Mexico’s state of Nayarit was in the spotlight last week when it hosted the annual Gala Riviera Nayarit & Puerto Vallarta. One of the top tourism industry events on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, the event was held at the Vidanta convention center and brought together wholesalers, operators, travel advisors and media for two days of property site visits, events, interviews and a tour of the state. While Nayarit has always been known for its spectacular coastline and beach towns, the purpose of this year’s event was to shed light on what the state has to offer tourists beyond the beaches.
“The state of Nayarit offers its visitors the ability to enjoy the luxury properties of the Riviera Nayarit and the authentic experiences of the many towns spread across the state, including our Pueblos Magicos and the connection with the Huichol and our agave fields,” Juan Enrique Suarez del Real Tostado, minister of tourism for the state of Nayarit, said in a statement. “The state offers four distinct regions and archipelagos, which have the perfect characteristics for outdoor activities, adventure tourism, ecotourism and cultural tourism.”
Luxury in Nayarit
One of the pillars of tourism to Nayarit will be its luxury offerings. The Riviera Nayarit is already an iconic haven for luxury, home to six Virtuoso properties and many more luxury offerings on the way. Most recently, Susurros del Corazon in Punta de Mita opened its doors on Dec. 1, and 18 other projects are slated to open by 2025, including a Ritz-Carlton Reserve and the Rosewood Mandarina.
Five-star hotels are a piece of the puzzle when it comes to a luxury travel destination, but Nayarit promises travelers much more.
“Luxury travelers are looking for more contact with nature, low density and making the natural landscape be the center of attention,” the minister said. “A result of the post-pandemic world we live in, or just a need for the less crowded and more authentic experiences, the state of Nayarit offers its visitors the ability to enjoy the luxury properties of the Riviera Nayarit and the authentic experiences of the many towns spread across the state.”
Culinary travel has become synonymous with luxury travel, and those expecting five-star experiences are expecting superb cuisine. The state of Nayarit is home to eight of the 250 best restaurants in Mexico, including:
• Aramara, inside the Four Seasons Punta Mita
• Carao, inside the One and Only Mandarina
•Carolina, inside The St. Regis Punta Mita
• El Delfin, inside the Hotel Garza Canela, San Blas
• Emiliano Cocina y Vino, Tepic
• Hector’s Kitchen, Punta Mita
• Loma 42 Bahia, Nuevo Vallarta
• Tuna Blanca, Punta de Mita
The experiences of Nayarit are geared toward the high-end and the highly curated. Nayarit is a big fishing destination, and luxury travelers can charter boats to take them out to sea for the day, with some adding visits to local islands or incorporating plenty of time to lounge on a yacht at sea.
For those looking to reconnect with nature, Nayarit has hiking opportunities along its Ceboruco and Sanganguey volcanoes. Or travelers can visit the Laguna de Santa Maria del Oro, a crater lake that changes colors throughout the year. Ascend into the misty mountains in Cumbres de Huicicila to experience the rich coffee plantations that pepper the mountainsides.
Other sights And getting there
Nayarit is rich in indigenous culture, as well. Travelers can head into the foothills of the Sierra Madre and up 3,000 feet to visit the Pueblo Magico of Compostela, before reaching a small Huichol village with a population of 130 indigenous people.
Back on the water, a new attraction to Nayarit is the Marias Islands, a former jail which closed in 2019 and has opened to the public for bird-watching and other wildlife spotting. The islands were named a Unesco Biosphere Reserve in 2010 and remain a pristine location for birding, diving, snorkeling and surfing.
Accessibility to Nayarit will be getting easier. Currently, the easiest way to access Nayarit is to fly into Puerto Vallarta, which is in the process of expanding with a second terminal. Other ways to access Nayarit are through Guadalajara or into the Tepic airport. Tepic airport currently does not receive direct flights from the U.S., but that will be changing as the airport is in the process of expanding.
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