I just returned from a 4-day trip to Riviera Nayarit and I can honestly say, it’s now one of my favorite destinations. I’ve been to Puerto Vallarta many times but until this trip, never ventured farther north. Riviera Nayarit is a nearly 200 mile stretch of coast and contains charming little towns such as Punta De Mita, Sayulita, and San Francisco. Getting to the most southern part of this area is less than a 30 minute drive from the airport, so it’s an easy destination to get to.
Here are 7 reasons why it’s now one of my favorite places and why you need to put the Riviera Nayarit on your short bucket list!
1. Riviera Nayarit is a Safe Destination In Mexico
While I have never felt unsafe traveling in Mexico, I recognize that it is a concern for many people, especially with the recent travel warnings. There are currently several warnings in place for certain parts of Mexico, however Riviera Nayarit doesn’t have any advisories for American citizens. U.S. Government employees are prohibited from visiting other areas in Mexico, but are not restricted to visiting here. In fact, a recent survey of visitors to this area gave a score of safety of 9.7 (out of possible score of 10).
All the resorts we visited had security guards at their entrances and you are not allowed in unless expected by the resort.
2. Quiet, Uncrowded Beaches
The Riviera Nayarit area has beautiful, clean beaches that are much less crowded than their southern neighbors in Puerto Vallarta, especially in the Punta de Mita area. While I love visiting Mexico, I’ve never enjoyed being inundated by the vendors that roam most of the beaches. You do not find this here and it is welcome change. We were able to relax on the beach while being uninterrupted. However, if you enjoy vendor shopping, many of the larger resorts have a dedicated area for vendors to sell their wares. This still gives you the opportunity to support the vendors and shop to your hearts content – but at a time that’s convenient to you.
3. Luxury Accommodations
The variety and quality of resorts in this area has something for everyone. From all-inclusives, luxury resorts, and quiet retreats, Riviera Nayarit has it all. A few of the resorts I had the pleasure to experience were:
Grand Velas All-Inclusive
I love the idea of all-inclusives because I can completely indulge without worrying about the bill at the end of my stay. Unfortunately, it usually means substandard food, watered down drinks, and loads of drunk people. Well, thankfully, this wasn’t the case at the Grand Velas. Gourmet cuisine, crafted cocktails, and truly luxurious accommodations are all for the taking here (even a bottle of tequila is waiting for you in your room!).
Four Seasons Punta Mita
Four Seasons – need I say more? This resort is truly a wonderful experience and there’s so much to do here for couples and families. There’s an adult pool for those who prefer a quiet retreat and even a lazy river that’s perfect for adults and kids alike. There’s plenty of space so you don’t feel crowded and the service is amazing. The cabanas on the beach are first come, first serve – no extra charge. I loved seeing the fresh seafood that the chef picks up from the local fish market every morning.
The views from every room here are amazing! This resort only has 16 rooms on the most beautiful and secluded beach in Riviera Nayarit. The outdoor spa is so unique and you can indulge in fine dining right on the beach. There’s nothing like dining on ceviche and fresh tortillas with your toes in the sandy beach.
W Punta De Mita
The W Hotel is probably the most stunning hotel in the area. Local Mexican artwork is everywhere! From the lobby, outdoor dining, and the spa, this resort contains a youthful energy and leaves you feeling refreshed and energized. The rooms are bright and inviting with the coolest furnishings of all the hotels I visited.
4. Amazing Cuisine
Top chefs from all over the world are moving to Mexico in droves because of the fresh abundance of seafood and farming here. While staying at the Four Seasons, we were able to learn about the fresh fish caught that morning. We dined on fresh seafood at every meal and I have a new appreciation for octopus – something I used to be a little bit afraid of. I highly recommend trying Parrotfish, a delicate white fish that is local to this area and not available in the United States.
Sayulita is a little beach town 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. It’s known for its relaxed hippy vibe, Huichol artisan culture, art galleries and casual restaurants. It’s popular with surfers and tourists looking for a small town destination that doesn’t feel like a tourist trap. You can spend one day here shopping, dining, and hanging out on the beach or stay for an entire weekend at one of the many inexpensive hotels in this area.
6. Marietas Island
One of the highlights of our 4-day trip was our private boat tour of the Marietas Islands with Punta Mita Expeditions. The Marietas Islands are a group of small uninhabited islands just a few miles off the coast, approximately a 15 minute boat ride from the Punta de Mita village.
The islands are a popular tourist destination for snorkeling and scuba diving because of the abundant marine life. The Mexican government does not allow fishing or hunting around the island and constantly patrols the area. All boats must present a valid permit to visit the island and can be turned away for any reason.
The islands are also a big draw for bird watchers and there are many boat tours specifically designed for bird watching. There are approximately 90 different species of birds that live on these islands.
7. Easy To Get To
If you are looking for an easy tropical destination, Riviera Nayarit is hard to beat. While a plane ride to Hawaii will take close to 6 hours from the West Coast, Puerto Vallarta is only 2 to 3 hours away from many West Coast and Southern states. Not to mention, it’s much cheaper. For example, I priced a typical Saturday to Saturday plane ticket on Alaska Airlines in October from San Diego to both Puerto Vallarta and Maui.
The cost from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta came to $383 round-trip from October 7 to October 14. The same days from San Diego to Maui, the cost doubled to $772. I found similar findings with plane trips from LAX.
October is a quiet month in this area so there are a lot of great deals right now. You can head for the airport in the morning and be sipping your first margarita on the beach in just a few hours!
To book your trip to this fabulous beach destination, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.