For a luxuriously rustic lakeside option, in the mountains an hour’s drive south of Tepic, consider the Santa María Resort on the lush, semitropical Laguna Santa María shoreline (reserve in Tepic at Roble 210, Colonia San Juan, tel./fax 311/214-6834, toll-free Mex. tel. 01-800/786-2742, or directly at the hotel, tel. 311/213-2654, www.santamariaresort.com). Here you can experience complete relaxation on the sylvan north side of the lake, in a simply lovely chalet-style low-rise hotel that blends gracefully into its gorgeously natural semitropical woodland park, shaded by a spreading green grove of palm, pochotle, and jacaranda trees. You could while away a day or a week here, hiking in the surrounding hillside forest, swimming, kayaking or fishing on the lake, and savoring evening sunset dinners in the lakeview restaurant.
The 20 accommodations are all lovingly designed in natural wood and stone, rising to airy beamed ceilings, and opening to private lakeview patios. Select from either luxuriously spacious room suites in the hotel section ($140 d Fri.–Sun., $100 Mon.–Thurs.) to even more roomy one- and two-bedroom housekeeping cabins, sleeping four and six, respectively ($300 and $380 Fri.–Sun., $220 and $270 Mon.–Thurs.), all with ceiling fans, air-conditioning, and large bathrooms. Rates customarily rise by about 20 percent during Christmas–New Year’s, Easter, and July–August holidays. (See directions for getting there at the end of the next section.)
© Bruce Whipperman from Moon Puerto Vallarta, 7th edition