Meagan Drillinger
Meagan Drillinger

Highway 200 cruises south out of Puerto Vallarta, climbing high into lush, mist-covered jungle mountains.

For a solid stretch, the highway hugs the coastline, offering glimmering snapshots of brilliant blue from the Bay of Banderas. The higher the highway climbs, the deeper into the Selva El Tuito National Park the road twists, before branching out into smaller dusty roads that lead to pristine and wild stretches of desolate beach. The air becomes almost chilly as the vegetation transforms to forest, before descending down into dusty desert and beach. This rugged stretch of Pacific coastal Mexico is known as Cabo Corrientes.

For 45 miles Cabo Corrientes hugs the untamed shores along Mexico's Jalisco state. The beaches here are remote, many accessible only by boat or winding, unpaved roads. The result is miles upon miles of white sand, cliffs, dense jungle and very few tourists. For travelers looking to take their exploration of Mexico to the next level, Cabo Corrientes is certainly worth the trip.

Each of the beaches in Cabo Corrientes has its own particular attraction. One of the most beautiful and romantic is Playa Mayto, a sweeping, crescent-shaped beach with fine, golden sand fringed in palm trees. A small hotel, Hotel Mayto, sits at the entrance to the beach, with a selection of clean, basic rooms with balconies. Budget-conscious travelers can opt for the on-site campground, as well. The facilities include a restaurant, pool and seductive, panoramic views of the Pacific.

Another beach to consider is Villa Del Mar, where outdoor activities are the main event with horseback riding, motorcycling and aquatic activities popular. Other beaches to know are Tehuamixtle Beach, near the small fishing village of Tehuamixtle; Playa Corrales; Playa Quimixto; Playa Las Animas; and Playa Yelapa, which has become a destination in its own right as a daytrip from Puerto Vallarta.

For a dose of culture, recommend El Tuito to your clients. This 16th-century town is a slice of picture-perfect colonial Mexico, just 30 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. El Tuito is often overlooked by travelers as they speed past, headed to more populated destinations, but this gem of a town is charming, quaint and worth a visit. The town, with a population hovering around just 3,500 people, is marked by a main square where small restaurants dole out cheap eats. In fact, El Tuito is known for its panela (whole cane sugar) and Oaxaca cheeses, which can be found at street stalls and shops around town.

Other local products to sample are honey, agave nectar and raicilla, a potent local liquor that is akin to a tequila version of moonshine. Near the plaza is the Cultural Center, as well as the San Pedro the Apostle Parish, the main town church. Nightlife isn't to be expected in the sleepy town, but it makes a perfect place to stop for lunch before heading out to one of the nearby beaches.

Cabo Corrientes is recommended for travelers looking for a shot of nature, adventure, exploration and local immersion. Its remoteness keeps away crowds and big-name hotels, but for those travelers headed to this coastal jewel, that's the whole idea.

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