- Lote H-4, Carretera Federal 200, km 19.5, Punta de Mita, Nayarit, 63734, Mexico
- 52 329 291 5800
There is something about turquoise waters and sandy beaches that puts me instantly at ease. It might just help my swing here at Four Season Resort Punta Mita, which sits next to the quaint fishing village of Riveria Nayarit in the middle of Mexico’s Pacific Coast. After a 45-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta International Airport, you’ll be able to tee off at one of two courses designed by Jack Nicklaus: Punta Mita Pacifico, which has eight holes next to the Pacific Ocean or Banderas Bay, and Punta Mita Bahia, which has water features and lakes spread throughout its undulating fairways.
Pacifico is the signature course here and it boasts a novelty hole (3B) dubbed “The Tale of the Whale,” the world’s only natural island green. It’s optional but you’re surely going to play this one. You need to carry the ball over 170 yards (155 meters) of the Pacific Ocean (it plays up to 194 yards / 177 meters) before hopping in an amphibious vehicle that will take you to the green (provided the conditions aren’t too rough, according to Golf Digest). The green is surrounded by rocks and sand traps.
It’s not uncommon to spot humpback whales during their migration between December and March during a round at Pacifico. On the landlocked side of the course, there are gorgeous views of the Sierra Madre Mountains.
Bahia’s 18th hole plays down to one of Mexico’s best surfing spots – the El Faro break. It’s a 571-yard (522-meter) par five that reminds you that it’s time to get wet as soon as you put your clubs away.
Punta Mita Pacifico: the greens and fairways are generous, but avoid the deep bunkers and odd palm trees and try not to spray the ball into the Pacific.
Punta Mita Bahia: some well-positioned bunkers and plenty of water hazards to avoid here as well as undulating greens and fairways to deal with.
When to play: Year-round at this tropical retreat.
Par: Pacifico 72. Bahia 72.
Yardage: Pacifico 7001 yards, 6402 meters (or 7014 yards, 6414 meters with optional hole.) Bahia 7035 yards, 6433 meters
Slope: Pacifico 131. Bahia 135
Rating: Pacifico 72.7 (or 72.9 with optional hole). Bahia 74.
Best hole(s): Pacifico – hole 3B, a par 3 dubbed ‘The Tale of the Whale’ that is an island green with a 170-yard (155-meter) carry over the ocean. Bahia – the 571-yard (522-meter) hole 18, which plays down to the El Faro surf break.
The resort experience:
There are in fact two resorts that give you access to the golf courses – Saint Regis and Four Seasons (www.fourseasons.com/puntamita, +52 329 291 60000). Saint Regis Punta Mita has been recommended by renowned American golf writer Bob Fagan, while Canadian golf journalist Dave Finn rates Four Seasons among the ten best resorts he has stayed at. Both esteemed golf writers have travelled to hundreds of resorts across the world.
Both are top options to stay at but I will opt for the newer Saint Regis here. It was recognized by the World Golf Awards as “Latin America’s Best Golf Hotel” and “Mexico’s Best Golf Hotel” in 2016. This is five-star luxury right next to a stunning surf beach. There are 120 rooms, suites and villas to choose from on 22-acres (9 hectares) of manicured grounds, which feature palms, lawns and flowers and three outdoor pools (beachside, family and adult). The Mediterranean-inspired architecture of the dwellings suits the tropical setting.
Regis guests enjoy rituals such as champagne sabering (opening a magnum with a sword), afternoon tea, the Mita Mary ritual (made with tequila, not vodka) or choosing the catch of the day from local fisherman with the chef.
Dine and wine:
There are five restaurants to choose from, including the signature eatery Carolina. The AAA-Five-Diamond restaurant specializes in modern Mexican cuisine made with regional and local fare, such as pozole verde ceviche or suckling pig. Wines are paired, naturally, as you sit on the terrace and enjoy the ocean views. Other restaurant options include Sea Breeze (beach-side grill), Las Marietas Restaurant and Bar (traditional Mexican), Altamira Cantina Gourmet (Mexican food and craft beer) and Mita Mary Boat Bar & Bistro (fresh fish). Tequila is made in the nearby Puerto Vallarta area and is in ample supply once you’ve reached the 19th hole.
Comfortable and private lodgings start with a 600- to 640-foot-square (56- to 59- square-meter) Deluxe Room for two with king-size bed (features terrace, outdoor shower, in-room movie system, a sun bed and Wi-Fi) through to the three-bedroom Presidential Villa (two kings, two single beds) for up to six guests with 3100 square feet (288 square meters). Here you can enjoy your own terrace with pool, jacuzzi and outdoor shower, plus a dining room inside.
There is plenty to do at and around the resort. Every month they celebrate a Full Moon Party at St Regis, which sounds intriguing. Or perhaps learn how to make guacamole from scratch, or how to create a Mexican cocktail. To earn your massage at Remeda Spa you should probably take a salsa lesson, play tennis or sign up for a bike tour. And the Children’s Club features piñata making, treasure hunts and a painting lesson.
However, the open water is calling me here. Punta Mita is a top scuba diving location so I’ll be exploring the nearby Marietas Islands Marine Reserve. You can hire a yacht, surf, snorkel and, between December and April, go whale watching, too.