Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit lies just north of popular vacation and expat destination Puerto Vallarta,overlooking Mexico’s Pacific Coast. The area is home to an eclectic mix of expats from all corners of the earth,who come to enjoy the year-round sun,sand and surf for which the area has become famous.
This international flair blends with the proud local culture to create a fabulous atmosphere that is uniquely Mexican,yet also something else. While almost everyone knows about Puerto Vallarta in Mexico’s Jalisco state,the Riviera Nayarit just to the north is also ripe for exploration.
“This region is full of dense jungle foliage – where towering ferns,palms and vines join together in jumbles of tumbling bougainvillea and hibiscus surrounding azure Pacific waters,” writes the Star-Telegram. “The mountains loom behind at various angles,making for landscapes Gaugin would have loved to paint.”
The state of Nayarit is Mexico’s 10 smallest and the border lies just 10 minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta International Airport. The region is diverse and a popular destination among birdwatchers worldwide,as well as wildlife enthusiasts looking for a taste of “unsullied Mexico.” The scenic green countryside of Nayarit is characterized by rolling hills,tobacco farms and endless sugar cane fields,as well as mango,banana and papaya orchards.
“We were just a few yards from enormous crocodiles and inches from an exquisitely beautiful jaguar,viewing thousands of migratory birds in the emerald-green rain forest,eating succulent dishes we had never heard of before and meeting fascinating people from all walks of life,such as the elaborately adorned Huichol Indians,who still live an ancient pre-Hispanic lifestyle,” writes Middleton Thomas.
Located approximately 62 miles north of Puerto Vallarta,the town of Chacala is quiet and its main attraction remains the many palapa-topped restaurants serving up fresh fish daily. Also,it’s fun to peruse the tourist shops and buy fresh,succulent fruit from roadside vendors. The Star-Telegram recommends staying at the Mar de Jade (which translates to Jade Sea),a holistic retreat that is run by a retired family practice physician and her family.
“Tourists come for its camp-like serenity and holistic cuisine – produce is grown at Mar de Jade’s own organic farm whenever possible,and chicken and seafood are the only meat offerings – served in small buffet for all meals,included in the price,” shares Middleton Thomas.