Punta Mita’s Posh ParadiseNov 05, 2018 01:01PM ● By Fran Miller
By Fran Endicott Miller
It’s a mere 40-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta to Punta Mita, but the luxurious and private Riviera Nayarit community might as well be a world away from the popular beach resort city where Southwest Airlines flies direct daily from Oakland. Mexico has always been a land of beguiling contrasts, and your Puerto Vallarta arrival, as juxtaposed with the peace and calm of your ultimate destination, is no better illustration of the culture’s organic variations. The scenic drive to - and arrival at - Punta Mita further punctuates the contrasts. Roadside horse stables here, mom and pop fruit stands there. And then before you, the Punta Mita gates – large wooden doors that swing open as white-suited attendants provide a greeting. You’ve arrived, and it’s likely you’ll never want to leave.
Punta Mita, known as the ‘Crown Jewel of Mexico's Riviera Nayarit,' is situated on a spear-shaped peninsula at the northern tip of Banderas Bay (the second largest bay in the Americas), and is nestled between the majestic Sierra Madre mountain range and nine miles of pristine beach fronting the turquoise waters of the Pacific. Its latitude is shared with the Hawaiian Islands – resulting in a year-round ideal climate with temps ranging from the 70s in the winter, to 80s in summer, with consistent ocean breezes. 28 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, this exclusive oasis - anchored by the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, The St. Regis Punta Mita, and two championship Jack Nicklaus golf courses - is emerging as one of Mexico’s most coveted destinations.
Visitors are drawn to the area’s seductive natural beauty and laid-back vibe, and are enchanted by expansive white sand beaches, lush tropical flora, and historical significance that defines sense-of-place. The indigenous Huichol Indians believed the area provided spiritual renewal – and once you’ve experienced Punta Mita yourself, you’ll be hard-pressed to deny this tenet. The centuries-old tribe, of which 20,000 reside in the region today, is celebrated at every turn via native art works displayed in local galleries and throughout the community.
And if the views, the beach, and the culture aren’t lure enough, Punta Mita’s world-class amenities further entice. Accommodations range from traditional Mexican-style villas and modern condos, each located in one of 15 residential communities, to the sumptuous St. Regis and Four Seasons. And more resorts are on the way, including a Rosewood, Auberge, and The Ritz Carlton, all located outside of the Punta Mita gates, and slated to open within the next two years. The St. Regis and the Four Seasons have their own private beaches, and each offers gourmet dining, full-service spas, stunning swimming pools, and exquisite guestrooms and suites decorated in Mediterranean and Mexican motifs and and hotel guests at both resorts have access to the two Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses. Additionally, Punta Mita is adjacent to the town of Punta De Mita with more great dining and shopping options.
Condo and villa guests have access to a wide range of shared community facilities including the three Residents’ Beach Clubs, Kupuri, the newly renovated Pacifico Beach Club, and Sufi Ocean Club, and some guests of the Villas and Condos have access to the St. Regis Beach Club. Each beach club offers spa services and unique restaurants, the food of which can be delivered beach or poolside. The amazing Sufi restaurant is open to guests of both resorts, as well as to residents and visitors of properties within the gates. Don't miss the fish tacos at Mary Mita's Fish Boat at the St. Regis, and for fine dining, look no further than Aramara at the Four Seasons. Guests also have access to the world class tennis center and the two Jack Nicklaus golf courses – Punta Mita Pacifico, featuring the world’s only natural island hole, and the 18-hole championship Punta Mita Bahia course.
But it’s the balmy, clear waters of the Pacific that offer the most adventure. Punta Mita and its tame waves make it one of the best places to learn to surf. Just ask Lady Gaga, who perfected her ‘hang ten’ off of Punta Mita’s calm shores. (There are five different surf breaks within the gates of Punta Mita, offering wave options for beginners to experts.) Paddle boarders are often rewarded with fish and sea turtle sightings, and the dramatic caves and rock formations of the Marietas Islands (15 minutes by boat) are ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing. Or stay on dry land with beachfront or foothill trail rides on horseback. If visiting in the late fall, you might find yourself enlisted to help hatching sea turtles find their way from sand to sea – an exhilarating, midnight, moon-lit activity, perhaps more memorable than even a Punta Mita sunset or the most pampering St. Regis Remède Spa massage.