Luxury holidays in Nayarit

You may not be able to pinpoint Nayarit on a map, but this unsung riviera is a microcosm of Mexican top hits; think colourful villages, glistening beaches, mysterious ancient ruins and an abundance of agave-based thirst quenchers. Positioned between the Pacific and the Sierra Madre Mountains, the state has been a prized destination for US hippy imports since the 60s, not for its mind-altering cacti, mind you, but for thrills of a different kind – most notably the breaks. While the surf may be up in the Pueblo Magico of Sayulita, a boho bolthole for the barefoot, bearded and board-happy crowd, neighbouring San Pancho emanates a different kind of dreamin’ – one of slow, sustainable living, community-led initiatives and damn good ceviche (not to mention the flaming red sunsets). Far from anomalies, these towns are everywhere along the 200 mile stretch of Nayarit’s coastline, each with its own defining characteristics. Try the shrimp in Chacala, whose name literally means ‘where the shrimp are’, or brush up your Spanish with a mooch through the markets of Lo de Marcos. And keep an eye out for the locals, too. The Riviera is home to an impressive roster of residents, from kaleidoscopic birds to majestic humpback whales.

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When to go

May to September is the prime time to catch a wave or two while topping up your tan surfside. And though November to March may be cooler, it’s an excellent time for hiking the Sierras or catching a glimpse of those fabled humpbacks.

Getting there

  • Planes

    There are two major airports for Nayarit; Tepic International to the north, and Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport to the south. The latter is preferable for international travellers, with flights from Europe, USA and Canada.
  • Automobiles

    You’ll want a car to explore the landscape to its fullest; roads are generally safe and easy to navigate in this corner of the country. For those arriving by plane, nab a rental at Puerto Vallarta.