Riviera Nayarit is a magical state on Mexico’s Pacific Coast and it has many up-in-coming destinations. Nayarit has focused on developing its coastline with an eco and sustainable focus, which offers more boutique and locally owned hotels and businesses versus giant all-inclusive resorts. Nayarit has lush jungles and large beaches. It has traditional architecture and rich culture. It is safe and accessible. Nayarit has it all and is just waiting to be discovered. To start planning your trip, check out our Vibrant Vida – Nayarit Vacation or perhaps our private tours in Riviera Nayarit.
Nayarit’s coastline offers a variety of fresh seafood, making it the focus of many local dishes. While tacos are a staple of Mexican cuisine, there are so many other tasty dishes that use a variety of fresh ingredients. Give one of these foods a try on your next Mexico trip, you won’t regret it!
Nayarit has long been considered one of the safest destinations in Mexico, especially the Riviera Nayarit coastline. Sayulita, San Pancho and Punta Mita are all well-regarded as family-friendly destinations where you can walk around town feeling safe and welcomed. These towns are also well traveled by solo female travelers who choose these destinations with safety in mind. As always, stay aware while traveling and make safety-conscious decisions. Do your research or travel with a reputable tour operator and you will have a safe and fun vacation!
One of the most photographed locations in the Bay of Banderas is Hidden Beach & the Islas Marietas. The Islas Marietas National Park is a boat ride away from practically anywhere along the Bay of Banderas, but only certain towns have piers to take you there. These uninhabited islands have hidden beaches cut out of the islands, diverse marine & aerial life and wondrous landscape. The picturesque beaches and snorkeling truly make the experience.
Hundreds of humpback whales migrate to the Bay of Banderas every December- March. You can be lucky enough to spot the whales from the coastline, but it is truly magical to see the whales from the water. Taking a boat cruise to see the majestic whales is a must-do activity!
If you are an avid golfer, then playing one of the courses in Punta Mita is a must. The famous Whale of the Tail hole has the green located on an island. You can access it via golf cart during low tide. Unfortunately, you must be staying at a home or hotel within Punta Mita or know a member to be able to golf at these private courses.
Playa La Lancha is one of the best surfing beaches in all of Nayarit. Surfers gather at the Oxxo on the highway bright and early and then make the trek through the jungle to get to the beach. Accessing the beach with a surfboard in hand is all part of the experience.
With the Sierra Madre mountain range running along the coastline, you can find many different hikes. The most epic of them all is Monkey Mountain. You start the hike in Higuera Blanca and this hike will take you about 4 hours roundtrip. The lookout point at the top makes it so worth the hike!
La Patrona polo club is a slice of luxury in San Pancho. This beautifully designed Polo and Beach Club is an architectural dream set within the lush mountains. You feel like you are watching a polo game inside Jurassic Park while being served high-end cocktails and food. La Patrona offers brunch and a polo game on Sundays.
The wide and relatively undeveloped beaches along the Nayarit coastline provide a safe place for sea turtles to lay their eggs and later hatch. There are conservation efforts in each town and they offer opportunities to volunteer with the project or watch the turtles hatch while helping the turtles make their way to sea. It is an educating and eye-opening project.
The laid back vibes of the beach towns in Nayarit attract travelers and locals alike that are searching for activities to promote and support mental and physical health. Sound healing, reiki, cacao ceremonies, yoga & more are commonly offered. Start your day with a wellness-focused activity before relaxing on the beach with a beverage.
It is a must to take the time to learn more about the local culture that makes this region what is. Visit a Huichol art gallery to learn about the indigenous culture and this unique crafting technique. Take a cooking lesson to understand the importance of ingredients in Mexican cuisine. Visit the Petroglyphs near Guayabitos to see the preserved history of the country. Choose what is calling your name and lean into Mexican culture.
A Pueblo Magico, or Magic Town, is a special recognition given by the Mexican Secretary of Tourism (Sectur). This honor is only given to towns that possess certain magical qualities, such as historic characteristics, natural wonders, or authentic traditions & food. The goal is to promote tourism to lesser-known towns in Mexico that are filled with charm and unique experiences. Learn more about the magic towns of this region.
Renting cars from Puerto Vallarta or Tepic is an easy and cost-friendly transportation option. Driving in Mexico can be safe and easy! Always research the best routes ahead of travels and download the maps for areas with limited cell service. This is the best option if you have a travel buddy and want ultimate flexibility to explore.
There are a wide variety of private transportation options from SUVs to sprinter vans. If you have a group and have limited excursions planned, this can be a great option. Find a company and driver to stick with for the duration of your trip.
Taxis are readily available, even in small towns. Ask for directions to the local taxi stand and you’ll find a line up waiting. This is a good option for a more confident traveler who speaks some Spanish. You’ll want to be able to clearly communicate where you are going and negotiate a fair rate.
While this option won’t get you from town to town, golf carts are a very common way to navigate around individual towns. They are a fun and affordable way to get from beach to villa and back again.
Ubers are not allowed at most airports in Mexico, so always take a taxi or arrange transportation. Once you are in the larger cities, like Puerto Vallarta, Ubers are a safe and affordable way to get around.
There are two major airports that provide access to Nayarit. A majority of travelers will fly into Puerto Vallarta International Airport. While technically located in Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta International Airport is located only 10 minutes from the state border of Nayarit & Jalisco.
Puerto Vallarta International Airport:
PVR Airport is located on the north side of Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco. Major airports across Canada & the US fly direct to PVR, making it an easy trip for most North American travelers. The airport is expanding a second terminal, and new flight routes are being added often. In 2022, there were record travelers flying into Puerto Vallarta, with 6.2 million passengers flying through PVR. Below is a list of direct flights to Puerto Vallarta International Airport. Here are more details on how to get to Puerto Vallarta and beach towns in Nayarit.
Direct Routes to Puerto Vallarta
Tepic International Airport:
Located in the state’s capital, Tepic, this airport provides easier access to the northern part of the state. While it has international in the name, Tepic currently only offers flights domestically. However, a flight to Mexico City and onward to Tepic can be an easy way to get to this region!