Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit Awaits
Discover the peninsular paradise of Punta de Mita.
Sharing latitude with Hawaii, Punta de Mita is a Mexican paradise with a full array of water sports, golfing, conservation programs, and accommodations.
Photo by Rick Rupenthal, Creative Commons
It’s a brief, scenic 40-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta’s quaint airport to the spear-shaped peninsula of Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit with its miles of pristine beach fronting the turquoise waters of the Pacific. Home to the gated community of Punta Mita and its neighboring town Punta de Mita, this balmy getaway — and celebrity magnet — shares its latitude with the Hawaiian Islands, resulting in an ideal year-round climate whose temperatures range from wintertime 70s to summertime 80s, softened by consistent, cool ocean breezes.
Situated at the northern tip of Banderas Bay, this historic region, rich in tropical flora, offers travelers seductive natural beauty amid a laid-back vibe. Its indigenous Huichol tribe believes that the area provides spiritual renewal — and once you’ve experienced Punta Mita yourself, you’ll be hard-pressed to argue. Calling themselves Wixáritari, 20,000 Huichols currently reside here, their psychedelically colored yarn- and bead-centered artworks displayed in local galleries and throughout the community.
But it’s the warm, clear sea that beckon most. This region’s tame waves make it perfect for learning to surf: Just ask Lady Gaga, who perfected her “hang ten” off these calm shores. Paddleboarders here are often rewarded with fish and sea turtle sightings, and the dramatic caves and rock formations of the Marietas Islands — 15 minutes from the peninsula by boat — are ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing; get your gear at any number of Punta de Mita waterfront rental sites, such as Mita Surf Club, whose guides know the best locations for whale-watching and rare blue-footed booby spotting.
If you’d rather stay dry, the beachfront and foothills offer ample hiking and horseback-riding options. Golfers can savor the public, Greg Norman-designed Litibú Golf Course, or — if they’re staying at the exclusive Punta Mita resorts or villas — at one of two championship Jack Nicklaus courses, one of which features the world’s only natural island hole.
Late-autumn visitors can connect with Punta de Mita’s Department of Environment and Ecology to help hatchling sea turtles find their way from sand to sea. Many area resorts also operate turtle conservation and protection programs throughout the July-to-December hatching season; most hatchings happen in November.
A wide range of accommodations suits travelers within many budgets — ranging from economical, town-adjacent inns such as the Hotel Meson de Mita and the Punta Mita Suites & Hostal to condos, villas, and luxury resorts within the gated Punta Mita enclave. Condo and villa guests have access to four beach clubs featuring spa services and casual dining, a tennis center, and the two world-class golf courses, while guests of the Punta Mita Four Seasons Resort and the St. Regis Punta Mita enjoy a private beach, gourmet dining, full-service spas, and stunning swimming pools.
No matter your lodging choice, the area’s intrinsic beauty is accessible to all. As is Punta de Mita’s colorful variety of shops and restaurants lining El Anclote, the town’s main road that parallels the beach and where strolling vendors sell the colorful, gauzy, beach-worthy sarongs known as pareos, as well as locally handcrafted silver jewelry and traditional mementos.
Given that fishing is a major sport and source of livelihood along this peninsula, it’s no surprise that seafood enlivens the local cuisine. Try it at one of many beachside restaurants such as Sí Señor, where the catch of the day is displayed front and center and where guacamole is made fresh at your table. It’s the perfect spot to dig your toes into the sand, raise your margarita toward a beautiful sunset, and toast this singular paradise.
If You Go
Mita Surf Club: El Anclote Beach, 52 322 133 3996, MitaSurfclub.com
Litibú Golf Course: Carrera Punta de Mita, 52 329 298 4091
Punta Mita Suites & Hostal: Francisco Villa & Emiliano Zapata, 52 329 291 6558, PuntoMita.com/index.php?lg=en
Punta Mita Four Seasons Resort: Carrera Federal la Cruz de Huanacaxtle, 52 329 291 6000, FourSeasons.com/puntamita