by Carlos Melia
Relatively unknown to many international travelers until only a few years ago, the Riviera Nayarit may be a fresh destination on the Mexico tourism travel scene. Just north of Puerto Vallarta, in the neighbor state of Jalisco, Mexico and spanning over 190 miles along the Pacific coast of Nayarit, Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit is not only a perfect holiday destination, but also the ideal place where many are establishing their temporary or permanent residence. Invited by the Four Seasons Punta Mita, I spend over a week exploring the destination and the many small villages and fishing towns that form this charming Riviera. There are nearly 200 miles of sandy beaches, resort hotels and attractions, siting at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountain range.
I visited some of the towns within the coastal line of the Riviera, like the famous Litibu Beach, the happening Bucerias, Cruz de Huanacaxtle, and the up and coming Nuevo Vallarta, but I fell in love with two of them in particular Sayulita and Punta de Mita, just minutes away from my hotel, where we came for a lovely outdoor dinner over Anclote Beach at Rosa Mexicano. Special thanks to Richard Zarkin from the Tourism Office of Riviera Nayarit, for taking a full day to introduce me to this region of unspoiled beauty. Unfortunately time was not on my side, and I missed visiting San Blas, from what I heard, the ultimate fishing village experience, a tropical Oasis, filled with tradition among estuaries, mangroves and hundreds of birds and spectacular marine life. FYI this is where you will get the fresh giant Blue Shrimps.
Sayulita, known by many as the trendy hippie chic town, full of local and international surfers. A very bohemian, chilled feel with cobblestone streets hosting dogs, chickens and playing children, Sayulita is a half-century away from nearby Puerto Vallarta and it’s huge resorts, discos and parasailing. I must say that I was not fully crazy about the beach, but of course coming from the Four Seasons Punta Mita, that was a whole statement. I was highly recommended for lunch or dinner at Don Pedro and/or Tacos on the Street. If you choose to stay overnight, there are two quaint hotels, KUPURI and Hotel Petit d’Hafa. I wish I could have spent the afternoon there and see the village lighting up after sunset. Maybe next time.
From there we moved to San Francisco, or as many call it San Pancho, yet another quaint fishing village, nestled between the verdant Sierra Madre Mountains and jungle and a long stretch of pristine Pacific coast. The great thing about Riviera Nayarit is that you can spend over a week driving along the shore and staying every night at a different village, to truly capture the essence and soul of each of them. In this case, if you plan to overnight at San Francisco, I would recommend Hotel Cielo Rojo.
Bucerias and Nuevo Vallarta where the last two stops. This two more urban and developed, in particular Nuevo Vallarta, which of the years has taken over the presence of Puerto Vallarta. Nuevo Vallarta us like stepping into Collins Ave. in South Beach, with lots of new High Risers and modern developments and hotels.
If you happen to stop by, have a drink at the INSU Sky Bar and Pool Lounge, at the rooftop of the Marival Residences & Spa. Great panoramic views of the shores of Nuevo Vallarta, along with lounge music and great drinks. My personal take the Beer Bloody Mary, a true mexican Michelada.
TIP before I forget, get a local drink moment over Tejuinos and Tubas. Read and See More
Most say that one of the best beaches in Riviera Nayarit is Litibu, and although they are fairly close, rival by Manzanilla Beach and Las Cuevas Beach, I found my own personal favorite at the brand new self-named IMANTA Beach, right next to Litibu Beach, part of the new hotel development of IMANTA Resorts. Read and See More
The Marieta Islands, is also a must during your visit to this region. A group of small uninhabited islands a few miles off the coast with two main volcanic formations dating from 60K years ago, each called Redonda (Rounded) and Larga (Long). Known as the Galapagos of Mexico, home to the beyond cute Blue Footed Boobies. Read and See More
Riviera Nayarit enjoys a tropical climate with average 80 degree temperatures. During these winter months, temperatures can dip to about 70 degrees. December to February is the peak season for vacationing tourists. Rainy season is between June and October.
Nayarit is a multicultural, multiethnic and multilingual state, flavored with the lifestyle and traditions of the cultures that provide its depth and identity. Its four tribes of indigenous people, the Huicholes, Coras, Tepehuanes and Mexicaneros, still exist today and visitors can take tours to their communities to learn about some of the ethnic group’s ceremonies, lifestyles and artistic creations.
Riviera Nayarit, is a true piece of heritage, that began at the Isla de Mexcaltitan, from what they say a true magical place. A small man-made island-city off the coast in the municipality of Santiago Ixcuintla, Nayarit. Legend has it that it was the Aztlan of the Aztecs, their home city and birthplace from where they set out on their pilgrimage in 1091 that led them to the founding of Tenochtitlan. Mexcaltitan, comes from Mexalli “mezcal” and Titlan “abundance of”. Mexcaltitan is known also as the Venice of Mexico. Many reasons to visit Riviera Nayarit right.
WHERE DID I STAY
The Four Seasons Punta Mita
Of course where else would I stay other than the Four Seasons, at the gated community of Punta Mita. Sophisticated resort, an oasis of white-sand beaches and turquoise waters within the gated community of Punta Mita, in the state of Riviera Nayarit, just less than 1 hour and 30 minutes from Puerto Vallarta International Airport in the state of Jalisco. I was hosted at the stunning Coral Suite, also known as the Presidential Suite, with my private pool and access to Manzanilla Beach. Read and See More
WHERE DID I EAT
The Rock Private Dinning
Was my first dinner and the Four Seasons Punta Mita went fully out of their way to impress me with a private dinner at The Rock. The Rock is a bespoke by request restaurant that only pops up at the hotel for very VIP or special occasions. Read and See More
Not only amazing, full of taste and fresh local and overall Mexican traditional dishes, but also an incredible setting at this outdoors restaurant over Anclote Beach, with a terrace right over the beach. Read and See More
Full morning exploring the area of Bahia Banderas, and Marieta Islands National Park, waters of the Pacific Ocean. A group of small uninhabited islands a few miles off the coast with two main volcanic formations dating from 60K years ago, each called Redonda (Rounded) and Larga (Long). Known as the Galapagos of Mexico, and home of the beyond charming Blue Footed Boobies. Read and See More
Private Yacht Sailing & Sunset Dinner
Sailing along Bahia Banderas, all the way back again to the Marieta Islands, and then sunset dinner along Anclote Beach, back to the marina over a fabulous dinner by the Executive Chef of the Four Seasons Punta Mita. OH and the final touch, a school of Blottenose Dolphins following our yacht and jumping around like saying farewell, such a magical afternoon. Read and See More
Tequila & Mezcal Tasting
Every destination I go, I try to embrace as much local information as possible, and with the help of my local contacts, always I like to learn about the typical drinks. This time in Mexico to subject is of course the Tequila, but also the Mezcal, not very well known by many, but very important for Mexico. Read and See More
Special THANKS to Four Seasons Punta Mita and Tourism Office Riviera Nayarit. Next stop for CarlosMeliaBlog.com is Buenos Aires, Argentina, reviewing the following hotels and services: HUB Porteño Buenos Aires and their private tours “Experiences of the City”. Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires and their new look after their big renovation. The iconic and traditional Alvear Palace Hotel and their brand new sister property the Alvear Art Hotel. Two days getaway to one of my favorite spots close to Buenos Aires as it is San Antonio de Areco, to show my boyfriend Rubin Singer, the true heritage of Gauchos and the Pampas at Estancia La Bamba de Areco. stay tuned. Carlos Melia
Carlos Melia is an Experiential Travel Agent, Luxury Travel Curator & Blogger, Wedding Planner, Jetsetter, and Bon Vivant, who travels around the world discovering what’s new and cool in Luxury Travel and Hospitality. His reviews on hotels, restaurants, destinations, and attractions, based on his own experiences as an OUT Gay Traveler can be found at www.carlosmeliablog.com