Punta Mita represents the Mexico of many people's dreams: white sands; clear, turquoise waters; fresh seafood and tropical, tequila-filled beverages. Situated 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast, it's at the lush tip of a picturesque peninsula in Riviera Nayarit that's home to many water sports, fishermen, challenging golf courses, and authentic shopping. Here, the best ways to enjoy Punta Mita in only 3 days — just enough time for a romantic mini honeymoon, pre-wedding getaway, or long weekend with the girls.
Afternoon: From the airport, ride some 40 minutes to the Four Seasons Punta Mita on a smooth road lined with ceviche and camarones stands, palm trees, and bright bougainvillea. After checking into the uberluxe beachfront oasis, head into the sun for a Smoky Colada, which turns the traditional pineapple and coconut cocktail on its head with Mexican mezcal. An amphibious server will even bring it to you in the infinity pool. For a boutique hotel stay, continue onto Sayulita and stay at the hip Petit Hotel Hafa.
Photo: Kathryn Romeyn
After the sure-to-be-magnificent sunset, keep it mellow with Asian-Mexican fusion at Aramara, where personable chef Hector Leyva's sashimis and catch of the day (from right out front) are always impeccably prepared. If you're lucky, there might even be a live band and salsa dancing next door so you can work off dinner.
Punta Mita is a paradise, so you should relax accordingly. The Four Seasons' Apuane Spa offers heavenly treatments using ancient Huichol rituals. Next door, the St. Regis has a whopping 10,000 square feet dedicated to pampering and TLC. Meanwhile, send your guy to play one of two Jack Nicklaus courses with "Tail of the Whale," the world's only hole on a natural island green. And don't miss the breakfast buffet— including authentic made-to-order tamales and quesadillas— at Ketsi.
Photo: Kathryn Romeyn
Take an excursion to Sayulita— 30 minutes driving— to experience an iconic boho surf village, complete with colorful decor and fun people watching. Grab a quick lunch of traditional pre-Hispanic Mexican food at Yeikame. The beach break in town is great for beginner surfers, too.
Wander and shop for gorgeous jewelry and giant rainbow-colored dreamcatchers at Pachamama, and cow skulls painstakingly decorated with intricate thread appliqué at Evoke the Spirit. Allow Sayulita's positive vibes to suck you into staying for a drawn-out dinner at Don Pedro's. Watch the sky change color over a margarita and their famous fried shrimp tacos.
The mainland beaches are fantastic, but you must visit the hidden beach at the Marietas Islands with Punta Mita Expeditions. Their signature Marine Safari takes you to the volcanic formation where you must swim underwater to reach the circular beach and caves inside, and includes paddle-boarding and snorkeling alongside manta rays, fish, wild dolphins, and maybe even whales.
Check out the popular restaurant Sufi for "Mexiterranean" cuisine— light takes on Mediterranean-inspired local seafood. If you're thinking about more paddle-boarding, lounging, or even surfing later (the same tour company gives great lessons) keep it light and opt for the Ceviche Vallarta and Seafood Cocktail by the Bay.
Before heading out of town, have an early dinner at Tuna Blanca by Café des Artistes in Punta de Mita. The romantic waterfront setting is where you'll enjoy the chef's much-loved grilled octopus— locally caught, of course— before desserts served on mini surfboards.