The Four Seasons Punta Mita has a special excursion that will have you exploring the sea in search of your next meal.

By Stacey Leasca
July 12, 2020
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Credit: Courtesy of Four Seasons

Editor’s Note: Travel might be complicated right now, but use our inspirational trip ideas to plan ahead for your next bucket list adventure.

There’s something lurking under the ocean’s surface just off the coast of Punta Mita, Mexico. And it’s mighty tasty.

In the “before time,” you know, that time before the coronavirus took hold of the world and put international travel on hiatus, I took a journey to the tiny beach community of Punta Mita, a stunning peninsula located 10 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. There, I paid a visit to what can only be described as one of the most idyllic hotels on earth, the Four Seasons Punta Mita.

On any other visit to a beach town like this, I’d be singularly focused on lounging on the sand and napping to the sound of the ocean waves softly lapping the shore — but not here. Instead, I was here to go to work with the hotel’s head chef, Jorge González, on a sea foraging adventure to catch my own meal. And, as the hotel opens its doors once again, he’s inviting all of you to come to visit and take part in the same excursion.

Credit: Stacey Leasca
Credit: Stacey Leasca

“Everything we are going to take we are going to eat,” González says as we throw on water shoes and prepare to enter the sea right in front of the property in search of a few ocean treats. Namely, he tells me, we’re looking for sea urchins, snails, and a little seaweed to enjoy for a salty and satisfying afternoon snack.

The newest excursion offering from the Four Seasons Punta Mita highlights a number of special things about this unique property. For one thing, it’s about spending time with one of the best chefs in the business. But it’s also about allowing guests to dig a little deeper into their accommodation’s surroundings, learn important lessons about human-to-ocean ecology, and passively give back to local non-profits all at once.

“What connects you to the places you travel? You need to eat the food, drink the water, and envelop yourself in the place,” Sebastian Melani, the owner of SpearMex and a world record-holding spearfisherman, who accompanies the chef and guests on every sea foraging excursion, explains as we wade deeper into the warm, crystal-clear waters.

Throughout the experience, Melani is there to guide guests, explain every little creature along the way, and help both the chef and guests pluck only what they need from the water to ensure nobody is wasteful.

The sea foraging part of the excursion, including a small introductory lesson on ocean creatures and our responsibilities as stewards of the ocean, takes about an hour and a half total. Bookable via the hotel’s Concierge Team, the excursion costs $275 per couple, with part of those funds going toward one of the Four Seasons Punta Mita’s many partner non-profit programs. That includes its turtle release program with Red Tortuguera de Sayulita, as well as Fundación Punta de Mita, and the Four Seasons Punta Mita’s own program, AyudarNOSmueve.

Following the sea harvest, guests can either choose to sit back, relax, and have their treats served to them, or cook alongside the chef. I chose the former as I also wanted to belly up to the hotel’s seaside bar for a margarita. There, I was hand-delivered a divine plate filled with the same sea urchins and snails we picked from the rocks, only this time they were smothered in coconut milk and hearty chunks of sea salt. While I wish I could take credit for its delicious taste due to my harvesting powers, all that praise belongs to Chef González, who sat smiling ear-to-ear as I devoured each delicious and hard-foraged bite.

Credit: Stacey Leasca

Of course, this experience is just the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to just how spectacular a stay with this property really is.

From the sweeping views of the ocean, the playfulness of the property thanks to its many pool and ocean toys — not to mention its own lazy river — along with its relaxing spa experience and plush guest accommodations, it’s truly a place where one can escape the world, even for just a few days. It’s also a place where guests can feel safe to visit as soon as they feel ready to travel again.

“With our prime location only a short flight away, guests can celebrate the rich culture of Mexico and reconnect with their family and friends one sunset at a time,” John O’Sullivan, general manager of the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, shared in a statement about the re-opening. “Our ‘mi casa, su casa’ philosophy is at the heart of everything that we do and we look forward to inviting guests back to experience the true spirit of Mexican hospitality.”

The 52-acre property is indeed “primed” for social distancing with plenty of space to roam free and will now even allow guests to pre-reserve lounge chairs by the pool and beach to ensure they can remain a safe distance from other guests. And really, guests may never want to leave those chairs as a poolside ice cream attendant, sunglass doctor, and churro maker, will all be there to attend to their needs.

Guests can also enjoy a responsible workout in the outdoor gym, go for a hike, or do nothing at all inside their private suites, all of which will come with enhanced cleaning and safety protocols thanks to the Four Seasons’ global Lead With Care program. The only thing I insist all guests do is either go on this same sea-foraging excursion or, at the very least, dine in one of the hotel’s 10 open-air restaurants. This way, they can leave knowing they had a true taste of what Mexico has to offer.