The Riviera Nayarit Beckons

Safe and on sale is the message from the Riviera Nayarit CVBBy Mark RogersMexico is a huge country. While it’s true that there are areas that tourists should presently avoid, there are also many regions offering safe vacation experiences. One

By: By Mark Rogers

Mexico is a huge country. While it’s true that there are areas that tourists should presently avoid, there are also many regions offering safe vacation experiences. One of these regions is Riviera Nayarit, comprising 192 miles of coastline on the Pacific Coast about 10 minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta International Airport. This is a relatively new resort destination in Mexico, having been marketed under the Riviera Nayarit name a scant two years.

“We have two main messages that we want to get out to the public,” said Marc Murphy, managing director of the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Number one, there are no safety or health issues in Riviera Nayarit; and number two, you can save a fortune right now by taking advantage of special offers. It’s presently two to three times cheaper to visit the region.”

While some hotels are reducing rates, many of these special promotions fall under the added value category, with such high-end brands as the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and St. Regis Hotels and Resorts offering free nights, complimentary spa visits and rounds of golf.

“What tends to counter fear of travel is price,” said Murphy. “When potential travelers see these prices, they’ll be encouraged to do the research on the destination. They’ll then discover how safe it is.”

Who is the potential traveler to Riviera Nayarit?

“There’s no one type,” said Murphy. “What they can expect to find is a higher-quality product and lots of nature-based activities.”

Murphy notes that Nuevo Vallarta has four- and five-star hotels that appeal to the sophisticated traveler looking for high-end but not super-luxurious accommodations.

Punta Mita — the site of the Hotel des Artistes, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita and the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort — offers ultimate security and a high level of service.

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, on the other hand, has a 400-slip marina and appeals to sailing enthusiasts. The surfing town of Sayulita is like a town lost in the 60s, with a laidback, hippy ambience. And San Blas is a port city with appeal for history buffs and eco-tourists.

Murphy further explains that Riviera Nayarit is a good match for families and couples, although it’s not a spring break destination.

“Families will like the all-inclusive offerings, and the fact that many of our beaches are rock-free with gentle surf,” he said.

The region presently has 20,000 rooms, with many of these being of the bungalow variety. By 2013, an additional 5,000 rooms will come online. Hotel companies with construction projects underway include Capella Hotels & Resorts, The Ritz-Carlton, Iberostar Hotels and Resorts and Hyatt Hotels and Resorts.

Riviera Nayarit is also a major golf destination, especially when combined with courses in nearby Puerto Vallarta. Riviera Nayarit currently has four 18-hole championship golf courses, with an additional two courses poised to open before year’s end.

The major markets for Riviera Nayarit are California, Texas and the Midwest. Video testimonials from travel agents who recently visited the region can be accessed via "The Buzz" section on the Riviera Nayarit Web site (