On the north end of Banderas Bay, about 45 minutes from the airport in Puerto Vallarta, is one of Mexico’s most luxurious Pacific Coast resort communities. Forming a luscious riviera in the Mexican state of Nayarit, Punta Mita is 1,500 acres of resorts, vacation rentals and private homes, situated on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by white-sand beaches fronting the gentle ocean.
The peninsula is a gated world unto itself, taking full advantage of the natural beauty of its surroundings. There are home lots and homes for sale, in addition to several condo and villa properties. Many owners included their residences in the resort’s rental pool, so that visitors who want a residential experience can book golf course or ocean villa accommodations for their stays.
Tucked away on a peninsula unto itself, Punta Mita offers visitors a pristine, self-contained resort experience, with the convenience of a nearby international airport and all the unique charm of this particularly stunning section of Mexico’s expansive left coast.
Getting to Punta Mita
Unless guests are planning to spend significant amounts of time in Puerto Vallarta, about an hour’s drive away, the best way to reach Punta Mita from the airport is to arrange for a private transfer through the resort or hotel. Options range from shared vans to private helicopter transfers. Guests wishing to venture into Puerto Vallarta or to other parts of the region can book excursions through concierge.
Things to Do in Punta Mita
The ecosystem of the peninsula offers plenty of natural life to marvel at, from regional birds and butterflies, colorful reef fish, pods of wild dolphins, manta rays and humpback whales during their seasonal winter migration from Alaska to the warmer Mexican waters to calve their young.
For golfers, the resort includes two Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses. Between the two courses, 12 holes directly front the Pacific Ocean. One of them, the “Whale’s Tail” is the world’s only natural island golf green. Separated from the tee box by a sandbar that is covered by the ocean at high tide, golfers are shuttled to and from the green in a special amphibious golf cart.
Places to Go in Punta Mita
Punta de Mita Village
Punta de Mita Village sits on the grounds of the resorts, populated primarily by fishermen who catch the bulk of the seafood served at the resorts and the village’s waterfront restaurants. The village also has shops, markets, dive guides, surf schools and the resort’s own purpose-built medical center.
St. Regis Punta Mita
The St. Regis Punta Mita is a series of casita-style buildings that front the beach next to the Pacific Golf Course. The first St. Regis-branded property in Latin America, the resort holds true to many of the hundred-year-old traditions of the New York original. Elsewhere on the property, the beach is strewn with luxury cabanas, hammocks and beach chairs facing the relentless surf. They all practically beg to have an afternoon spent napping and watching the sun sink low on the horizon, perhaps with a ceviche and margarita, cold beer, or glass of champagne for company.
Dining at St. Regis Punta Mita
The restaurant Carolina is a nod to Caroline Astor, whose ballroom famously capped New York society to the Four Hundred. Mrs. Astor’s traditions of nightcaps, head-turning cuisine and midnight suppers are carried on at the resort today.
Guests who prefer more casual dining can have tacos filled with soft shell crabs or other delights alongside a cold beer or a signature Mita Mary bloody mary at Mita Mary Boat, right on the beach. Breakfasts in Sea Breeze often feature an omelet station or quesadilla bar.
Other St. Regis traditions being upheld at the resort include the sabering of champagne to salute the end of the day and welcome the evening, often performed by a white-gloved butler or invited guest. When not sabering champagne, Butlers provide bespoke service in the casitas, offering morning coffee or tea on shaded terraces, or arranging resort activities, restaurant reservations and tee times.
Remède Spa at St. Regis Punta Mita
The St. Regis’s expansive Remède Spa has meticulously groomed wet areas for both men and women. Outdoor relaxation areas with hot and cold plunge pools make the wait until spa treatments seem to float by. Outside of the spa, several oceanfront pools are at guests’ disposal. Pools are designated for adults, children and mixed bathing, allowing guests to choose their type of pool experience.
Four Seasons Punta Mita
The neighboring Four Seasons Punta Mita offers a similarly relaxed, but polished luxury experience, with a residential-feeling resort cascading down to the beach in a series of intimate buildings, from registration to the restaurant Aramara.
Guests of the Four Seasons can book rooms ranging from a single casita-style accommodation to a five-bedroom villa with private plunge pool. Children’s programs at the Four Seasons are notable, with numerous services available for families traveling with kids of all ages, from formal children’s programming to drop-in games rooms for guests of all ages.
Visitors preferring to book vacation rentals enjoy many of the same preferred resort amenities and tee times as property owners, including the use of several beach clubs dotted around the coasts. Gourmet dining options, ocean activities and relaxing pools dominate the scene at many of these beach clubs, which are small enough to retain an intimate feel, even during peak periods when residences are at their highest-occupancy rates.
Resort concierges at the Four Seasons will help you take advantage of the natural surroundings by booking fishing excursions where tuna, mahi mahi and dorado can be caught by long line. Visitors preferring conservation to harvest can speak with the resort’s resident marine biologist about the sea turtle hatchery and help release the new hatchlings into the ocean—they’ll return to the same spot to lay eggs up to 15 years later.
Apuane Spa at Four Seasons Punta Mita
The Apuane Spa offers custom-tailored treatments in private outdoor cabanas in the resort gardens, by the pool or ocean. Treatments are drawn from the healing traditions of the Huichol culture of Western Mexico, like the signature Nakieri Treatment. Derived from the Huichol word for love, therapists use Copal to set the mood for a Hakali massage (applying a warm meringue of cactus and pulque) or Punta Mita Treatment (a massage using tequila, indigenous sage oil and traditional healing techniques).