Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • On a beautiful sandy beach on the northern shore of Banderas Bay
  • Striking cascading, infinity-edge pool with ocean views
  • Decent restaurant housed in a palapa with beautiful ocean views
  • Well-equipped multi-room suites with kitchens and terraces
  • Stunning ocean views from many rooms
  • Small spa and a massage hut overlooking the ocean
  • Free kids’ club with activities, and kids’ menus
  • Free non-motorized water sports available

Cons

  • Fee for Wi-Fi
  • Pushy time-share sales team
  • Some rooms have older tube TVs
  • Barebones fitness center (but with ocean views)
  • Only Penthouse Suites have washer/dryers

Bottom Line

Rancho Banderas has a privileged location on a bluff above a beautiful sandy beach on the northern shore of Banderas Bay. It features 49 one-, two- and three-bedroom suites with kitchens and furnished terraces, almost half of which have great ocean views. The restaurant boasts gorgeous views of the Pacific, but many guests feel that the all-inclusive option, though inexpensive, isn't worth the money. This property is a solid pick for families and groups, and offers great whale-watching December through March. But there’s a fee for Wi-Fi and those who plan on exploring beyond the resort should note that there’s nothing within walking distance.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

The striking ocean views are the highlight at this quiet resort.

The Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas
The Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas

Rancho Banderas is a small upper-middle-range resort with a quiet, laid-back vibe. Many guests are returning time-share owners drawn by the spacious, well-equipped villas and gorgeous ocean views -- but families, groups, and couples looking to spend some relaxing days on a pretty beach will probably also find plenty of reasons to consider this property.

The hotel is perched atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, a position that allows for breathtaking views from almost half the rooms and most common areas. Both the restaurant and the pool jut out over the ocean, and so boast the most striking views -- but almost 50 percent of the rooms, as well as the spa and the tiny gym, also offer great ocean vistas.

Despite the inexpensive all-inclusive rate, there have been some complaints about food variety and service at the restaurant. Most guests choose to cook in their rooms, as all villas offer fully equipped kitchens with stainless steel appliances and dishwashers.

The most common complaints here are about the pushy time-share sales team, which will drill guests with their sales pitches. However, the resort is laid-back and quiet overall and features all the basics for a relaxing vacation, including a stunning pool and a pretty beach, as well as a small spa complete with a massage hut overlooking the ocean.

 Location

On a pretty beach on the northern shore of Banderas Bay

Rancho Banderas has a wonderful location on a bluff overlooking the ocean. It is in a small oceanfront community located off the highway connecting Punta Mita and La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, so those planning on exploring the area might feel a little removed from the action. However, La Cruz, Punta de Mita, and Bucerias offer a wide array of restaurants and shops, and there are beautiful, relatively off-the-beaten-path beaches a short drive away.

 Rooms

Well-equipped multi-room suites with terraces and kitchens

The Two-Bedroom Villa at the Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas
The Two-Bedroom Villa at the Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas

All units here are spacious one-, two- or three-bedroom suites. They feature full kitchens with stainless steel appliances, dining rooms with seating for at least four, and furnished terraces.

All rooms were renovated between 2011 and 2012, and while some still have outdated prints on upholstered furnishings and bedspreads, most have contemporary beach style, with wood and glass tables, brown wicker accents, and dark wood sliding shutters instead of curtains.

Older tube TVs are still found in some bedrooms, but all rooms feature at least one flat-screen TV and up-to-date sound systems.

 Pool

Stunning cascading pool overlooking the ocean

Pool at the Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas
Pool at the Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas

With a cascading design and an infinity edge overlooking the Pacific, the hotel’s pool is one of the most attractive features in the resort. It has several small levels, so it is not ideal for swimming long laps, but it is a great place for a refreshing dip and a pleasant spot for watching the sunset (and the whales during the migration season!).

  • Bar service available
  • Loungers and straw umbrellas on every level

 Fitness Center

Tiny, barebones gym -- but with nice ocean views

Fitness Center at the Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas
Fitness Center at the Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas

The fitness center at Rancho Banderas is nothing to write home about – it’s got three decent machines, a set of free weights, and little else. The large windows let in tons of light and offer unobstructed ocean views, and there is a flat-screen TV and two ceiling fans. It's enough for a quick workout, but it’s lacking some of the basics for a more comprehensive exercise routine.

 Spa

A small one-room spa complete with an open-air massage hut on a bluff

Spa Hut at the Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas
Spa Hut at the Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas

The spa here is housed in one of the One-Bedroom Villas adapted to offer basic spa amenities, including salon services and massages.

  • One treatment room with two beds for massages and other services
  • Open-air massage hut housed in a palapa with wonderful ocean views

 Family

Multi-room suites offer tons of space for families.

  • One-, two- and three-bedroom suites with full kitchens and living space
  • All suites come equipped with a pull-out couch.
  • Penthouse Suites can sleep up to 10 guests.
  • Free access to kids' club
  • Children's menus at Peppers Restaurant

 Food

A restaurant with striking ocean views and an adjacent bar

Peppers Restaurant at the Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas
Peppers Restaurant at the Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas
  • Peppers Restaurant serves international cuisine in a large palapa offering breathtaking ocean views.
  • Peppers Bar serves cocktails and national drinks from before lunch to late night.
  • All suites feature a fully equipped kitchen with fridge, dishwasher, microwave, coffeemaker, toaster, blender and stovetop.

 Beach

Beautiful stretch of fine sand on the northern shore of Banderas Bay

Beach at the Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas
Beach at the Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas

The hotel is located right on a beautiful beach on the northern end of Banderas Bay. There’s a small area with a few straw umbrellas and loungers, as well as a volleyball net and a few kayaks. The sand is fine and light brown, and the waves are generally fairly gentle. The beach is narrow yet long, which allows for relaxing strolls along the water, and the hotel offers free non-motorized water sports.

After a rock formation that can be reached on foot, there’s another tiny beach, which is mostly empty due to its difficult access.

 Bottom Line

Rancho Banderas has a privileged location on a bluff above a beautiful sandy beach on the northern shore of Banderas Bay. It features 49 one-, two- and three-bedroom suites with kitchens and furnished terraces, almost half of which have great ocean views. The restaurant boasts gorgeous views of the Pacific, but many guests feel that the all-inclusive option, though inexpensive, isn't worth the money. This property is a solid pick for families and groups, and offers great whale-watching December through March. But there’s a fee for Wi-Fi and those who plan on exploring beyond the resort should note that there’s nothing within walking distance.

Things You Should Know About Rancho Banderas Vacation Villas

Address

  • Carretera Punta de Mita Km 8.3, Bahia Banderas, Cruz de Huanacaxtle, NAY, 63732 Mexico

Room Types

  • One Bedroom Villa
  • Penthouse Suite
  • Three Bedroom Villa
  • Two Bedroom Villa

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 49
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
Address: Carretera Punta de Mita Km 8.3, Bahia Banderas, Cruz de Huanacaxtle, NAY, 63732 Mexico
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