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Places to Visit - Riviera Nayarit

DESTINATION | Published on 05/07/2019
Optimizada happy couple in nayarit

The array of places to visit in Riviera Nayarit make it an explorer’s paradise. As you look at a Riviera Nayarit travel guide, you’ll see tropical beaches, exotic islands, national parks, and verdant mountains. While you could easily relax on only one of the beaches in Riviera Nayarit for your whole vacation, exploring the surrounding area is one of the best things to do in Nuevo Vallarta that will expose you to more of the local culture and warm Mexican hospitality. 

Nuevo Vallarta

For most travelers, Nuevo Vallarta at the southernmost tip of the Nayarit coast is the gateway to Riviera Nayarit. Here, there are several unique things to do in Nuevo Vallarta. In front of the major resorts, there’s an excellent bike path that wander through town under the shade of palm trees. Renting a bike for the day or a Lime Scooter for a few hours allows you to explore the town and surrounding land. You can even bike to the nearby town of Bucerias where there’s more Riviera Nayarit attractions to discover and enjoy. 


If you’re looking for what to do in Riviera Nayarit without having to travel far, Sayulita is the perfect day trip from Nuevo Vallarta. To get to this charming surfing village, hop on the green Compostela bus or hire a taxi or uber. Sayulita has two of the most idyllic beaches in Riviera Nayarit, one directly in front of the town and the other, Los Muertos beach, a short walk south of the city. What makes Sayulita one of the places to visit in Riviera Nayarit is the local surf culture. Whether you rent a chair and umbrella from a local vendor or grab a table at a seaside restaurant, you can kick back and watch the local surfers, some of the coolest Riviera Nayarit attractions. If you feel inspired, there are several schools here that will give you lessons for one of the best Riviera Nayarit activities: surfing! During your time in Sayulita, make sure to wander through the charmingly Instagrammable plaza and streets painted in bright colors and decorated with local art. Pop into some of the boutique stores to find a handmade treasure before heading back to Nuevo Vallarta. 

Las Marietas Islands

One of the most environmentally important Riviera Nayarit attractions is the Marietas Islands, home of the famous blue-footed boobies and an enchanting hidden beach. To discover the islands, you’ll need a Riviera Nayarit travel guide company since it’s a nationally protected area. Vallarta Adventures is a leader in sustainable tours to the islands with two great options. The Islas Marietas Eco Discovery tour is one of the best Riviera Nayarit activities for families of all ages. The first stop on the tour is the islands, where your guide will point out the unique formation of the islands and its famous inhabitants before you snorkel around the islands. After lunch onboard the ship, you’ll spend the afternoon at a separate private beach where you can sip a margarita in a hammock or go paddleboarding or kayaking. The other option is the Hidden Beach tour with the opportunity to swim through caves and to walk along one of the most incredible beaches in Riviera Nayarit--Lover’s Beach. The government allows only a limited number of people onto this beach, so sign up early if you want to see one of the most secluded places to visit in Riviera Nayarit. 

Monkey Mountain

To escape the crowds and get in touch with nature, your list of what to do in Riviera Nayarit should include a hike up Monkey Mountain. Getting to the trailhead in Higuera Blanca is a little tricky since there is no marker or public transportation. If you’ve rented a car, simply drive to the end of Juan Escutia Road and follow the dirt path up the mountain. At one point in the trail, you’ll hit a paved road that you’ll take to the right until you meet the next gate to return to the trail. Once you’ve made it to the top, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the vast mountain range and endless sea. If you would rather make the climb with a Riviera Nayarit travel guide, both MexiTreks and Puerto Vallarta Tours offer transportation to the trailhead and trips up the mountain.

While there’s plenty of fun and things to do in Nuevo Vallarta, getting out of town to explore the rest of Riviera Nayarit will give you a unique look into the local culture and natural environment. Whether you’re looking for a day of boutique shopping or bird watching, these Riviera Nayarit activities will add a touch of magic and adventure to any vacation. As you plan out what to do in Riviera Nayarit, add day trips to other stunning destinations into your schedule.

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