Photo Courtesy of Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau                  Photo Provided by Riviera Nayarit Visitors Bureau
                                  Photo Provided by Riviera Nayarit Visitors Bureau
                Bungalows Guayabitos av sol Nuevo 25Bungalows Guayabitos av sol Nuevo 25Jalisco is the prettiest little town with great surfing, one hour outside of Puerto Vallarta.

Families will love:

  • Nearly 200 miles of beaches
  • Unlimited water sports and adventure
  • Wildlife interactions

Tucked in between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the Riviera Nayarit is more than 200 miles of beautiful beaches and authentic Mexican communities, interspersed between highly developed beachfront resorts and locally owned, mom-and-pop hotels, restaurants and markets.

Nayarit is one of Mexico's 31 states and is most accessible through the international airport at Puerto ... more
Tucked in between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the Riviera Nayarit is more than 200 miles of beautiful beaches and authentic Mexican communities, interspersed between highly developed beachfront resorts and locally owned, mom-and-pop hotels, restaurants and markets.

Nayarit is one of Mexico's 31 states and is most accessible through the international airport at Puerto Vallarta. In fact, many visitors who come to Puerto Vallarta actually stay in Nuevo Vallarta, which is just across the state line. It's all one big happy community, although it's fair to say that most of the newer, fresher resorts are on the northern side of Banderas Bay within the state of Nayarit.

The native people of Nayarit are the Huichol and their influence is widely felt in many communities. Their art has been described as a "portal on nature." Many hotels incorporate this art into the décor, and of course, many of the markets in little towns feature their authentic work. The Huichol gallery and museum in Sayulita is a valuable experience for those wanting more engagement in the local culture.

Nuevo Vallarta
Nuevo Vallarta and the southern end of Riviera Nayarit are the most developed and most commercialized areas of the state, and that's not at all a bad thing. You'll find an exciting selection of hotels, such as the Hard Rock Hotel and Grand Velas, less than 15 minutes from the airport, along with more restaurants than you'll be able to choose. Many of the best golf clubs are in Nuevo Vallarta and most adventure excursions depart from this community. If your family craves numerous activities and energy during vacations, you'll most likely be happy in the Nuevo Vallarta area.

Between the jungle and mountains on one side and the magnificent Pacific Ocean on the other, adrenaline junkies are going to be very happy in Nayarit. Mexico's longest zip-line, at nearly three quarters of a mile long, can be found here. Overnight jungle trips, rappelling waterfalls and crazy rides in WWII military trucks are some of the mountain fun. On the water, try surfing and scuba diving, or simply swim with the dolphins and sea lions. You can also help release a baby turtle into the wild.

Bucerias
Near to Nuevo Vallarta is the fun community of Bucerias, a traditional Mexican town with cobblestone streets and brightly colored homes and businesses. Bucerias is certainly worth a morning or afternoon outing, if you're staying in the Nuevo Vallarta region. Actually, you should plan to have lunch here because of the numerous locally owned restaurants. Don't be afraid that they don't speak English, because most restaurant owners know how to communicate with non-Spanish speakers. Every day except for Sunday, there's an artisan market that spills over out of the Bucerias town square down several side streets. Spend time exploring and you'll surely find a locally crafted souvenir for your family.

Punta Mita
For a more polished and serene vacation getaway, move on up the coast about 40 minutes to the Punta Mita area. Once a historic fishing village, this is now a gated community with high-end resorts and two outstanding golf courses. The Four Seasons, owned by Bill Gates, and the St. Regis, are two properties that cater to families and offer exceptional value for the money.

Rincon de Guayabitos
The Pacific Ocean is beautiful from every perspective, but no place more pleasant than in Rincón de Guayabitos, a meandering community snuggled up against the curvature of the Jaltemba Bay, whose nickname is "the pool of the Pacific." The waves are so gentle and smooth here that you'll have little to worry about as your toddlers explore the water.

Visitors often rent or buy vacation homes in Rincón de Guayabitos, but the selection of small independent hotels and B&Bs offers an equal amount of comfort and minimal impact on your budget.

San Blas
Moving on up the coast, the roads become more rugged and the jungles encroach a little closer to the coastline. This part of Nayarit is all about Mother Nature. La Tovara National Park is located near San Blas, an area that is recognized around the world as a spectacular birding destination.

San Blas is one of the state's historical communities, having been the first deep water harbor on the Pacific Coast in the late 1700s. Many of the best restaurants in Nayarit are found in San Blas. This is authentic Mexico that welcomes visitors, but has not relinquished its identity in pursuit of tourism.

San Francisco
A similar authentic community is San Francisco, which the locals call San Pancho. It's a small town with a great beach, but is most famous for its children's circus each March and a community center that offers unique opportunities for your family to volunteer during your vacation.

In general, the Riviera Nayarit is about 10 percent cheaper on everything from hotel rooms to rental cars to meals than a vacation on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. That's certainly another reason your family will enjoy a getaway to Nayarit.

Written by Diana Lambdin Meyer less

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