Beach Towns of Mexico's Riviera Nayarit Each Have Their Charms

Debbie Olsen - Calgary Herald
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February 26, 2017


Huichol indigenous Mexicans produce spectacular art that is unique to this region of Mexico. These artists sell their wares in the central plaza at Bucerias. Photo: Debbie Olsen

With nearly 320 kilometres of beautiful Pacific coastline dotted with quaint Mexican villages, Nayarit is quickly becoming one of the hottest tourist destinations in Mexico. Each village has its own quirks and personality and each beach has its own special kind of beauty.

During a recent visit to the region, a local cab driver who spoke very little English offered our family group a tour. He’d take us to see six villages and beaches in Riviera Nayarit for what worked out to be 187 pesos ($12 CAD) per person. It was a deal too good to pass up.

Bucerias

Just 20 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, it’s fun to wander around the uneven cobblestone streets of Bucerias and relax on its beautiful beach. You’ll see some street art, the Iglesia à la Señora de la Paz (Our Lady of Peace Church) and a really large tourist market that has all the souvenirs you could ever need. In the central plaza, Huichol craftsmen dressed in traditional attire sell yarn art, carvings and bead art in vibrant colours with intricate designs and symbols.

Punta de Mita

El Anclote is the most accessible beach at Punta de Mita and is one of the best beaches in Banderas Bay for surfing. Just a few minutes past the Four Seasons and St. Regis hotels, this popular beach is lined with restaurants. We enjoyed a traditional Mexican lunch while we sat in the shade and watched the goings-on at the beach. The water is fairly shallow for quite a way out, but there are a few rocks and swim shoes are useful — especially in certain areas.  

Sayulita

A popular surfer town, Sayulita was a quiet little place when I first visited it ten years ago. A decade later and the beach was packed. Word has gotten out. Despite the increased number of visitors and residents, this little place has managed to retain its laid-back surfer vibe. There are plenty of cute little shops, surf stores, restaurants and bars. You can rent a surfboard on the beach for about $5 an hour or spend a bit more and get a lesson. My oldest boys rented boards and spent some time trying to ride the waves while the rest of our family spent some time relaxing on shore and watching them get pummelled.   

San Pancho

The tiny town of San Francisco is known to most locals by its nickname, San Pancho. There are a few hotels and a growing number of restaurants and bars. The Mercado del Sol (farmers market) happens every Tuesday. If you want live music, you’ll have to visit one of the more popular restaurants on a weekend. The beach is beautiful, but the undertow makes it not ideal for novice swimmers.

Read the rest including Lo de Marcos and Rincon de Guayabitos and see all the photos at Calgary Herald.

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