By Lisa Arcella
If you don’t know Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, you need to! On this stunning, 200-plus-mile stretch along the Pacific coast, there are lovely unspoiled beach towns, historical sites, and fantastic all-inclusive resorts.
Though not technically part of the Riviera Nayarit, Puerto Vallarta is where you’ll start (since the airport is located there), but the colonial city is certainly worth a day to explore its main plaza and interesting architecture.
Once you have decided to move on to the nearby Riviera Nayarit, there is so much to discover. Sayulita is the most popular beach town and has a decidedly bohemian style. Surfers and street vendors are equally as laid back, so wearing shoes is optional. The beach has a big surf scene and is a great place to grab a lesson if you are a first timer. After working up an appetite hanging 10, be sure to grab some of the freshest local seafood you’ve ever tasted. Los tacos de pescados son asombrosos! (The fish tacos are amazing!)
Don’t miss the pretty village of San Blas and Tovara National Park, the latter which boasts a plethora of migratory birds and ferocious-looking crocodiles. Borrego Beach is also the perfect place to swim and work on that mandatory-vacation tan. Nearby is the tiny — and some say magical — island of Mexcaltitan. Legend has it that this is the place where the Aztec civilization was born.
Many of the luxury hotels are located in Nuevo Vallarta, some of which are situated right on the tranquil Banderas Bay. There’s so much wildlife to see here, from leatherback turtles to humpback whales, but there are also tons of great restaurants, shops, and nightlife too!
What to Do in Riviera Nayarit
On top of the great beaches, magical islands, and national parks, enjoy these amazing activities and entertainment centers in Riviera Nayarit.
In Nuevo Vallarta and Bucerias, check out the art galleries, and in the town of Punta Mita, you’ll find great clothing. Sayulita is known for its gorgeous jewelry, but there are souvenirs to be found in every corner of the Riviera Nayarit. Look for Huichol crafts, handmade furniture, and even surfboards.
ATV tours are extremely popular with visitors here and often take travelers through riverbeds, tiny villages, and tropical rainforests. Since Riviera Nayarit is part of the Pacific West Coast, in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains, you’ll want take in a lovely view of the countryside by getting off the beaten path on an ATV.
Imagine swimming under the sea, accompanied by dolphins, sea lions, or even whales. You don’t have to imagine because that’s reality in Riviera Nayarit. There’re all kinds of scuba experiences from novice to expert and available in most of the coastal towns, including Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerias, Punta Mita, and Sayulita.
Vacations are all about new adventures, right? Then get your adrenaline pumping by flying over the rainforest canopy and through the mountains for an exciting afternoon. Ziplining is available in many towns in Riviera Nayarit, including Nuevo Vallarta, Punta Mita, and Sayulita.
Where to Say
Now during GOGO Vacations Mexico Extravaganza™, it’s the perfect time to explore this breathtaking destination. Here are some of our favorite resorts:
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
This stunning hotel is just at the northern edge of Banderas Bay and is surrounded by the beach and beautiful golf courses. It’s also close to restaurants, shopping, the stunning Sierra Madre Mountains, and is just 15 minutes from the airport, but you might not want to leave the property as the hotel has routinely been named one of the best spa hotels in the world.
This modern all-inclusive resort boasts two fresh water swimming pools, a spa, and wellness center. In addition to great food, there’re also unlimited activities from diving to gymnastics, and a great kids club, too. At night, head to the on-site nightclub, Pacha, or enjoy the shows and live music.
Villa La Estancia
Only minutes from Puerto Vallarta but a peaceful world away, this secluded beachfront retreat is nestled against the mountains with easy access to whale watching, dancing, surfing, and even a turtle sanctuary! Select the Gourmet Privileges plan to receive elegant amenities, like lobster night, unlimited cocktails and specialty beverages, 24-hour room service, an aromatherapy experience, and daily afternoon tea time.
Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta
A Four Diamond AAA resort, the all-suite property is perfect for both couples and families. Indulge in “Unlimited-Luxury” with unlimited access to the six gourmet restaurants, endless top-shelf drinks at four bars, and a fun Explorer’s Club for kids.