Things to do in Riviera Nayarit

Things to do in Riviera Nayarit

Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Amanda Stancati

The thought of cobblestone streets and guacamole was enough to get me on a fight to Mexico. When I got there, so many other things made me want to stay. I visited Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco and moved on to Riviera Nayarit in the state of Nayarit, 20 minutes north. Both destinations have so much to offer: the beautiful beaches and secluded luxury resorts of Riviera Nayarit mixed with surfing and golf courses contrasting with the animated nightlife, colourful galleries, restaurants, and culture of Puerto Vallarta created the perfect Mexico vacation.

Yesterday I shared with you some of my favourite things to do in Puerto Vallarta. Here are some things to do in Riviera Nayarit and three spectacular areas to visit!

San Pancho

San Pancho, also known as “San Francisco” is a quaint Mexican village surrounded by jungle, mountains, and beaches. Spend a day exploring the markets, laying by the beach, mingling with the close knit communities, or experiencing a traditional fiesta in city squares.

Visit Bistro Organico, a charming organic eatery with an open-kitchen concept. The 5-year old restaurant is intimate, laid-back, and trendy, emphasizing local and sustainable lifestyles. Decorated with old posters, chalkboards, and outdoor ponds, you’ll find clothes and knick-knacks for sale.

I sampled delicious raison scones served with marmalade and butter (they make all their own bread and granola), followed by banana pecan pancakes with raw honey from Tapalpa, a town in Jalisco. The coffee is amazing black; the beans are sourced locally (about an hour away). They are also known for their “green” drink made with freshly picked coconut and mixed with cilantro and other healthy ingredients. For those in love with the area, the restaurant has an adjoining hotel, Hotel Cielo Rojo, with just 7 guestrooms and 2 suites that grant guests peace and quiet. There are also opportunities for beach and studio yoga in conjunction with a center down the street.


The vibrant beach town of Sayulita is filled with restaurants, shops, art galleries, and markets. Relax on the wide public beach with light brown sands (there will be lots of non-aggressive vendors approaching). It is 200 pesos to rent an umbrella and chairs for the whole day, unless you’re visiting a restaurant on the beach, or bring your own towels to lay on. Surfing is big here; we took lessons with Lunazul surf school and shop. At night, young people fill the streets radiating a peaceful 60s vibe and later retreat to the area’s hostels or boutique hotels.

Marietas Islands

Unfortunately we weren’t able to visit this island because of weather conditions, however I hear it is breathtaking. The islands were formed years ago by volcanos and is the perfect place for eco-adventure. Experience kayaking, snorkeling, diving, beaches, caves, and tropical species like sea turtles, dolphins, fish, and birds. This is also an excellent place for whale watching and swimming with the dolphins in their natural habitat.

Stay tuned for a summary of the best resorts in both Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit.


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