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Best Overall: Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Enjoy snorkeling, kayaking, fitness classes, in-room spa services, an infinity pool, and a Kids Club, all included."
Best Runner-Up: Villa La Estancia Beach Resort & Spa – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Take a Mexican cooking class, learn how to dance, go on a kayaking excursion, or simply enjoy the ocean views from your terrace."
Best Facilities: The Grand Bliss at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"When you're not taking surfing or salsa lessons, you can grab a drink at the swim-up bar or any of the many watering holes on site."
"For the most luxurious stay, book a private villa with its own pool and barbecue area."
Best Affordable: Samba Vallarta – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Participate in special daily activities or spend the afternoon kayaking, bodyboarding, playing water polo, or relaxing by the pool."
"Family activities include surfing and stand-up paddleboarding lessons on the tranquil beach or pro coaching at the tennis center."
Most Romantic: Playa Escondida – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Greet the dawn with an outdoor yoga class, ride horses along the beach, or salute the sunset with cocktails at the beach bar."
Best Wellness: Haramara Retreat – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"The oceanfront wellness center offers many massage styles in an idyllic open-air setting, with sweat lodge and Temazcal ceremonies."
Best Residential: Marival Distinct Luxury Residences – See Rates at TripAdvisor
"Whichever floor plan you choose, you’ll have access to a beautiful beach with Bali-style cabanas and a beach volleyball court."
Best Overall: Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is a AAA Five Diamond all-inclusive resort situated 30 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, on the northern shores of Banderas Bay. Its contemporary Mexican architecture is complemented by lush outdoor landscaping and distant views of the Sierra Madre mountains. Soak up the tranquil atmosphere while sunbathing at the beach or beside the infinity pool, or get out and explore Riviera Nayarit by snorkeling or kayaking. The Teens and Kids Clubs will keep younger guests entertained.
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit has a full-service spa and six restaurants: Frida (gourmet Mexican), Lucca (Mediterranean), Selva Del Mar (light, al fresco lunches), Piaf (traditional French fare), Azul (international cuisine in an oceanfront setting), and Sen Lin (Asian fusion). Order a local or imported beverage and settle in for an evening of live music at the resort amphitheater. This is an all-suite resort with each room providing ample space for sleeping, dining, and relaxing. Enjoy an in-room massage, or watch the sunset from your private oceanfront terrace. Family residences contain two or three bedrooms.
Best Runner-Up: Villa La Estancia Beach Resort & Spa
Villa La Estancia Beach Resort & Spa occupies enviable oceanfront real estate in between Nuevo Vallarta and Bucerías. You can stay à la carte or all-inclusive. Either allows for the opportunity to learn Mexican cooking, take dancing lessons, kayak, and snorkel. If you feel like getting active, grab a racket and head to the tennis court. Otherwise, opt for a relaxing afternoon in the beachfront Jacuzzi. The resort includes a fitness center and a spa with a hydrotherapy circuit.
Rooms come with two queen beds, a mini-fridge, a coffeemaker, and a furnished terrace overlooking the sea. Suites offer the comforts of home with separate living and dining areas, a full kitchen, a private washer and dryer, and up to three bedrooms. The Palmita Market Deli makes it possible to stock up on groceries, but who would want to cook with La Casona (an upscale Mexican steakhouse) on location? Guests also have access to the restaurants, evening entertainment, and Kids' Club at Villa del Palmar Flamingos next door.
Best Facilities: The Grand Bliss at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta
One of four hotels at the sprawling Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta resort, The Grand Bliss is equipped with a seemingly endless array of amenities. The swimming pools are a highlight, probably because they include swim-up bars and an Aqua Park with kid-friendly slides and wave pools. There are three golf courses, two spas, and an entire shopping plaza, too. The resort’s Joy Squad organizes daily activities such as salsa lessons, guacamole-making classes, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding.
The resort also has a supervised Kid's Club for children aged 5 to 12. In between adventures, refuel (and perhaps even catch a live show) at one of over 40 different restaurants and bars. Dining options range from gourmet international restaurants to authentic Mexican eateries and causal poolside hangouts. All accommodations come with a private terrace and a Jacuzzi, and suites with one or two bedrooms come with full kitchens and separate living rooms.
Best Luxury: Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita
One of two five-star resorts on the 1,500-acre private peninsula known as Punta Mita, this Four Seasons Resort sets the bar for exclusivity on Mexico's Pacific coast. Its magnificent landscaped grounds include an oceanfront infinity pool, an adults-only pool complex with a full bar and private cabanas, and a kid-friendly lazy river. Receive pro instruction on the tennis courts, charter the private yacht for a day at sea, or practice your swing on one of two Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses.
If you fancy a day of solo pampering at the full-service spa, check your children into the complimentary Kids For All Seasons camp. There are eight restaurants and bars at Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita. Opt for craft cocktails and traditional Mexican fare at Dos Catrinas or dine on Asian-inspired seafood at Aramara. Accommodation options are equally diverse, including casitas, suites, and residences. For the most luxurious stay, book a private villa with its own pool and barbecue area.
Best Affordable: Samba Vallarta
Riviera Nayarit is known for its five-star resorts, which makes budget accommodation hard to come by. However, beachfront Samba Vallarta offers an all-inclusive experience for cheaper than the rest. Located within 15 minutes of Puerto Vallarta International Airport, Samba Vallarta throws in buffet breakfasts, lunches, and dinners from La Hacienda restaurant with the price of a room. You can also enjoy à la carte dinners at El Mexicano (for local cuisine) or Venezian (for Italian fare). Snacks and beverages (both boozy and not) are included, too.
Check out the daily activity schedule each morning, then spend sun-drenched afternoons kayaking, bodyboarding, playing water polo, or relaxing by the heated pool. Children aged 6 to 12 can make new friends at the complimentary kids club, while adults can treat themselves to a spa massage for an additional fee. Ask the resort concierge about off-site whale watching and tequila tasting tours, then get a good night’s sleep in a standard room (complete with a minibar).
Best Family: The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort
Located on the same private peninsula as the Four Seasons, The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort is a particularly rewarding choice for the wealthy. Activities at La Tortuga Children’s Club (for kids 5 to 12) range from nature walks and treasure hunts to painting and piñata-making classes. There’s also a Children’s Spa and a cozy nap room. While your little ones have the time of their lives, you can explore a Jack Nicklaus golf course (there are two) or unwind at Luxe Remède Spa.
Family activities include surfing, stand-up paddleboarding lessons, and pro coaching at the tennis center. Las Marietas Restaurant's pool is a family favorite complete with toys and floaties. Of the resort’s six restaurants, Las Marietas and Sea Breeze Beach Club are the most child-friendly, offering Mexican specialties and wood-fired pizzas respectively. For a kid-free dining experience, enquire about the resort’s babysitting service. Accommodations include two queen beds to three-bedroom villas with private plunge pools.
Most Romantic: Playa Escondida
Located near the bohemian surf town of Sayulita, Playa Escondida is a boutique resort for couples who want to reconnect away from the rest of the world. Hillside rooms and bungalows are hidden from view by tangled jungle, which spills down towards a secluded private beach. Here, you can greet the dawn with an outdoor yoga class, ride horses along the beach, or salute the sunset with cocktails at the beach bar.
Off-site excursions range from private whale watching trips to hikes amidst the waterfalls and ancient petroglyphs of Alta Vista. After being active all day, treat yourself to a side-by-side massage in an open-air spa palapa. The poolside restaurant features al fresco tables with panoramic ocean views and a healthy, gourmet menu. Local seafood is a highlight, although vegetarians and vegans are also well catered to. Choose from 32 unique rooms, some with garden hammocks and outdoor Jacuzzi tubs.
Best Wellness: Haramara Retreat
Like Playa Escondida, Haramara Retreat perches high above the Pacific Ocean on 12 private acres located just outside Sayulita. With a maximum capacity of 50 guests, it’s an adults-only wellness destination for private getaways or scheduled retreats. Spend hours reconnecting with nature at the private beach or meeting likeminded travelers at the saltwater infinity pool and juice bar. There are two fully equipped yoga shalas, both with 360-degree mountain and ocean views that act as a source of unlimited spiritual inspiration.
The oceanfront wellness center offers many different massage styles in an idyllic open-air setting, while traditional Temazcales (sweat lodge ceremonies) transport you to a different state of being. At meal times, feast on creative local cuisine prepared with fresh, organic ingredients in the al fresco dining room. Resort cabanas are connected by a network of forest trails and luxuriously appointed, although there is no electricity. Turn off your phone and embrace the romantic atmosphere created by oil lamps and candles instead. A dormitory provides shared accommodation for wellness groups.
Best Residential: Marival Distinct Luxury Residences
Perhaps you’re planning an extended vacation. Or, rather, bringing your entire family with you. Either way, home-away-from-home accommodation can be found in Nuevo Vallarta. Marival Distinct Luxury Residences offers four-bedroom accommodation complete with a dining area, a living room, and the freedom of a full kitchen. A private washer and dryer means you can also afford to pack lighter for longer. Penthouses and villas add to the experience with a private pool and terrace.
Whichever floor plan you choose, you’ll have access to a beautiful beach with Bali-style cabanas and a beach volleyball court. While away lazy summer days on the lounge chairs by the heated outdoor pool or get active on the tennis court or in the fitness center. There’s a spa for the adults in your group, and supervised games and activities for children aged 4 to 12 at the Kids Club. Best of all, rates at this resort are all-inclusive, entitling you to gourmet dining at five on-site restaurants and bars.