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Mayto Jalisco

Mayto, Jalisco

For years I've wanted to visit the more isolated Cabo Corrientes beaches south of Yelapa and Pizota, but my lack of a high-clearance vehicle and the laissez-faire directions ("bear left at the huge tree, head right when you first glimpse the ocean") provided by more intrepid off-roaders put me off. A few years ago I finally visited Mayto, Tehuamixtle, and Villa del Mar on a rushed overnight tour, but a friend and long-time Mexico fan begged me not to promote this idyllic paradise. It did seem almost a crime to call attention to these pristine, sandy beaches where self-sufficient communities seemed only vaguely interested in the bustle and hype of the modern world beyond.

I visited again in February 2010. The dirt road from El Tuito (the Cabo Corrientes county seat, about an hour south of Puerto Vallarta) to the beach has been graded, but it is still a rutted, bumpy washboard---and that's in the dry season. Nonetheless, the improved road and increased promotion of the area by Jalisco state tourism folks have made these tiny beach communities more accessible than before to the inquisitive traveler.

About an hour's drive from El Tuito, Mayto is a tiny community of just about 100 souls. People and houses are almost invisible unless you really look. Not so the eponymous beach: 15 kilometers of lovely blond sand curves seductively to the north. It's a startling throwback to a disturbingly distant place in the evolution of Mexico's coast, back when the soundtrack consisted solely of diving pelicans, palm fronds rustling in the wind, and waves breaking on the beach.

Mayto beach is not totally undeveloped. The pleasant but low-key Hotel Mayto and even smaller, multi-purpose El Rinconcito provide beds and meals. Otherwise, however, the long, sandy beach at Mayto has no restaurants; no beach stalls sells beer and ceviche. There are no half-built, storm-damaged, or burnt-down hotels or houses like those that mar some of Mexico's otherwise pristine beaches.

On my last visit, a pantheon of little red flags on the beach north of Hotel Mayto demonstrated that "progress" has inevitably come along with the improved road from El Tuito. Each little flag earmarked a future villa in the so-called Paraíso Perdido properties, whose advertisements you'll see on the road from El Tuito.

For more information on beaches of Southern Cabo Corrientes, see Cabo Corrientes Sur Travel Guide, Tehua, and Villa del Mar pages.

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