Wild beauty and well-being are everywhere at Imanta Punta de Mita. Nestled in the equatorial forest, bordering the Pacific Ocean, it is the ideal place to experience this exhilarating feeling of change of scenery and enjoy the wonders of Mexican nature.
The drive to Imanta is through a picturesque, sleepy little village out of a Robert Rodriguez film. When you reach the first gate, this leads to a further ten-minute drive through the jungle to the second gate, then a further five-minute drive to reach the resort buildings. Set in 250 acres of jungle and beach, you are secluded in a private world of nature and luxury.
The property is dotted with large pieces of original Huichol sculpture collected by the resort’s owners. The guestbook overlooks a Japanese-style sand garden, with a different drawing ready to greet you every morning.
The entire resort has only 12 different accommodations, incredibly intimate and private. Like many aspects of the hotel, there is attention shown to the Huichol (indigenous local culture), with every name for the villas, rooms, and restaurants being in Huichirica, the Huichol language.
With only a dozen accommodation options, there are never many people at the resort, meaning you will often have the property’s amenities to yourself, perfect for a Mexican honeymoon or just a dreamy, romantic getaway.
We were greeted by the friendly staff with cool cocktails and cold towels before having our luggage whisked off to our villa and being given a brief tour of the property and amenities. The gym has beautiful views from every machine and looks over the jungle and beach from different viewpoints. The spa is something else entirely – I’ll come back to that shortly!
On top of the main building, there is a terrace space with 360° views that would rival some of the best in Morocco! This area has a refreshing infinity pool with one of the best views I have ever seen, and a beautiful lounge area with views both over the jungle across the beach and far out to sea. It is also home to the bar and one of the most knowledgeable and passionate drinks maestros that we met in Mexico.
Having come to grips with the main building, we walked down the carved stone steps and along simple paths cut into the manicured jungle. Our villa was coddled in this oasis of shade and cool, with the light dancing through the palm fronds as a refreshing breeze invigorated the entire area. It was a mystical effect and made the whole landscape feel magical, in a hidden-fairy-kingdom kind of way!
Awaiting us outside our villa was a staff member holding a tray of handmade artisanal soaps, all different, from which to choose our favorite for our stay. From almond, roses, and cinnamon to avocado and herbs, and, of course, soft lavender – the choice was difficult, but I went for lavender, as I find it the most relaxing scent.
This was one of the most incredible resort villas I have ever stayed at: The bed is huge and the super-high ceilings make you feel light and airy, while giving the whole space a sense of peace and relaxation. The decoration is traditional, tasteful, and minimal, but full of character, merging the luxury of the rooms perfectly with their amazing surroundings.
The giant, hand-carved stone bathtub sits in the center of the opulently large bathroom suite and is the undeniable star of the room, a real whole rock, simply too heavy to move, carved into a tub and the room built around it. There is plenty of space with separate dressing areas, shower, his and her sinks, and facilities.
Just to the left of the bedroom, you will find large sliding patio doors onto the terrace, with your own large infinity pool. This magnificent heated pool is overlooked by another huge, double-bed sun lounger and the ocean is just a 90-second walk away!
There is a small, private dining area with a natural, heart-shaped, polished-wood table on our balcony facing the ocean. We loved the space and had room service by the pool twice! A smorgasbord of amazing flavors and dishes were delivered with aplomb by the excellent team. It was not until we had finished that we noticed we had visitors in the form of two super cute pisotes (coatis) peeking in on us, looking for scraps! They are equally cheeky and adorable! You shouldn’t feed them, as it just encourages them, and they are smart as hell, as they will open the doors if the latch is not properly closed. I loved feeling in tune with nature and being surrounded by wildlife. The garden outside our room was filled with gorgeous, sweet-smelling flowers and an array of butterflies, birds, and bees, forming our own private nature show.
On our first night, we decided to have dinner at the beach restaurant. With tables set up in the sand, it is a stunning, candlelit space with the ocean’s music playing in the moonlit darkness. Dinner was a feast prepared by Chef Miguel Munoz, including mocajete cheese (not to be missed!), a rainbow of delicious homemade tortillas, taquitos, and salsas to start. We were introduced to Mexican wine and, with trepidation, tasted the recommendation. It was a revelation: Mexican wine is really delicious, with much in common with the best wines from the U.S. To make it even more special, Imanta has their own wines, where the Chef selected the grapes and worked on the blend to create a truly special and exclusive wine made in severely limited quantities, each sporting a drawing of Imanta on the label!
The wines accompanied our main dish, a seafood festival platter perfectly cooked and mouth-wateringly juicy, all enjoyed while being serenaded by the crashing waves of the ocean only a few yards away in the darkness.
We visited the breathtaking spa the next day and could not believe the environment that has been created. I had never before seen such an incredible use of screens and gradients to create a completely open-air spa in the middle of the jungle. All the treatment areas are completely hidden from one another, yet with the feeling you are standing in the middle of the tropics!
I had a wonderful facial that left my skin feeling super-hydrated and glowing. The whole facility is beautifully luxurious with a selection of delicious fruits, teas, specialist mineral water, and carved stone tubs filled with flowers and essential oils for your post-treatment relaxation and meditation. There are hammocks strategically hung from palm trees around the spa, cleverly placed by the resort after people were probably so relaxed, they couldn’t make it out in one go!
We came back to our private oasis and ordered a room-service brunch, which was a complete delight. It was a perfectly executed Mexican spread, including fruits and the most delicious huevos rancheros and chilaquiles we had in Mexico.
We spent the rest of the day recovering from the doubleheader of amazing spa treatments and immense brunch. We took photos around the picture-perfect surroundings, lazed around the pool and garden, and enjoyed the sounds of the jungle mingling with the breaking waves. In the afternoon, we ventured out again for the agave-tasting experience. We ascended the yellow stone to the top of the main building and the observatory bar to enjoy the spectacular sunset and begin the adventure. We were escorted on our intoxicating journey through the different agave liquors by our “spirit guide,” the amazingly knowledgeable and super-friendly Gabriel Tiznado. We tried non-commercial tequila and mezcal from Oaxaca and some distilled in olla de barro. Chef Miguel joined us, giving another perspective on the drinks and their place in Mexican cuisine and how to pair them with other strong flavors.
We tried all different types of tequila, mezcal, pox, agave gin, and other agave-based artisanal liquors. We learned about the fermentation process and conservation required to ensure the best tequilas can still be produced in traditional ways. We learned about terroirs and the spices and flavors to look out for in exceptional mezcals, and the other uses for agave. I loved learning more about their local drinks and found some I really loved despite the strength, with smells like pineapple and aftertastes of honey guiding me to my favorites. We tried tequila with different accompaniments, adding flavors that enhanced and accentuated its different characteristics, depending on the combinations. We enjoyed a little taste of the Gran Patron Tequila, some of the best available in the world. I also (several drinks in!) agreed to try an agave worm, cooked inside the agave during the fermentation process, that actually tasted like a dry, very nutty cashew!
We were further introduced to the art of the Huichol people with a unique, very special, spectacularly colorful bottle decorated by hand, with no two alike, and could not resist taking one home to remind us of the special experience Imanta provided. Gabriel and Chef Miguel were incredible and made the whole experience so much more magical, fun, and special.
Before we knew it, the sun had set and we had spent far longer than we expected chatting with Chef Miguel and Gabriel and were late for dinner! Having spent the afternoon together discussing our favorite things, Chef Miguel suggested we let him pick the menu for dinner and we were excited to accept his offer. An array of deconstructed Mexican classics and modernized international dishes awaited us. Everything was really excellent, perfectly cooked, and delicious, but the mole dish with mahi-mahi was a particular favorite of mine: The flavors were incredible and unique and the presentation perfect. Our dessert was an amazing chocolate-and-chili creation ending the meal with a kick!
On our final day in paradise, we decided to have breakfast on the beach, an experience not to be missed! The location is extraordinary, a private beach only accessible from the resort, with a dramatic coastline and the most delicious breakfast yet. Be sure to try the chiles rellenos and the pancakes – both to die for! I left happy and grateful to have experienced this amazing property and the wonderful people who make it one the best resorts in the world!