Halfway between the US and Guatemala, where Mexico's West Coast doglegs to the right, a 2000 sq km (772 sq mi) spur of land called Cabo (Cape) Corrientes juts into the Pacific. It forms the southeastern end of Banderas Bay, a hundred kilometer long curved notch in the coastline that straddles the States of Jalisco and Nayarit, blessing them with beaches as fine as any in Mexico.
Some beaches have been developed for tourists. Others serve traditional fishing communities. And, some are pristine wildlife preserves, where sea turtles spawn in the sand and humpback whales breed and calve offshore. Thanks to the Bay, public and private investments, and the efforts of Mexico's state and federal tourism boards, the coast of Jalisco and Nayarit has become a major international vacation destination.
In 2013, the American Automobile Association awarded its prestigious Four Diamond ranking to twenty hotels and resorts in the Puerto Vallarta to Punta Mita corridor. This concentration of superior hotels and resorts offers tourists first class accommodations and outstanding recreational opportunities.
Located in Jalisco on a coastal plain north of Cape Corrientes, the City of Puerto Vallarta has supported continuous human occupation for more than 2500 years. Now home to a quarter million people, Puerto Vallarta first gained popularity with tourists during the 1950s and 60s, when Hollywood adopted it as an artists colony. During the 1970s and 80s, the Mexican government and business interests developed tourism infrastructure, including modern roads and an international airport.
Today, Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico's most popular destinations. Tourists arrive by airplane, cruise ship, automobile and bus to enjoy a wide variety of recreational opportunities. The weeks before Easter are especially busy.
Travelers seeking the finest hotels and resorts in Puerto Vallarta may want to consider the AAA Four Diamond accommodations listed below.
North of Puerto Villarta's Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport, the Ameca River forms the border between the States of Jalisco and Nayarit. The drive from the airport to Nuevo Vallarta, a luxury resort community just across the border from Puerto Villarta, takes fifteen minutes, only slightly longer than the time it takes to repeat the airport's name three times.
Nuevo Vallarta anchors the Riviera Nayarit, a two hundred mile long stretch coastal beauty extending north to the historic port of San Blas, Nayarit. With its beautiful beaches, superb surfing spots, magnificient mangrove forests, and rich mix of resorts and traditional communities, the Riviera Nayarit has become one of Mexico's finest tourism destinations.
In 2013, the AAA gave its top award, Five Diamonds, to one resort in Nuevo Vallarta, the Grand Velas All Suites Resort and Spa. The eight hotels and resorts in Nuevo Vallarta awarded Four Diamond status are listed here.
The Punta de Mita peninsula, about 10 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, forms the northern terminus of Banderas Bay. It is the site the village of Punta Mita, 1500 acres of luxury residences and resorts, including two AAA Five Diamond properties, the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita and the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, two renowned golf courses, and the two AAA Four Diamond resorts listed below.
- Casa de Mita
- Hotel Cinco