Late March, 2013 – When the swell got us rockin’ and rollin’ too much at pretty Paraiso, we decided to backtrack four miles to another little jewel on the Costalegre coast: the Bay of Careyes.
This anchorage is marked by a series of ornate and colorful estates on its outskirts, and they had caught our attention when we passed them on the way in.
As we approached Careyes this second time, the bright blue, fire engine red and brilliant orange of the houses lining the anchorage glinted in the morning sun. All of the oceanfront estates were sizable, and all were painted in vivid colors.
Turning into the bay, in front of us was a hillside covered with homes of every imaginable color.
It looked like the owners had all run to the paint store and bought the store out of every can of paint in every color and then had a field day creating a community of rainbow colors.
We quickly got Groovy settled near the beach and then spent a good hour in the cockpit gaping at our surroundings. This place is like no other on the Costalegre. I know I just said that about Paraiso, but it is true of Careyes as well. These are special and unique anchorages.
Where Paraiso had given us a feeling of the tropics, with turquoise water, a light sand beach and palm trees, Careyes was all about splashy, bright buildings spilling down a hillside in a playful spray of primary colors.
Bright color was the theme here – even the beach we were anchored near was named “Playa Rosa” or “Pink Beach.”
We quickly jumped in the dink to explore this beach. It was deserted but had an alluring bright blue zig-zag staircase running up into the hills.
The beach was backed by palm trees and we got a good glimpse of Groovy around the corner.
It felt a little funny walking on this empty beach. There wasn’t a soul to be found, yet there were lots of homes in the hills.
We came across a little restaurant and poked around, but there was no one there.
A driveway led to a narrow cobblestone road, and we walked up the road a ways. What a pretty little lane it was, filled with flowering trees.
We still didn’t see anyone anywhere. It felt a little like we’d landed on a beautifully landscaped and deserted island.
I know there is a town or main street or something back there, but we didn’t explore too far.
When we first dropped the hook in Careyes, we also put down a stern anchor to keep the boat pointed towards the waves in an effort to reduce the rocking motion. The tricky part was that during the day the predominant wind waves came in from one direction, and at night the swell came in from another direction.
So once or twice a day during our stay, at the whim of the tides, the wind and the swell, which are all active forces on the boat, we needed to adjust the stern anchor line, letting it out or pulling it in.
This would realign the boat so it pointed directly into the waves, wherever they were coming from, rather than lying sideways to them and rolling like a pig on a spit.
The easternmost beach, Playa Careyes, had a few signs of life in the late afternoon when a family came out to play volleyball. As the sun was setting the game broke up and a couple took a dip in the water together. A blue heron watched them from the shore.
Another day we took the dinghy to the westernmost beach, Playa Blanca, and it was utterly deserted. The few stark buildings that were there appeared to be totally unoccupied.
However, as we rounded the corner we saw the most unusual bridge strung between the bright blue estate on the mainland and a tiny island just in front of it. I guess if they wanted to go for a picnic on the island all they had to do was walk across the bridge!!
We had noticed the water slowly turning darker during our first two days in this anchorage.
On the morning of our third day we found ourselves immersed in red tide.
Rats!! We had escaped the red tides that plague Mexico’s Pacific coast all season, but one had finally caught us here in Careyes. Oh well!
We scrapped our plans for sticking around and snorkeling, as it would be a few weeks before the red tide completed its lifecycle. Sigh!
Our next destination was Puerto Vallarta, and a weather window had opened up for us to slip around the notorious Cabo Corrientes in peace and quiet. So we packed up the boat, and made our way towards Bahia Chamela to stage our passage.