Less touristed than many of Mexico's coastal destinations, the Riviera Nayarit north of Puerto Vallarta has become a very popular destination for beach-loving families. The region includes over 200 miles of pristine Pacific coastline dotted with authentic beach towns, all-inclusive resorts, championship golf courses, and lots of colonial history. Besides the sand and surf, families can venture inland and try canopy zipline tours in the nearby mountains or they can go whale watching.
This coastline is on the migration path of several types of whales, including blue whales, and whale-watching cruises are one of the most popular activities between December and March.
Iberostar Playa Mita's Location
About 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, the all-inclusive Iberostar Playa Mita is a Gold Premium-level property within the Iberostar brand, which means it lies near the upscale end in a chain of all-inclusives known for offering good value to families.
Like many all-inclusives, this resort is located somewhat remotely, so most families will likely spend the vast majority of their time on-site. Iberostar Playa Mita is part of a gated resort area just north of Punta de Mita (see map), so if you want to explore the area, you will have to rent a car or join one of the excursions offered by the resort, which include ziplining, whale-watching cruises, surfing, and more.
This expansive property has plenty for families to love, starting with pricing that includes three meals a day at à la carte restaurants, snacks, and even limited room service.
Along with the beach, there are several pools and a fun pirate-themed splash park for little ones; a supervised children's program for kids age 4 to 12; and teen activities for ages 13 to 17. There are tennis and volleyball courts, a games room with pool tables and table games, and complimentary non-motorized water sports such as kayaking and windsurfing.
At almost 500 square feet, even standard rooms are spacious, with either a king or two double beds, sitting area with a pullout sofa, and a balcony. Standard rooms can accommodate a family of four. There is also a small refrigerator packed with snacks and drinks that are included in the room rate. Larger families can opt for two adjoining, connecting rooms or upgrade to a suite. Most rooms have at least a partial ocean view, with true oceanfront rooms having the highest price point.
Dining is a high point at Iberostar Playa Mita. Breakfast and lunch buffets are copious affairs, and for dinner, there is a range of cuisines available, from Mexican and Japanese to a steakhouse and a more formal gourmet restaurant. Children's menus are always available, so even the pickiest eaters are satisfied.
Helpful Tips to Know Before You Book
Best rooms: Oceanview rooms have the best view but are the farthest from restaurants. Requesting a room overlooking the pool area guarantees at least a partial ocean view and a location within an easy walk of restaurants, pools, kids' clubs, and all the key amenities.
Best season: The Riviera Nayarit is at roughly the same latitude as Hawaii, and you get a similarly breezy, balmy climate.
In the summer, the average temperature hovers around 85 degrees, while in the winter temperatures drop a mere to 10 degrees on average. Always check the resort's special offers page for deals and promos.
Getting there: American visitors will fly into Puerto Vallarta airport, an easy, nonstop flight from many American airports in the West and Midwest. Many visitors from the East coast will face connecting flights and possibly 11 or 12 hours on a door-to-door trip, so check air routes first.
Visited: March 2016
Disclaimer: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary services for review purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.