This article is from the November 1995 The Mexico File newsletter.
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A Reader Reports on the
Adventure of Costa Azul

by Mardi Wetmore

Mardi Wetmore, a new Mexicophile and fellow reader of this publication, sends us this account of her recent first visit to Mexico.

The last week in September my husband, Spike, and I took our first vacation in Mexico. We spent five days at Costa Azul, an "adventure" resort located thirty miles north of Puerto Vallarta. We were a little anxious about vacationing in Mexico since neither of us spoke Spanish and neither of us had ever been to Mexico. When we arrived in Mexico, we bravely (or some might think stupidly) rented a Volkswagen convertible for our stay.

We spent our first night in Mexico at La Posada de Roger in Puerto Vallarta (on David Simmonds' recommendation) and loved it. We spent three hours Saturday afternoon during a torrential downpour sitting in the Tucan bar at Roger's listening to Bob Marley and Cat Stevens CD's, drinking margaritas and getting to know Juan Carlos, the bartender. Juan Carlos is a gem and if you ever stay at Roger's, be sure to take the time to get to know him.

The next morning we took off in the car up the coast to Costa Azul. Driving in Mexico is not for the fainthearted, but after a short while Spike caught on and we had an absolutely terrifying ride out of Puerto Vallarta. Once we were on the highway outside town things calmed down a bit. The countryside is just about as beautiful as anyone could imagine: dense green jungle, banana groves, rivers, streams, farmland and the ocean.

Costa Azul is billed as an "adventure" resort. They will take you kayaking, snorkeling, surfing,horseback riding or on the jungle boat trips. They also have mountain bikes available for their guests. When we arrived at Costa Azul we were immediately impressed with the place. It is in a complex of large villas located on a very private beach. Our room was huge, clean and very attractive.

The resort has an open air restaurant with a thatched roof and a commanding view of the ocean. The bar is next to the restaurant and is built on to the pool... so you can swim up to the bar, sit on a barstool in the pool and order yourself a margarita.

The food at the resort is excellent. The first night we were there Spike ordered a curried shrimp dish served in a coconut. He thought it was the best shrimp he had ever eaten. I ate a lot of fish, all of it fresh and tasty. Our only problem with the food was that we live a low-fat lifestyle and a lot of time we eat vegetarian. We met Mike, the restaurant manager, and mentioned this to him. He told us he was more than happy to meet any special requests for his guests. At that time there were two strict vegetarians staying at the resort and he was arranging meals for them.

Shortly after we arrived we met Pat, one of the Americans who works at the resort. The personnel at Costa Azul are about one-fourth Americans (most of them from Chico State in California, probably because the owner went there). The remainder are from the village of San Francisco. We were immediately relieved to find out that our non-Spanish-speaking status would not be a problem. All the non-American workers spoke some English but encouraged us all to learn or use what Spanish we knew.

We met most of the guests and made a few good friends. Everyone staying at Costa Azul was either looking for a quiet place to kick back and relax or were there for the adventure tours. All were looking for a place away from the "tourist industry." We all found just what we were looking for.

During the next five days we spent hours walking on the beach. We walked along the beach to the village of San Francisco and ate lunch one day. We came across a turtle sanctuary where volunteers collect turtle eggs and put them in a "nursery" that is protected from animals and the elements. When the eggs hatch they release the young turtles. We were fortunate enough to witness a release. Any of the turtles that survive will come back to the same beach in fifteen years to lay their eggs!

We spent much of our time at Costa Azul swimming in the pool and lying in the sun. We also took the kayaking/snorkeling tour and had a ball. Our guide, Kevin, was very encouraging and helpful to the beginners, like me. We kayaked to an island in a beautiful bay about twenty miles north of Costa Azul where we snorkeled for about an hour and then kayaked back. I, a forty-something, actually beat two twenty-something girls back to the beach. I was very proud of myself, but...I must admit... exhausted by the time we got back to the resort. Not to worry: a margarita, a quick dip in the pool and a good dinner revived me quickly.

We also rode horses on a trip through the jungle, through the town and back along the beach. Since I was an experienced rider, our guide raced me back to the resort. It was great, running horses on the beach...I was nineteen again!

We talked to guests who had participated in the other tours offered and found that everyone had had a great time and couldn't speak highly enough of their guides.

All in all, it was a really great trip for us. Costa Azul was exactly what we were looking for and we came home rejuvenated and rested...and looking forward to returning to Mexico some time in the near future.

For information on Costa Azul, call (800) 365-7613. And when you get your brochure, don't look at the pictures and think, "Sure, it really looks like this." I can assure you: it does. It is just as beautiful as the pictures say it is!

If you have any questions I can answer about our trip or Costa Azul, feel free to e-mail me at: mardiw@wco.com