Giorgio Brignone
Director General
Costa Careyes
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Insight

Mediterranean Style on the Mexican Coast

Wed, 05/08/2019 - 11:52

Castles, villas and small houses located next to the sea with Mediterranean-inspired architecture – the scene could be Spain, Greece or Italy; however, it is not necessary to travel so far to find a similar location in Mexico. The issue, says Giorgio Brignone, General Director of Costa Careyes, an exclusive tourism destination in southern Jalisco, is connectivity. “Most of our visitors come through the Colima, Manzanillo or Puerto Vallarta airports but poor road conditions between these cities can lead to connectivity problems.”
It is a problem familiar to many out-of-the-way destinations. With a new government in power, Brignone says there is an opportunity for action. “The Ministry of Tourism should not focus only on known destinations but support different experiences that offer new products and that could also be an important magnet for tourism.” Costa Careyes, however, is not waiting for the government to tackle this issue. The company has worked to improve the condition of roads leading to its luxury complex, installing lighting and signaling, which has had a significant impact on improving road connectivity.
Brignone says that Costa Careyes was his family’s attempt to create something similar to Costa Smeralda in Sardinia. “Costa Careyes was created in 1968, when there were no rules on real-estate development. We strived to create a planned community that focused on development density and architecture. We have a planning model that does not exist in almost any other development in Mexico,” he says.
Located between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo in the municipality of Costa Alegre, in Jalisco, Costa Careyes expands along 12km of beach and is located within the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve, a location that according to Brignone is both an advantage and a problem. “It has been good because it has allowed us to offer a quality product to a select clientele. However, it has also been a problem since by not being part of a specific tourist route we have never had government promotion.” Another of the difficulties Costa Careyes faced was infrastructure, which it developed on its own to provide basic services such as water, cleaning, garbage collection or medical clinics. “We are autonomous when it comes to services that depend on the government,” Brignone explains. 
Brignone says there are four elements that make Careyes unique: hospitality, architecture, events and nature. Costa Careyes is taking advantage of all these to position itself as a unique destination in the country. “One of our most important characteristics is that we are a destination that does not have a hotel. Visitors can rent a castle, a house or an apartment. We want to illustrate that destinations can have a tourism influx without having a hotel.” Combined with a Mediterranean architecture, Brignone says Careyes offers a unique feeling and style. “The development is a combination between Mexico and the Mediterranean. No other development in the country has this.”
Careyes also serves as a source of income for owners, Brignone adds. “You can buy apartments and houses that range from US$350,000 to US$10 million. If the owner wishes, we can manage the house and rent it to visitors.” Costa Careyes has hosted a number of events to help position itself in the market, including Arte Careyes, a film festival; Ondalinda, a music and arts festival and AguaAlta, a polo championship. 
Because it is located in the Chamela-Cuixmala Biosphere Reserve, the resort emphasizes its environmental responsibilities. It partnered with the local community to provide education on the importance of preserving local flora and fauna. Its relationship with the community is ascribed in the work Costa Careyes does through its Careyes Foundation that also teaches English to the community, organizes art workshops and promotes social cohesion through sports.