Located on Mexico’s central Pacific coast and hugged by the towering Sierra Madre mountains, the rugged coast of Riviera Nayarit offers a surprising mix of small towns and luxury resorts. For a dose of the region’s laid-back, laid-back roots, opt to visit the beach towns of Sayulita and San Pancho, where a smoothie bar and trendy cafe are always close at hand. For loftier stays, there’s the 1,500-acre Punta Mita Peninsula, an exclusive gated community with a somewhat arid climate that’s home to resorts like the Four Seasons and St. Regis. Further north and with a verdant jungle ecosystem filled with tropical foliage and towering mountain peaks is Mandarina, a resort best known for the One&Only Mandarina. At this ultra-luxurious property, each private villa stay comes with a dedicated butler.
In the far south of Mexico, Chiapas, a mountainous region that borders Guatemala, offers a vast landscape of tropical forest where the country’s coffee and cocoa trees flourish. To explore the vast network of Mayan archaeological sites and Spanish colonial architecture in the area, most travelers base themselves in one of two cobblestone towns: San Cristóbal de las Casas or Chiapa de Corzo. Perhaps Chiapas’ best-known cultural site is Palenque, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with over 200 architectural structures and a verdant ecosystem of streams and waterfalls. For the adventurous, a boat trip through the Sumidero Canyon provides up-close access to the site’s vertical walls, some rising over 2,500 feet.
About an hour south of Tijuana, where the towering peaks of the Sierra de Juárez mountains merge with the Pacific Ocean, lies the arid wine region of Valle de Guadalupe. A myriad of boutique stays are available like Encuentro Guadalupe, a hotel with rectangular eco-pods spread across a 40,000-acre ecological reserve, as well as Casa 8, private suites set in and near Bruma’s 225-acre vineyards. of the famous Fauna restaurant, by chef David Castro Hussong. The region’s wine route is home to many wineries and foodie outposts, including the Aborigen family winery, where the natural wine label, Piel de Luna, is produced, as well as restaurants like Deckman’s in El Mogor, a Restaurant-style ranch with house specialties like smoked barbecue and fresh Kumiai oysters.