Riviera Nayarit is developing into an important tourism destination in Mexico. // © Riviera Nayarit Conventions & Visitors Bureau
Over the last decade, Riviera Nayarit has become a major player in Mexico tourism and an important neighbor to Puerto Vallarta, in much the same way that the Riviera Maya has matched and in some ways surpassed Cancun. Riviera Nayarit has done a superb job developing its high-end tourism, with luxury resorts and championship golf courses coming on line and the region’s natural beauty and ethnic heritage being supported and developed.
In 2012, Riviera Nayarit announced the “Paraisos Nayaritas” program, which implements measures to maintain and spruce up the smaller towns in the region. In addition, the governor of Nayarit, Roberto Sandoval Castaneda, has gotten behind the promotion of three inland destinations to make them more appealing and accessible to tourists. These are Sierra Nayar, Lagunas Encantadas and Nayarit Colonial. All three make interesting daytrips that could enhance a sea, sun and golf vacation.
Sierra del Nayar, located in the northeastern part of the state, is home to several indigenous ethnic groups including the Coras, Huicholes, Tepehuanos and Mexicaneros. Potrero de Palmita is a Huichol community that is taking strides to welcome tourists. Activities in Potrero de Palmita include learning how to make corn dough tortillas, beadwork lessons and language instruction in the local dialect, Wixarika. Visitors can also take advantage of options for horseback riding, boating and hiking. While there are currently no overnight accommodations available in Potrero de Palmita, interested visitors can stay at a number of four-star properties in the nearby town of Tepic.
Lagunas Encantadas, in central Nayarit, has three lagoons and offers a variety of boutique hotels, water sports and fishing. Lagunas Encantadas is a good recommendation for ecotourists.
The Nayarit colonial region is dotted with historic architecture influenced by the Spanish conquest. Travelers can overnight in historic buildings converted into small hotels and visit structures dating back to Nayarit’s colonial past, in such small towns in Nayarit as Tepic, Jala, Ahuacatlan, Ixtlan del Rio, Amatlan de Canas and Xalisco.
There are also some ambitious initiatives from the private sector. This year alone shows an investment of $70 million committed to developing new hotels along Riviera Nayarit’s coast.
Tau Resorts Nahui is scheduled to open late this year, with 172 units. The new timeshare community will include a village, a beach club, a golf course, hiking trails and an oceanfront water sports center.
The Grand Luxxe Nuevo Vallarta, a Grupo Vidanta resort that opened in 2010, is constructing a tower with 144 rooms, bringing its total to 540 rooms.
Among these newbuilds, of chief interest for agents is Iberostar Playa Mita, scheduled to open in 2013 in Litibu, at the north end of Banderas Bay. The all-inclusive beachfront resort is 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta.
“The addition of our Riviera Nayarit resort will make a great inclusion to Iberostar's portfolio of hotels throughout Mexico and will mark our first entry to the country’s west coast,” said John Long, vice president of sales and marketing, Iberostar Hotels & Resorts. “It’s in an area that is an up-and-coming tourist destination and we’re excited to be breaking ground in the region.”
The Iberostar Playa Mita, a Premium category resort, is being marketed to both families and couples. The resort will have 452 guestrooms, including 120 oceanfront junior suites which are augmented with a dedicated concierge service and two presidential suites. Amenities and features include non-motorized water sports, two pools, a spa, tennis courts, a fitness center, a theater and an adults-only disco. Dining options include four specialty restaurants, a buffet restaurant, a snack bar, several cocktail bars and 24-hour room service. Golfers can tee off at the on-site Litibu Golf Club, an 18-hole oceanfront championship course designed by Greg Norman. The resort’s kids club caters to children ages 4-12; the resort also has a separate Kids Pool and Splash Park.
The Iberostar Playa Mita is currently taking reservations. Hotel packages will be all-inclusive, including meals, snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and most amenities and entertainment, with the exception of spa services and golf.