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Wednesday, August 9, 2006 - Page updated at 11:58 AM

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Best Mexico beaches

NEW YORK — There's 750 miles of coastline between Puerto Vallarta and Zihuatanejo on Mexico's West Coast, and along the way you'll find everything from expensive resorts to hippie surf towns to quiet enclaves. The August issue of Conde Nast Traveler provides recommendations for lodging, dining, activities and logistics.

First, don't do the trip without a four-wheel drive, and make sure you have a couple of spare tires in case of a flat on the unpredictable terrain. Second, consider checking out the surf scene. Take some lessons if you're a novice, and know that while there are high-quality waves November through April, they're stronger in the south than on the Puerto Vallarta end of the route.

Then plan your route and accommodations. In Sayulita, eat at Don Pedro's or Sayulita Fish Taco, and stay in Villa Amor or the nearby Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, with a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course. An hour from Puerto Vallarta, Hotelito Desconocido is a luxury accommodation that uses only solar energy and candlelight. In Colima, try the Hotel Ceballos, and in Manzanillo, Las Hadas Golf Resort & Marina has plenty of space — 234 rooms.

Barra de Nexpa is a surfing enclave; stay in Jorge & Helen's Place. In Troncones, Eden Beach Hacienda is a good place to stay and to eat, or try the food at El Burro Borracho. In Zihuatanejo, stay at La Casa Que Canta, which has a bayfront view.

For more details, visit www/cntraveler.com/mexicobeaches.

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