Marriage is all about compromise, so we found the best sampling of Mexican super savers and bank busters. Mix and match the experiences for the best of both worlds — and budgets.By: Donna Heiderstadt
The economical and the extravagant coexist on this Pacific coastline stretching 192 miles north from Nuevo Vallarta, past exclusive Punta Mita and the laid-back, surfer enclave of Sayulita. There's something for everyone, from golf to ecotourism, all mixed with colorful Huichol INdian craftsmanship.
Stay: For all-inclusive ease at affordable rates, consider the Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta, a recently renovated resort in Nuevo Vallarta, making it convenient to explore both Puerto Vallarta and the less-developed coast. The 266 rooms have modern decor, while the four restaurants, beach bar, lounge bar and separate adults-only pool mean couples can enjoy quiet time (room rates start at $250 a night and are all-inclusive; occidentalhotels.com).
Photo courtesy of Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta Resort
Do: Schedule a day excursion by bus to the scenic city of Puerta Vallarta (30 minutes south) for shopping, romantic architecture or to the atmospheric fishing village of Sayulita (40 minutes north) for surfing and turtle watching.
Where to Eat: You'll be enjoying all-inclusive dining at your resort, but when in Mexico, you'll want to try a burrito. In Puerto Vallarta, head to Figueroa's Burritos for a wide array of fillings plus fajitas and salads. In Sayulita Burrito Revolution has giant portions and spicy sauces.
Stay: If luxurious decor, locally-inspired dining, surreal sunsets, spa time (or even tea time) are priorities, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita delivers on all counts. Featuring 173 rooms and suites, four restaurants, three bars, three pools, two Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses (with oceanfront greens), a new surf school and a serene spa, this resort indulges every appetite — especially if you like tequila, since the property stocks 120 options (room rates start at $695 a night; fourseasons.com).
Do: The Bay of Bandera's biodiversity means nature-loving couples can whale watch (from December to March), enjoy a dolphin adventure or explore the rocky Marietas Islands, which are frequented be sea turtles and manta rays. Unwind afterward with a side-by-side signature Punta Mita massage, which incorporates tequila and sage.
Where to Eat: Four Seasons' four restaurants offer everything from Asian-fusion to Mexican-spiced burgers, but if you crave something along the lines of artichokes stuffed with lobster, foie gras and truffle, reserve a table at Carolina Restaurant in the nearby St. Regis Punta Mita Resort.