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Secret Mexico: Four hidden gems to discover on Mexico’s Pacific Coast

By Phoebe Hughes  |  February 23, 2021

Discover the hidden treasures of Mexico’s Pacific Coast; from its unknown Amazonia rainforest, the mysterious micro-destination known as ‘Mexican Venice’, an undiscovered hippy-chic coastal town and a hidden beach.

Mexico is one of the most popular destinations for UK visitors. People go to visit the beaches of Cancun, the culturally rich capital of Mexico City and to enjoy the superb facilities of the family and golf resorts of the country. However, when international travel returns, visitors might want to try heading to Mexico’s Pacific Coast of Mexico to uncover the hidden treasure that is Riviera Nayarit.

Renowned for its eclectic charm, and authentic appeal, Riviera Nayarit is home to some secret spots filled with adventure, while offering respite from the busier tourist areas.

La Tovara: A sanctuary for nature lovers in Mexico’s unknown Amazonia rainforest

Smaller in size but still as mighty, La Tovara National Park in the Riviera Nayarit is home to an abundance of nature and wildlife that coexist, forming a unique and surprising ecosystem. Crocodiles have found sanctuary in the La Tovara waters due to the comfortable water temperatures and ample availability of food. The Kiekari Crocodile Preserve provides a sustainable environment for the crocs to enjoy and is also home to a crocodile nursey. Travellers can visit the preserve and discover how they get released into the wild, as part of a repopulation programme.

La Tovara’s unique location means that natural, fresh spring water comes flowing down from the mountains. It is here where travellers can discover Camalota Lagoon’s crystal-clear waters – a perfect habitat for thousands of fish, bird, and reptile species. According to the legend, those who take a dip in the lagoon will be protected by magical nets to stop the crocodiles nipping at their toes.

Mexcaltitán: The mysterious micro-destination known as ‘Mexican Venice’, birthplace of the Aztecs

Mexcaltitán in Riviera Nayarit is Mexico’s most recently minted ‘Magical Town’, a recognition of a few beautiful Mexican villages that have preserved their cultural and historic richness.

Mexcaltitán is shrouded in mystical and magical history that is well worth a day trip. The island is deep-rooted in ancient Aztec history and many historians believe that this island is the birthplace of modern-day Mexico. Over time it has been popularly known as the ‘Mexican Venice’ because Mexcaltitán features high pavements that allow pedestrians to navigate the island even during times of high-water levels which can flood the streets of the island. Visitors will find no cars, and a canoe ride around the charming island takes about 30 minutes, passing thousands of traditionally colourful Mexican houses and street art.

Marietas Islands National Park: Mexico’s hidden beach

Located in the UNESCO-recognised Marietas Islands National Park is the ultimate bucket-list destination, a hidden beach formed by volcanic activity and accessed only via swimming through a tunnel.

To reach this hidden beach, travellers will need to book a boat tour out to Marietas Islands National Park, a 45-minute journey from Punta Mita, in the south of Riviera Nayarit. Once there, visitors are asked to jump off the boat and swim close to the entrance. As the beach is hidden underground, visitors will have to swim through a passage that will eventually lead them to the shore.

Marietas Islands is a wildlife sanctuary, home to the incredibly rare blue-footed booby that can only be found in two parts of the planet: Marietas Islands and the Galapagos Islands.

The crystal-clear waters and coral reefs are ideal for snorkelling. Frequent visitors of Marietas Islands are turtles, dolphins, and humpback whales, while on the shore, visitors can spot barber butterflies, humpback parrots and steel swallows.

Sayulita: The hippy-chic coastal town home to a bohemian art colony

It might be its friendly, laid-back atmosphere, its beaches perfect for surfing, or perhaps that very 60s style vibe: peace and love. Whatever it is, this town has a certain je n’ai sais quoi that’s quite charming, with a boho-chic style that fills its streets, shops, galleries, and accommodations. There is no doubt Sayulita is the trendiest town in Mexico.

The town has a flourishing art street scene and a delightfully growing fleet of up-and-coming local artists. Street Art in Sayulita has exploded in the last several years with Huichol Indians displaying their colourful art in the plaza in the heart of town.

Visitors can discover Sayulita’s street art on a day trip and immerse themselves in this quirky and colourful ‘open-air art gallery’. A perfect tour starts by exploring cobbled streets that overflow with these unique artworks. Interpret the fascinating murals for free, either alone or in a group, and end the day exploring the shops with ceramics, pottery and locally, hand-crafted jewellery.

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