The area known collectively as the Riviera Nayarit stretches along the Pacific Coast between the historic port of San Blas, in Nayarit, all the way to where the Ameca River empties into the Banderas Bay in Nuevo Vallarta.
It’s composed of a series of so-called “microdestinations” that depend mainly on tourism and fishing, and which the Convention and Visitors Bureau has worked hard to promote for their unique offerings.
The Riviera Nayarit enjoys a mild tropical climate with an average temperature of 77°F (25ºC).
Fly directly into the Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) on one of the many nonstop flights then drive to your destination within the Riviera Nayarit, anywhere from 15 minutes to three hours away.
The Riviera Nayarit has something for everyone, but it does luxury extraordinarily well. Punta de Mita, dubbed Mexico’s “Glamour Peninsula,” is home to some of the country’s top properties. Among the most awarded hotels in Mexico, the Five-Diamond St. Regis Punta Mita Resort has 120 spectacular rooms and suites divided among, Mexican-style houses with tile roofs dotted throughout the landscaped property, complemented with extra services including the famous St. Regis Butler service. Guests have access to the 10,000-ft² (930 m²) Remède Spa and three first-class restaurants, including the signature Five-Diamond Carolina. St. Regis offers planners equally alluring meetings and event spaces, including the 2,600 ft² (242 m²) Astor Ballroom and two 575- ft² (53 m²) rooms. Fun activities for groups include on-site guacamole making or Mexican cocktail classes.
The legendary Four Seasons Punta Mita offers 173 luxurious rooms, suites and villas in quaint, Mexican-style casitas that take full advantage of the “Mexican Riviera” surroundings with private terraces or balconies showcasing full ocean views; most suites have plunge pools. The hotel has a total of 3,700 ft² (344 m²) of meeting space, plus outdoor spaces including the meeting courtyard where Frida Kahlo-themed events are staged. Receptions can also be set up on the world’s only natural island golf green on the Jack Nicklaus designed golf course. The Four Seasons hotels are known for their unique experiences: in Punta Mita, the Cultural Concierge, Enrique Alejos, can take your group through the nuances of the Tequila process, guiding them through the nuances and helping them understand the aromas and flavors they prefer. The end result is a Tequila blend unique to the guest, which is then sealed in a handmade Damajuana bottle, with a signed leather label and registered in the Casa San Matías Tequila Factory archives—the custom blended bottles can then be prepared and privately bottled and labeled for corporate functions. Both properties have private yachts available for private board meetings and access to two spectacular Jack Nicklaus Signature courses.
In Nuevo Vallarta, the Marival Resort & Suites and its sister hotel, the Four-Diamond Marival Residences and Spa offer 497 and 169 accommodations, respectively, as well as their own Convention Center and outdoor venues with impeccable views. Every convention or event held at Marival has a required stage setting, complete with lighting and audiovisual equipment at their disposal and the event coordinators can help you choose from the impressive lineup of local and guest artists and performers available in the region. Many resorts in the area offer this type of entertainment, which includes solo and band musicians, guitarists, pianists, mariachi bands, international top forty bands, jazz ensembles, chamber orchestras, singers, dancers and more exotic shows such as folk ballet, air ballet, fire shows and circus acts.
The Four-Diamond Dreams Villamagna in Nuevo Vallarta has 229 luxurious guestrooms and suites with unlimited connectivity, and offers your VIP guests Preferred Club status, with personalized check-in and checkout concierge service, access to a private lounge, upgraded amenities and more. The resort offers over 6,600 ft² (613 m²) of state-of-the-art facilities, including a large ballroom with theater seating for 220 and a large private terrace and beach areas for group events. The resort is near three 18-hole championship courses: the Flamingos Golf Course, designed by Cliff Percy, and the two courses at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta, one by Jack Nicklaus and the newer one by Greg Norman. This resort is a great choice for eco-conscious meetings, as it is Rainforest Alliance Certified for exemplary practices in sustainable tourism.
One of the largest meetings properties in Nuevo Vallarta, the 698-room five-star Paradise Village is located on its own peninsula along with a top-notch marina and the famous El Tigre Golf Course, all less than 20-minutes from the airport. Its oceanfront Conference Center offers sophisticated facilities across 11,561 ft² (1,074 m²) of well-equipped meeting rooms, flexible floor plans and outdoor function areas. The center is set up to cater to everything from intimate board meetings of only 20 persons to large conference for up to 600. The El Tigre Golf Course Clubhouse, right on the verdant greens, can host up to 150 people indoors and up to 150 on the terrace. Other venues include the Beachfront Plaza with capacity for 500 people; the Poolside Area surrounding the lagoon pool for up to 500; the Mayan Amphitheater with views of the Marina (great for shows, welcome cocktails and receptions) for up to 300; and the Xcaret Nightclub on the upper level of the restaurant, great for farewell dinners for up to 200 people.
The Five-Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, a favorite with 268 luxurious rooms, will wow your event attendees with its “Beyond All Inclusive, Beyond All Compare” concept that includes dining at their three gourmet restaurants, personal concierge services, live entertainment and much more. The Grand Velas features a cutting-edge Convention Center with more than 10,000 ft² (930 m²) of flexible event space for groups from 10 to 1,000 guests. Your events can be hosted in magnificent indoor and outdoor venues, including gardens, terraces and beach areas, which together bring the event space available to over 32,000 ft² (2,973 m²) Theme parties are a popular option, and include an authentic Mexican fiesta, black and white ball or a fun beach party.
The grand Riu Vallarta Hotel on Flamingos Beach boasts an original and modern Art Deco style, and combines all-inclusive service within its 550 guest rooms (the suites have hydro-massage tubs) with more than 3,242 ft² (301 m²) of flexible meeting space. Sister hotels Riu Jalisco and Riu Palace Pacífico are on the same beach. The largest of the three, Riu Jalisco has 700 guestrooms and suites, and the AAA Four-Diamond Riu Palace Pacífico has 445 junior suites, free WiFi throughout the hotel and two air-conditioned conference centers with more than 2,681.51 ft² (249 m²) of flexible meeting space. The resorts are near the verdant Flamingos Golf Course, an 18-hole championship course and all have Riu’s signature 24-Hours All-Inclusive.
The Three-Diamond Villa del Palmar Flamingos has 277 ocean view suites that overlook Banderas Bay and shares the 17,000-ft² (1,579 m²) Tatewari Spa and the 17,036-ft² (1,583 m²) Flamingos Convention Center with its sister property, the Four-Diamond, 245-suite Villa La Estancia. Both are just a 1.25-mile stroll along the beach from the friendly town of Bucerías, with its quaint main plaza ringed with seafood restaurants and seaside clubs. Villa La Estancia offers cooking classes for groups with their Executive Chef, who helps attendees prepare a gourmet dinner starting with the selection of locally grown ingredients. Participants receive a chef’s jacket with their name embroidered on it, the three-hour cooking class and enjoy their dinner with a wine pairing.
Vidanta’s largest destination development, Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta, spans over 300 acres (121 hectares) and has five resort hotels ready to accommodate any size group: the Five-Diamond Grand Luxxe, the Grand Mayan, the Grand Bliss, the Mayan Palace and the Sea Garden. The compound boasts 38 bars and restaurants, 27 pools, 9 miles (14 km) of wooden pathways and two designer golf courses, one by Jack Nicklaus and the other by Greg Norman, not to mention over a thousand yards (900 meters) of beach. Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta offers 16,548 ft² (1,537 m²) of beautiful and unique settings for any size meeting or event. The ballrooms have dramatic, floor-to-ceiling windows, as well as terraces overlooking the gardens of their golf course. Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta is debuting a brand new convention center, the largest on the Mexican Pacific. It offers a total 172,222 ft² (16,000 m²) with a capacity of 2,400 guests with 4 breakout rooms and cutting edge technology.
The Riviera Nayarit does not have a dedicated convention center, but there’s no lack of places for meeting planners to set up events. Besides the aforementioned new convention center at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta, there’s the meeting venue at the 12,900 ft² (1,198 m²) Sanctuary Convention Center at the 348-room Four-Diamond Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta, which tripled its total meeting and event space to nearly 20,000 ft² (1,858 m²), and is adorned with a special collection of memorabilia that includes a Black Sabbath guitar, a Guns N’Roses amp, and an Elton John beaded jacket, as well as a Jimi Hendrix mural. The hotel offers experiential dining and unlimited banquets, top-shelf cocktails, themed events and the signature rock star service is all included—a plus for planners. Alternative venues can be found in several of the area’s microdestinations, including the Entreamigos Cultural Center in San Pancho, a 16,000- ft² (1,486 m²) community center that includes multi-use gallery, conference and classroom space, as well as a café.
Visits to the different microdestinations are a must and each holds yearly events you could coincide with your group events. For example, Punta Mita hosts several luxury-oriented happenings, the top one being the American Express Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf Classic held every winter. Another must for groups is the International Gourmet Festival held in November, which includes venues all over the coast. Sayulita and Bucerías—the Surf and Wind capitals, respectively—host hundreds of athletes during the month of May for the Kitesurf Wind Festival. In San Blas, the International Sport Fishing Tournament has been celebrated for over half a century, bringing in sport fishermen from around the world every summer. Short boat tours or excursions along the coast are available, with stops for diving or romantic Pacific sunset tours.
Nature is one of the area’s biggest attractions. Book your group on an unforgettable whale-watching tour, starting up in mid-December through the end of March, or take them swimming with the dolphins or sea lions. Tours through the bird sanctuary at the Parque Nacional de la Tovara are also a hit: it’s located in a natural habitat of Pacific mangroves and can be enjoyed via small boats that take visitors to see crocodiles, turtles and other species.
Golf is another big draw: attendees will enjoy trying their swing out on the newest greens, which include the course at Litibú, created by the world-renowned designer Greg Norman, and the Nicklaus Design Golf Course at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta. The area boasts seven world-class courses, with three additional ones in the works.
Top props also go out to area spas, located in world-class hotels, lavish resorts, and premier recreational facilities. For example, attendees can enjoy massage, yoga and meditation workshops at Sayulita’s Haramara Retreat, combine a golf and spa vacation at Spa Hacienda at El Tigre Golf Course or indulge in specialized hydrotherapy and body treatments at Palenque Spa. Coming Up:Riviera Nayarit has two major luxury hotels under construction, the 145-villa One&Only Mandarina, which will also boast a private convention center, and the 250-room luxury Fairmont Costa Canuva. Slated to open in late 2018, it will reside within the new master-planned seaside community, Costa Canuva, on the Riviera Nayarit just north of Punta Mita and approximately 40 miles (64km) north of Puerto Vallarta International Airport. Costa Canuva has plans for five hotels, including the Fairmont, plus an exclusive golf course designed by Greg Norman and Lorena Ochoa, among other attractions. Meanwhile, Cirque du Soleil and Grupo Vidanta have partnered to construct and operate a 300-acre (121-hectare) immersive theme park experience in Nuevo Vallarta, also opening in 2018. The experience will include a water park, a nature park and an outdoor evening show for as many as 5,000 spectators. Each experience within the entertainment park will be designed and performed by Cirque du Soleil artists.