The Weekend Guide to Riviera Nayarit

Find an endless summer on Mexico’s Pacific Coast.

Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
(Image credit: Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit)

While Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit has been attracting surfers for decades, it's considered under the radar compared to its neighbors. The 200-mile stretch of Pacific Ocean coastline brings more than waves—soft, sandy beaches and year-round sunshine make Riviera Nayarit an ideal vacation destination any time of the year. Just fly into Puerto Vallarta airport and then take a short drive to the nearby oasis. From luxurious resorts to low-key enclaves, one of the 23 coastal towns will be perfect for you. Here are a few cant-miss stops along the way.

Stay at Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit

Banderas Bay is home to Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, a luxury hotel looking to redefine “all-inclusive” with top notch suites, food and drink. Contemporary Mayan architecture is set off by the surrounding nature: views of the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Relax at the infinity pool or use the resort as a jumping off point to explore the rest of the region.

Explore San Pancho

San Francisco, known also as San Pancho, is one of the cultural centers of Nayarit and, in addition to the beach scene, offers the opportunity to soak up art in and around the town. From stunning murals to local shops, you can spend the entire day wandering around the laid-back village. 

Sample modern Mexican at Frida

Frida Kahlo, one of Mexico’s most iconic artists, is the inspiration behind oceanfront restaurant Frida. Dishes are as beautiful as they are flavorful, presented with bold colors and local ingredients.

Zipline through the treetops

For a thrilling zipline adventure, soar through the canopy in the mountains of Higuera Blanca. With views from the Pacific Ocean to the rainforest, the ten lines each offer something unique. To end the adventure, head over to the onsite tequila tasting to sample some local spirits.

Mix it up with Asian fusion

Take a break from Mexican food to journey to Sen Lin, an exceptional Asian restaurant that brings in flavors from China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Try a Shamanic Massage at Se Spa

Inspired by the connection between the physical, emotional, and spiritual, the Neeyari Shamanic Massage at Se Spa is an 80-minute journey to release and heal.

Michelle Stansbury

Michelle Stansbury is a San Diego-based freelance writer who writes about travel, food, and relationships. Misuse of the word "literally" drives her figuratively insane.