Tenacatita, such as Punta Sirena and Blue Bay Los Angeles Locos, are still quite active.
The hotel at Tamarindo is suppose to become a Four Seasons, although I’m not aware of how far along that project is. And there is supposed to be a new Luis Vuitton hotel (Cheval Blanc), going in near Chamela, but it was difficult to see any sign of activity from the highway.
Work has been going on for some time on building a new airport near Chalacatepec and the new mega-development of Xala, where there is supposed to be a One & Only hotel being developed. On my return I saw a large sign for this airport and project, with a brand new paved road leading off towards the coast. I took it and all was fine for a couple of kilometers. But then the road turned to a gravel and then finally just ended. No airport, no Xala, just a dead end. On the way back I met a rancher on horseback on the side of the road so I stopped and asked him what was going on. He said that the runway was there, (and I can see it on Google Maps), but not paved, and there is no easy access to it. And he wasn’t sure if they even were still working on it.
Progress on the airport seems to be like many of of the supposed projects taking place along Costalegre; whatever progress there is, it is slow going, and information regarding it is even harder to come by. Seems not a lot has changed over the past 30 years. Maybe that’s exactly the way many prefer it to remand, unspoiled, on this amazingly picturesque coastline.