When it comes to vacationing in Mexico, there are a few destinations that tend to outshine the rest of the country; notably Cancun, Cabo, Tulum, just to name a few. But the typical hot spots better move over because there’s a new destination in town, Nuevo Vallarta! Located within Mexico’s Pacific Treasure, an appropriate name for the Riviera Nayarit region, Nuevo Nayarit is right on the Pacific coast. Within the Riviera Nayarit region there are several pueblos (towns) perfect for a Mexican getaway. And if you’re looking for a luxury holiday, look no further than the city of Nuevo Vallarta.
Just 25 minutes from it’s more famous neighbor, Puerto Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta is an up and coming destination filled with everything you need to get your Mexican luxury vacation on. Nuevo Vallarta is a 3 mile long strip of sandy white Mexican beach lined with classy, upscale resorts. Perfect for dipping your toes in the water, kicking back with a cocktail and soaking up that vacation sun.
Side note: We always encourage our readers to travel authentically and to explore the local culture of everywhere you visit, but even we understand the worth of a good ol’ fashioned vacation. If you’re looking for a luxury getaway that still lets you get a taste of Mexico, check out Nuevo Vallarta. Here are our top picks for where to stay and what to do:
Where To Stay in Nuevo Vallarta
If you’re looking for a little luxury then you look no further than Marival Residences Luxury Resort. Operating since 2010, this 4 diamond resort is clean, sleek and perfect for any luxury seekers. The Marival Residences Luxury is a sister hotel to Marival Resort and Suites, located right next door. And although some may prefer the amenities (4 pools!) of the resort, we recommend staying at the residences.
The minute we entered our penthouse room, we instantly felt like vacation royalty. The room was huge and immaculately clean with modern decor. It felt more like an apartment (hence, the name residences) than a hotel room, with a full sized kitchen, living room, master bedroom with ensuite and guest bathroom.
Having just come from road tripping the US, having this much space was such a luxury. We joked that the king size bed was bigger than our entire van (it was!). But the piece de resistance of the room was found when we meandered upstairs (yes, our residence was double story!) to find that we had our own private rooftop pool! It was so relaxing spending the afternoon in our pool, overlooking the beach. Even better when we ordered room service champagne to drink poolside!
Marival Residences Luxury Resort is an all-inclusive resort that includes all alcoholic drinks and meals! If you’re not sold on all-inclusives (we know, they sound a little cheesy), read all about why we think everyone has to do a Mexican all inclusive at least once in their lives. Let’s just say, you don’t get in full vacation mode unless you can leave your wallet at home.
What to Do Around Nuevo Vallarta
Ziplining in Puerto Vallarta
Unless you want to lay on the beach or sit poolside all day with a good book (hey! No judgment!), there’s plenty to see and do in the area. With the all inclusive package at Marival Residences each guest is gifted one free tour in the area.
We chose to do the Canopy River tour, which was right up our alley of combining adventures and responsible travel. Canopy River is a local eco-tourism company offering a variety of outdoor activities at their beautiful location. They’re committed to environmental sustainability, focusing on using sustainable tourism to protect the surrounding forests. The tour company was started by a group of farmers who wanted to protect their land from deforestation. Now the company is a cooperative with over 25 farmers who share the profits and are able to support their families.
Canopy River offers a variety of adventure tours including ziplining, river rafting and ATV-ing, and we choose to soar above the tree tops! Cruising through the trees and zipping over the rivers you can see why the beautiful forests of Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit are a perfect spot for ziplining. We finished our afternoon among the trees with a tequila tasting, because, Mexico! After a fun, but tiring afternoon in the sun we were happy to get back to our private pool.
Spa Treatment in Nuevo Vallarta
If you’re looking for an extra dose of relaxation, check out Melange World Spa at Marival Residences. The spa lobby and amenities are beautifully designed. Before and after your massage you can take a dip in the outside hot tub and plunge pool, or get your sweat on in the sauna. What’s even better, you can order a drink to have outside while you enjoy your soak. Champagne + hot tub = full relaxation (obv, drink responsibly!)
The spa has a variety of treatments named after different countries in the world. I had the Mexico Agave Experience (when in Mexico!) which was true to its name, with a small cheese taco and margarita waiting for me in my massage room. The Mexico experiences was more of a skin treatment than a massage, with a full body exfoliation and facial. They also lathered me in a luxurious lotion and wrapped me up in foil like a burrito (I said it was Mexican!).
If you’re into skin treatments, you’ll love this, but if you prefer more of a standard massage I would recommend one of their other options. The Italy Vendimia’ Wine, for example, has you stomping grapes, then soaking in a wine bath while drinking a glass of vino and then enjoying a full body massage. Sounds good to me!
Day Trip to Sayulita
If you have time on your trip we recommend getting out of the resort and enjoying a day trip to one of Riviera Nayarit’s beautiful pueblos. We spent the afternoon at Sayulita, a bustling beach town popular with surfers. For those that want to pick up some Mexican souvenirs, Sayulita is a great place to do a little shopping. Don’t miss grabbing a picture on one of the pedestrian only streets, with their iconic colorful flags hanging from above. Before we left, we had lunch at Don Pedro’s right on the beach and loved the food!
Where to Eat
If you stay Marival Residences you’ll have no shorter of food options. Our favorite was the casual dining restaurant right by the pool called Lemon Grass. You can start your meal with chips, salsa and guacamole and wash it down with a frozen mango margarita. They also have delicious fish tacos and fried calamari, as well as some refreshing salads. As it is with most all inclusive resorts, if you’re looking for really authentic Mexican food, let’s be honest, you’ll have to get out into town. If you end up doing a day trip to Sayulita, Punta Mita or another Riviera Nayarit town, definitely grab some street tacos!
Marival Residences also has a stunning rooftop restaurant, Insu Sky Lounge, where you can enjoy upscale tapas in a beautiful setting. Even if you eat elsewhere, definitely grab a drink there and watch the sun set over the beach. Lastly, don’t miss the resort’s newly opened beach club, Mozza Mare. You can grab a yummy meal at their beachside restaurant, then spend the afternoon kickin it in the infinity pool or lounging at one of the cabanas on the sand. Mozza Mare is also available for private events, with fun elements like fire dancers and a mariachi band!
The only thing we wouldn’t recommend is getting room service. As much fun as it can be to have breakfast in bed, the food is notably better in the restaurants and you may as well take advantage of the resort atmosphere. The resort also has a delicious breakfast buffet that you don’t want to miss. Did someone say made-to-order breakfast quesadillas?! Yes please!
Every once in a while everyone needs an all inclusive vacation to relax to the fullest. We recommend checking out Riviera Nayarit, and specifically Nuevo Vallarta, with its endless options to enjoy. Our penthouse at the Marival Residences Luxury Resorts made us feel like a king and queen and our experience zipping through the trees at Canopy River and lounging by our private pool were exactly what we wanted out of our vacation.
Thanks to Riviera Nayarit and Marival Residences Luxury Resort for hosting us during our stay in Nuevo Vallarta. As always, all opinions are our own.