Riviera Nayarit: Mexico’s New Playground

“Riviera Nayarit is, indeed, one of GOGO’s top-selling Mexican destinations,” says Victor Mayo, product manager for GOGO Worldwide Vacations. “It’s a hot destination because of the endless possibilities that it has to offer. Imagine almost 200 miles of pristine coastline and beaches waiting to be discovered. It’s an up-and-coming destination with brand-new resorts and resort developments.” Additionally, he says, product development is excellent here, with the likes of Four Seasons, St. Regis, Palace and Dreams Resorts & Spas already enjoying coveted locations in the area.

Yes, Riviera Nayarit is still growing, but just enough. By the time the end of 2013 rolls along, the destination will have an additional 6,308 guestrooms. Between this year and next, Riviera Nayarit is welcoming the Marival Residences & World Spa in Nuevo Vallarta, which offers all-inclusive packages; Imanta Resort in Punta Mita, which feature 3- to 6-suite casas (homes) with plunge pools or custom jacuzzis; and Taheima Wellness Resort & Spa, operated as a Deluxe Collection member of WorldHotels. In coming years, other developments will be unveiled, including a Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, Grupo Mayan and others.

According to the Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau’s director general, Marc Murphy, the combination of natural attractions and great value in this region make it particularly enticing for agents and their clients.

“Travel agents should focus on Riviera Nayarit because of the incredible value and affordability. Hotel properties are offering extraordinary added value packages that stretch the U.S. dollar far,” he says. “The region offers a variety of activities guests can participate in, whether it’s outdoor adventure, watersports, whale watching, swimming with dolphins or surfing. Riviera Nayarit is a comprehensive destination for all types of travelers. Also, in terms of safety and security, Riviera Nayarit has not experienced either a single case of swine flu or crime.

“Moreover, Riviera Nayarit has just recently launched a Truth or Dare campaign that encourages travel agents to learn more about the region via a video webinar that is both interactive and fun,” Murphy adds. This new approach, which just launched its first phase, helps agents learn about the region by highlighting its many attractions, activities, people, value for money and more. Rather than the usually humdrum seminar, the video features a humorous cast and showcases the different types of experiences that can be enjoyed here. Once agents complete the video series, they’re awarded “specialist status” and receive benefits and rewards such as bonus commission certificates, preferred status for FAMs, special perks for clients and more. Details are available at RivieraNayarit.com/todtrailer.

agent courses & good buys A few months ago, The Villa Group, which includes Villa del Palmar Flamingos and Villa La Estancia in Riviera Nayarit, as well as properties in Los Cabos, launched a Travel Agent Expert Academy—a 2-hour online course whose graduates earn incentives such as 3-night stays at the properties, special rates for agents and their families at all Villa Group Resorts and Villa Incentive Points (VIPs) that earn gift cards for posting personal Villa Group sales, as well as Continuing Education Credits from The Travel Institute and CITC and a graduation diploma.

A 4-night stay plus airfare at Villa La Estancia can start as low as $665 pp dbl through GOGO depending on departure airport, plus it comes with 20 percent off green fees, a $150 resort credit and a free stay with meals for children 12 and under.

Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta, located right on Banderas Bay, takes advantage of the region’s natural affluence by allowing quick access to golf courses, a dolphin facility and a turtle reserve. GOGO has a land-only four nighter good for booking through Dec. 23 starting at $395 and comes with a $200 credit. Kids 12 and under stay and eat free.

three days in riviera nayarit Given that many wholesalers and tour operators offer convenient 4-night packages in the destination. We can certainly come up with a fun-packed getaway highlighting the best of Riviera Nayarit.

day one Visitors are encouraged to rent a car here because the different towns in the area are all connected by one main highway, plus there’s much more to do than just sit by the beach. Start off with a drive along exuberant vegetation and secluded beaches, getting to know the area. Sign up for a 2-hour surfing primer in the village of Sayulita, known for its gentle waves and friendly locals, and explore the village in an hour or so (on foot) and do a bit of shopping.