The Exotic Wildlife and Immaculate Beaches of Riviera Nayarit

In Play, Puerto Vallarta, Stay by Suzanne Koch

A span of 192 miles of coastline, lush gardens and the Sierra Madre Mountains comprise the dazzling stretch of land known as the Riviera Nayarit. The verdant region boasts gorgeous resorts, top cuisine and adventurous activities for visitors but it’s also well-known for its conservation efforts that aim to protect and care for its wildlife, ecosystems and certified beaches. With 12 of Mexico’s 31 certified clean beaches located in the Riviera Nayarit, it leads the pack with the most of any region in the country. In fact, Riviera Nayarit was recently recognized as a “Clean Tourism Destination” by The Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources—the first in Mexico to receive the certification. Santa Maria del Oro lake, located in the region also recently received a Blue Flag certification, making it the third to do so. The region is able to maintain its high level of cleanliness through groups like the Beach Cleanup Network, an organization made up of 20 local groups that collects garbage found on beaches once a month. Last year alone the group collected 7,000 bags of garbage.

Along with keeping its oceans, lakes and surrounding environment pristine, Riviera Nayarit also cares for its unique wildlife. Nuevo Vallarta’s, Campamento Tortuguero is a center for sea turtle protection and conservation and last year alone, the region released approximately one million hatchlings into the ocean. When it comes to larger wildlife, jaguars are a protected species in Mexico and roam more than 10.7 million square feet of Nayarit land. To ensure their protection, Alianza Jaguar, a civil association born in Nayarit, is helping to promote the conservation of the frisky felines and certain areas of the state have even become protected areas.

Punta Mita, Photo: Riviera Nayarit's Facebook

Punta Mita, Photo: Riviera Nayarit’s Facebook

The nearby islands of Isla Marietas are also a haven for wildlife. The islands are home to 103 registered species of fish and thousands of rare birds like the Blue-Footed Booby. Wild dolphins, sea turtles and manta rays also inhabit the islands which are a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and inhabited by only wildlife. Visitors can explore the area via an approved tour company like Punta Mita Expeditions.

If the Riviera Nayarit is next on your destination dream list, a host of hotels are already awaiting your arrival. Guests can choose to stay at luxurious choices like The St. Regis Punta Mita, Four Seasons Punta Mita, or Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit or opt for a lively and vibrant atmosphere at W Punta de Mita or escape to tropical solidarity at Imanta Resorts. Wherever you stay, the Riviera Nayarit is a must-see for any adventure-seeking traveler.

Riviera Nayarit’s 12 Certified Clean Beaches

  • Chacala in Compostela
  • Bucerías in Banderas Bay
  • Nuevo Vallarta Norte I
  • Nuevo Vallarta Norte II
  • Nuevo Vallarta Sur
  • Palladium at Punta de Mita
  • Platanitos in Banderas Bay
  • Costa Capomo Becerros in Compostela
  • El Borrego in San Blas
  • Los Muertos in Sayulita
  • Isla Coral
  • Rincon de Guayabitos

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