by Diana Lambdin Meyer
Punta Mita is a developed coastal community encompassing both the little fishing village of Punta de Mita and a number of private homes and high-end hotels. The Four Seasons Punta Mita was one of the first to open here in 1999 and has led the development of this region as a popular destination in Riviera Nayarit. However, builders worked diligently to maintain the natural landscape as construction was underway, including a massive 250-year-old black fig tree at the entrance of the resort.
Four Seasons Punta Mita was purchased in 2014 by Mr. Microsoft, Bill Gates, and is consistently rated a 5-star resort. It’s not likely you’ll see Bill and Melinda during your vacation, but they do check in here a couple times a year.
Two things distinguish this Four Seasons from others. First, it is the only resort in the franchise to employ a cultural concierge. His name is Enrique Alejos, and a more knowledgeable human being on all things Nayarit simply cannot be found. From the amazing sea turtle release program to tequila tastings to the language of the local Huichol tribe, Enrique understands it and helps you and your children understand it with equal passion. He’s frequently seen around the property doing art tours, nature walks or stargazing programs, but when not, you can find him in a corner office of one of the boutiques, always ready to talk and share his passion for the local Mexican culture.
The second distinction is one beer drinkers in your family will appreciate. This Four Seasons is the only one to have its very own beer, bottled and labeled distinctly for the resort. It’s called Cora Beer, a smooth ale brewed in old tequila barrels in the state of Jalisco. Make sure you order one. Or two.
This resort simply has everything a typical family could ask for in a beach destination. It’s possible to spend your entire vacation onsite and enjoy every minute of it, but get out and explore the fishing village of Punta de Mita as well. Its charm and appeal is what attracted the likes of Bill Gates to this area in the first place.
Our Editor Loves
- Two beaches totaling 2 miles
- Kids under 18 stay for free
- Sea Turtle release program (in season)
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
- Meal Plan
- Onsite Dining
Rooms & Rates
This is a 5-star resort, so just about anything your family would want or need is available, as well as any configuration of rooms, villas and services. The number of choices is as vast as the Pacific Ocean, visible from all rooms.
The main hotel is 3 stories tall with 175 rooms, all with full balconies or terraces. A limited number of connecting rooms are available. Book early to ensure your family gets what they need.
The property has a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout and all of the amenities you might need from DVD players to bathrobes to iPod docking stations. Cribs and rollaways are available at no extra charge.
Note: If a standard size bathtub is important to bathe your toddlers, be sure to express that when you book your vacation. Many rooms come with whirlpool tubs, but not standard bathtubs.
Your own private pool, outdoor shower and barbeque area are among the amenities of a private villa. You have a choice between four and five bedrooms, so this is especially nice with extended family or friends. There are 35 villas in the rental pool, all with rustic, yet individualized Mexican decor. Shopping services are available and will have the full kitchen stocked when you arrive. Cook yourself, or bring a chef in for a special meal.
The eights suites are situated on a magnificent hillside overlooking the Bay of Banderas. These are equipped with kitchenettes and plunge pools and range from one bedroom to five bedrooms. Some bedrooms are configured with twin beds, but most have double or king size beds.
These are what you would consider the standard rooms in most hotels, but there's really nothing standard about them. You have a choice of king beds or doubles and cribs, based upon your family's needs. The beachfront casitas are ground level and include a hammock on the terrace. It's an incredibly spacious room with a lovely couch/lounge area, work area, mini-bar -- and everything you could want just a phone call away.
3 star rooms at 5 star prices!!! This property is amazing but the rooms are not. Even the front desk people know it has seen better days and say all the rooms will be renovated in the next year or so. However, even knowing that, they are still charging VERY HIGH prices and delivering a 3 STAR (being generous) room. The carpet was stained, there were stains on the walls, the humidifier was broken and missing buttons and the furniture was old and ugly (both of which I am so I know). If you go, go with the knowledge that this is a hotel in transition with the prices already ahead of the transition.
We love the Four Season Punta Mita. So much so we brought the kids with us this time. Needless to say, they love it too now. We typically go skiing over Spring Break, but my guess is we come here from now on. Only problem is that the family vacation bar has been set pretty high now.
Make that a super cool basketball court. The Four Seasons brought in talented graffiti artists who taught their craft to teenagers at the resort. The result is the crazy fun backboards and walls that surround the full-sized court.
More than 2 miles of sand ribbon touch the Pacific Ocean here. A plentiful selection of daybeds, hammocks and beach chairs dot the sand with all of the accoutrements for an enjoyable day. The beach is naturally divided into two spaces -- one for energetic activity, the other for quiet pleasures.
Each Tuesday, the chef at Ketsi demonstrates a uniquely local dish and you and the kids can join in to your comfort level. Knives -- maybe not a good thing -- but ask questions and enjoy the fruit of your labors.
On other occasions throughout the week, you can join other chefs at a fishing boat brought to the beach to learn what they look for and how they select the fresh catches of the day served in the resort's restaurants.
The name is Nunutzi, which means child in the native Huichol language. Tucked in under the main building, this game room has everything for a good time: a movie room filled with bean bags and oversized chairs, vintage arcade games, Wii, computer games, air hockey, billiards and more. You name it, this is where the cool kids hang out. It's designed for ages 5 and up.
If it is a view you want from a golf course, you'll not be disappointed with either view from the two courses offered at the Four Seasons Punta Mita. Throughout the winter months, watch humpback whales splash in the Pacific as you work your way around slightly smaller water hazards. Practice your putting at the Bahia Course and your long iron game at the Pacifico Course, which is known for the world's only natural island green. Both courses are Jack Nicklaus designs.
Your children will immediately be drawn to the oversized tree house in the middle of the Kids For All Season game room. It's one of the many special treats for children ages 5 to 12. Their own playground and beach activities are among the others.
We're not sure who loves the Lazy River at the Four Seasons more -- parents or their kids. Yep, just like at many major water parks, there's a lazy river pool, complete with inner tubes and a waiter who will bring drinks into the river for you as you float by. Swimming waiters at the other five pools are a lot of fun. Adults have two pools to themselves separated from the rest of the activity at the resort by a nice garden. One is a lap pool and the other just a quiet rectangle about 5 feet deep with a nice sun deck. Private plunge pools are available in some cabanas.
The other pool, called the Nuna pool, is a delightful meandering infiniti pool stocked with noodles and other toys. It's about 3.5 feet deep and winds its way along the beachfront through the center of the resort. The pools are open from sunrise to a little after the sun goes down.
The Pacific waves here are perfect for beginners. Schedule an appointment with a pro right on the beach in front of the Four Seasons.
If you're traveling with extended family or a group of friends, it might be fun to splurge on your own private yacht. Up to 10 people can enjoy the amenities of this 55-foot beauty on a cruise around Punta Mita or all of the Bay of Banderas.
Sea Turtle Release
There's not a thing you can do on your Riviera Nayarit vacation that will be more meaningful, more educational and more fun for your family than participating in the sea turtle release program. There are six hatcheries in Nayarit, and as you know, sea turtles need a lot of help finding the ocean once they have hatched. The best time to participate is from September to February. Most of the $50-per-person cost supports the sea turtle hatcheries of the area.
You'll surely not have any trouble finding an empty court - there are 10. Lessons from a tennis pro are available for an extra charge.
People from around the Punta Mita come to the Four Seasons for dinner based on the reputation of Aramara. The word is from the local Huichol language and means "sacred place by the ocean." This dinner only restaurant, air-conditioned for your comfort all year long, features an Asian-Mexican fusion that includes the best in spices from both parts of the world. The wine selection covers the world, with more than 40 wines served by the glass. A chef's table is available if you like. Be sure to pack something a little nicer than shorts and T-shirts if you and the family plan to have dinner here. Reservations are recommended.
This dinner-only restaurant focuses on fresh seafood caught daily by the local fishermen of Punta Mita. But additional salads and some red meat accompany the seafood focus, and a comprehensive kids' menu is available. This is a lovely open-air restaurant where watching the sunset on the Pacific is the only thing better than your meal.
This is your go-to restaurant for a casual, but healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner or snack anytime from 6:30 a.m. until 11 p.m. Choose from a buffet or order a la carte. The hostess will seat you with a fabulous ocean view and provide crayons and paper for the kids. The children's menu is comprehensive for each meal -- scrambled eggs and chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast, and chicken fingers, quesadillas, spaghetti or hamburgers the rest of the day. Plenty of vegetables are available instead of French fries as a side.
Tail of the Whale
Located right on the golf course, this playful-sounding, open-air restaurant is open for breakfast at 7:30 a.m., and lunch service begins at 11:30 a.m. and goes until 5 p.m. Service is a la carte. In addition to great salads and seafood specialties for adults, the chefs will work to create something suitable for your kids (but there is no specific children's menu).
A comprehensive menu of snacks and entrees from all of the Four Seasons' restaurants are available via an in-room menu, 24 hours a day.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The art collection at this Four Seasons is noteworthy for its scope of Mexican and North American artists. Guided walking tours of the collection are available every day, or the kids might enjoy downloading the tour on their phone.
Whatever you need, wherever you need it. Nanny services and in-room babysitting are available for all ages at an additional charge whenever the kids' club is not open.
Yoga classes are offered daily in a perfectly designed room adjacent to the spacious fitness center with a complete offering a free weights and cardio equipment. The view overlooks one of the gardens.
A doctor is onsite and available 24 hours a day.
The spa is open from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. and that's still not long enough to enjoy the variety of services provided here. From therapeutic to holistic treatments, available for all members of the family, the spa and salon services here are indeed comprehensive. You might want to schedule a pre-tan treatment your very first day to ensure your skin is in the best condition possible before it is exposed to the sun's rays, which are stronger here than at home.
The Mexican Green Coffee wrap is luscious, as are couples' massages in the outdoor treatment cabanas.
Bring them along. Pets are welcome here.
Upon walking in the spacious, open-air lobby, parents are rewarded for a long travel day with an appropriate adult beverage and a cool towel. Kids receive a gift bag that includes a fish-shaped cookie, candies and chocolate milk. The real treat is when you arrive in your room. A Kids Four All Seasons T-shirt is spread out on the bed, surrounded by sponge block letters spelling your child's name. In the bathroom, a tube of children's toothpaste, a child-size toothbrush and a kids' bathrobe really make them feel special.
The Art of Smart Timing
Think about it -- when it's cold and snowing in North America, the beaches and pools of the Four Seasons are filled with those escaping winter. Rates are best in the early fall, which is also a good time to experience the turtle release program. Surfing is best in the summer months.
Punta Mita is about 40 minutes from the Puerto Vallarta airport, along a nice wide, easy-to-navigate road. The public bus route does not enter the gated communities of Punta Mita.
Punta Mita and the Four Seasons are a huge area to cover. If you're in one of the private villas, you'll receive a golf cart to tool around in. Otherwise, if you want to explore off the property, you'll need a private automobile or to engage the services of a taxi.
For Mom and Dad
You've got a number of great choices, but here are three:
Hire a babysitter and then book a candlelight dinner on The Rock. It is exactly that -- a rock outcropping just off the beach. Staff will set up a table and you can have the Rock all to yourself.
Our second choice makes a great souvenir. Enrique, the cultural concierge, offers a tequila blending class where you can choose your own flavors, bottle and label it with your name and date of vacation. You might also consider a full-day excursion to the Jose Cuervo Distillery in Tequila via private helicopter.