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Los Colores de Careyes

In February 2010 there was an unseasonal but spectacular overlap of climatic conditions along the Pacific coast of Mexico. Winter usually turns this hinterland to dusty earthtones. But this year, sporadic rains throughout the ‘dry’ season maintained the ground cover and shrubs in a dress of summer green while the late winter flowering trees all came into bloom at once for a smorgasbord of colour.
And nowhere along the Costa Alegre was this new climatic phenomenon more dramatically illustrated than at Careyes.
The name is synonomous with its own architectural style and the bold colours with which the Careyes villas are painted. The enclave of satellite mansions contains at it’s centre a hotel and a cluster of multi-coloured, greek island-style stacked dwellings aptly named Las Casitas de Las Flores.


From foreground to background it was a time of complements at Careyes: along roadways and from terracotta pots on terraces, the always blooming bougainvillea burst forth in hues from snow white to papal purple. Midground were the facades of orange, sky blue, yellow and ochre buildings staring out to the blue Pacific. Background was the immutable Sierra Madre Occidental which, at that time, looked like Joseph’s Technicolor Coat adorned as it was with patches of outrageous rosas moradas and primavera in full bloom.
The lagoon between Playa Careyitos and Playa Teopa never looked so vibrant and healthy.

Global climate changes can prompt beautiful mistakes.

For the times they are a changin’ and I was glad to be in Careyes when they did.



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A Weekend Away

Puerto Vallarta is the sort of love:hate place you need to get away from every so often in order to keep that ratio in a healthy balance. Fortunately there are easy getaways in any compass direction (except west unless you have a boat or are a strong swimmer).

A couple of weekends ago I went south about 100km to camp on the beach at Bahia Chamela at a place called Xametla. I took along Cashew for some company that didn’t require dialogue and together we had this beautiful place to ourselves. Cashew is a slightly silly version of a pit bull that doesn’t look for fights and avoids pits. She does however love to chase a moving target but doesn’t quite know what to do when the quarry is cornered. Cats and even squirrels usually have the last word. Tossed coconuts are more easily pursued, subdued and chewed.

She loves the beach but never says no to a road trip anywhere.

After a lazy start we’d arrived late in the afternoon but time enough to swim, walk and read a bit before the sun settled down for a prolonged sunset.

The onshore breeze went with the sun and the extended twilight that followed heralded an annoying spate of no-see-ums (hehenes). Repeated infusions of cold beer dulled the annoyance and lime juice eased the itching. A glorious sunset and call to tripod also took the mind off the pesky little insects. We slept soundly, Cashew inviting herself into my hammock with the pre-dawn chill. What a pussy.

A little further south down the Costa Alegre on the way to Careyes is one of my favourite seafood restaurants, La Viuda, which proves every time that you can’t beat fresh fish and that an eatery doesn’t have to be flash or expensive to be top notch.

A secondary reason for the weekend away was to revisit careyes to present some photographic prints of a job I’d recently performed there, shooting some of their hallmark villas.

A tertiary reason for the road trip was to watch some international polo as USA, Canada and Central America competed for the right to play in the 2008 World Polo Championship. Canada won. Mexico, being the host nation for the 2008 tournament also get to go.

The afternoon’s event was a good spectacle but the highlight was when the excitable Cashew, who had been dutifully restrained from pursuing the equestrian targets, finally wriggled out of her collar and ran on to the field, causing chaos, general panic and eliciting curses from players and umpires but conservative cheers from the small crowd. She eventually singled out one retreating horse and gave a spirited and high speed chase down the length of the field, prompting one heckler to suggest that they paint a number on her flank for the next chukka. I’d have photos of the action but was too busy chasing after the bloody dog….!

And as if that wasn’t excitement enough…. on the drive back to PV the next day we happened upon a recent accident involving a fuel tanker and a case of exceso de velocidad which delayed our return to PV but added some different photos to the weekend’s catalogue.

Where to next weekend? Cashew’s next adventure?


Stay tuned.