Boasting a Pacific coastline that stretches nearly 200 miles, Riviera Nayarit has become one of Mexico’s most coveted vacation destinations. Puerto Vallarta International Airport is a mere ten-minute drive, but the city hustle quickly gives way to sweeping landscapes, pristine beaches, and quaint towns that offer a deep dive into the country’s cultural and culinary history. José Manuel Amaro, W Insider at W Punta de Mita knows firsthand of the Bahia de Banderas coastal region within Riviera Nayarit. Passionate about the hospitality industry since he was 19 years old, José Manuel worked as a flight attendant for several years before cultivating his skills as a concierge. W Hotels & Resorts’ signature “Whatever/Whenever” service caters to nearly any guest request, and José Manuel has plenty at the ready with recommendations for on-site activities, nearby restaurants, natural wonders, and, of course, Puerto Vallarta’s bustling LGBTQ nightlife.
1. Get Exploring
Visit San Pancho, Sayulita’s sweet little neighbor to the north. San Pancho shares Sayulita’s small-town feel and beachfront locale, but it’s a much different place. The area is known for La Patrona Polo & Equestrian Club, where you can watch the horses and riders at play, or even take a polo lesson. While it can be compared to Sayulita in terms of offering great boutiques, bars, and restaurants, San Pancho has a sleepier, laid-back vibe with beaches that are still more frequented by locals than tourists.
2. Get Cooking
Our resort features a weekly Mezcal Lab, led by Head Mixologist Alex Montes de Oca. Alex is an expert in tequila and mezcal and creates a fantastic presentation where guests can sample Mexican spirits with authentic local accompaniments such as fresh pineapple and worm salt. Groups visiting the resort can also book a ceviche-making class with our Chevychería chef. We occasionally offer special booking packages for individual guests that include the ceviche-making class as well.
3. Get Drinking
One of our signature cocktails is the Piwiwi. This refreshing cocktail, named after a typical beach bird from the region, is the craft version of the traditional Mexican Paloma, made with hibiscus-infused tequila, Ancho Reyes liquor, fresh grapefruit juice, agave, honey, lime juice, and soda. For authentic Mexican cuisine, Chevychería is a must! A vintage 1950s Chevy truck has been converted into a beachside bar where fresh ceviche is made to order. Our chef prepares ceviche in front of guests, still salty from the ocean, while they relax on bar stools and sip signature cocktails from our menu (creatively designed in the shape and style of a traditional candy skull). My favorites are the Coconut Ceviche and the Red Tuna Ceviche!
4. Get Pampered
The Huichol culture is a predominant focus in W Punta de Mita’s design. A focal point of the property is a giant Camino Huichol, a walkway made of more than 700,000 individual mosaic tiles with Huichol-inspired designs. It extends from the resort entrance all the way out to the ocean, with stairs that represent the journey of life. Throughout the property, guests can find murals handpainted by a Mexican graffiti artist, and colorful tuk-tuks with locally inspired designs that include traditional luchador masks, papel picado, and candy skulls representative of Day of the Dead. The area’s surf culture plays a significant role in the design as well; guest rooms have décor touches that include beds with headboards made of surfboards and patios with surf-inspired wall art, such as a wall decal of artist Frida Kahlo holding a surfboard.