Nayarit Hopping

An itinerary for the Mexican Riviera.

Four Seasons Resort in Punta Mita.

Land at the Puerto Vallarta airport, in Jalisco state, and you’re half a mile from the Nayarit state border, the southern extreme of the Riviera. There’s a lot to see, do, eat and drink along this 192-mile coastal expanse. Spend a week in one place like Punta de Mita and take day trips from there, or road trip up the coast. Here is an itinerary to get your journey started.

Punta de Mita 

Days 1-3

You’ll find a range of lodging options around this beautiful headland. The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita is one of several luxury resorts in a private, gated development on the point. The W Punta de Mita overlooks a quiet beach east of the point. Tours of the Marietas Islands and Hidden Beach leave from this region. Book a half-day trip through Vallarta Adventures that leaves from the marina in the fishing village of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.

Sayulita and the Bohemian Coast

Days 3-5

Sayulita is only 20 miles or so from the Four Seasons, but it feels worlds away, much closer to the real Mexico, despite the recent influx of Californians. There are no large resorts but lots of charming guesthouses and Airbnb rentals. Stay here or enjoy Sayulita’s quieter neighbor, San Francisco (aka San Pancho)—try the Hotel Cielo Rojo. There are other less touristy beach villages—Lo de Marco, Rincón de Guayabitos—farther north. Spend your days here shopping, eating, people-watching and learning to surf. There are several popular schools, including Lunazul Surf School.

Historic San Blas

Days 5-7

If you’re adventurous and have the time, make the roughly three-hour drive from Sayulita to the northern extreme of the Riviera Nayarit, where gringo tourists are few and far between. Mexican vacationers, however, come for the beaches and the local delicacy, pescado zarandeado, filleted and butterflied fish grilled over wood charcoal—traditionally mangrove wood, but these days the mangroves are protected. The sisters at the Hotel Garza Canela know how to take care of travelers, and Chef Betty’s El Delfín Restaurant serves the signature fish and other regional favorites. If you make it this far, a boat tour of the mangrove swamps at La Tovara National Park is a must. So is a tour of the 18th century stone ruins overlooking San Blas. 

This story originally appeared in our February 2018 issue. Click here for the complete feature.

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