Punta Mita Is the New Cabo (Minus the Spring Breakers)
You’re a grown-ass woman, and you owe yourself a grown-ass spring break (for you and your S.O. and kiddos, too). Get thee to Punta Mita. It’s a quick, relatively inexpensive flight from LAX and boasts pampering resorts, world-class water sports and even bohemian-chic shopping galore. Oh, and that college-kid, tequila-funnel nightmare set to an endless DJ Kahled loop? Non-existent.
Where to Stay
The Grand Palladium Vallarta Resort & Spa is two resorts in one: a kid-friendly set of 419 rooms (the Grand Vallarta section) with family pools and kid clubhouses and an adults-only set of 100 suites (the Royal Suites section) with its own infinity pool and wide stretch of perfect-breaking waves. Traveling with friends? Stay in Hotel Cinco’s apartment-style suites, which all have two or three bedrooms and their own kitchens. Or maybe you’re happy to skimp on amenities for a rock-bottom nightly rate? Then Hotel Meson de Mita is your brightly painted beachside stay.
Eat Fresh and Local
At the Real Fish Taco Co., you’re having the title meal: big, juicy chunks of fresh mahi-mahi, tomatoes, hot sauce and a squirt of crema. The only thing better? The icy margarita you’re having with it. Want to experience the best of it all? Order up all the seafood you’ve ever dreamed of at Tino’s Vallarta (ask for a seat near the lagoon and keep your eyes peeled for crocodiles). Need a break from Mexican fare? Stop by Casa Teresa for 15-layer lasagna made with hand-kneaded pasta, served alfresco in a quaint courtyard.
Shop in Town
Boutiques along the winding streets of Sayulita are awash in hippie chic style (here nicknamed “gypset,” a neologism of gypsy and jet set). Stop at Pacha Mama, a boutique run by French sisters who design caftans, textiles and covetable South Seas pearl jewelry strung on rawhide. Browse delicate semi-precious stones glittering on tasseled necklaces and bracelets at the chic whitewashed shop of Debbie de la Cueva. Or pick a textile, pillow or rug that’s got a boho-yet-tasteful vibe at De Maco, where stock is vetted by its interior designer owner.
Stand-up paddleboarding (or “SUP”) is breaking big, the way surfing was 20 years ago. Learn in the peaceful saltwater pool at the Grand Palladium from two-time world champion (and stone fox) Fernando Stalla, and then try it on rougher water at your own risk (yeah, we’re staying in the pool).
And Of Course, Go Whale Watching
Pretty much everybody’s bucket list includes: spot a whale leaping out of the water. Cross that off your roster with a three-hour tour with Vallarta Adventures. Guides take you out in 12-person launches that use drone tech to make sure you get your own humpback moment.