Costalegre: Careyes – The most colorful anchorage in Mexico!

Careyes castle Costalegre Mexico blue oceanfront estate

Bright blue elegeaance!

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.

Snowy egret flying

A snowy egret flies overhead.

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.

Castles in Careyes Mexico Costalegre Red mansion

Perhaps their Ferrari is
fire engine red too?

Costa Careyes castle Mexico Costalegre blue mansion

Another royal blue estate!

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.

Bay of Careyes anchorage Mexico Costalegre

What a colorful hillside!

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.

Sailboat at Bay of Careyes anchorage Mexico boats at anchor

Groovy looks good here!

Colorful Careyes houses Costalegre Mexico

Careyes sports homes of every imagineable color!

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.

Pretty homes of Costa Careyes on the Costalegre

What a spot!

Careyes Mexico colorful houses on the hill

There are no colors left in the paint store!!

Playa Rosa Careyes Bay Mexico boats at anchor

Playa Rosa at Careyes.

Sailboat at Careyes Beach Costalegre Mexico boats at anchor

Groovy is tucked in around the corner.

Bright color was the theme here – even the beach we were anchored near was named “Playa Rosa” or “Pink Beach.”

Playa Rosa Costa Careyes Costalegre Mexico

What a fantastic staircase!

Palm trees on Playa Rosa Careyes

Looking out at the bay from Playa Rosa.










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.

Bay of Careyes Playa Rosa Palm trees

View from Playa Rosa



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.

Costa Careyes cobblestone street

Pretty cobblestone lane and flowers.

Bougainvillea flowering tree

A beautiful flowering tree.

Homes in Costa Careyes

Vivid orange casitas away from the beach.



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.

Stern anchor

A requirement for boaters overnighting in Careyes: a stern anchor!





Sailboat anchored in Careyes

Groovy poses in front of a castle!

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.

Garden patio home

A pretty garden patio…






Blue heron

A blue heron on Playa Careyes.

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.

Playa Careyes Costalegre Mexico

Playa Careyes

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.

Careyes Costalegre Mexico pretty homes

A rainbow of colors on the hillside…

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!!

Palm tree on Playa Rosa Careyes

A palm tree on Playa Rosa.

Careyes Bridge to island Mexico

A very cool bridge next to Playa Blanca…

Costalegre Careyes Playa Rosa homes

Dinghying to Playa Rosa.

Crashing surf in front of Careyes mansion

Crashing surf and a lime green estate…











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!

Sunset at Careyes

Sunset in Careyes.

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.

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