The beach in Sayulita

The beach in Sayulita

By Allison Tibaldi, Taking the Kids correspondent

Day Two, Resort Activities and a Visit to Sayulita –There are lots of activities offered at the Iberostar Playa Mita, both on and off property. Today I had the chance to experience the harmonious Spa. I booked a massage, but all adult guests are welcome to use the various plunge pools, steam and sauna at no extra charge. A multitude of massages, including Hot Stone, Thai, Shiatsu and Ayurveda, are available.

I opted for the relaxing Lavender Oil Massage, and was not disappointed with my Nirvana-inducing experience. A menu of facials and scrubs are also listed. The Spa offers young guests an array of ways to pamper themselves.  The Ice Cream Mud Massage and Choco Choco Wrap sounded good enough to eat. Manicures and a chocolate pedicure are a few kid-favorites.

There is an outdoor yoga class each morning at 10.  It is held under a gazebo, giving much needed shade from the strong sun.  Several professional dancers who preform in the hotel’s nightly show were taking the class.  If the workout was good enough for these pros, it was certainly good enough for me.  Teens who are serious about keeping in shape should enjoy it.  Your average middle-aged parent should find the stretches helpful in keeping aches and pains at bay for the duration of their trip.

If you prefer to exercise without sweating, a daily water aerobics class is the way to go.  Colorful hand-weights and an upbeat soundtrack give the class a festive air, so it feels more like a disco then a gym. 

The hotel is happy to arrange a round of golf at one of the area’s famed courses.  An 18-hole course designed by Greg Norman is next door to the hotel, plus two others designed by Jack Nicklaus are just minutes away.  You’ll tee off with stunning Pacific Ocean views.

All non-motorized sports are included in your rate.  I enjoyed taking a ride on a sea kayak. Windsurfing, tennis or a casual game of Ping Pong may suit your fancy. 

When the sun sets, you can enjoy the evening’s live show, starting at 9:30.  Hire a babysitter and hit lively disco to dance the night away.

The beach in Sayulita

The beach in Sayulita

If you feel like leaving the grounds, consider an afternoon visit to laid-back Sayulita, a few minutes drive from the hotel.  The concierge arranged our transportation.  The crescent-shaped beach is fringed with tall palms.  You will see fishermen sharing the beach with surfers and hippies.  Surf and boogie board rentals are available and it is easy to find surf lessons for a low price.  Part of the beach has a gentle shore break, making it perfect for novices, while a more challenging break is only a few feet away, so exercise caution.  We didn’t see any lifeguards.

With all the food included in your stay at the Iberostar, you probably don’t want to eat in Sayulita. We were in need of a snack, so we headed to Don Pedro’s. The second floor terrace offers sweeping views of the ocean that will make your drink and simple appetizer taste even better.  If you are traveling with a teen whose appetite is never satiated, the pizza here is delicious.

Sayulita is filled with souvenir shops, but the one store you shouldn’t miss is Galeria Tanana.  The shop sells traditional art and jewelry made by the indigenous Huichol people.  The Huichol are a resilient culture that date to pre-Colombian times.  Today, the Huichol live in their ancestral villages in the remote mountains of the Sierra Madre.  They are known for their elaborately detailed, intricately woven yarn paintings and colorful beaded jewelry.  You can purchase these handicrafts at Galeria Tanana, and the proceeds go to support a school for Hucihol children. The English-speaking staff is helpful, and the owner is an American who came to the area as an anthropology student and married a Huichol artist.  Your family should enjoy gazing at the colorful textiles and learning a bit about these native people.