José Manuel Amaro — W Punta de Mita, Mexico

by Matthew Wexler
José Manuel Amaro W Insider W Punta de Mita

Passionate about the hospitality industry since he was 19 years old, José Manuel worked as a flight attendant for several years before cultivating his skills as a concierge.

Matthew Wexler

What are some of the resort’s menu and cocktail highlights that celebrate the region’s culinary heritage?

One of our signature cocktails is the Piwiwi. This refreshing cocktail, named after a typical beach bird from the region, is the craft version of the traditional Mexican Paloma, made with hibiscus-infused tequila, Ancho Reyes liquor, fresh grapefruit juice, agave, honey, lime juice, and soda. For authentic Mexican cuisine, Chevychería is a must! A vintage 1950s Chevy truck has been converted into a beachside bar where fresh ceviche is made to order. Our chef prepares ceviche in front of guests, still salty from the ocean, while they relax on bar stools and sip signature cocktails from our menu (creatively designed in the shape and style of a traditional candy skull). My favorites are the Coconut Ceviche and the Red Tuna Ceviche!

Are there opportunities to get hands-on regarding cooking or mixology classes?

Our resort features a weekly Mezcal Lab, led by Head Mixologist Alex Montes de Oca. Alex is an expert in tequila and mezcal and creates a fantastic presentation where guests can sample Mexican spirits with authentic local accompaniments such as fresh pineapple and worm salt. Groups visiting the resort can also book a cevichemaking class with our Chevychería chef. We occasionally offer special booking packages for individual guests that include the ceviche-making class as well.

What are some of your favorite local experiences for day trips?

Here are my recommendations for different types of travelers and those that want to experience the region’s diverse offerings: The City Explorer: Sayulita (www.sayulita.com) is a surfer’s town with a colorful, bohemian-chic atmosphere where people of all ages and from all over the world can find something they enjoy. Its cobbled streets, local cuisine, art galleries, and boutiques are just some of the things that draw travelers to this famous beach town.

Formally known as San Francisco, San Pancho (www.rivieranayarit.com/destinations/san-francisco), is Sayulita’s sweet little neighbor to the north. San Pancho shares Sayulita’s small-town feel and beachfront locale, but it’s a much different place. The area is known for La Patrona Polo & Equestrian Club (Prolongación África S/N. Tel: +52-1- 322-146-7714. www.lapatronaclub.com), where you can watch the horses and riders at play, or even take a polo lesson. While it can be compared to Sayulita in terms of offering great boutiques, bars, and restaurants, San Pancho has a sleepier, laidback vibe with beaches that are still more frequented by locals than tourists.

 

Ocean Adventure: A trip to the Marietas Islands is not to be missed. This group of uninhabited islands is located a few miles east of Punta de Mita in an area known for its excellent snorkeling and diving. Visitors can swim through a small cave to access Hidden Beach, where a crater of unparalleled beauty is located—it’s awesome! With crystal waters and white sands, it’s hard to believe that the islands were previously used by the Government to carry out military practices. Local ecological authorities now protect the islands.

Culture and Cuisine: San Sebastián del Oeste is Pueblo Magíco—local areas dubbed “magic towns” by the Mexican government due to their cultural and historical significance (Sayulita is one as well). With mining origins that peaked during the colonial period, a visit here transports travelers back in time: its churches, ranches, and old mines remain relatively unchanged despite the years gone by.

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