Relax on sandy beaches, dine on fresh seafood and search for wildlife among the mountainous jungle interior.
Nayarit lies on the Pacific coast and encompasses the gorgeous beaches of San Blas and the Nayarit Riviera. With a fertile valley producing tropical fruits and more than 180 miles (290 kilometers) of coastline, Nayarit is a prime spot to soak up the sun, swim in the sea and enjoy fresh-from-the-ocean seafood. Discover the diversity of one of the country’s smallest states by exploring mountainous terrain, lush pastures, laid-back beach towns and tropical archipelagos.
Most visitors to the state stay on the coast. From luxury resort areas to surfer-style campsites, the Nayarit Riviera’s varied settlements all promise captivating views of the Pacific Ocean. To the south, find Banderas Bay, a hotspot for whale watching, with giant humpbacks commonly breaching the glimmering surface of the sea.
Stay up late to experience the buzzing nightlife in oceanfront town of Nuevo Vallarta and recover with a leisurely stroll through the historic cobblestone streets of Bucerías. If you want to discover the wildlife beneath the waves, don snorkeling gear and take an excursion to the Las Marietas archipelago, a designated UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Take a trip to San Blas, a quiet seaside region known for its paradise beaches, abundant birdlife and surf breaks. Join a tour into the mangroves to spot rare bird species and survey the ruins of the 16th-century San Basilio Fortress. Other popular towns here include the traditional fishing village of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and Sayulita, a mellow bohemian hangout.
Excellent surf conditions can be found all along the coast, though a favorite destination among wave riders is Destiladeras, where waves rise up to 5 feet (1.5 meters). Examine the remnants left behind by ancient indigenous civilizations at the Altavista petroglyph complex, near the secluded beach town of Chacala
The state capital, Tepic, has an ornate cathedral and pretty main plaza. Look for locals wearing traditional Cora and Huichol dress and selling locally made handicrafts.
Tepic’s international airport is just over an hour’s drive from San Blas and about 3 hours’ drive from Puerto Vallarta. Use the comprehensive bus network to get around Nayarit or ride taxis around the towns.