Like many people during the pandemic, I not only needed a vacation, but I needed a wellness escape to conquer burnout and cabin fever. Knowing that travel can rejuvenate, refresh, and restore, I headed to the perfect destination to do just that—Conrad Punta de Mita, a contemporary Mexican resort on the west coast in the Riviera Nayarit region.
Set along the naturally restorative ocean waters near Puerto Vallarta, the property takes a holistic approach to well-being, incorporating experiences to feed the mind, body, and soul.
From check-in to check-out, this luxurious resort weaves wellness into every aspect of your journey, from subtle, soothing design elements to the more obvious experiences at the spa, fitness center, and culinary offerings.
After a 45-minute drive from the airport, I arrived. Tucked away in the Litibu gated community amidst lush, tropical landscaping, the secluded resort immediately transported me away from the worries of life. As I stepped into the open-air lobby, indigenous art, nature, and symbolism greeted me at every turn, reminding me of the rich sensory experience that wellness can deliver.
From the Huichol “dream animals” captured in paintings to the woven tapestries adorning the walls to the symbolic “portal entryway” signifying my arrival into a new dimension, the resort lobby welcomed me with traditional Mexican hospitality. As I soaked in the stunning view straight to the ocean, I melted into the serene atmosphere before I even made my way to my suite.
Following the winding paths, I arrived at my oceanfront king suite—one of 265 well-appointed guest rooms—to explore my home-away-from-home for the next four days. With plenty of room to kick back and relax, the spacious suite soothed my soul with its muted coastal décor, a tranquil complement to the natural beauty of the area. The enormous walk-in shower and freestanding soaking tub beckoned me to unwind after traveling from Florida.
I peeked onto the patio to discover not only breathtaking views, but my own private plunge pool overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Besides offering the perfect way to unwind at the end of the day, I enjoyed a sumptuous floating breakfast here one morning just after sunrise. Pure bliss!
Nothing evokes wellness better than a visit to the spa, so of course, I indulged in a few hours of pampering. Much of it, for me, took place outdoors. On my way to my first experience, Temazcal (meaning “house of heat”), I passed by the Mayans’ sacred Ceiba tree, prominently featured in the lush courtyard, yet another nod to the region’s culture and tradition.
When I heard Alex, the shaman, blowing a conch shell horn, it signified the start of the group Temazcal experience. This Huichol ritual “to purify and heal your mind, body, and soul” took place in a dome-shaped stone structure symbolizing a mother’s womb. But before we entered, the shaman performed an energy cleansing of each guest, with gentle puffs of smoke and quiet prayers of well-being embracing participants like a warm hug. We each wrote down on paper what we wanted to let go of in our lives and what we wanted to invite into our lives, then ceremoniously tossed the paper into the fire to release our intentions into the universe.
Inside the structure, the shaman led us through a four-part purification ritual (each with its own symbolism) that included herbal steam (thanks to hot rocks and water-soaked rosemary branches), chanting, and guided meditation. The profound experience brought one participant to tears. After this physical and spiritual cleansing, we enjoyed cool outdoor showers, fresh fruit, delicious rehydration drinks, and a relaxing swim in the secluded spa pool.
Next, I chose an outdoor “jungle spa experience” demonstrating the traditional Huichol culture. Called the Pe’eetïpi (Deep Rest) Signature Massage, this relaxing treatment used local essential oils to help regulate sleep, relieve headaches, and restore depleted energy through light pressure massage.
Surrounded by lush, tropical foliage, my treatment took place in a private, thatched hut in the spa garden, with speckled sunlight, gentle ocean breezes, and chirping birds as my sensory backdrop. This deeply rejuvenating experience melted away any remaining stress I’d carried with me. I capped off my massage with some dried fruit, nuts, and refreshing beverage—Manzana and Piná Apple and Pineapple Infusion to detoxify the body and improve digestion—back in the spa’s relaxation room.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight the amazing culinary experiences that nourished me during my stay. From plant-based dinners at Mezquite to fresh, local seafood at Codex, these open-air, beachfront restaurants provided palate-pleasing starters, entrees, and sides beautifully presented. With live music amping up the festive atmosphere one night and blazing sunsets peeking through the mangroves, these outdoor culinary adventures invited me to linger over local standouts like Tamal de Elote Uchepo (green pipián, curd cheese, mulato chili powder), fresh-caught lobster, Burrata Bruleé, and Vegetarian Mextlalpique (guajillo chile and garlic sauce).
Seven distinct restaurants, lounges, and bars dot the property, allowing me to discover authentic, fresh selections at every meal—including the fantastic, made-to-order breakfast tortillas on Arbol’s outdoor terrace.
While I had an itinerary sprinkled with several wellness experiences, I also aimed to immerse myself in this beautiful space—the suite, the grounds, the beach—with nothing on the agenda other than “restore and renew.” The resort offered plenty of opportunities to book an excursion, play golf, go paddleboarding, play pickleball, or go kayaking. But I enjoyed just exploring the outdoors, whether traipsing barefoot on the beach, ambling along the resort’s winding walkways, or dipping into the refreshing pools while I spotted hummingbirds, butterflies, and green lizards.
One morning, I woke up early to attend a sunrise yoga class, led by a friendly instructor named Venus. With my yoga mat front and center for unfettered beachfront views, I found my morning Zen as Venus guided our movements, with gentle reminders to “inhalar, exhalar” in rhythmic cadence that matched the crashing waves.
Another morning, I went for a walk on the beach, heading north towards Monkey Mountain, which juts above the ocean. Along the way, I spotted a family of crabs racing along the sand and a white ibis hunting for breakfast in the shallow waters. These peaceful ways to relax and unwind reminded that wellness can also be simple—nature, movement, presence.
After four blissful days, I left Conrad Punta de Mita feeling refreshed and renewed—exactly the wellness escape I needed.