We asked Carla Drake, Guest Service Manager at Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, México, to gather the savviest sight-seeing suggestions she could find—not just her own, but also those of other local connoisseurs, including some she works with every day at the Resort. Punta Mita offers the perfect ocean-side retreat, with miles of beautiful Pacific beaches, whale watching, restorative Spa treatments, championship golf, and superb culinary and cultural experiences.
The Jack Nicklaus–designed Pacifico golf course at Punta Mita has something you won’t find at any of the thousands of other courses in the world—an offshore natural island green. Set on a rocky atoll in the Pacific Ocean, 199 yards from shore, the par-3 is known as the Tail of the Whale, or hole 3B. Due to the difficulty, Nicklaus built 19 holes to offer an alternative, 3A. A second Nicklaus course, Bahia, has just opened, and both are exclusively for Resort guests and residents.
Made with the agave plant, tequila has mystique and unmistakable appeal, and at the Resort you can explore its many varieties. An on-staff tequila sommelier is there to take you through the aromas, tastings and varieties of any of the more than 125 different varieties available at the Resort. To learn about the history and lore of Mexico’s signature drink and to develop your palate for this fiery spirit, take in a tequila tasting at the Resort’s Cultural Concierge.
The coast around the Resort is in the very heart of the migration route for humpback whales—so many and so close that they can easily be viewed from shore between December and April. To get up close and personal, several companies, including Punta Mita Expeditions, offer daily three-hour whale-watching cruises in season.
Spa al Fresco
Life in Punta Mita revolves around the water, as does the Resort’s elaborate Apuane Spa, which translates to “healing waters.” The Resort also has three totally separate and complete satellite outdoor Spa locations. One is set at the beach, one at the pool and one in a lush tropical garden, each allowing for a private spa escape under the bright blue Mexican skies.
Not many visitors know that Puerto Vallarta, less than an hour away, has one of the best selections of art galleries in Mexico. About a dozen quality galleries offer everything from decorative pieces for the home to important works by Mexico’s masters, along with glasswork, ceramics and photography. The Galeria Indigena specializes in highly regionalized arts and crafts from 45 different Mexican ethnic groups.
The Malecon, or seaside promenade, is a distinguishing feature of many Latin American cities, but Puerto Vallarta has one of the best. The paved seaside path hugs the beach alongside the city’s main street, opposite shops and eateries, and is the best way to explore the charms of this resort spot. Along the walk are several important sculptures, fountains and outdoor art installations, and at the less-visited southern end, the oldest part of the city, you can find the remains of its Spanish Colonial architecture.
The High Seas
The Punta Mita community sits on the northern tip of the Bay of Banderas, the second largest in North America. To explore this vast expanse, surrounded by more than 30 miles (50 km) of beaches, charter Four Seasons’ private, 17-metre (55-foot) luxury yacht. The Italian-built ship is a floating extension of the Resort, fully staffed for up to 10 guests who want to fish, see whales, explore the islands, take the onboard Wave Runner out or simply relax on deck.
Fresher Than Fresh
Three days a week, a local fisherman who works with the Resort brings his boat to its dock in the morning, full of freshly caught fish. Joined by Philippe Piel, the Executive Chef, guests choose a fish, discuss and select its exact preparation, and return to dinner that night to enjoy their truly custom “fish of the day.”
Dinner as Art
Home to a large annual culinary festival, Puerto Vallarta is one of the top two or three culinary epicentres in all of Mexico. The best of the restaurants is Café des Artistes, which should not be missed. Its chef owner, Thierry Blouet, is one of just 340 on earth admitted to the ultra-prestigious Maîtres Cuisiniers de France. Though born in Puerto Rico, this French chef has roots in Paris—his father was General Manage of Four Seasons Hotel Georges V, Paris for more than 30 years.