Punta Mita, Mexico
Punta Mita is a private gated resort with a high-end infrastructure, security and world-class amenities. With the jungly slopes of the Sierra Madre on one side and the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean on the other, this nine mile stretch, which is surrounded on three sides by nine beaches and coves including gorgeous Litigu and Banderas Bays, is paradise. Punta Mita (Mythical Point) is also home to two 5-star resorts: the Four Seasons and the St. Regis.
Located 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, this exclusive enclave not only has dazzling views but there's lots to do. Golf is very big here and there are a few courses to choose from including: the Greg Norman-designed Litibu Golf Course, a challenging 7,022-yard layout, the two 18-hole layouts at Vista Vallarta Club de Golf, designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jack Nicklaus respectfully and the El Tigre Club de Golf Paradise Village, designed by Robert Von Hagge Group. Equally big is sport fishing and in these waters are masses of African Pompano, Amberjack, Black Marlin, Blue Marlin, Striped Marlin, Grouper, Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Red Snapper, Wahoo and Yellowfin Tuna.
Surfing is also hugely popular and in Punta Mita alone, there are three surf breaks: El Anclote (beginners and long boarders), La Lancha (more experienced) and the famed El Faro ("high performance"). Lessons are available through local companies. About 20 minutes up the coast is funky Sayulita, a surfing Mecca and home to the best fish tacos! It's the antithesis of Punta Mita and a fun place to go for the day. Also nearby is Bucerías, a quaint fishing village with charming shops, restaurants and more fish tacos!
For diving and snorkeling, take a 15 minute boat trip to the Marietta Islands, a Mexican national park. Jacques Cousteau studied the many species of turtles, fish, dolphins and birds that live there (look for the famous and rare blue-footed boobies usually associated with the Galapagos). Other activities include riding and whale watching cruises in the winter (Banderas Bay, the 3rd largest bay in the world, is also an important breeding and birthing ground for the Humpback whale).
In season, one can fly nonstop on American Airlines from Dallas to Puerto Vallarta and direct on other carriers from several other U.S. cities.