Photographer Anna Petrow recounts the changes Punta Mita has seen over the years, and admires how the village still retains its charm.
PUNTA MITA, Mexico – I have visited Punta Mita nearly every year since I was a young girl. I have seen the town slowly transform from a dusty, sleepy little fishing village into a community thriving with visitors and artists alike. At first, it was a transformation I resented. I remember being so afraid that this low-key gem would turn into the Señor Frogs-ridden spring break destination of my nightmares. Thankfully, it has done nothing of the sort. These days, the people are just as friendly, the dogs just as mangy, and the chilaquiles just as spicy (and still, miraculously, only 30 pesos).
The generous and talented people of Punta Mita have wielded the influx of visitors to build and sustain the kinds of attractions you would never expect to find on a secluded peninsula. Five-star restaurants serving jalapeño margaritas give the resorts a run for their money. Galleries tucked unassumingly between local grocerias sell painstakingly detailed beaded jewelry and rare art.
Yet nothing about this growth or advancement has lent the town an ounce of pretension. The pit bull is still scared of the chihuahua, fishermen still see no need for shoes even on the hottest of days, and street hawkers will still try to sell you more hammocks than you can swing on. That's the charm of the place: After all these years, it still maintains every ounce of its authenticity. For that we have the Punta Mita locals to thank.
Punta Mita is still home to many Huichol people, a native tribe dating back to the Aztecs. They held a belief that Punta Mita was a place for spiritual renewal. And despite recent modernization and development, it feels true. There is something uniquely captivating about this place. It only takes a few mango margaritas or an early morning walk into town to see it. Right as you spot a humpback whale in the distance — just between the shore, where soft cantina music drifts in from the kitchen, and the hazy mountains across the bay — that something sinks in. Every sound is a song, every bite is a new flavor, every stranger is a friend. Everything and everyone seems to be at peace, and that's not likely to ever change.