Riviera Nayarit

Riviera Nayarit is the western edge of the Mexican state of the same name, and refers to the state’s beautiful Pacific coastline that does, indeed, rival the more famous Riviera in France. The city of Puerto Vallarta is located in the state of Jalisco, and the boundary line between the two states is only about two miles north of the city. In fact, the Puerto Vallarta International Airport is right on the boundary line between the two states, making Riviera Nayarit travel very easy to reach. Many people who visit Puerto Vallarta take a trip to Riviera Nayarit Mexico (and even stay there) without ever realizing they have traveled to a different state.

Riviera Nayarit Mexico
Riviera Nayarit Mexico

For decades, the term Mexican Riviera has referred to the entire western coast of Mexico, from Ensenada on the Baja Peninsula south all the way to Acapulco. Only recently have tourists begun to discover the beauties of Riviera Nayarit as something distinct and separate from the rest of the coast. It stretches for about 75 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, encompassing Punta Mita at the northernmost of point of Banderas Bay, and all the way to the town of San Blas. The further north you go, the more undeveloped it is and the more remote and pristine its beautiful beaches. These beaches are longer and wider than those located south of Puerto Vallarta (where the Sierra Madre Mountains tumble right into the ocean) because the mountains sit back further from the ocean.

Tour de France Mountains
Tour de France Mountains

Riviera Nayarit travel allows you to easily visit the three uninhabited islands known as Islas Marietas, which lie within the borders of Nayarit State just off Punta Mita. The boat trip to these volcanic islands that so closely resemble Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands in wildlife and topography takes only about twenty minutes. From Puerto Vallarta, the trip takes at least an hour. Here, you will find some of the best scuba diving in Central or South America. The length of the boat trip is quite important to enthusiasts who take a trip to Riviera Nayarit Mexico for diving, because they want to maximize the amount of time they have in the water.

Riviera Nayarit Map
Riviera Nayarit Map

It is possible for your Riviera Nayarit travel to take in the entire coastline in just a couple days by using car rentals and setting out on your own. However, it is highly suggested that you spend a bit more time so that you can fully explore the natural beauty of the region and the unique character of the different towns along the way. Many of these are charming traditional fishing villages steeped in history, and are wonderful places for shopping for local handcrafts. After Punta Mita, the next Riviera Nayarit town to the north is Sayulita, which has been a favorite of surfers since the 1960s.

Further north is the town of Lo de Marcos, which has a number of villas available as vacation rentals. North of that is Punta Raza, accessible only by hiking a couple miles west from the highway. This is a popular place for rock climbing and rappelling; its beautiful beach is often completely deserted, and there are some wonderful waterfalls. For about twenty miles north of Punta Raza, the highway moves away from the coast. This is a 1,200-acre unspoiled wilderness superb for hiking. Its beaches are nesting sites for white and hawksbill turtles, and from about November to about March it is an excellent whale watching point. The beach at Bahia de Matanchen is more than four miles long and 30 yards wide. There are mangroves here, and you can book small boat cruises through the mangroves to see crocodile farms. End your trip to Riviera Nayarit Mexico in the charming town of San Blas. This town is different from others along the coast, as it is quite old. There are ruins of an old Spanish fort, and several buildings dating back to the eighteenth century.

Top image: Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit

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