Surfing at Playa Sayulita

The young, relaxed spirit of Riviera Nayarit is felt on Playa de Sayulita, part of the coast where the lifestyle is relaxed, with the ocean always prominent. Its colourful streets, the bars with relaxed atmospheres located around this coast and the friendliness of its people have made this part of the Mexican Pacific one of the main destinations for young people who wish to enjoy everything that this part of Riviera Nayarit has to offer.
 
For this reason, here a sport in harmony with this spirit of freedom is practiced, surfing, an activity which nourishes the day to day life of this small coastal town, making it a Mecca for many surfers from around the world. Here we find everything necessary for starting this activity, from shops with the best surfing brands to schools where in addition to receiving classes, you will also be able to hire your own board.
 
Sayulita is ideal for surfers of any level, as at the start of the day the waves are more gentle for beginners, while in the afternoon the waves are higher, being ideal for those with greater expertise in this sport. You will see how great it is to learn a new sport in a place as beautiful as the beach of Sayulita and its surroundings, with all kinds of places for practicing in total tranquillity. After a tiring day on the waves, there is nothing better than enjoying a full experience in Sayulita, contemplating the beautiful sunsets from any terrace on the shore of the beach, where you will find the best atmosphere for having a drink by the sea or even savouring the delicious Mexican seafood dishes prepared here.

 

More essentials in Riviera Nayarit

Avistamiento de Ballenas

Whale Watching

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The rich biodiversity of Mexico also includes cetaceans and in Riviera Nayarit, you will have the privilege of being able to observe the humpback whales while they make their annual migration. During the months of December to March, these incredible creatures travel the Pacific coast, passing the Bay of Banderas. It is amazing to be able to watch these enormous animals jumping from the ocean, a spectacle that you can enjoy if you decide to participate in the boat trips specially organized for this type of sighting. Being able to experience a moment like this up close will be an astonishing experience that you will never forget.

The coasts of Riviera Nayarit, especially near the Bay of Banderas, are places which offer the perfect conditions for male humpback whales to use the art of seduction with their incredible songs which can be heard from the seabed, where the females lurk in search of the ideal partner. Courtship may include incredible, almost impossible jumps over the water, as the creatures weigh around 40 tonnes and are over 70 meters long.

In the area we also find females who intend to give birth to their young, as their gestation lasts 11 months, meaning that the young are born in December, swimming for the first time next to their mothers during the winter on the Nayarit coast. It is a natural spectacle that you will be able to observe on the excursions carried out in this period. It is recommended to contact them with expert companies that comply with Mexican regulations, as these creatures must be respected so that they continue to visit year after year.

Bahia Banderas

Bahia Banderas

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Between the state of Jalisco and the state of Nayarit is the enormous Bay of Banderas, a place that encapsulates the best coast of Riviera Nayarit, where we find the most facilities for visitors, as it combines much of the tourist infrastructure that allows this part of Mexico to be visited properly. Specifically, we find the Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport, providing access to this special area.
 
The main city of this coast is Puerto Vallarta, an area with a lot of tourism, and a point of reference for the bay in the southern region. The northern area is restricted to the spectacular Punta Mita, full of luxury tourism enclaves. Other important areas are La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Bucerías and Jarretaderas. All of these are connected by the Tepic - Puerto Vallarta coastal road. In many of these areas, we find marinas which offer the opportunity to moor boats, or conversely, to hire one to travel around the whole bay.

Finally, it is important to comment that on this coast we will have the opportunity to discover the humpback whale, as the Bay of Banderas is one of their favorite places to reproduce and continue their journey through the Pacific. 

Isla Marietas

Islas Marietas

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The Islas Marietas National Park is made up of two small uninhabited islands located a few kilometers from the coast of Punta Mita. This archipelago has an impressive beauty, cataloged as a Biosphere Reserve, and constituting one of the marine sanctuaries with the greatest biodiversity in Mexico.

Leaving from the same marina of the fishing village of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, we can make our way towards the Islas Marietas National Park. During the journey, in the winter months, you will be able to enjoy the movement and jumps of the humpback whales. It is an ideal place for practicing kayaking, and especially snorkeling thanks to the varied fauna that lives in its waters: coral reefs, dolphins, rays, and sea turtles, etc. Additionally, it is the home to various species of birds such as the albatross and boobies. Perhaps the most spectacular place on these islands is Playa Escondida, known by some as Playa del Amor. It is a semi-covered area due to the volcanic activity of the past, making it one of the most original beaches in the world, is located inside a pit connected with the ocean by an underwater tunnel, the only way to access it.

La Tovara

La Tovara

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A short distance from the town of San Blas is the La Tovara Nature Reserve, a true sanctuary for biodiversity and labyrinth of natural channels surrounded by leafy vegetation, flowing out into the Bay of Matanché.
 
The great biodiversity that extends along the Mexican Pacific coast provides us the opportunity to enter natural enclaves as spectacular as the La Tovara Nature Reserve, a unique experience for discovering the wild landscape of this region up close. The excursion is a journey through mangroves, observing birds, turtles, fish, and above all crocodiles, the most prominent animals in this experience, as you will rarely be able to view them so close in the wild. In essence, this is one of the best places for those who know how to enjoy authentic nature in the wild.

 

Mercado de la Cruz

La Cruz Market

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La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, at the western end of the Bay of Banderas, is the type of place that retains the charm of the typical towns that have always been dedicated to fishing, although in recent years it has undergone changes that have made it a much more modern place. The arrival of tourism, attracted by the creation of the new Riviera Nayarit Marina, is the main factor that has led this place to another level, with over 400 berths for vessels and all kinds of services, making it a great place to dock and enjoy this coast.


Each Sunday, the Cruz de Huanacaxtle Marina has filled with happiness thanks to the dozens of stalls in the street offering the best products next to the traditional Mercado del Mar, selling fresh fish each day. This event occurs every Sunday from ten o’clock in the morning until two in the afternoon, and during this time you will be able to enjoy purchasing local handicrafts: clothing of all kinds, Huichol art, ceramics and natural cosmetics, etc. You will also be able to purchase fresh products from the farmers from nearby towns and even typical products such as cheeses and jams. In addition to this, there are several stalls next to the pier for trying some local foods, and in the background, the music will be the best accompaniment so that everyone can enjoy this welcoming event.


After walking through the marina and enjoying the charm of its people and its streets, it is time to go to Eva Mandarina, an incredible Beach Club on the shore of the beach on the other side of the pier, where the tranquillity of the ocean can be enjoyed with a nice cocktail. Waiting for the sunset here will be a pleasure, especially if you enjoy the delicious dishes of this establishment such as ceviche and prawn tacos, with music to accompany this pleasant experience – without a doubt the best way to complete your Sunday!

 

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

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On Nayarit’s border with Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta is found, one of the jewels of this Mexican coast. This city, formerly a fishing village, is perfect for taking long walks by the sea on its legendary boardwalk. The city is divided in two by the Cuale River, with the southern area being ideal for those who love the sea, with the beach, several beach bars for enjoying local gastronomy, and several picturesque fishing villages as we leave Puerto Vallarta. On the north shore of the river, the whole old town extends with its beautiful streets, its Plaza de Armas and Gringo Gulch, a striking neighborhood with charming architecture. Puerto Vallarta is a curious mixture of tradition and modernity, and is suitable for all budgets, as its wide range of establishments offers unique experiences for all tastes.

It is the most notable city in the surroundings of Riviera Nayarit, a perfect place for visiting and being charmed by this part of Mexico. To begin the day there is nothing better than enjoying the landscape of the southern area of Puerto Vallarta, where the various beaches, especially Playa de los Muertos, invite you to swim in the Pacific and savor the great gastronomy of the area, prepared from fresh produce fished on this coast. Once the afternoon arrives, it is time to visit the other side of the river to discover the secrets of the city. Its old streets are the perfect place for purchasing local handicrafts or simply being enchanted by the beautiful architecture of this city, especially if you visit the Plaza de Armas at the weekend when Puerto Vallarta is flooded by music and couples go out to dance. 

Bahía Banderas

Sunset in Bahia Banderas

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The Bay of Banderas is one of the main tourist areas on the Mexican Pacific coast, where Puerto Vallarta is the main city of the region, between Riviera Nayarit and Jalisco. Thanks to its great location, we find installations such as an airport and several harbors, facilitating access to this special place. 
 
Once we arrive in the Bay of Banderas, we must discover all its charms, as it is full of idyllic beaches, charming towns and tourist areas for taking a walk, savoring Nayarit gastronomy and going shopping for the perfect souvenir. This bay is surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountain range and the exotic jungle that reaches the shore of the ocean, a combination of coastal landscapes and cliffs of leafy vegetation creating a unique image, in addition to having all necessary services within reach.

As you can see, this part of Mexico is very complete, but the best thing about this coast is its western orientation, which allows one of the most amazing sunsets that can be seen in this country to be contemplated. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing the beaches of the region slowly tinted red, with the sun finally fully submerged behind the horizon of the Pacific Ocean, a moment that is sure to remain in your memory! In some areas, the sun sets behind the Sierra Madre mountain range, another natural element completing this magical moment. Simply imagine having such a special moment in a place as exotic as the Bay of Banderas, next to your beloved, a way to create unforgettable memories of a perfect holiday.

Punta MIta

Punta Mita

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The placid Punta de Mita, located at the north of the Bay of Banderas, is one of the best-known beaches in Riviera Nayarit thanks to its 10 kilometres of unspoilt beaches, fabulous golden sand and sparkling blue waters. It is an idyllic place for putting out your towel and enjoying the good weather during your holiday.

The other characteristic of Punta Mita is that it is also a beach for fishermen, but it is easy to find all kinds of restaurants dedicated to the delicious seafood cuisine of the area. If this were not enough, the crystal clear waters of the coast make Punta de Mita the perfect place for snorkelling and discovering the exotic fauna that populates the coral reefs near this coast.

Punta de Mita, which was once an area of craftspeople, business people and fishermen, is today considered one of the iconic places in the Mexican Pacific for surfing.

 

More things to do in Riviera Nayarit

Beaches

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Towns

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