Home to a mix of resort communities, surfing towns and authentic Mexican villages strung like pearls along its 200-mile coastline, it’s no wonder they call Riviera Nayarit Mexico’s Pacific treasure. Among them is the exclusive 1,500-acre peninsula of Punta de Mita, the private and world-class community of Punta Mita within is its crown jewel. This ultra-luxurious hotspot is home to opulent residences and beach clubs, two five-star hotels – Four Seasons Punta Mita and The St. Regis Punta Mita – and Punta Mita Club de Golf.
This private golf club welcomes only residents and hotel guests who delight in the wondrous views that await. Flanked by the Pacific Ocean and Bahia de Banderas (Banderas Bay), it comes as no surprise these two Jack Nicklaus designs pay homage to their glorious surroundings in name: Pacifico and Bahia. The duo make for two very different playing experiences but combine for one incredible golf getaway.
Commonly ranked among the top courses in the region, the 7,000-yard — par-72 Pacifico Course offers wide open fairways and greens. No. 1 and No. 2 make their way down to the water where at No. 3 the discrepancy in length comes in.
No. 3A is a 181-yarder and No. 3B is 194. Both are par-3s and have the same handicap, however water doesn’t come into play at 3A while 3B is a actual island. This is the famous “Tail of the Whale,” the course’s signature hole that features a natural island green. An oceanside tee looks out to an undulating green 199 yards off the coast. Bucket list worthy, it’s playable depending on the tides with an amphibious golf cart that takes you and your putter to the pin.
While 3B gets a worthy amount of love, this entire course is a pleasure to play. At the turn, one of the course’s staff members will be waiting to greet you. “Mint and lime sorbet?” Lest you forget you were in Mexico, he follows that up with “tequila on top?”
Aside from the great views, Bahia Course doesn’t have much else in common with its wide-open neighbor. On this 7,035-yard par-72, undulating fairways and greens make for a much more challenging day. You’ll have to make tight shots and finesse its fast greens, but it’s hard to get frustrated in such an idyllic place. Though no island green, No. 17 is a cape hole you won’t soon forget.
A mix of luxury yachts, paddleboarders and fishermen mean there’s always something to see. To add to the scenery, tee off during winter and you may spot some of the area’s largest snowbirds – humpbacks, orcas and more migrate here beginning in November. Of course, the nature spotting includes real birds, too, like the Blue Footed Boobies who have a natural breeding habitat not too far away at Islas Marietas.
As if that didn’t paint a beautiful enough picture, the Riviera Nayarit region sits on the same latitude as Hawaii – meaning you can expect the similar beautiful climate with a near-zero chance of rain. But with Punta Mita less than an hour from Puerto Vallarta International airport, you can fly there nonstop from many major cities and get to either course in half the time. Yes, Riviera Nayarit is a treasure indeed.