Mexico is home to no shortage of vacation hot spots. Much talked-about locales like Tulum and Cabo San Lucas might come to mind first, but there’s a hotter getaway of the moment: Punta Mita, a 1,500-acre private peninsula on the Riviera Nayarit, a nearly 200-mile stretch along the country’s Pacific coast.
Located less than an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, Punta Mita offers two top-tier luxury stays (en route to a master plan of five, with the third being announced by the end of 2019), two Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses, and over nine miles of pristine coastline featuring white sand beaches, aquamarine waters, and surf breaks aplenty. Whether you’re in the market for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, Punta Mita has an adventure for every type of traveler.
Here, our favorite places to stay, eat, and explore.
Where to Stay
The St. Regis Punta Mita
Of the two luxury stays in Punta Mita, the St. Regis feels more intimate and secluded—in fact, it’s laid out in such a way that even when the hotel is at capacity, it tends not to feel crowded. The hotel’s 120 accommodations—including rooms, suites, and villas—have views of the Pacific Ocean or the property’s beautiful gardens. All rooms feature Mexican art and furnishings plus amenities like an ample walk-in closet and a standalone bathtub; all villas feature private pools (complete with an Instagram-friendly unicorn floatie).
Be sure to take advantage of the butler service: At any time, day or night, guests can text their personal butler with any questions or to request services like coffee and tea or packing luggage. Beyond that, opportunities for indulgence abound, whether you’re booking a treatment at the 10,000-square-foot Remède Spa, dining at one of the property’s six restaurants, or lounging on a daybed beachside.
The Four Seasons Punta Mita
The Four Seasons Punta Mita is the livelier of the two hotels on the peninsula. For one thing, it’s bigger—it boasts 177 Mexican-inspired guest rooms, suites, casitas, and private residences—but its more centralized layout makes it feel more bustling. All accommodations feature amenities like a surround sound system, waffle-weave bathrobes, and L’Occitane bath products. Villas take it up a notch with an in-room washer and dryer, a private pool (that can be adjusted to hot or cold), and two four-seat golf carts for easy transportation around the property.
Family-friendly amenities also abound: Kids can grab an inner tube and drift through the lush landscape surrounding the beautiful Lazy River pool, play games in the 2,400-square-foot Nunutzi Game Room, and participate in the resort’s special sea turtle release program at sunset (from March to December). For optimum relaxation, head to the resort’s Apuane Spa for treatments like the Hakali massage, which utilizes various native flora (including the antioxidant-rich Hakali and Nopal cacti), sage, and tequila body lotion to hydrate the skin and eradicate toxins.
Where to Eat
Aramara—which means "sacred place by the ocean" in Huichol, the language of the region’s native Huichol Indians—is the largest restaurant at the Four Seasons Punta Mita. The food is a fun and apt collision of contemporary Asian fare and fresh local seafood (think: marinated New York strip steak with daikon-carrot salad or the catch of the day with bonito flakes, asparagus, bell pepper, pickled onions, and dashi broth). The atmosphere is as vibrant as the food—the restaurant buzzes constantly, even in the offseason, and there’s also live music at the bar every evening. Up next: A new dining concept, Dos Catrinas, is slated to debut at the Four Seasons in early 2019.
Sufito Ceviche Bar & Grill
Located at the Sufi Ocean Club, one of the peninsula’s three private beach clubs, Sufito is a go-to lunch spot for ultra-fresh ceviche, tostadas, and wood-grilled meats, plus wine, craft beer, and cocktails. Its view overlooking Banderas Bay is also one of the most beautiful in the area. Note: Hotel guests don’t have access to the beach clubs themselves, but they can dine at Sufito, Sufi (its more formal sister restaurant), or any of the beach club restaurants with reservations.
Sea Breeze Restaurant + Bar
Although the fine dining restaurant Carolina is the most well-known of the St. Regis’ culinary offerings, Sea Breeze is a can’t-miss meal for dinner (it also serves breakfast and lunch). Its regular menu features Latin and European-influenced fare, but what makes it especially worth the visit is its full vegan tasting menu. Designed by executive chef Manuel Peruyero, offerings shift seasonally but expect dishes like edamame and cabbage salad (with heirloom tomatoes, avocado, and tahini) and red wild mushroom and cucumber aguachile with red onion.
Punta Mita’s nine-and-a-half miles of coastline boasts fantastic breaks for surfers of all levels. Looking to improve your skills? Reserve a spot a the second annual Punta Mita Surf Camp (July 31 to August 2, 2019). Sponsored by Punta Mita Expeditions and taught by local surf pros, the camp will feature lessons for beginners and advanced surfers alike, plus fine cuisine and cocktails, live music, and more. (For an idea of what might be in store, view the highlights of Punta Mita’s inaugural surf camp in 2018.)
If you can’t make Surf Camp but still to want to dive in, book a lesson with Punta Mita Expeditions or Punta Mita Ocean Sports. The above outfitters, as well as SpearMex, also offer lessons in other areas including stand-up paddle boarding, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, spearfishing, and more.
Golf + Tennis
Punta Mita’s private golf club, which is managed by the Four Seasons, features two lush Jack Nicklaus-designed courses. One of these, the Punta Mita Pacifico—a par-72 championship course—boasts the world’s only natural island hole: The “Tail of the Whale,” an optional par-3 that plays to an island green in the Pacific Ocean located 180 yards from the shore. The second course, the Punta Mita Bahía, doesn’t skimp on views either; Six of its 18 holes are ocean-facing. Both courses provide tee times reserved exclusively for club members and guests of both resorts—and if you’re looking to improve your game, book a lesson with seasoned instructor Tom F. Strickey III. Afterward, relax at the on-premises clubhouse, which also includes a practice facility, pro shop, and restaurant.
If tennis is your game of choice, there’s also a recently-renovated, 10-court facility featuring eight Har-Tru courts, three artificial grass courts, a pro shop, lockers, and lessons.