The far northern part of the Riviera Nayarit is a paradise for bird-watchers. // © 2014 Mark Rogers
Feature image (above): Mexcaltitan has a long Aztec history. // © 2014 Mark Rogers
Over the last 10 years, Riviera Nayarit has done a superb job of developing and marketing itself as Mexico’s hottest new resort destination. With such great momentum, the tourism movers and shakers are now working to heighten interest in the less-visited northern region of Riviera Nayarit, where a number of natural, cultural and historical attractions await travelers.
“A unique lake, an island with ancient roots and the longest beach in Mexico are the perfect additions to the itineraries of travelers seeking to explore new parts of Mexico,” said Marc Murphy, managing director of the Riviera Nayarit Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Murphy is referring to three off-the-beaten-path attractions in the northern part of the Riviera Nayarit.
First, the Sierra Madre Mountains dominate the Riviera Nayarit skyline, but they also conceal an alluring crater lake located in Tepic that is surrounded by private residences and intimate upscale accommodations, such as the Santa Maria Resorts Boutique Collection. Next, the island of Mexcaltitan de Uribe is reached via a boat through a maze of mangroves and estuaries. Mexcaltitan has an Aztec heritage and it is often called the “Venice of Mexico” since its narrow streets become canals during the rainy season. Finally, Playa Novillero is Mexico’s longest beach. The staggering 56-mile-long beach is at the northernmost point in Riviera Nayarit and is a great place to disconnect and decompress.
The northern Riviera Nayarit city of San Blas, makes an ideal hub for exploring the region.
“Travelers should be aware that this is a less frequented portion of our destination, so from an accommodation standpoint they can expect boutique properties,” said Murphy. “For example, Hotel Garza Canela in San Blas is a family-owned-and-operated, 45-room property with a hacienda feel. The restaurant’s El Delfin restaurant is the product of culinary trailblazer Chef Betty Vazquez, who is considered one of the best chefs in Riviera Nayarit and all of Mexico.”
Interested travel agents will soon get an opportunity to experience the region firsthand.
“Initially, we are going to work alongside the San Blas Hotel Association on an agent fam trip that specifically targets agents catering to bird-watchers. This is a market with 15 million enthusiasts in the U.S. alone. We believe that a recent feature on San Blas on the Nikon Birding Adventures TV site was just the starting point of popularity for San Blas in this growing market segment.”
Murphy noted that even while Riviera Nayarit is seeing a rapid expansion of its infrastructure, the impact on the local culture and environment is being carefully considered. For example, the nearly 34 miles of road between Jala and Compostela — scheduled to be ready for use by summer 2015 — will be designed to take into account the natural migratory paths of jaguars in the region.
“We believe that our visitors will see that they can make an incredible lifetime memory by traveling across the entire coast of Riviera Nayarit,” said Murphy. “Travelers seeking a more immersive experience of authentic Mexico will certainly find a trip to northern Nayarit to be a breath of fresh air.”