Mexico’s two most popular vacation destinations lie on either side of the country. From the lush jungles and ancient ruins nestled along the Caribbean Coast of the Riviera Maya to the picturesque desert landscapes and vibrant nightlife scene on the Pacific in Los Cabos, it can be difficult to hone in on the perfect Mexican getaway.
But Punta de Mita, a peninsula along Bahia de Banderas just north of Puerto Vallarta, offers its own special allure. This upscale enclave is home to a wealth of secluded luxury resorts, including Los Veneros and the W Punta de Mita. Below are a few of our favorite things about this underrated region of Mexico, from our upscale accommodations to must-do activities.
Stay at Los Veneros and the W Hotel
About a 45-minute drive from the airport in Puerto Vallarta lies Los Veneros Resort, a tranquil escape nestled within the jungle and tucked along the bay. Inspirato’s six sprawling residences within the resort all boast their own private plunge pool and are just a quick walk to the beach. (And if you get tired of your own pool, there are three more scattered around the resort, too.) Plus, a stay at any of them affords Inspirato members access to all the amenities of the W Punta de Mita, from upscale culinary offerings to a world-class spa.
Stroll through Sayulita
This laid-back surf town is the perfect day trip to get a little taste of local life in Riviera Nayarit. Renowned for its wave-heavy beaches and the colorful art of the native Huichol people—like the iconic shot of the flags strung up around the city’s central plaza—Sayulita also offers some top-notch Mexican cuisine. We recommend Mary’s for local-favorite tacos and poblanos stuffed with shrimp, chicken, cheese, and more.
Explore the Marietas Islands
This uninhabited archipelago is a national park within Mexico, rife with sea life like dolphins, manta rays, tropical fish, rare blue-footed boobies, and in the winter months, humpback whales. To best protect the islands, only about 15,000 visitors are able to gain access to them each year to ensure they remain a thriving marine ecosystem for years to come. To see them for yourself, book a specially permitted boat, like from Vallarta Adventures; swim out to the islands’ hidden beach, only accessible at low tide, for a unique experience.
Go deep-sea fishing
Punta de Mita and Puerto Vallarta are world-class deep-sea fishing destinations. Within the bay and further out in the Pacific, there are snapper, grouper, mahi mahi, roosterfish, and more. Depending on the length of trip you’d like to take—ranging from four hours to 12 hours—you may even find marlin and sailfish. We’d recommend Fintastic Fishing or La Vida Bella Boat Tours for a day on the water. And if it proves to be fruitful, the chefs at the W are happy to prepare your catch.
Surf the swell
Whether you’re a first-timer or an experienced surfer, Punta de Mita boasts swells suitable for all levels. The area has become somewhat of a hotspot for surfing in Mexico, known for its picturesque surf locations with clean, clear water and surrounding lush jungle. Experienced surfers staying at Los Veneros or the W Hotel next door can enjoy the Veneros break just offshore from the properties. Beginners are better off going out with a local surf shop, like Mitclan Surf, where an instructor can take you to the best breaks for your level—often by boat—and help you ride your first wave at beaches like La Lancha.