For years Riviera Nayarit lived in the shadow of nearby, booming Puerto Vallarta. Sharing one airport, Riviera Nayarit was considered an add-on destination, or a day trip from the more developed, cruise-ready, coastal city.
But this year, the 10th anniversary of Riviera Nayarit's designation as its own tourist zone, it seems the destination is doing just fine.
Designated a Virtuoso Preferred Destination, it has luxury spas, PGA golf courses, whale watching, turtle releases, zip-lining, surfing, international cuisine, and local art, and accommodations ranging from top-of-the-line luxury resorts to eco-focused boutique hotels and B&Bs. And there is much more on the way, as Riviera Nayrait expands rapidly in preparation for the next 10 years.
Most recently, Riviera Nayarit debuted W Punta de Mita, which opened at the end of 2016. The resort has 119 guest villas as well as a multilevel Living Room, which makes its way down to the Living Room Bar. The Wet Deck has VIP cabanas and a DJ booth. The resort also has a 4,000-square-foot Away Spa, with five treatment rooms, outdoor therapy pools, showers, and waterfalls.
Still to come, One&Only is opening the One&Only Mandarina in Riviera Nayarit, with 145 villas as well as private residential estates, a Health Spa, and beach club. This resort is slated to open this year.
Next year, Grupo Vidanta will open a 300-acre immersive theme park in Nuevo Vallarta in conjunction with Cirque du Soleil. The experience will include a waterpark, a nature park, and an outdoor evening show for as many as 5,000 spectators.
Also coming next year will be the start of Costa Canuva, a luxury development that will sit on more than four miles of coastline with 630 acres of beach, estuary and mountains. There will be five luxury hotels, the first of which is to be a Fairmont, more than 2,500 residential units, a golf course, specialty restaurants, mountain biking trails and a marina. More than $1.8 billion is being poured into the project.
The Riviera is also becoming a premier destination in Mexico for meetings and conventions. As such, Vidanta debuted a brand-new convention center in April with four main ballrooms with more than 32,290 square feet of space and capacity for up to 2,400 people. Similarly, Bel Air Unique, in the nearby Flamingos area, will open a new convention center in June, which will host up to 3,600 people in its 33,906 square feet of indoor/convention space, making it the largest in Riviera Nayarit. This debut comes alongside the completion of the resort's extensive renovation and expansion, increasing the number of rooms from 215 to 419, adding five pools and expanding the number or restaurants from two to six.
Riviera Nayarit stretches along 192 miles of Pacific coastline, starting just 10 minutes north of the Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport in Puerto Vallarta. The region within the state of Nayarit includes the resort towns of Nuevo Vallarta, San Blas, Bucerias, Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Punta Mita, Sayulita, and San Francisco (San Pancho).