Located on the northern tip of the Bay of Banderas, you can find a quaint fishing village called Punta Mita, Mexico. According to legend, the Aztec referred to “Mita” as the gateway to paradise. This geographic region is also referred to as the Mexican Riviera and is located on the same latitude as Hawaii, providing an ideal year-round temperature. Upon arrival, you can’t help but be captivated by the sweeping vistas and jeweled Blue Ocean as far as the eye can see.
Getting there was an easy flight from South Florida to Puerto Vallarta Airport. Punta Mita was a short 30 minute ride to the resort area. There are plenty of rental car companies on site at the airport or you can arrange for transfer services with the any of the area hotels. I left the States with some Peso’s in my wallet in case of an emergency. During my pre-planning discussions, I heard a great deal of banter on the dangers of travelling in Mexico. I have to say, I felt perfectly safe; the airport was secure and the areas I travelled in were more like “Old Mexico.” There were laid back surfing villages, family churches and artisan shops along my route. In fact, once we got to the hotel, I heard one of the employee’s mention that someone had asked if it was safe to go boating. The employee asked for clarification. The customer asked if the, “pirate problem,” had been taken care of. To which the concierge responded, “What pirate problem?”
Bring your bathing suit and resort wear and leave your work clothes behind. Life in Punta Mita is all about the sea. If you enjoy ocean sports, sunbathing and generally kicking back, you’ll love Punta Mita. From whale watching and scuba diving to eco-tours and bird watching the pace is slow and recharges your spirit.
One day we took a boat tour to catch a glimpse of the migrating whales. The whales proved to be elusive. We managed to salvage the day by cozying up to Marietas Island which has over 92 different varieties of bird species. Low and behold, we spotted a Blue-footed Booby. I thought I was going to have to venture to the Galapagos Islands for that precious site. The striking blue feet were just amazing.
I ventured off the beaten path and took a half-day horseback ride with some well-mannered Charro’s from Rancho Montalbena. We rode through the hillsides of the fishing village, cantered through partial rainforests and emerged on the beach to finish our ride overlooking the splendid sprawling ocean.
The resort offered yoga at sunrise on the cliffs. This class was incredibly moving and incorporated one of the ancient rituals of the Sun Ceremony, from the Huichol Indians who still practice the rite in the region today.
Venture into Sayulita the closest village and visit the many shops where you will find local Huichol Indian crafts, beaded jewelry and art. You can catch any number of fish including Grouper, Snapper or Mahi Mahi and most restaurants will indulge you in an ocean-to-table delight.
You can’t leave Mexico without tasting the Tequila. There are classes and tastings offered daily. Like France, who has cornered the market on Champagne, Mexico has the official market on Tequila and Tequila’s cousin Mescal. Tequila is made from only one type of plant, the blue Agave plant. I must say, I learned a lot about Tequila during that weekend. The hotel bar offered over 125 varieties to choose from. I also learned that Mescal is not Tequila, but Tequila is Mescal. Comprende? For a more refined taste you can try Artisanal Mescal specially cooked in a pit and refined by hand just like in the 1600s. And no, they don’t all come with a worm; apparently the worm was more of a gimmick. I wish I had known that back in high school.
Enjoy a Margarita like you have never tasted it. Buy a Mophie Juice Pack for your phone and bring a waterproof camera. Just as I was taking my Booby shots, my phone died. I don’t know if I will ever see one of those blue-footed birds again. Embrace the local culture; taking the yoga class on the cliff brought a whole new meaning to sun salutations. Don’t be afraid to visit new places. Learn about geography, alerts or warnings and weather events by visiting:
Know the difference between a warning and an alert and how that can impact your travel plans. Make an informed decision before engaging in fear mongering. I never saw any pirates, street gangs or shoot-outs, but I am sure if I head to Somalia I might have a different experience.