The Huichol, an ancient tribe dating back to the Aztecs, believe Punta Mita is a sacred place, a place to restore one’s spirit. Spend a few days at this beach paradise, surrounded by the waters of the Pacific, and you’ll soon agree. Just 45 minutes from Puerta Vallarta, this 1500-acre resort and residential community, is perfect for a laid-back vacation. My family has visited Punta Mita many times, and when the St Regis opened it was, for us, a game changer. (We still love the Four Seasons, but think it’s better for families traveling with young kids) The hotel is beautiful, with a wide spread out beach, 3 bi-level pools, a modern gym, Remede spa and 3 restaurants. Everything here is thought out, extremely well run, top-notch service with a smile. Most of the credit is due to one man—the General Manager Carl Emberson. I’ve stayed in countless hotels over the years and have never seen a GM with so much presence, personality and professionalism. Carl is an amazing guy, make sure you say hello if you visit! Thanks Carl for your perfect day in Punta Mita.
If you visit between December-March you must go on a whale-watching excursion. The Humpback Whales spend their winter months here in the Bay of Banderas, and there is nothing like seeing them breach off the side of your boat. Small inflatable speedboats get you close, real close!
Organize a boat through Punta Mita Expeditions and spend a half-day exploring the Marieta Islands National Park. There is a good chance you’ll get to see dolphins and whales depending on the season. Stand up paddleboard through hidden caves, go snorkeling to see hundreds of tropical fish and beautiful coral, or just enjoy the scenery. Time it to come back during sunset--magical!
In Sayulita, do not miss going to Pacha Mama, the Mignot sisters’ ultra cool boutique. It’s the place to go for the most beautiful Black Tahitian pearl jewelry dangling on leather cords. (Their grandmother started the original Mignot in St. Barths) There is also a great selection of fringe leather bags and beautiful caftan style dresses. Our other favorite shops are Revolucion de los Suenos and Ula.
Why go: Punta Mita has ideal weather for most of the year. Even in the rainy season, which runs June through September, the days are mostly sunny with some evening rain usually gone by morning. There is always a nice breeze off the ocean making even the hottest summer days comfortable.
Wake up: Try the chilaquiles with roasted salsa and a fried egg. It’s Mexico’s national breakfast dish, simple traditional food that’s so good!
Morning Golf: Punta Mita is a golfer’s paradise with two spectacular Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses, Bahia and Pacifico. Many of the holes are right on the ocean; it’s quite a scenic round. Not many golf courses can boast of an amphibious cart! At Pacifico’s famous 3rd Hole, “The Tail of the Whale,” the natural ocean green make’s it necessary. Hopefully, your shot won’t land in the water, and you’ll get to ride the cart to finish the hole. Not into golf, how’s your surfing?
Surf City: There is great surfing nearby whether you’re a beginner or have been riding waves for years. Punta Mita Expeditions offers regular boat trips to the best breaks. The advantage of going with a guide is that they know where the waves are breaking best on any given day. El Anclote is perfect for long-boarders and beginners, while more advanced surfers will be happy at El Faro and La Lancha. Some days it’s even possible to catch a great right-hander directly off the beach of The St Regis.
Lunch: In my opinion, there is not a better place than the Mita Mary Boat Bistro located right on the beach at The St Regis. Toes in the sand, ice-cold beers or margaritas, freshly shucked oysters, fish tacos, grilled lobster -what could be better?
Beach time: It’s ok to relax and read a book; it is a vacation after all. But if you’re like me and don’t like sitting still you can try and catch dinner…
Go Fish: Punta Mita offers first-rate deep-sea fishing. Close to shore, cast for grouper, roosterfish, snapper and mahi mahi. Marlin, yellow fin tuna and sailfish are further out, and are worth trolling for during big game season. If you have a good outing, one of the chefs at the St. Regis can cook your catch.
Awesome Sunset: A private beach, margaritas, guacamole and chips, and every night the sky on fire.
Dinner: I love Sufi; it’s a perennial favorite among our guests, for their unique ‘Mexiterranean’ cuisine, a mix of gourmet Mexican and classic Mediterranean. It’s lovely to sit on the terrace overlooking the Pacific. In town, Blue Shrimp is renowned for--you guessed it blue shrimp, prepared in many different ways. Another favorite is Tuna Blanca, for Mexican focused seafood by renowned local chef Thierry Blouet. (He’s the owner of Café des Artistes in Puerto Vallarta) For something casual, my favorite is Si Senor for authentic Mexican seafood dishes.
Have more time: Visit the beach town of Sayulita, a quick 20-minute drive from the hotel. A mix of surf shops and eclectic boutiques, you can easily spend a day here! Surfer’s love Sayulita for it’s long consistent breaks and rideable waves, sit beachside on the deck at Don Pedros for lunch and watch all the action. Get a smoothie at Orangy before heading back to the St. Regis. If you go early I love Choco Banana for breakfast.
Footnotes: You do not need a car once you are in Punta Mita, it’s much easier to take taxis to dinner or to Sayulita. The St. Regis can arrange your transportation to and from the airport.