An Ultra-Luxury Mexican Festival You've Never Heard Of Is Everything the Fyre Festival Wanted to Be (But Wasn't)

An Ultra-Luxury Mexican Festival You've Never Heard Of Is Everything the Fyre Festival Wanted to Be (But Wasn't)

Meet the antidote.

By Alesandra Dubin

Can we talk about the Fyre Festival for a moment? (Insert Michael Jackson eating popcorn gif here.) That was supposed to be a glamorous multiday bash filled with gorgeous, affluent people partying in a stunning vacation destination, surrounded by all the trappings of luxury. Let's just say it was none of those things.

So now let's talk about Coachella. Of course you remember it from back when it was an anything-can-happen, authentic, organic-feeling gathering under the brutal sun, with rave-like underground parties by night, a time before the festival's ancillary events had Fortune 500 corporate sponsorship, braid bars, and Kiehl's gifting on-site for photo-ready experiences. A time before festival-theme capsule collections hit mall stores. Look, that was the '00s. you're a grownup now. You have a real job and high vacation standards. And FOMO aside (yes, it does still nag) you're kind of over it.

So today we present you with the antidote to both of those festivals you didn't even know you were looking for in the sea of Bonnaroos and Lollas and other overblown or dead-in-the-water gatherings: Ondalinda.

The four-day bash takes place where the jungle meets the sea in Mexico, at the epic resort known as Careyes. While all your friends are going to Tulum, or Punta Mita, you can make the trip — just about three hours from Los Angeles by air — to this more under-the-radar spot, and be the first among your friends to really know about it. (Though celebs and jet-setters have had it on their radar for years — Cindy Crawford and Heidi Klum are among the celebrity fans of Careyes.)

This year's second annual event (November 8 through 12) will feature the Mayan Warrior Art Cart from Burning Man, DJs from Ibiza, and group dinners with 450 people and 10,000 candles in the polo fields. There will also be a wellness component this year — think yoga, meditation, and mud rituals — right on trend for the body-is-a-temple jet set.

The gathering's theme this year focuses on the sun, one of the most important symbols in Mexican culture. And unlike some festivals where cultural appropriation in the form of selfie-ready feather headdresses is the norm, Ondalinda gives back to indigenous populations in various ways (the related foundation is a 501c3), and also showcases and honors them: Cultural exhibitions, crafts, and education are all part of the program.

As for the sprawling and stunning Careyes property itself, it was originally developed by an Italian family — one reason it draws such a vibrant international crowd. The gracious and colorful lodgings include beachfront Castle Villas, casitas, and there are five restaurants on site — not to mention pools that will drop your jaw. 

For the fest, prices begin at $550 nightly for a two-bedroom casita, and range up to $3,600 nightly for a six-bedroom villa. If you're keeping score at home, that's actually a totally accessible price point compared to the astronomical pricing in the desert. And you'll definitely get a lot more for your cash than those poor folks — who innocently but misguidedly sought an ultra-luxurious festival in paradise — who hit up the Fyre Festival. They got nothing but relief tents and sad sandwiches in styrofoam after all.

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