Filed by: Barb Crawford.
Puerto Vallarta is so much more than just a quaint, colonial town that rose to fame as a world-class resort in the 1950’s. Still a vibrant town with its own merits, the infrastructures of the coastal areas from Jalisco up to Nayarit province have grown and embrace a wide range of accommodations and activities. From Mismaloya to the south, to Nuevo Vallarta and Punta Mita in the north, the offerings are varied and exciting.
Mismaloya, made famous by John Houston’s film “Night of the Iguana”, has grown up and is now home to new resorts and restaurants drawing more visitors south of the Zona Romantica than ever before. The Garza Blanca hotel and condominium development with the 5-star Hotel Mousai offers a different experience from the flatter coastal plains to the north. Here developers have embraced the power of the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean from a location perched on the sides of the Sierra Madre Mountain Range. From every room guests will be awe-struck by the vistas.
The Mousai is also a local favourite for night life where visitors and guests can enjoy a mixology class at the rooftop panoramic bar or simply watch the sunset while live music plays.
One hour north, the community of Punta Mita combines the best of the coastal landscape with what has been called a “visionary development”. Luxury accommodations abound (with the Four Seasons, St. Regis and a W Hotel), as well as notable new dining opportunities. Experience the waterfront Punta Mercedes Restaurant (here we loved the “hot rock” entrée) or Tuna Blanca for its outstanding seafood menu. Both charming restaurants boast jaw-dropping sunset views.
The top discovery of this visit had to be Sayulita Town, located 1 km north of the Punta Mita peninsula. This fun, bustling hamlet is a surfer’s paradise and a must for a day trip. Charming, artsy and truly Boho, Sayulita boasts fantastic casual restaurants, great design stores and excellent jewelry shops featuring handcrafted silver. Exploring the cobblestone streets, you can find everything from traditional masks handcrafted by Huichol artisans, to whimsical avant garde décor items by local designers. Many of these fun, colourful pieces can be found in the hotels of of Punta Mita. Best of all really, if you are not heading out with your own surfboard, is the abundance of beachside cafes where you can enjoy ceviche and a cervesa while watching the surf action unfold.
Regardless of your location in the Puerto Vallarta region, it is more than worthwhile to get out and explore the entire coast from north to south.