Framed by the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the Riviera Nayarit opens up a breathtaking landscape brimming with emerald-hued rolling hills, golden sand beaches and historic villages.
The Riviera is a 200-mile unspoilt stretch of Mexico’s Pacific coastline, home to Nuevo Vallarta, Sayulita and the quaint village of San Blas. Travelers can spend their weekend surfing at the chic Sayulita or hang out with celebrities in Punta Mita.
This lesser-known Mexican destination offers an abundance of unforgettable experiences, whether you’re looking for unpretentious fun in the sun or soulful cultural experiences. Read on to pack up your weekend trip to Riviera Nayarit with must-have experiences.
Best time to visit Riviera Nayarit
The months between April and June are considered the best time to visit the Riviera Nayarit and indulge in its tropical splendors. The weather remains pleasant during these months, with ample sunshine and fewer rain showers. If you want to escape the crowds and enjoy iconic cultural sites all to yourself, it’s wise to schedule your trip before July.
Where to stay in Riviera Nayarit
Travelers eager to embark on a wholesome and well-rounded Riviera Nayarit getaway will find the luxurious Iberostar’s Resorts – an all-inclusive venue for an immersive experience. This world-class resort curates a delightful experience, combining art, nature and contemporary comforts in a luxurious fusion that will leave you craving for more.
The resort offers an extensive selection of stylish accommodations with stunning panoramic views of the oceanfront, manicured gardens, and magical sunsets. The location is splendid for rolling around on the golden sand and taking a dip in the ocean, followed by a gourmet meal at one of many in-house dining venues. The resort offers multiple dining and lounging spaces to feast on authentic Mexican and continental cuisine.
Situated in the surfing town of Sayulita, the resort supports a number of water sports and recreational activities. The courteous staff will help you enrich your itinerary with incredible experiences to make the most of your time on the Marieta Islands, such as whale-spotting and cultural explorations.
Parents vacationing with children can unwind and indulge themselves without the guilt of abandoning their kids for the resort will keep them busy with a whirlwind of activities. The Star Camp offers daily activities to keep children delighted, while adults can enjoy golfing at the 18-hole Litibú Golf Club or book an oceanfront massage at the in-house spa.
Things to See & Do in Riviera Nayarit
There’s much to do and see in Riviera Nayarit, and the local fishing villages are brimming with vibrant cultural sites, surfing spots and secluded beaches.
1. Explore the Fishing Village of Sayulita
The charming fishing village of Sayulita is a popular surfing destination with a free-spirited hipster scene that attracts surfers from all over the world. It may seem like a tranquil oceanside village from afar, but once you start exploring, you will find a thriving community.
Sayulita is Riviera Nayarit’s best village for retail therapy, gastronomic adventures and surfing. You can spend the day exploring the craft shops and stands and devouring delicious liver and onion tacos from streetside stands. Seafood lovers must visit Don Pedro’s to enjoy their famed grilled lobster in a lovely seaside setting.
End your day with a romantic sunset at Litibu, home to azure waters and powdery white sand.
2. Visit the Marieta Islands
Nature enthusiasts craving an adventure can head over to the Marieta Islands, which are only accessible by boat. Formed centuries ago after a volcanic explosion, the Marietas Islands are home to a fascinating biodiversity and over 92 rare species of exotic birds.
Travelers can spend their day exploring the rewarding nature trails in the Marieta Islands National Parks. Home to the beautiful blue-footed booby, the Marieta Islands also have a hidden beach, the Playa Escondida.
3. Attend a Cacao Ceremony
Vacationers staying in Sayulita must attend a cacao ceremony to connect deeply with ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures. Cacao ceremonies are an ancient celebratory ritual designed to open and expand the heart chakra with the meditative powers of cacao.
Cacao is considered a powerful stimulant with healing and meditative properties, and the ceremony uses this stimulation to increase the heart rate and activate the heart chakra for a fulfilling, happier life. The ceremony is endlessly riveting, involving smoking rituals, meditative chanting and sound baths.
4. Walk the Cobblestone Streets in San Pancho
San Pancho, also known as San Francisco, will transport you to Europe with its walkable cobblestone streets and quaint appeal. This idyllic village is the perfect spot for a day trip filled with climbing, diving, sunbathing and horseback riding.
Travelers can indulge in yoga on the beach or delight their taste buds with traditional Mexican treats served at the streetside cafes, eateries and stalls. San Pacho is much cheaper than other villages in Riviera Nayarit, offering a wide selection of local shops and craft stores.
General Safety Tips for Mexico
Mexico is home to a fun-loving, close-knit, amicable community that welcomes travelers with open arms and heartfelt gestures. Learning a few Spanish phrases will help you connect with the locals and enrich your vacation with their guidance and companionship.
These general safety tips will prove immensely helpful:
· Avoid walking alone at night, especially after heavy drinking.
· Always keep your belongings with you or at your accommodation. Don’t leave your luggage and possessions unattended.
· Avoid counting your money in a public place and use the ATM carefully.
· Avoid drinking tap water.
· Be mindful of your belongings while visiting crowded attractions and local markets, especially your wallet and pocket items.
· Avoid sharing a vehicle with strangers.
· If possible, avoid driving at night.
· If you’re renting a car, be sure to get liability insurance.
· Connect with locals for advice, guidance and tips.
· Be respectful and mindful of your surroundings, respect the local laws and culture, and do not disrespect cultural and religious sites.
· Wear modest and conservative clothing, especially in lesser-known and secluded communities.
The Riviera Nayarit is a tropical wonderland that will leave you spoilt for choice with its abundance of activities and recreation. A weekend is not enough to enjoy the region’s natural beauty and cultural charm. We advise extensive research to find activities and destinations that align with your travel interests and pursuits.