The Riviera Nayarit is home to places so beautiful they will take your breath away. Places where the deep blue of the Pacific contrasts with the green mountains of the Sierra Madre and the Sierra de Vallejo; traditional villages by the sea, mysterious islands, and dream beaches, mangroves full of wildlife, historical legends… These are places that, in our opinion, possess that “wow” effect and are worthy of being called “wonders.”
We know that seven are not enough considering the great diversity of this vacation destination, but we have to start somewhere! Here’ss our selection of the 7 Natural Wonders of the Riviera Nayarit:
The number 1 wonder of the Riviera Nayarit is still by far the Playa del Amor, in the Islas Marietas National Park. Also known as Playa Escondida (Hidden Beach), this beautiful spot is teeming with wildlife and adventure. It’s so beautiful, that renowned international publications have described it as “worthy of a fantasy film.” Although it’s well worth visiting, this national park must also be respected and cared for, which is why in 2005 it was designated a Natural Protected Area and three years later it was named a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
This National Park is an amazing place, reserved for travelers who appreciate nature or for recreational and professional divers looking for spectacular scenery. It’s located two hours by boat from the coast of San Blas and showcases unmatched marine wealth in an area of almost 2 km², including manta rays, humpback whales, whale sharks, and stunning corals, in addition to 79 species of fish.
This is one of the best-preserved areas of forest and rainforest on the Pacific coast, declared a Natural Protected Area in 2012. The Sierra de Vallejo has an extension of 63,598 hectares, of which 26,174 correspond to the municipality of Compostela and 37,424 to the municipality of Bahía de Banderas, in addition to an area of 2,000 hectares that was decreed a Jaguar Sanctuary. Some of the Riviera Nayarit’s hot spots, such as Cerro del Mono and Mirador del Toro, as well as the ecotourism ranches Mi Chaparrita, El Jaguar, Vista Paraíso, and the Altavista archeological site, are located within this huge expanse of tropical jungle.
La Tovara natural park, located in the municipality of San Blas, is a marvelous habitat made up of an estuary and a freshwater spring, with navigable canals surrounded by different types of mangrove, lush vegetation, and beautiful flowers such as orchids and bromeliads. One of the most popular experiences when traveling to the historic port is a ride aboard a small motorboat through the springs. We recommend doing this tour during the early hours of the day, since this is the best time to observe the greatest number of birds and even the occasional crocodile.
Hole 3B of the Pacífico Golf Course is the only golf green built on a natural islet. This spectacular place was designed by Jack Nicklaus, the “Golden Bear,” and is part of the exclusive Punta Mita development. Because of its shape, it’s known as the “Tail of the Whale” and is considered one of the best Par 3’s in the world.
To get to Mexcaltitán Island you have to navigate the San Pedro River in the Marismas Nacionales Biosphere Reserve, a huge expanse of wetlands with a magnificent biodiversity. Due to the unique system of canals that run through it, there is no public or private transportation, so once you disembark you can only walk around the island. We recommend visiting the church and the El Origen Museum, which tells the history of this ancient town that some researchers have linked to the mythical Aztlán, the birthplace of the Aztecs who made the pilgrimage to central Mexico to found Tenochtitlán.
Tecuala is home to this marvelous beach, considered the longest in Mexico, the second longest in Latin America, and the fifth longest in the world, with an extension of 82 kilometers and almost half a kilometer wide. Its territory is part of the Marismas Nacionales Biosphere Reserve, which is the most extensive ecosystem of mangroves, coastal lagoons, and marshes in the Mexican Pacific. The beach is ideal to enjoy the most exciting water activities or to just relax and delight in the most beautiful sunsets.
What do you think of our selections? Share with us your suggestions for a second list!
The Riviera Nayarit is a safe destination. Hotels, restaurants, and tourist establishments are following all the health protocols established by the Federal Government’s Ministry of Health and operating at the allowed capacities. Access to the beaches is limited. Be a responsible tourist: wear your mask and keep your distance.
The Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Bahía de Banderas Hotel and Motel Association (AHMBB) are hard at work to jointly promote the region with the support of the Government of the State of Nayarit through its Tourism Promotion Trust (Fiprotur).