Home LifestyleExpat Community Riviera Nayarit: home to an exceptional natural and cultural wealth

Riviera Nayarit: home to an exceptional natural and cultural wealth

by Yucatan Times
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Nayarit, the paradisiacal and wild Mexico that competes with the Riviera Maya

Between the mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Mexican Pacific coast, in one of the country’s smallest and least populated states, there is a corner home to an exceptional natural and cultural wealth: the state of Nayarit. It is an ideal landscape to escape from mass tourism, get in touch with nature, practice extreme sports, or discover the authentic pre-Hispanic culture. Here are five reasons you should visit Nayarit on your next vacation to Mexico.

Paradisiacal beaches

In Mexico, there are many more beaches beyond the Caribbean. One of the unforgettable places in the Riviera Nayarit is San Blas, with almost virgin beaches and must-see names like Sayulita and San Pancho, ideal for surfing, or Punta Mita, for those who prefer luxury. Be sure to visit Novillero Beach, which, with its more than 80 kilometers, is the longest beach in Mexico -the second longest in Latin America, after Praia Do casino in Brazil-. Its golden sands and calm waves make it the ideal place to escape with the family.

Another essential getaway is Playa Escondida or Playa del Amor, in the Islas Marietas National Park, less than 10 kilometers southwest of Punta Mita. This is a small cove of white sand hidden in the heart of a rock formation, which you can only access by swimming.

Escondida Beach.

Playa Escondida is one of the secret beaches of Mexico.

Nayarit is one of the Mexican states with the largest number of Magical Towns. This year five destinations obtained this designation with which the Mexican government recognizes them for having maintained their original traditions, history, culture, and architecture over time. San Blas stands out for its beaches, mangroves, and iconic pier. Ahuacatlán, for its colonial architecture. Amatlán de Cañas, for its cobblestone streets, adobe houses, and reddish roofs, as well as its hot springs.

In Ixtlán del Río you can visit one of the most important archeological zones of the region, Los Toriles, and the small hill of Cristo Rey, where the parishioners gather during the last week of October. In Puerto Balleto you can stay in the old prison lodgings, renovated and refurbished, since it is located on an island that was the most famous prison in Mexico, the Island of Maria Madre, in the Islas Marias biosphere reserve. These unforgettable sites join the four Magical Towns already in the state: Compostela, Jala, Mexcaltitán, and Sayulita.

San Blas.

San Blas, between beaches and mangrove swamps.

The home of the whale shark

The warm waters of the Port of San Blas are home to the whale shark, known as the domino fish because of its gray skin with white stripes and dots, the largest fish in the world that, despite its size (it can measure up to 18 meters long and weigh up to 34 tons), is harmless (it does not feed on meat but on plankton). If you dare, you can swim with them with the utmost safety through authorized providers that follow the rules to cause the minimum impact on the species.

You can also admire the humpback whale, which in the winter months (from mid-December to the end of March) migrates to the Mexican Pacific coast to mate and reproduce. Or if you prefer you can release sea turtles, as Nayarit is a nesting site for four species.

Its great biodiversity makes the state home to endemic birds. Take a boat to Isla Isabel National Park, where you can spot blue-footed boobies or pelicans. The Nayarit jungle is home to jaguars… but those are harder to see.

Wild nature

Although not everything in Nayarit is beach. If the mountains are your thing, be sure to visit the mystical Sierra del Nayar, where there are important native groups that inhabit the region: Wirrárikas (or Huicholes), Mexicaneros, and Coras. There are also important reservoirs and lagoons in the interior, such as the Agua Brava Lagoon, the Mexcaltitán Lagoon (where the island of the same name is located), and the Cuautla Estuary. Mexcaltitán, a small, colorful, and quiet fishing village, is considered the ancient city of Aztlán. Known as the Mexican Venice because of the canals that form inside the island during the rainy season. These canals are traveled in rafts by the locals.

Magical towns

Delicious gastronomy

In Nayarit, you will find a wide variety of fresh seafood. Taste typical dishes such as zarandeado fish, a delicacy prepared with different sauces and smoked over firewood, or Tlaxtihuilli, a recipe based on shrimp, chiles, and corn gruel. Be sure to try the famous ceviche and chicharrón de pescado, molcajete de mariscos, tamales nayaritas, or birria tatemada.

TYT Newsroom

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