The Magic of Mexico: Puerto Vallarta & Riviera Nayarit

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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico’s second most visited tourist destination—together with the Riviera Nayarit, a recently designated tourist destination just north of town—nestles in a narrow corridor between the emerald peaks of the Sierra Madre and the azure waters of the Pacific. In addition to state-of-the-art conference facilities, the city offers a host of meetings experts, DMCs, highly trained and motivated support staff, some 21,000 hotel rooms (more than half rated four star and above), and matchless settings for outdoor events, team building, adventures, and relaxation.

In March of 2009, the State of Jalisco opened a US$43 million convention center in Puerto Vallarta. Just five minutes from the airport and most of the city’s major hotels, the state-of-the-art, 105,000-square-foot facility aimed to boost the region’s economy by attracting more and larger groups—while also improving the environment. The center reinvests 100 percent of its profits in Estero el Salado, the surrounding 169-acre nature preserve. Contributors to this enlightened cause, whether they knew it or not, included the 900 delegates at the World Economic Forum in April 2012.

nayarit2The Riviera Nayarit extends for 192 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, encompassing posh coastal resorts, ten championship golf courses, indigenous towns, and laid-back fishing villages. Just ten minutes from the airport, Nuevo Vallarta holds most of the resorts equipped for full-scale meetings. But from tip to tip, the Riviera Nayarit offers 9,992 guest rooms rated four star and higher—all in incentive-worthy hotels that, whether large or small, regularly host meetings and events of all kinds.

After decades of building a reputation as one of the world’s top incentive destinations, the whole region came of age with designation of the Riviera Nayarit as a site for tourism development and the advent of the new convention center. Still growing, it gained seven new hotels in 2012 and 2013, five of them conference-ready—with more to follow in the next few years.

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Memory  Makers
Fresh ingredients from the fields, farms, and bay meet influences from around the globe in the kitchens of Puerto Vallarta. Dine-arounds can hop from Italian restaurants to French, Japanese, Austrian, Thai, Argentine, and Brazilian, to name just a few. Equally alluring home-style Mexican fare and gourmet versions thrill the most educated palates. Tequila connoisseurs can visit nearby haciendas to see how raicilla, a local specialty, makes its way from agave to distillery to tasting glass.

Most golfers can only dream about Puerto Vallarta’s nine golf courses: jungle-green landscapes with views of the mighty Sierra Madre on one side and the serenity of Banderas Bay on the other. Vista Vallarta, home to several PGA tournaments, serves as the brass ring for golfers with its 36 holes by Jack Nicklaus and Tom Weiskopf. Both the slope-side Vista and its seaside sibling, Marina Vallarta, welcome corporate events with open arms.

nayarit3Vallarta Adventures promises an unforgettable evening for groups. It begins with a sunset cruise from Nuevo Vallarta’s Maritime Terminal across the bay to Las Caletas, former retreat of Hollywood director John Huston (who filmed Night of the Iguana nearby). After a torch-lit dinner by the sea, guests adjourn to a jungle amphitheater to witness Rhythms of the Night, a musical extravaganza inspired by Cirque du Soleil.

Great  for  Groups:
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
All-suite, all-inclusive hospitality with ocean views and plenty of room to meet indoors or out.
www.grandvelas.com 
Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta
An all-inclusive, adults-only atmosphere on Playa las Glorias and meeting space for nearly 1,000.
www.secretsresorts.com/vallarta-bay-puerto-vallarta
Grand Luxxe Residence Club
Superluxurious residence-suites, plus 18 restaurants and bars, a world-class spa, and a seaside setting for recreation.
www.grandluxxe.com/nuevo-vallarta

 

 

 

 

 

Annette Burden

Annette Burden

Annette Burden has written and edited for Elite Meetings International since 2007. In addition to writing on travel for other publications, she founded and edited Meeting Traveler, Resorts & Great Hotels, and Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazines.

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