My husband Paul and I just returned from our honeymoon in Careyes and loved it. We booked our trip using Starwood points and could not have been happier with our experience at the Careyes Beach Resort. We flew into Puerto Vallarta and drove the 2 1/2 (really 3 hours) down along Hwy 200 to Careyes. We recommend making the drive during daylight and having a car with good suspension - some of the roads can be bumpy!
The hotel greeted us warmly with guava juice and smiles - indicating to us they had upgraded us to a 2-level room (and for us, even better since our entire 9-night stay was using Starwood Points). Our room was amazing - two levels with living room/TV/Kitchenette on the first floor with a full bathroom and the bedroom, terrace overlooking pool & ocean with a 2nd full bathroom. We loved it!
We enjoyed room service from La Lantana the first day on our terrace and relaxed poolside the rest of the day. Aside from La Lantana, the food choices are slim on the property. However, we bought sandwiches from the deli a couple of days too - to give us some diversity. Other options in the area are:
La Loma - about 15 mins south of Careyes on Hwy 200 - a fantastic place, inexpensive, family place
La Viuda - 15 mins to the north - another family place - not as good as La Loma, but another alternative!
Playa Rosa - ok, so this place is supposed to be great (which it was) but for the $, I say go back to La Loma. Or stay at the hotel's restaurant, La Lantana. They charged $15US for a salad – give me a break!!
Cocodrillo - so this place was actually one of our favs and it was strange for the hotel told us they served CHINESE FOOD. Not the case - we got the strong impression the hotel never wanted us to leave the hotel grounds, but we needed some change. Cocodrillo is a cool, SkyBar (LA club) ish place that serves Mexican and Japanese. We had amazing sea bass sashimi and cucumber/mango/shrimp rolls - a nice refreshing change from Mexican or typical seafood. Cocodrillo is located on the next beach to the South - Playa Careyitas and during the day it's a 5-7 min walk from the resort or at night, an easy drive. (the hotel recommends driving since the path is dark and they have wild pigs on the property).
Fish Shack - also on Playa Careyitas - next to Cocodrillo - great fish, local catch - inexpensive
Other than relaxing poolside/beachside, my hubby and I went snorkeling (we had our own gear, but you can rent right on the beach), kayaking, swimming, and even did yoga on the beach with a visiting instructor. You can also rent a boat thru Eligio or the activities guide and go fishing or whale watching. We ended up not doing so, (laziness caught up with us!) but if we ever returned, we'd definitely rent a boat and cruise the open sea.
The resort is actually a destination for polo fans and we ended up staying there during the off week, so we did not see any games. But we heard fantastic things about the sport and it is just another activity to enjoy in Careyes!
We also drove down one day to Melaque to refuel our gas tank (note that the nearest gas stations are either 45 mins to the north or 45 mins to the south of Careyes) and check out the town. It's a beach town with tons of smaller, less expensive hotels and restaurants - nothing as luxurious as Careyes. We did not visit Barra de Navidad or Tamarindo (nearby), but heard great things about those destinations. We actually recommend visiting Barra as it's supposed to be an artist town with lots of shops.
Our favorite daily activity was enjoying a bottle of wine at sunset. The hotel has amazingly comfortable cushioned seats facing the water and every night, we secured our spot to watch the magnificent sunsets. Some of the most spectacular displays we have both seen - comparing to Hawaii, Central America and even New Zealand ones. Two nights we even reserved the hotel's 'Romantic Dinner Spot' along the waterfront to enjoy dinner just us two. We expected the restaurant to charge extra for the pampering, but there was no fee - one just had to reserve the table first! We were so lucky to have the spot for two nights during our honeymoon.
We highly recommend Careyes as a honeymoon or romantic getaway...not so much for families, other than for infants or small children since grown children may become bored with limited activities. The resort will leave Starwood this March (so we were there at the right time!) for renovations (needed since the resort is over 30 years old) and should re-open 3-4 mos after that.....
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.