Riviera Nayarit might be the baby of Mexico destinations, but it is already equipped to accommodate every traveling demographic, from nature lovers to adventure seekers. Encompassing 100 miles of Pacific coast, it offers everything from ecological tours, in which travelers can tackle some beautiful mountains, to more laid-back activities, such as bird and whale watching.
Four protected species of sea turtles, including leatherback, Olive Ridley, hawksbill and green turtles, use the coast of Nayarit as a nesting site. During the summer and fall months, travelers can visit Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde's marine turtle nursery, located in the San Francisco area of Riviera Nayarit. Turtle hatchlings are released just after sundown. Each Wednesday evening during the nesting season, the organization conducts an educational slideshow at the Costa Azul Hotel followed by the releasing of young hatchlings, if available. More adventurous travelers may volunteer with the organization (for a minimum commitment of two months) to aid with hatching and releasing the endangered sea turtles. Wildlife Connection, an ecotour group based in Marina Vallarta, offers an evening visit to turtle camps in Riviera Nayarit where visitors can participate in the release of baby turtles.
The La Tovara National Park and mangrove eco-region in San Blas are popular winter habitats for birds in the Pacific. In fact, the area is home to 80 percent of the Pacific migratory shore-bird populations. It features such birds as the black-bellied tree duck, great blue heron, roseate spoonbill and endemic birds, including the bumblebee hummingbird and the Mexican woodnymph. Banderas Bay Tours & Travel offers a special package tour of San Blas, which includes a visit to the Crocodile Reserve in El Manantial of La Camelota, where you'll be able to view baby and full-grown crocodiles up close, as well as a tour of the colonial history and fishing villages of San Blas. During the months of January and February, a special event called the Festival of Migratory Birds is held to celebrate the abundance of wildlife and species of birds in Riviera Nayarit.
Hundreds of humpbacked whales visit Banderas Bay each year from November through April on their annual migration from Alaska to Hawaii. Vallarta Adventures' Whale Watching Tours offers excursions where travelers can see humpback whales up close. For those looking to burn off some of those Mexican dinners, Vallarta Adventures also offers a safari adventure to the Sierra Madre Mountains. The specially designed Mercedez-Benz all-terrain vehicle takes travelers through historical townships with stops to interact with the locals and gain a better sense of their lives and cultures.
For the traveler who just wants a little chill time on the beach, the destination has miles and miles of coastline and beaches.