The 12 best places in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

The 12 best places in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

The resort of Riviera Nayarit boasts more than 320 kilometers of nearly pristine beaches and jungle on Mexico’s Pacific coast. There are charming fishing villages, golden sandy beaches and colorful, truly magical towns. Travelers can enjoy fresh seafood, whale watching in warm Banderas Bay, sea turtles, and the rarest species of birds. The Nayarit Riviera is called home by locals as a place to be respected, hence the environmental responsibility. This article is a guide to the best places for tourists to visit in Nayarit.

1. Puerto Vallarta (“Gateway” of the Riviera Nayarit)

This coastal port city in the state of Jalisco is called the “gateway” because the Puerto Vallarta airport is the first place tourists arrive to see the Riviera. It’s hard to find a more romantic colonial town, with clean beaches and luxury resorts right next door. The best things to do in Puerto Vallarta are snorkeling or taking a boat trip to the Marietas Islands off the coast of Banderas Bay.

12 Best Places to Go in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico - Photo 2

1. Puerto Vallarta (“Gateway” of the Riviera Nayarit)

2. Nuevo Vallarta

“New” Vallarta is also one of the first destinations in Nayarit . Less crowded than its southern neighbor, the town is a great place to relax, whether it’s a day at the beach or on the green grass of a golf course. Going on a boat trip, you can see whales or go around the bay to discover hidden coves and fishing villages like Yelapa. In the evening, you can try the local margarita cocktail at the marina or walk along the city’s main boulevard, fringed with palm trees, elegant and well-kept, making it unlike a typical Mexican province.

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2. Nuevo Vallarta

3. Bucerias.

The next closest beach town is Bucerias, which can easily be passed if you drive towards the jungle of Nayarita. It is considered an authentic Mexican town, but there is no shortage of hotels, restaurants, stores, and even art galleries. There is a Nayarit market where local artisans sell colorful tapestries, leather goods, glassware, toys, silver, traditional clothing, and more. And best of all, Bucerias has its own beaches in Banderas Bay.

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3. Bucerias.

4. La Cruz de Ouanacastle

La Cruz de Ouanacastle, or simply La Cruz, is a fishing village on the coast, just behind Bucerias. It is here that there is an opportunity to go on an exciting excursion, an ocean fishing trip with the locals. Those who like a quieter vacation can grab a plate of nachos with guacamole and, while sipping a cocktail, admire the sailboats in La Cruz Marina Bay.

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5. Punta de Mita

For lovers of golf and five-star hotels is Punta de Mita. The resort town boasts luxury accommodations such as the Imanta Resort (where the Kardashians stayed) and the Four Seasons and St. John’s. There are six golf courses, two of which were designed by Jack Nicklaus, one of the greatest golfers in the world. The center features upscale restaurants and stylish boho-chic boutiques.

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5. Punta de Mita

6. Sayulita

Sayulita is another of the most popular towns in Nayarit. Its main beach with the same name is considered the Mecca of both professional surfers and beginners: the waves here are small, frequent and ideal for this sport. And Playa de los Muertos is often chosen by swimmers. This beach is in a unique location, right at the foot of the local village cemetery. There is also the northern beach of Sayulita, which stretches between the northern tip of the city and the jungle surrounding San Pancho, the next beach town.

Sayulita also has charming boutiques, quaint cafes, salsa bars, colorful flea markets, and the local Huichol. The city is always crowded with tourists who tend to stay up late to enjoy the street parties. Early-birders will enjoy the nearby communities of San Pancho or Lo de Marcos.

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6. Sayulita

7. San Pancho

There are few places in the world as charming and authentic as the city of San Pancho, or San Francisco. Few places still abound with red and pastel sunsets over the Pacific Ocean, cowboys galloping down paved streets on horseback, and a sea turtle rescue center releasing thousands of specimens into the open every season from the sandy shores of San Pancho Beach. The town sits on the edge of the Sierra de Vallejo Reserve and provides water to residents throughout the region-the state of Nayarit. There’s plenty to see here: the Entreamigos Community Center, a theater and circus art school, and several dozen authentic Mexican stores, cafes, and restaurants.

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7. San Pancho

8. Lo de Marcos

North of San Pancho is another beach resort, cozy Lo de Marcos, sprawling on the Pacific coast. It is quite modest compared to other vacation spots in Nayarit and less popular than Sayulita or San Pancho, but attracts travelers with its peace and quiet. The local beach is one of the most picturesque and yet sparsely populated in the state. Here you can ride horses, swim in the calm waves, shop at the Tianguis flea market or hike through the palm-covered hills surrounding Lo de Marcos.

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8. Lo de Marcos

9. Chakala

This small fishing village on the Riviera Nayarit coast is known for its quiet bay, traditional Mexican villas, volcano and waterfall excursions and fresh seafood. The name Chacala means “where there is shrimp” in Nahuatl and there is indeed an abundance of freshly caught seafood.

Chacala is a nature lover’s paradise. You can hike to El Capomo Falls or spend the day on the hidden beach of Las Cuevas. The jungle around Chacala is rumored to contain ancient inscriptions, petroglyphs, which you can hike to find. Those who don’t like crowds on the beaches come here.

10. Peñita de Haltemba

Still underestimated by tourists is Haltemba Bay, which is home to three fishing villages: Los Ayala, Guayabitos, and La Peita. La Peita is one of the coziest, with palm squares, shaded benches, and a square with a church in the center. This neighborhood will definitely give a glimpse into the daily life of a small town in Mexico without foreigners staying off the international tourist trail.

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10. Peñita de Haltemba

11. San Blas

San Blas, where the Riviera Nayarit resort area ends, is a typical Mexican town located in the northern part of the state along the coast, just an hour from the state capital, Tepic. The pristine beach, islands, mangroves and marshes are amazing for their biodiversity, especially among the feathered birds. And Matanchene Bay offers first-class surfing and boating, the eponymous beach was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest wave in the world. A city and port, San Blas has been of great economic importance since colonial times. Here you can admire the traditional architecture of the eighteenth century or go to the golden sand beaches of Las Islitas, El Rey, Miramar, Borrego, Los Cocos and the island of Pelicano.

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11. San Blas

12. tepic

Tepic is the capital of the state of Nayarit, founded by the Aztecs in the pre-Hispanic period. It has a bullring, beautiful parks like La Alameda de Tepic, which has the largest dancing fountain in all of Latin America. One of the city’s main attractions is the cathedral with two symmetrical bell towers. The Government Palace, City Hall, Nayarit State Museum, Emilia Ortiz Center for Contemporary Art, and the ruins of the Hauja Indian settlement in the mountains are also worth a visit. The nearby lagoon of Santa Maria del Oro, located in the crater of the now extinct volcano Sanganguay, will also impress travelers.

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The 12 best places in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico - Photo 11

12. tepic

13. Mescaltitlan de Uribe

Called the Magic City of Mescaltitlán de Uribe, it is also known as the “Venice of Mexico” because it is located in a lagoon, and when its streets flood during the rainy season, the locals travel by boat.

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There are no cars on the island and to get to the center, you have to take a 15-minute boat ride, but it is worth it because the buildings and the town square are mesmerizing in their immediate beauty.

Nayarit Attractions

Fish Market Volcano Ceboruco Farmer’s Market Mercado del Pueblo Surf School Patricia Spa Buddha Complex Petroglyphs Altavista Sunday Market in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle Surf Shop Quiverito

This site contains Nayarit attractions – photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular travel guides and presented by type, name and rating. Here you’ll find answers to what to see in Nayarit, where to go, and where to find popular and interesting places in Nayarit.

Fish Market

Fish market (photo)

The fish market in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle is located on the coast of Marina Riviera Bay. It sells fish that locals have caught in the Pacific Ocean.

The fish market is a remarkable place in a small town whose inhabitants’ lives are inextricably linked with the sea. The market square fills with noise every day – about 200 stalls start their work. Every morning fishing boats come into port, workers carry trays of fish from the ships to the counters, and the market fills with visitors.

There are several decent restaurants in town specializing in seafood, and you can buy just about any critter that inhabits the bottom of the Pacific Ocean – there are lobsters, clams, oysters, squid and, of course, a huge variety of fish, ranging from swordfish to blue parrotfish.

Coordinates: 20.74539900,-105.38454100

Tseboruko Volcano.

Ceboruco Volcano (photo)

The formidable stratovolcano Tseboruco is located in the municipality of Hala, Nayarit. The volcano is visited by many tourists each year. The first known eruption we know of occurred in 930 AD, which helped the volcano expand to eleven cubic kilometers.

The largest recorded eruption of Ceboruco volcano occurred in 1850 and lasted for a full five years. During this time, the atmosphere emitted the largest amount of hot gases before the beginning of the twentieth century. Ceboruco also has a second record – its flowing lava was the largest, taking the palm from Destiladero volcano. In total Tseboruco volcano erupted six times and was considered active for five hundred years.

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Coordinates: 21.12500000,-104.50833300

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Mercado del Pueblo Farmer’s Market

Mercado del Pueblo farmer's market (photo)

The Farmers Market in Sayulita, or “Mercado del Pueblo,” is a market open during the season from November through April from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

This market sells only fresh produce at reasonable prices. All vegetables, fruits, and herbs are hand grown by local farmers.

The market always plays live music, creating a wonderful atmosphere for shopping. Here you can thoroughly refresh yourself and taste the delicious pastries and food that is prepared right in front of the visitors: mushroom and broccoli pie, custard cakes, grilled meat, delicious soups, chocolate, drinks made from medicinal plants.

In addition to food, the market offers jewelry and other handmade goods.

Coordinates : 20.86951900,-105.44707800

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Patricia Surf School

Patricia Surf School (photo)

Patricia’s Surf School offers visitors of different levels of board and wave proficiency excellent surf lessons, exciting tours to interesting surf spots, boards and other equipment for rent and much more.

This school has been teaching surfing for over 10 years. The owners and experienced instructors of the school are Patricia and her husband Pablo. Their children also surf and have participated many times in national and international surfing competitions.

Patricia’s friendliness attracts newcomers who feel at ease and comfortable at this school. In addition to fun lessons, Patricia will offer you unforgettable tours to great surf spots and the beautiful Marietta Islands.

Coordinates : 20.87196500,-105.43932100

Buddha Spa

Buddha Spa (photo)

The Buddha Spa in Sayulita offers visitors professional body care and therapeutic treatments. “Buddha” has a wide range of spa services, from treatments to a comprehensive set of services consisting of an entire skin care package. Moreover, the specialists of the salon are happy to make up an individual spa program, depending on the personal preferences of the client.

The salon offers permanent discounts on packages. All services include complementary wines, beers, tequilas and other drinks.

The salon offers facial moisturizing, cleansing and rejuvenation services, acupuncture, relaxing and therapeutic massages, manicures and pedicures, acupuncture for muscle pain, stress, intestinal, respiratory, skin diseases, etc. and scalp treatments. Body scrubs and herbal wraps as well as flower baths are used here.

Coordinates : 20.86983500,-105.44135000

Altavista Petroglyph Complex

Altavista petroglyph complex (photo)

The Altavista Petroglyph Complex is located near the village and beach of Chacala and consists of volcanic stone statues inscribed with petroglyphs, which are symbolic elements of daily life.

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The complex covers an area of about 80 hectares, and the excavations presented here date back to 2,000 B.C. There are also 56 ancient petroglyphs whose dates of creation cannot be determined.

The complex, apart from its cultural and archaeological value, remains an important religious center for the Huichol people who perform religious rituals and dances here.

Coordinates : 21.16598300,-105.22475800

Sunday market in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Sunday market in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle (photo)

The Sunday market in La Cruz de Ouanacaxtle is the largest marketplace in the fishing town. Once a week, the square in front of the port is filled with vendors selling fish, souvenirs, clothing, and handicrafts.

The history of the market is inextricably linked to the history of the settlement, founded in 1930. Every week the inhabitants gather at the port to buy fresh seafood, have a snack in the street eateries and just talk. For the tourist, the market is interesting because of its special atmosphere – it is a truly original place, devoid of the signs of globalization. There is still shrimp by weight, local artisans sell wood and bamboo products, women offer hand-dyed fabrics, and street musicians play traditional Mexican music.

The market starts early on Sunday morning, but is especially crowded in the afternoon when mass ends at a nearby church.

Coordinates: 20.75094700,-105.38007800

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Quiverito Surf Shop

Quiverito surf store (photo)

Quiverito Surf Shop in Sayulita offers visitors to buy or rent high quality surfboards. Here you can rent a board for an hour, a day and even for the whole week. By the way, if you rent a board for the whole week, you can get free drinks as a gift.

Owner Josh Lebowitz offers visitors a unique service and professional experience in the sport. On the walls are retro and classic boards, reminiscent of a veritable museum exhibit, but the boards can be touched, bought or rented.

The purpose of the store is simple – to offer users any board they like for riding or to add to their collection. The store also provides a unique opportunity to save a lot of money when buying boards.

Coordinates : 20.86983500,-105.44135000

The most popular attractions in Nayarit with descriptions and photos for every taste. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Nayarit on our website.

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