Wine Tasting by L’Astore Masseria | Puglia, Italy | Of course no visit to Puglia, in the South of Italy, in the region of Salento, can be complete without a proper local wine and olive oil degustation at a traditional Masseria (a typical agricultural estate) and a cooking class. Well we did both… For the first one, we came to the town of Cutrofiano, on our way to the city of Lecce, to visit the estate of L’Astore Masseria. L’Astore wines are favorites of celebrities like Mick Jagger and Helen Mirren. During our degustation, matched with local tapas delights, we tasted three wines. My favorites were the Massaro Rosa wine made out of Negroamaro grapes, and the white Krita made of Malvasia Bianca grapes, all local Salento region grapes. Continue reading Wine Tasting by L’Astore Masseria
Riviera Nayarit by Carlos Melia | 429 MAGAZINE | My article on Riviera Nayarit, based on my full week stay hosted by Fours Seasons Punta Mita is OUT and online at 429 Magazine. Check it out. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
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Riviera Nayarit | Riviera Nayarit, Mexico | Relatively unknown to many international travelers until only a few years ago, the Riviera Nayarit may be a fresh destination on the Mexico tourism travel scene. Just north of Puerto Vallarta, in the neighbor state of Jalisco, Mexico and spanning over 190 miles along the Pacific coast of Nayarit, Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit is not only a perfect holiday destination, but also the ideal place where many are establishing their temporary or permanent residence. Invited by the Four Seasons Punta Mita, I spend over a week exploring the destination and the many small villages and fishing towns that form this charming Riviera. There are nearly 200 miles of sandy beaches, resort hotels and attractions, siting at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountain range.
I visited some of the towns within the coastal line of the Riviera, like the famous Litibu Beach, the happening Bucerias, Cruz de Huanacaxtle, and the up and coming Nuevo Vallarta, but I fell in love with two of them in particular Sayulita and Punta de Mita, just minutes away from my hotel, where we came for a lovely outdoor dinner over Anclote Beach at Rosa Mexicano. Special thanks to Richard Zarkin from the Tourism Office of Riviera Nayarit, for taking a full day to introduce me to this region of unspoiled beauty. Unfortunately time was not on my side, and I missed visiting San Blas, from what I heard, the ultimate fishing village experience, a tropical Oasis, filled with tradition among estuaries, mangroves and hundreds of birds and spectacular marine life. FYI this is where you will get the fresh giant Blue Shrimps.
Sayulita, known by many as the trendy hippie chic town, full of local and international surfers. A very bohemian, chilled feel with cobblestone streets hosting dogs, chickens and playing children, Sayulita is a half-century away from nearby Puerto Vallarta and it’s huge resorts, discos and parasailing. I must say that I was not fully crazy about the beach, but of course coming from the Four Seasons Punta Mita, that was a whole statement. I was highly recommended for lunch or dinner at Don Pedro and/or Tacos on the Street. If you choose to stay overnight, there are two quaint hotels, KUPURI and Hotel Petit d’Hafa. I wish I could have spent the afternoon there and see the village lighting up after sunset. Maybe next time.
From there we moved to San Francisco, or as many call it San Pancho, yet another quaint fishing village, nestled between the verdant Sierra Madre Mountains and jungle and a long stretch of pristine Pacific coast. The great thing about Riviera Nayarit is that you can spend over a week driving along the shore and staying every night at a different village, to truly capture the essence and soul of each of them. In this case, if you plan to overnight at San Francisco, I would recommend Hotel Cielo Rojo.
Bucerias and Nuevo Vallarta where the last two stops. This two more urban and developed, in particular Nuevo Vallarta, which of the years has taken over the presence of Puerto Vallarta. Nuevo Vallarta us like stepping into Collins Ave. in South Beach, with lots of new High Risers and modern developments and hotels.
If you happen to stop by, have a drink at the INSU Sky Bar and Pool Lounge, at the rooftop of the Marival Residences & Spa. Great panoramic views of the shores of Nuevo Vallarta, along with lounge music and great drinks. My personal take the Beer Bloody Mary, a true mexican Michelada.
Most say that one of the best beaches in Riviera Nayarit is Litibu, and although they are fairly close, rival by Manzanilla Beach and Las Cuevas Beach, I found my own personal favorite at the brand new self-named IMANTA Beach, right next to Litibu Beach, part of the new hotel development of IMANTA Resort.
The Marieta Islands, is also a must during your visit to this region. A group of small uninhabited islands a few miles off the coast with two main volcanic formations dating from 60K years ago, each called Redonda (Rounded) and Larga (Long). Known as the Galapagos of Mexico, home to the beyond cute Blue Footed Boobies.
Riviera Nayarit enjoys a tropical climate with average 80 degree temperatures. During these winter months, temperatures can dip to about 70 degrees. December to February is the peak season for vacationing tourists. Rainy season is between June and October.
Nayarit is a multicultural, multiethnic and multilingual state, flavored with the lifestyle and traditions of the cultures that provide its depth and identity. Its four tribes of indigenous people, the Huicholes, Coras, Tepehuanes and Mexicaneros, still exist today and visitors can take tours to their communities to learn about some of the ethnic group’s ceremonies, lifestyles and artistic creations.
Riviera Nayarit, is a true piece of heritage, that began at the Isla de Mexcaltitan, from what they say a true magical place. A small man-made island-city off the coast in the municipality of Santiago Ixcuintla, Nayarit. Legend has it that it was the Aztlan of the Aztecs, their home city and birthplace from where they set out on their pilgrimage in 1091 that led them to the founding of Tenochtitlan. Mexcaltitan, comes from Mexalli “mezcal” and Titlan “abundance of”. Mexcaltitan is known also as the Venice of Mexico. Many reasons to visit Riviera Nayarit right. CM @ Carlos Melia Recommends
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