If you have never been to this side of Mexico, you’re in for a treat! The Riviera Nayarit has over 200+ miles of lush coastline, dotted with pueblo mágicos (Mexico’s “magic towns”) and fishing villages rich in culture, history, and tradition.
When you come to Punta Mita, it will be like vacationing on your own island seeing as the Punta Mita Peninsula stretches over 1,500 acres and juts out into the Pacific Ocean. Here, you will find lush palm-tree landscapes, beaches, enclaves, beachfront resorts, and the local town full of hidden gems like boutique shops, art galleries, a community center, and restaurants.
Whether you love to surf, snorkel, golf, or relax on a private beach, here are 10 unmissable things to do in Punta Mita!
10 Things to Do in Punta Mita in Nayarit, Mexico
1. Surf at Playa La Lancha
One of the best things to do in Punta Mita is to escape to the hidden beach of Playa La Lancha and go surfing.
Everyone who spends time in Nayarit knows of La Lancha. It is famous for its easy-rolling waves and pristine white sand beach ideal for kicking back and spending all day in the Mexican sun.
Best of all, La Lancha is very closeby to Punta Mita. From the town, it only takes about 5-7 minutes driving to reach the WildMex surf shop, where you will find the trailhead to La Lancha that cuts through the jungle.
With your surfboard in hand, hit the trail from the highway that leads you to the beach. It takes about 10-15 minutes walking. There isn’t much shade on the beach, so if you can take a sun umbrella, do so!
Surfing at La Lancha is free unless you want to book a guided surf lesson for you or your friends/family.
2. Boat Tour to Marieta Islands
One of the most popular things to do in the Riviera Nayarit is to take an exciting panga boat tour and snorkeling trip out to the protected, uninhabited islands called Islas Marietas where you will find endemic birds and a hidden paradisiac beach called Playa Escondida.
To reach the beach, you have to swim there! Since the golden sand beach is set inside an open-sky enclave, boats are not allowed to pass. So if you take a tour that includes permits to the beach, make sure to take a dry bag or waterproof action camera, since you will get wet!
Whale watching, snorkeling, and even scuba diving are popular activities here. Since the islands are protected by the Mexican government, only a handful of tour operators are allowed to bring tourists here. Double-check which tour you take – the one including the swim out to the beach or the one without it.
3. Stroll Around Punta Mita Pueblo & Marina
While I know that many people come to Punta Mita for the beaches and upscale experiences, I would argue that strolling around the local town and marina is one of the best things to do in Punta Mita if you are only here for a few days.
The town is full of local businesses and shops and has a public free beach (Playa Punta de Mita) and a bustling marina.
One of our favorite places to eat in Punta Mita is in the town. It’s a French café named NAEF and features delicious French-style food (get their quiche), wood-fired pizzas, as well as artisanal homemade ice cream.
You simply won’t find a cuter place to treat yourself. NAEF has a private and cozy inner garden courtyard where you can sit under the shade or in the sun and enjoy a quaint meal. You can find it on 5 de Febrero street in the town.
If you have time, I would highly recommend stopping by the Centro Comunitario Del Mar (Community Center) that supports the local communities of Punta de Mita, Corral del Risco, and Higuera Blanca in delivering food items and providing educational resources and health campaigns.
4. Go Golfing
Punta Mita is one of the Riviera Nayarit’s most luxurious destinations – home to several 5-star hotels and six golf courses (two of which were designed by legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus). Obviously, golfing is a popular thing to do in Punta Mita – in fact, it’s known for it!
I am not a golfer myself, so I’d be terrible to tell you the conditions of each course, but I do know that no matter which one you choose you are going to have a great time swinging on the green.
5. Whale Watch in the Banderas Bay
Punta Mita is set right on the outer edge of the lovely Bahía de Banderas (Banderas Bay) that faces Puerto Vallarta in the neighboring state of Jalisco.
That said, you have the amazing opportunity while in Punta de Mita to go whale watching in the bay and in the Pacific Ocean.
Each year, nearly 18,000 humpback whales migrate from the cold waters off the western coast of Canada and the USA and head south to mate in the warm waters of Banderas Bay.
The peak season for whale watching off the coast of Punta Mita is between mid-December to late January, although sometimes the season can last longer into February or even March.
Remember – observe, don’t disturb!
6. Shop & Dine in Downtown Punta Mita
Punta Mita is has a classy downtown area where you can window shop in local boutiques and go eat out in upscale restaurants.
Head to Avenida Las Redes to find a dozen adorable shops teeming with indigenous Huichol textiles and boho-chic beachwear. Make sure to stop by and check out Sea & Salt Beachstore, Mexican Soul, Corazon Sagrado, Niña Catrina, R2 Fashion, Mita Mita, and one of my favorites – Mar de Sueños. You can also find more shops in the upscale Plaza Ollin shopping mall on this road.
In this area, you will also find a handful of fine dining restaurants. For gourmet Italian, head to Casa Teresa. For Mexican and seafood, hit up Restaurante Tuna Blanca or La Rústica Mita. Hector’s Kitchen, Lobster Paradise, and Si Sushi are also delicious restaurants in Punta Mita!
You could even go to the spa or a beach club for the day if you’d like!
7. Lounge on Punta Mita’s Best Beaches
The public Playa de Punta Mita is not the only beach you’ll find here. In addition to La Lancha, you also have the public beach at Playa Careyeros, El Anclote Beach, and the hidden surf spots of The Cove, El Anclote, Punta Burros, and El Faro.
If you are looking for more beaches, then take a quick drive to nearby communities. Litibú beach is an idyllic beach in Higuera Blanca. And then, of course, there are the surf beaches in neighboring Sayulita.
8. Hike up to Monkey Mountain
If you want to do an outdoor activity in Punta Mita, then you can go for a hike up to the highest mountain in the area for panoramic views of the coast – Monkey Mountain (Cerro del Mono).
Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit is home to the Sierra Madre Mountain range which can be seen on full display and stretches across several states from Jalisco all the way north to Sonora.
Monkey Mountain lies just north of Punta Mita. To get there, head through the community of Higuera Blanca. The trailhead begins nearby Mi Chapparito Rancho.
The total hike takes around 4 hours to complete. Make sure to wear proper closed-toed shoes (not sandals) and pack lots of water and a few energizing snacks. If you aren’t comfortable going on your own, you can also book a guided tour with WildMex.
10. Day Trip to Sayulita and San Pancho
Last but not least, if you are vacationing on the Punta Mita peninsula then you will be very closeby to two very special beach towns in Nayarit – Sayulita and San Pancho.
Sayulita is a designated pueblo mágico alive with colorful papel picado flags, artisanal markets, palm-tree-lined beaches, boho-chic boutiques, and lots of lively bars, restaurants, and cafes. It also boasts the regional Huichol Cultural Center, which showcases and supports the local Huichol indigenous population in Nayarit. Here are the top 20 things to do in Sayulita!
San Pancho is an even more charming Mexican pueblo that’s a must-visit especially if you enjoy a more sustainable, down-to-earth vibe. The community of San Pancho is eco-warriors dedicated to preserving the natural environment. Here, you can volunteer at the incredible Entreamigos Community Center, go horseback riding, or help release baby sea turtles into the ocean, or watch a fiery sunset on the San Pancho Beach. Here are 40 awesome things to do in San Pancho!
As you can see, there are many things to do in Punta Mita that combine a tad of luxury with adventure!
Definitely don’t miss out on taking a surfing lesson at Playa La Lancha or going to take a swim to Playa Escondido hidden inside the Marieta Islands.
I hope this travel guide to Punta Mita helps plan your trip to this lovely peninsula in the Riviera Nayarit.
If you have any more questions about things to do in Punta Mita or where to eat, play, stay, feel free to reach out or drop your questions in the comments below.
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Featured image credit: PuntaMita.com