For a map, see this post.
Cuyutlán- a black sand beach, surf, a few rustic accommodations and several palapa restaurants. There's really nothing going on in the town itself, but there is a Turtle Sanctuary which is supposed to be interesting (but closed on Wednesday). The best part is that getting to the beach is so easy- when the highway ends, you're there.
Manzanillo- a big port city and therefore the beaches a pretty polluted. There are several large hotels (with golf courses even), but we wouldn't venture in there...If you do- our favorite is Playa de Santiago, swim, which has an awesome retro hotel.
* Costa Alegre- the happy coast, literally starts here and ends in Puerto Vallarta. It is full of small coves and therefore makes a good location to relax, although you won't really find any "American standard" hotels.
Barra de Navidad- on a really large cove that is quite beautiful, surf, was built up for tourism but is still on the basic side.
Melaque- another surf beach, has more of a dusty Mexican town and lots of small (and not super attractive) hotels.
Cuastecomate- tiny cove, swim, a few restaurants, is good for a day trip but there are only 2 lodging options: a run down hotel and a house for rent (for 12 people).
La Manzanilla- low key beach, swim, rustic accommodations and many palapa restaurants.
Boca de Iguanas- a nice beach with crocodiles, (good) surf, main accommodation is an RV park.
|Boca de Iguanas|
Tenacatita- same as La Manzanilla, special because there are coves facing both east and west so you can see both sunrises and sunsets. Unfortunately going through some troubles.
Careyes- home to a luxury resort and private homes, this beach is located on a very rocky strip and the houses are perched on the hill above; might be nice but seemed very isolated to us.
Punta Perula- the northernmost beach reachable via the coastal road, swim, a longer stretch than the above two, but even more rustic. Most people come to camp/in RV. There is one "full service" hotel, but we wouldn't recommend it.
Northward are the beaches of Bahia de Banderas, a.k.a. Puerto Vallarta, coming up in another tips installment.