Mexico Might Be My New Favorite Vacation Destination!

I’m trying something new for the first time this weekend — I’m vacationing in Mexico. Specifically, at the new W Punta de Mita.

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Bizarre as it may sound, I’ve never actually visited Mexico as an adult. I’ve connected at Mexico City Airport, and as a kid I stopped in Mexico on a cruise (which hardly gives you a fair representation of a place), though I’ve never otherwise visited the country. I’ve really wanted to visit Mexico City as I’ve heard great things, but haven’t had the chance yet.

It might seem odd that I’m traveling to Mexico for the first time as an adult, given that I like resorts, and it’s just a short flight from the U.S. After all, I’ve been to Bali more often than I can count, and assorted other relaxation destinations on the other side of the world.

Backwards as it may sound, I think the reason I haven’t chosen Mexico as a vacation destination up until now is because it’s so close. To me a place just feels more exotic if it takes a long time to get there. And thanks to our miles & points hobby, getting to exotic places in style is quite easy, and in many cases is much of the fun of going somewhere.

Up until now, flying to the Maldives in Etihad first class or to Bali in Cathay Pacific first class hasn’t exactly been an inconvenience — it has been part of the fun.

So, what do I make of my first “real” resort vacation in Mexico? I’m loving it, and it’s possibly the most relaxing trip I’ve taken. The things I didn’t think I’d love about it are the things that I’m finding I like most.

I thought I wouldn’t truly unwind, given that I don’t feel like I’m that far from “home.” The opposite has been true. I’ve been able to unwind and feel better than on any other vacation. I love the fact that I’m in an ideal timezone, don’t have to battle jetlag, etc. When I’m vacationing in the Maldives or Bali I usually take a nap during the day, while I don’t think I’ve yawned once during this trip. I’ve slept 10 hours at night (which is much more than I ever sleep), and have been up all day.

I’ve been able to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets on my normal schedule, and they’ve been incredible.

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As far as the W Punta Mita goes, I really like the hotel. The layout is beautiful, and I love how it both feels like a W while also having some local flair. For example, here’s the lobby:

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And here’s the pool:

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I realize the room decor looks outrageously cheesy in pictures, but I quite like it in person:

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The service has generally been friendly as well. No, you’re not going to get Balinese levels of hospitality in Mexico, but just about everyone we’ve interacted with has been genuinely friendly. It goes without saying that the food has been excellent as well — you can’t beat fresh fish, ceviche, etc.

Punta de Mita is also nice and low key. My perception of many Mexican resorts has long been that they’re filled with college students on spring break drinking out of funnels. While I’m sure that’s true some places, it’s not the case here.

I’ve ignored Mexican resort vacations for so long partly because there isn’t a fun flight involved. But from hereon out you can bet I’ll be heading down south more. I can’t recommend it enough. This really is basically the first time I’ve had a resort vacation where I wasn’t jetlagged or exhausted.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. Just returned from a long weekend in Mexico City (CDMX to locals) and it was eye-opening. Being from California I always just kind of thought, “Well, there’s a lot of Mexican influence in California already. And Mexico is so close, I’ll get around to seeing eventually, I’m sure.” Finally went down there with a group of friends and rented an Airbnb in Polanco. It’s like being in Europe, but with enough different aspects to be unique and incredibly enjoyable. If you’ve only ever been to TJ or PV or solely to resorts, you’re overdue for a visit to the capital. It’s inexpensive. I never felt unsafe. You DO have to Uber everywhere, and traffic is kind of a nightmare, which isn’t fun. But Uber is very cheap there, as is most everything at the moment. Plus, it’s truly a foodie destination. I think we had Mexican food once i the 4 days we were there. There’s just so much variety of things to eat and stuff to do. Definitely make the effort to check it out.

  2. Go check out the St. Regis. Amazing. Mexico City is also completely underrated – even if heavily promoted. Plus anything Trump hates must be great!

  3. I’ve enjoyed travels to the Caribbean (PR and Jamaica) and Latin America (Ecuador, and hope to visit Argentina and Brazil and perhaps Peru in the future), but Mexico is a country on my blacklist. The drug gangs are essentially a shadow government there, not to mention high corruption levels within the Mexican government (and police force) itself. Drug cartels can assassinate government officials more easily in Mexico than the Taliban can kill officials in Afghanistan.

    I know the tourist resorts themselves are safe and really nice, but the overall drug/violence/corruption situation make Mexico one of the most unstable countries in the Americas, IMO.

  4. Had very nice stays at the Hilton Mexico City Reforma and the Intercontinental Mexico City Polanco. So many good hotels to review! I can think of at least 5 SPG options. I disagree that you have to Uber everywhere. Took plenty of subway rides.

  5. You are experiencing what most closet red neck Americans experience. The world is not a bad place, and the problem were the close minded, racist red neck themselves.

    Can’t get rid of rednecks soon enough.

  6. haha. I’ll second the “You are getting old comment”… I’ll give you five more years before you are reviewing caribbean cruises.

    While i feel like such a tourist saying it- I enjoy an occasional Mexican beach vacation as well. But i find little culture in most of the beach destinations. I go to relax not to experience another culture. Although there is more culture and less tourist stuff inland.

  7. MEX is a fantastic city, Lucky. You’re missing out. And the crime rate there is much lower than in many US cities.

  8. Mexico is awesome. We go twice a year to Puerto Vallarta – over 2000 restaurants, many (like Cafe de las Artistes) as good as anything in New York at 20% of the price. Same time zone. Beautiful culture. Great food. Mountains and beaches. And it’s people like @Luke Vader that don’t realize they have a greater chance of getting shot in the U.S. than being robbed in MEX that keep the crowds away for the rest of us

  9. I love traveling to Mexico. I avoided it for the longest time due to fears of violence that you read in the news. A friend was getting married in Cabo several years ago, so we had to put fears aside and go. We had such a great time, we’ve been back to Cabo twice a year since!

  10. “Backwards as it may sound, I think the reason I haven’t chosen Mexico as a vacation destination up until now is because it’s so close.”

    Exactly. I’ve never really been to Mexico either, even though pretty much every major destination is, at most, a 4 hour flight from DFW. Heck, I can drive to the border in 6 hours. The best I can chalk it up to is “Mexico is next door, I can go anytime”.

  11. In PVR for long weekend -trying to chill out from the Comrade Twitter Troll inauguration – I had to wait 45 minutes in a long line for taxi to this horrible Westin Marina where SPG Club level is supposed to include turn down service (3nighrs running, no turn down service even after speaking to front desk TWICE), I won’t be returning to south of the border.

  12. Mexico is great for a quick 3-4 night getaway, but my biggest problem with is is the flood of inexperienced American travelers that go there. When I go to another country, I prefer not to be around other Americans…especially not the Americans who are not seasoned travelers. I just went this month for a 4 night escape from the Midwest winter and it was fine. But I would never go there on a longer vacation.

  13. credit, projection much? You are a hateful, close-minded little boy. The fact that you spew your bile in the comments of EVERY post is a blight on Lucky and all of us who used to like to read the comments.

  14. Travelermb – So you’re boycotting an entire country because you arrived at the airport during a busy time for pick-ups, and a hotel didn’t put mints on your pillow? You keep doing you… more al pastor tacos for me!

  15. Please go to the actual town of punta de Mita – which is about 7 miles further from the w. There are great restaurants – and the St. Regis is right there. Make sure to try Casa Teresa, sufi, and si senor!

  16. It still actually amazes me that after 8+ years of reading every points blog there is…. exactly how unworldly and superior a huge amount of Americans are. I base that on the various comments right here of how dangerous Mexico and certain other countries are. While I understand many are informed, reasonable and knowledgeable… C’mon people…you call yourself travelers??? Ha, you gain nothing from it. Or do you do it, just to feel superior and good when you return home? To feel “safer” when you set foot back on American soil?

    I guess it doesn’t help (or surprise me.. as a marker of the ignorance) when the President, no less, states Mexico is full of rapists, murderers, and a crime infested sess pool. And of course every Mexican is just begging to come to America.

    Here’s the truth (as per Wikipedia) Mexico has 7.64 firearm related deaths per 100,000 and the US… 10.54
    I am from the UK which has a corresponding 0.23 deaths, and have actually lived in Mexico and the US. Mexico feels way safer, and I assure you unless you are a wildly corrupt cop or drug dealer running a cartel somewhere isolated from any tourist area or concern, you’re gonna be just fine. Conversely just wondering into a shopping mall, cinema, gas station, airport nowadays in the United Sates could be your last day.

    Mexico, while having many problems of a developing nation and battling widespread corruption in their own society, is full of warm happy people, is steeped in wonderful colorful culture and history. It has sparkling beach resorts (as Lucky is shocked to find out it seems) amazing volcanoes, incredible mountain towns with colonial splendor, steamy jungles with ancient preserved archeological lost cities, amazing reefs for diving, massive whales causing the cost, whale sharks, huge cosmopolitan cities with superb high end dining and shopping etc etc etc.

    If you put me in Texas, I’d be climbing that orange fool’s wall to get INTO Mexico, never to return. Oh and with Donny alienating the whole world and using all of you as his enabler, the American tourist is going to feel much less welcome almost anywhere in my opinion. Which is really really a shame for the decent normal Americans that love to travel.

  17. Mexico might be your new favourite vacation destination… because of a hotel there? Wow. You really are living in a bubble.

  18. PLAYA DEL CARMEL – my favorite spot in mexico – 45 minutes from cancun (south) and across from cozmel

    0

  19. Mexico is great for a quick and easy getaway, but, like you, i havent spent much time there. If I have 2 weeks for a vacation my mind usually jumps to Japan, or South Africa, or some place thats more of a trek.

    As i’m getting older and now that I have children i’m all about the quicker, easier getaways. I’ve found Belize to be our spot the last couple of years but Mexico certainly has a lot to offer.

    And to those who complain about Mexico’s drug violence – it certainly does exist but we as Americans are just as much to blame. Legalize and the crime goes away.

  20. Lucky,

    There’s a huge difference between the college students’ spring breaking partying in Cancun vs. the lush resorts just outside of Playa del Carmen. It’s the location where most of the wealthy Mexicans and Latin Americans go to, opposed to Cancun, which is 1 hour north, closer to the airport, and overrun by slob tourism.

  21. Go to Oaxaca! Almost no chain hotels, amazing food, incredible art and artisans, mercifully few Americans (coming from an American), wonderful natural scenery, and plentiful options for excursions. It’s also very gay friendly without being over-the-top like Puerto Vallarta can be.

  22. Try to make your way down to the Zona Romantica (Old Town) section of Puerto Vallarta. It’s the historic core of the city and what’s great is that there are excellent restaurants and quaint buildings AND it’s not overrun with tourists. In fact the last time I was there it seemed most of the tourists were Mexicans on holiday. Have fun!

  23. Mexico is awesome and I it… But I got that way from staying in real places, smaller towns and local lodging. I don’t care what country it is, staying at a chain resort like this can’t give a real impression. The fact that it does for you is further evidence of how disconnected you are from the real world in your cocoon of bland western chain quasi luxury travel.

    Get out and see the real world!

  24. You should also try the St. Regis Punta de Mita which is one of the highest rated SPG properties in the World, let alone the Americas. Agreed that some of the most beautiful sunsets are in Punta de Mita. Make sure to try good tequila, like Herradura Ultra, Clase Azul.

  25. I always relax the most in Mexico and you can get direct flights on Southwest depending where you are located. Absolutely loved Cabo but you have to get to non-touristy parts to really enjoy the flavor!

  26. @AdamR “you DO have to Uber everywhere”

    I love the Mexico City subway. It’s truly an aspirational travel experience:

    1. A massage is included as 130 people crowd into a car for 36 and squeeze muscle-relaxing pressure onto each other.

    2. Aromatic essences from the perfume and natural odors of your fellow passengers complete the spa experience.

    3. Unless the fans and windows are open and working exactly right in your car, you get a free sauna at the same time.

    And all that for five pesos when the fair market value is $18,000 (based on CX First retail pricing). Truly a miles and points bargain.

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