Beach Chic – Costalegre, Mexico

After El Tamarindo our next stop was El Careyes Beach Resort, another member of the Mexico Boutique Hotels group.  A bit more conventional and much more affordable than the extremely exclusive El Tamarindo.

All of the guests in the hotel, except for us, were there as part of a wedding party celebrating the marriage of  a girl from Guadalajara and a boy from Switzerland. Worried that we would be troubled by the music they planned to play around the pool until 4am, they simply  (and graciously) invited us to the wedding – our first Mexican wedding! The funniest part was the first few songs after the 1st dance – Beatles, Stones… then Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” with everyone singing along with the lyrics perfectly. Are we still in Mexico?

Our oceanfront room at El Careyes Resort had a Jacuzzi in the living room.

Our oceanfront room at El Careyes Beach Resort had a jacuzzi in the living room.

Sunset at El Careyes Resort.

Sunset at El Careyes Beach Resort.

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Hide Like a Celebrity – Costalegre, Mexico

WOW is an apt reaction when you first lay eyes on the exclusive  El Tamarindo Resort both in regard to the beauty of the property and its price tag.  If you really want to splurge there are stunning four bedroom residences where French President Sarkozy stayed last month and subsequently created a bit of an stir back home for the reported $63,000 price tag for a weekend.

We stayed in a still-very-over-the-top casita with stunning open-air architecture and a private plunge pool.

Our wonderful casita at the El Tamarindo Resort.

Our wonderful casita at the El Tamarindo Resort.

The sliding casitas walls at El Tamarindo allow you to completley open up the room to your giant palapa covered patio and personal plunge pool. The total living area of the casitas is 1,500 sq feet, twice the size of our old NYC apartment.

The sliding casita walls at El Tamarindo allow you to completely open up your room onto your giant palapa-covered patio and personal plunge pool. The total living area of the casitas is 1,500 sq feet, twice the size of our old NYC apartment.

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Cold Beers, Leche Caliente and Smoking Volcanos – Comala, Mexico

The wonderful village of Comala, Mexico, about 10 miles (16 km) outside of Colima, the capital city of Colima state, lies in the shadow of the smoking Colima Volcano and is home to two very unique drinking traditions: cold beers and hot snacks in the bars under the portales around the town’s central square and leche caliente, a morning tradition involving spiked hot milk fresh out of the cow. Of course we tried both.

The wonderful village of Comala just 10 miles outside of Colima lies in the shadow of theactive Volcán de Colima.

The wonderful village of Comala, Mexico lies in the shadow of the active Colima Volcano.

Cold beers in Comala

Comala, named a Pueblo Magico in 2002, is noted for its beauty and peacefulness but also for the unique bars around its central square which offer endless plates of tasty tapas that come free as long as you keep ordering their (slightly pricier) drinks. It’s an irresistible combination so we settled into a couple of chairs and prepared to spend the afternoon appreciating the charms of Comala.

That’s when we met Raphael and his siblings who were visiting their hometown from the US where they now live.

In the afternoon we sat around one of the bars around the town square in Comala noted for their endless tasty tapas with (pricey) drinks. There we met Raphael and his huge family who were from Washington, but were in town visiting family. They were also quite fond of Mariachi music. They adopted us and wouldn’t let us return to Colima and our hotel room because we HAD to experience Leche Caliente with them in the morning. it all sounded too good to pass up so we crashed on Mom’s floor.

Meeting Raphael and his siblings in Comala, Mexico as mariachis serenade us at one of the many bars under the portales around the main square.

Our new friends insisted that we had to experience leche caliente with them early the following morning and it all sounded too good to pass up so we crashed on their mother’s floor that night.

Early the next morning our new friends took us for leche caliente as promised. At dawn we drove to a small nearby dairy farm armed with the necessary ingredients: plastic cups, alcohol (clearly only the most generic kind will do), and a mix of ground up chocolate and sugar.

Only one thing was missing…

The next morning they took us for Leche Cliente as promised. At dawn we drove to a nearby farm with the necessary ingredients - alcohol (clearly only the most generic kind will o), and a mix of ground up chocolate & sugar.  Only one thing was missing…

The ingredients for leche caliente include alcohol, a mix of ground up chocolate and sugar and one extra special ingredient…

… and the final ingedient, udderly fresh milk. Fist time we ever had (unpasturized) milk straight from the cow and it was great. Breakfast of champions.

…udderly fresh milk. Here, Eric fills his leche caliente cup the traditional way.

Making leche caliente in Comala

First you put a few spoonfuls of the ground chocolate and sugar mixture in the bottom of your cup then you fill it up with fresh milk straight from the cow. This was the first time we’d ever had unpasturized milk straight from the cow (though it’s common in Mexico). Then you add a splash (or more) of the alcohol and you’ve got leche caliente, breakfast of champions!

We drove to Nevado de Colima National Park and climbed to over 12,200 feet to the top which afforded this view of the nearby, very active Volcan de Colima. From here we drove 3+ hours down to the coast. First time I’d ever ever descended over 12,000 feet (except by airplane) in a few hours.  Out of the ice chest and into the frying pan.

A hike up to 12,000 feet (3,650 meters) in Nevado de Colima National Park got us this view of the nearby, very active Colima Volcano.

Hiking in Nevado de Colima National Park

The next day we drove to Nevado de Colima National Park where you can go birdwatching and even climb 12,595 foot (3,920 meter) Colima Volcano (aka Fuego de Colima) if it’s not being too active. We skipped the volcano but still managed to hike as high as 12,200 feet (3,650 meters) and had fantastic views of the volcano puffing away in the distance.

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Iguanas & Alligators – Costalegre, Mexico

An interesting relative newcomer to the Costalegre resort scene is Boca de Iguanas just north of the village of Melaque. They may have some work to do to really qualify as an eco-resort, as they boast, however it is an interesting melding of homes, condos and charmingly designed hotel rooms, some with outdoor bathrooms, enormous upstairs terraces and delightful sunken bathtubs. And the location simply can’t be beat.

Located down a meandering dirt road, Boca de Iguanas is right on a fine white sand beach that arcs elegantly and has surf that’s gentle and swimable. For even gentler surf the resort has one of the most beautiful pools we’ve seen.

The pool at Boca de Iguanas.

The gorgeous blue-tiled pool at Boca de Iguanas is a meandering, infinity-edge design that seems to wander right down the beach to the water's edge.

The place isn't called Boca de Iguanas for nothing.

The resort isn't called Boca de Iguanas for nothing.

The beach at Boca de Iguanas.

The beach at Boca de Iguanas.

Warning signs!

Warning signs!

This is why they have warning signs, one of the crocodiles that lives in the area.

Those warning signs aren't up simply because they're cute. This is just one of the crocodiles that live in the area.

 

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