For the first-time ever, Ondalinda X Careyes welcomed 500-some intellectuals, entrepreneurs, artists, tech-elite, and international jet-setters to come awaken their senses through music, dancing, cuisine, nature, native culture and — most important — human connection to Mexico's pristine beaches of Costa Careyes. Dive into our journey as we submerge into this memorable experience. You need to put this festival on your calendar in 2017.
Plaza de Los Caballeros is one hot, buzzing collective of cool kids and dreamers, dressed in eclectic beachwear mingling, sipping on agua frescas, shopping the pop-up market and scoping the intricate Huichol art exhibition. I'm full of excitement, I don't even know where to put it — for now, it looks like on my credit card!
Cocodrillo beach club is where it all gets going — a relaxed bohemian open-air venue with electric nomadic tunes to warm up the crowd. I'm offered paletas, margaritas and exquisite fresh ceviche. How much better can this get? The salt water is calling my name.
Mingling beginnings feel like long established connections already. The people are so welcoming, warm and friendly. I've established a solid crew and been invited for sunset to Sol de Occidente. No Hollywood Hills home beats this ocean castle. This hilltop villa is a serious piece of heaven.
Never have I ever sat at a farm style table with 400 people dressed in white — this alone is a once-in-a-lifetime kind moment. Now add the setting — a perfectly manicured polo field illuminated with 10,0000 candles (the ground reflects the starry sky as far as my eye can see) and I'm lost in bliss. The gourmet meats and traditional Mexican delicacies crafted by the locals who know it best share dishes that I, as a Mexican, have yet to try in my lifetime.
I'm part of a live-art composition at tonight's white-fire party — there's no doubt about it. It's not all small talk either; we're socializing with intimacy and bounded by the beauty we are witnessing. The music draws everyone to the dance floor where people express themselves freely through movement and fashion. We all have an understanding that something this spectacular is a rarity and so we celebrate.
After refueling on jamaica tea and a berry quinoa bowl at the La Coscolina restaurant, we kick-start the day with yoga at the jungle deck.
Back at the plaza — can't get enough of this gem. The fashion market of independent designers and natives showcasing here is truly unbelievable — from Huichol-created wax figurines covered in elaborate seed bead patterns to Tea and Tequila's playful cactus clutches — I want to buy it all. I stop to chat with Ula boutique's owner Paola — she's a charm with a whole lot of goodies, her serape blankets and rad straw hats go straight in my shopping bag. Seriously, there's no better way to pass time while I wait for the screening of Eco de la Montaña —a documentary on the life of Huichol artist Santos De La Torre.
Getting a serenade in Spanish by a very charismatic Italian while sipping on Micheladas next to local indigenous people dressed in their traditional clothing at Punto Como is quite the dream. The cultural explosion is everywhere I look, even in the details of the yellow mosaic napkins, pink textured walls and Dia De Los Muertos offerings.
The Night of Samadhi literally seems unreal. Enormous sculptures of Mayan symbols, set on sand and surrounded by a sea of another 10,000 candles, is a creative set empire for night exploring. And the mind-blowing light show projected from the Mayan Warrior — a mobile art stage for world-class music from DJs like NU — fuses synthetic sounds with a global rhythm that takes us through a musical voyage of celebration. A powerful fire dance performance from the native Kallpulli-Ostocoati of Mayan-Tolteka is the height our evening. I'm leaving a different person.
Watch a glimpse of the experience in Ondalinda X Careyes aftermovie.