When Flavia Kelson, the Brazilian-born fashion consultant for sought-after brands such as Aerin and Edie Parker told us she was going to Careyes, Mexico for a little R&R we insisted she send us a postcard from her trip. Thankfully, she’s as sweet as she is beautiful and she happily obliged (gracias, Flavia!). Here, she shares pics + tales from her 10-day vacation south of the border—complete with boat trips, long lunches and evening excursions to watch the sunset. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Spanish word for jealous is “celoso.”
Just back from:
How did you get there:
We flew United directly from NYC to Puerto Vallarta and then drove about 2 ½ hours. It’s not the easiest place to get to but maybe that is why it’s so special.
Was this your first time there:
Who did you go with:
My entire family (my husband, my parents, my sister, her boyfriend, my grandmother, and her friend).
Any special reason you went:
The best reason: vacation.
Place where you stayed:
We rented a house called Nido de Amor which translates to “Love Nest”. The reason for this is because there is an alcove underneath the pool with a very comfortable daybed where you can relax and get cozy.
Places you ate:
Mostly we ate at the house where Rosa, the cook, would prepare the most wonderful meals. We also ate at Playa Rosa (the beach) all the time. There is no town in Careyes, just a small center with an art gallery, and a few (very few) shops and restaurants. Punto Como is the pizzeria there…it seems weird to eat pizza at the beach, nevertheless while in Mexico, but it was delicious! Coscolina serves food and sells gifts—I would often go there in the afternoons for a refreshing gelato. Sadly, I missed going to Cocodrillo Azul, which is a sushi restaurant on the beach that I’ve heard wonderful things about.
Local delicacy you feasted on:
Lots of dorado (maui-mahi) and grilled nopales (cactus).
Cocktail you sipped:
Margaritas and micheladas (beer with lemon and spices served over ice), for fun; Agua de Jamaica (cold hibiscus tea), to cleanse; and coconut water, to hydrate.
Books you read:
I forgot to buy a book (I hate reading on the iPad) so I caught up on magazines and sleep instead.
Games you played:
I played backgammon with my husband…but I doubt it’s too fun for him because every time we play he has to re-teach me.
Music you listened to:
My daily uniform there was:
A Brazilian bikini, a cover up, and K. Jacques sandals.
Brand of luggage you traveled with:
I am usually a great packer and can truly get away with just a carry-on, but since this trip was longer I checked my big, black, nylon Tumi bag. Since a lot of bags look the same, I added a hot pink luggage tag to it, so I can find it quickly at the airport.
On the plane I took my black Valentino fringe purse—it’s great because it’s lightweight and fits so much.
Did you over-pack or under-pack—and what’s the 1 item you wish you’d brought and the 1 item you didn’t need:
I slightly over-packed for the nights. I didn’t need to bring heels, although some people wore them, but it certainly wasn’t necessary. I wish I had packed a good book!
Items you packed in your suitcase:
I brought all of my summer favorites. For bikinis I brought; Jo de Mer, Lenny, Sucrette and Kiini. I brought cover-ups from Poupette, Missioni, Lenny, and Piamita, plus a pair of vintage cutoff shorts, and a few Equipment button downs. I also packed my new Spektre sunglasses that I love. I use the large Aerin Raffia zip pouch as my beach bag. K. Jacques sandals or Havaianas are my got-to shoes.
For the evenings I packed easy dresses from Dolce & Gabbana, Isabel Marant, and Love Shack Fancy. For accessories I brought Edie parker clutches and my very old, but favorite, pair of Miu Miu gladiator sandals. I also brought my Ambas cashmere scarf in case it got cold at night. Since I am Brazilian, I always follow the rule of wearing white on New Year’s Eve, so I brought a long, white, crochet dress from Missioni. I don’t really wear much jewelry—the only things I like to wear when I’m at the beach are Aurelie Bidermann bracelets.
Beauty-essentials you packed:
I’m very organized and pack my beauty items in three separate cases. One has all the daily essentials such as shampoo, face wash, etc., and that all goes into a D. Porthault toiletry case. The second has my make-up, and the third has ‘the necessities’ which I keep in a clear Aerin makeup case so that I can bring it on the plane with me (plus, security never hassles me since they can see exactly what’s in it).
My daily essentials include whichever brand of shampoo and conditioner I can find in travel-size (this time it was Kerastase). I also brought Neutrogena face wash and Biologique Recherche Lotion P50. My face sunscreen is Elta MD SPF45, and for my body I love Coppertone because it’s oil-free and doesn’t leave an oily finish on my skin. Banana Boat sunscreen is also a must and I use lip balm for sun protection and Aquaphor for hydration. I also always bring nail polish remover wipes, a cuticle cutter, cuticle moisturizer and tweezers. At night I religiously moisturizer with Lifeline Night Moisture Serum.
I don’t wear much make-up in general, but if I have a dinner I’ll make a bit more effort. So in my makeup case I brought By Terry concealer, AERIN Multicolor for lips and cheeks, RMS Beauty Living Luminizer, a small Bobbi Brown mascara that I got in a Barneys gift-with-purchase, and then I always have some eye things such as eyeliner or cream shadow—I just use whatever there is.
Secret only a local would know:
The closest gas station and ATM is about 50 minutes away, so make sure to fill up the tank and get cash before arriving.
Favorite place to shop and find local treasures:
Coscolina has great giftables such as coffee table books, mochila bags, and placemats. I got some colorful placemats that I love.
Teopa, for beauty…and Playa Rosa to spend the day.
In the day we:
On a typical day we would have a full breakfast (usually huevos a la Mexicana), take a boat at Playa Rosa for fishing and to see all of the beautiful homes and beaches around Careyes. Later, we would come back to Playa Rosa and perhaps have a green juice from their incredible juice bar, and then maybe go paddle boarding. Then we would have a big lunch, check emails and instagram, read magazines and just relax. And of course no day was complete without grabbing a gelato at Coscolina and heading somewhere nice to see the sunset, such as the Copa del Sol.
And at night we:
After the sunset we would relax and get ready for dinner. We’d always start the evening by having a cocktail followed by a beautiful meal. On a few of the nights there were planned parties at people’s homes, but usually we would just stay in and talk and play some backgammon.
Best part of the trip:
Releasing 77 baby turtles into the ocean and spending quality time with my family, especially my grandmother since I don’t see her that often. Oh, and also seeing how happy all of the incredible fishing made my husband.
Was it all smooth-sailing or did you encounter any travel disasters:
One of our fishing trips resulted in half of the house getting food poisoning. Apparently when the fish is fighting against the rod it releases adrenaline which can be toxic to humans if you eat it immediately when it’s raw (it’s no problem if it’s been cooked). So always freeze the fish for at least 24-hours before eating it sashimi-style (lesson learned!).
First time visitors must:
Go to La Copa del Sol—it’s an incredible place to watch the sunset and it’s one of the most architceturally amazing things to see in Careyes. It translates to ‘the cup of the sun.’ The sunset there is beautiful! Also, Careyes is named after the ‘carey’ turtles, which are found on the beaches of Careyes. One of the most magical things to do is to go at night to see the turtles laying their eggs, or during the day to release the newborn baby turtles into the sea.
The #1 tip you’d give a friend that’s going:
See if you can figure out what parties are planned prior to arriving that way you know if any are themed. Apparently everyone was pretty well informed. There was a party called “Mascareyes” and everyone had beautiful masks (except us!). If you get a chance, definitely go see the other homes in the area, as each one is unique and very special. On New Year’s Day there is a big brunch at an amazing house called Tigre del Mar—it’s not to be missed!
I loved it here because:
The nature is still so wild and the vibe is laid back but still sophisticated—the perfect mix!
Flavia Kelson photographed in Careyes, Mexico