Chamela Bay, site of Zafiro Resort. Chamela Bay, site of Zafiro Resort.

Airport, new luxury resort in Costa Alegre

Highway improvement, new airport expected to boost tourism

Tourism in the state of Jalisco should get a major boost with new infrastructure development in the Costa Alegre region.

The Costa Alegre consists of a series of 43 virgin beaches, capes and bays distributed along the Pacific coast between the major tourist centers of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, and Manzanillo, Colima.

A project long in the making is the extension and modernization of federal highway 200, which runs from Puerto Vallarta to Barra de Navidad, which authorities say is soon to be finished after two years of work.

Another major infrastructure project in the area is the Chalacatepec airport, which could be ready for its first airplane in just a year and a half.

The runway has been ready for the last four years but the state government still must conclude expropriation agreements with community landowners for the terrain that surrounds what will be the airport proper.

The payout will cost 15 million pesos (US $858,000), while the construction of a road to give area residents access to the main highway without crossing the runway represents an additional 17 million.

Once ready, the 90-million-peso airport will be able to accommodate 170-passenger aircraft, and both commercial and private flights.

The new airport is just one of the items in a broader, US $400-million investment package announced last year to develop Costa Alegre.

Authorities and state officials have described the Jalisco beaches as a “diamond in the rough” destined to become “the most beautiful beach on the Pacific coast. Costa Alegre represents the future of beach destinations not only in Jalisco, but in Mexico.”

Giving credence to such claims are international hotel brands such as Louis Vuitton, One and Only and Four Seasons, among others, that are currently developing 18 projects with a combination of domestic and foreign investment.

The Louis Vuitton Möet Hennessy (LVMH) hotel in Chamela Bay in the municipality of La Huerta, for example, represents an investment of US $230 million.

Scheduled to open its doors in 2017, the Cheval Blanc will be the chain’s first in the Americas. Rates will run as high as US $4,000 per night.

The hotel is part of the Zafiro Resort project, a 910-hectare development with seven kilometers of beachfront that will also include a golf course, 525 real estate units such as condominiums and residential lots and a private airstrip.

A director of Grupo Invermar, the developer behind the project, described the Cheval Blanc as “the most important luxury hotel in Mexico, and one of the most luxurious in the world. It would be a seven-star hotel, if such a ranking existed.”

The Costa Alegre is already known for luxury resorts such as El Careyes, Cuixmala, El Tamarindo and Las Alamandas.

It also gained some recognition last year when Hurricane Patricia made landfall in Cuixmala, some 20 kilometers to the south of Chamela, which saw some damage from the storm.

The state of Jalisco welcomed over 21 million tourists during 2015, nearly a third of whom were foreign visitors, representing revenues of 33 billion pesos (US $1.89 billion).

Source: El Economista (sp), El Financiero (sp), El Diario NTR

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