Have you heard of Cabo and Cancun, but don’t care for the 20-something party scene? Here’s an alternate beach destination for you in Mexico that offers character, luxury and nature. With a number of upscale resorts, pristine beaches, and a new airlift into Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit is positioning itself as a new capital of luxury and wellness in Mexico.

The state of Nayarit on the western coast of Mexico, offers 192 miles of coastline and 23 coastal towns. It’s a new frontier for travelers looking to expand upon their knowledge of Mexico’s Pacific Coast, especially travelers who are already familiar with Puerto Vallarta and are looking for the next “it” destination.

Here are three places to stay to experience the ultimate in luxury and wellness travel in Mexico…

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
The pool at Grand Velas is the perfect place to recharge

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit 

Located only 15 minutes drive from Puerto Vallarta (PVR) airport, this Mexican-owned all-inclusive luxury resort is the ideal destination for those looking to pamper themselves. The lush resort is covered by pink and purple bougainvillea flowers. There’s a beachfront gazebo terrace, and ocean gardens perfect for a destination wedding, or simply relaxing. You can enjoy water sports, long walks on the beach, and romantic bonfires right outside your doorstep. Surrounded by the blue waters of Banderas Bay and Sierra Madre mountains, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is the ultimate luxury resort in this part of Mexico.

The 267 all-suite accommodations range in size from spacious suites to multiple bedrooms with kitchens. The wellness suite comes with your very own private rooftop with a jacuzzi and patio. With in-room gym equipment, healthy snacks, and a huge balcony overlooking the ocean, you can enjoy a wellness getaway without leaving the hotel room!

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
Private rooftop floor included with wellness suite

Though venturing downstairs would include indulgence in a 16,000 square foot spa. Se Spa by Grand Velas is one of the largest spas I have ever seen. It has a men’s and women’s section fitted with jacuzzi, sauna, eucalyptus inhalation, aromatherapy steam room, hot and cold lagoon, and reflexology pool.

Riviera Nayarit beach bonfire
Sunset at the beach with a private bonfire

There are also five globally-inspired gourmet restaurants at the resort – all inclusive of course. You can enjoy some of the best Asian, Italian, Mexican and French cuisine in town, paired with an extensive wine selection.

luxury pool at St Regis
The infinity pool at The St Regis is inviting on a warm sunny day

The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort 

Punta Mita is an exclusive and luxurious neighborhood located on a peninsula at the northern tip of the Bay of Banderas in Riviera Nayarit. The quiet luxurious enclave is home to a few high-end resorts, including The St Regis. 

luxury accommodations at St Regis
Villas at The St Regis Punta Mita make you feel at home

Set on 22 lush acres, the individual villas with private swimming pools and a series of gardens, make you feel more at home than at a hotel. Plus, there is golf, tennis and watersporting opportunities on site. The main attraction is the beach, of course. From the room to the restaurant, pool to dining, spa to bar – you will never be a few yards away from the beach at The St Regis Punta Mita.

The 10,000 square-foot Remède Spa features all the elements one requires for ultimate indulgence. The award-winning spa offers access to sauna, steam room, fitness center, salon, Jacuzzi, cold plunge pools and relaxation gardens, as well as outdoor treatment options under shady canopies.

For dining, there’s a wide selection of al fresco terraces to enjoy the warm ocean breeze. There’s beachfront seafood truck called Mita Mary Boat Bar and Bistro, and Carolina – the only Five Diamond experience in the Riviera Nayarit, among others.

Mexico village
Village of Chacala is a less touristy area in Riviera Nayarit

Mar de Jade

For a more affordable, yet luxurious, wellness and yoga retreat, head further north to the village of Chacala. Mar de Jade is a family-owned and operated resort that focuses on sustainability. The beach front property has a variety of room categories, ranging from rustic to luxury, to accommodate every budget. There’s a farm-to-table restaurant, spa with a native sweat house, swimming pools, yoga lessons, and spectacular beach views. There are not many tourists in this part of Riviera Nayarit, which makes it a more secluded and local destination.

Moreover, proceeds from your stay at Mar de Jade support a number of causes around the village. For example, they have an organic farm where they employ local Mexicans and train them how to farm sustainably. Farm supplies are used in the resort’s kitchen to create healthy and delicious buffets, which are including with your stay. They also make and bottle fruit jams, hibiscus syrups, peanut butter and vegetable sauces, that you can bring home.

The owners of Mar de Jar run a nonprofit Montessori El Jardin, and TAO de Jade trade school. This is where they teach youth hands-on carpentry, electric, plumbing, food processioning and stitching. As a result, the furniture, lamp shades and decorative pillows seen around the property come from the trade school students.

Mar de Jade
Relaxed bar and dining at Mar de Jade using locally made products