15 MAR 2017: Two of my greatest passions in life are golf and food. Fortunately, I get the best of both on the Bay of Banderas in Riviera Nayarit, one of Mexico’s top golf and gourmet destinations. Every year, I make it my “duty” to play Nayarit’s top designer courses, eat at the best restaurants and report back to you - hard work but someone’s got to do it!

Shark Tracks and Birdie

Litibu, the newest of the Mexican government's Fonatur projects (the first was Cancun), means "song of the birds" in the language of the local Huichol Indians. With luck you’ll be able to chirp about a few birdies on this spectacularly challenging tract that meanders over jungle, mountain and oceanside fairways. This year the course is in the best condition yet. They also have a smart new clubhouse and snack bar overlooking the driving range.

Litibu hosted the International Canadian Golf Tour Tournament in 2010, its inaugural year. This helped to bring much deserved international attention to the Greg Norman (a.k.a. the Great White Shark) design located between Sayulita and Punta Mita.

From the tips, Litibu measures 7,022 yards. Number one is a narrow palm-lined par-four to a green protected by water—an indication that Norman’s challenge will be no walk in the park. You can let it rip on the uphill second par-five. At the number three green, golfers are treated to the roar of waves and beach below.

Norman’s par-threes at Litibu are outstanding. Surf’s up on the fourth, a downhill poke to a postage stamp green with a gorgeous view of the point at the end of the Bay of Banderas called Punta Mita. Another memorable par-three is the eighth where you must plop your ball on an almost-island green.

On the back nine Norman takes you on merry romp toward the undulating foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains. Sixteen and seventeen are uphill battles fraught with plenty of bunkers. If you can make it through these two fairways without needing your wedge, you deserve a cerveza or three. The stunning grand finale, number 18, brings you to an elevated green with views of the Pacific frothing below. www.golftourismmexico.com/litibu-english.asp

Whatever/Whenever at W Punta de Mita

The hippest new kid on the beach in Riviera Nayarit has to be W Punta de Mita. Part of the multi-use oceanfront development, Los Veneros, W, opened in June 2016, was inspired by the bohemian surf culture on Mexico’s Pacific Coast.

The wow factor starts at the entrance where visitors are greeted by a cheeky statue and then taken by tuk tuk to the Living Room (W’s take on lobby) decorated with whimsical Mexican folk art. Leading toward the Wet Deck (W’s take on pools) and beach, the Camino Huichol is a bright blue and green mosaic tiled walkway.

W offers five dining choices. The unique Chevicheria, located on the beautiful white sand beach, serves innovative ceviches, hand-crafted cocktails and beers from the back of a converted 1950s Chevrolet truck. Ceviche Nayarit is a zesty combination of scallops, onion, cucumber, jicama and avocado puree with passion fruit.

Later I chilled out at W’s AWAY Spa. Out on the relaxation deck under a giant fig tree, I alternated between soaking in various warm and cool pools before my massage in a treatment room with a partial glass floor over a fishpond. Very cool.

W Punta de Mita celebrates the brand’s four passions— music, design, fashion and fuel—with whimsical style complimented by its Whatever/Whenever service philosophy that provides guests with whatever they want whenever they want it.

www.whotels.com/PuntadeMita


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author

Anita Draycott

Quite aside from being an award winning writer, whose travel articles and photography regularly appear in golf and lifestyle publications and websites, Anita Draycott is a self confessed golf fanatic, who has chased dimpled white balls over five continents.  

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