If you’re planning a trip to Riviera Nayarit, you’ll be happy to know that there’s so much to do and see here. Another benefit of sightseeing in Riviera Nayarit is that the area isn’t usually overrun by crowds of tourists, even though there are plenty of vacation rentals here to choose from. Though Riviera Nayarit does get a lot of visitors, it’s a pretty relaxed part of Mexico, with an easygoing vibe and plenty of time for R&R.

Coastline and Charming Towns

Sightseeing in Riviera Nayarit starts with the gorgeous coastline and its charming towns. The 100-mile-wide coastline is a major attraction for surfers, golfers, fishermen and anyone who loves nature or the beach. When you’re done soaking up the sun, roam around the area’s many lovely towns, like San Pancho, Sayulita or San Blas.

Marietas Islands

Take a cruise to the stunning Marietas Islands, which are just a few miles from shore. You can only access the islands by boat, and many book a trip with Punta Mita Expeditions. It’s even possible that you’ll spot a whale or dolphins during your boat ride.

The islands were once used by Mexico’s military for bomb target practice, which ruined the islands’ flora and fauna. Today, though, much of the wildlife has been restored and the islands are a protected sanctuary for birds. Marietas Islands are part of the Isla Marietas National Park, and while you can’t actually walk on the island (unless you have special permission), the boat tour will closely go by it so that you can see its wildlife, caves and coves.

Hidden Beach

Sometimes referred to as Lover’s Beach or Playa del Amor, Hidden Beach is part of the Marietas Islands, but you can only access it if you’re received special permission. It’s worth requesting the permission, though, and you’ll want to make sure you get there before high tide.

Snorkeling the Caves of the Marietas Islands

If you don’t have permission to go on the island or Hidden Beach, the next best thing is to go snorkeling around them. You’ll go through arches and near caves as tropical fish swim by. Afterwards, you may want to try paddle boarding a try, which you can do on the islands’ protected side.

Experience Life in Sayulita

Sometimes, the best sightseeing is living like a local does. You may have booked vacation rentals for this trip, but you can still spend time like area residents do, especially if you take a day to explore Sayulita.

This busy surf town has a laidback vibe, and locals are used to chatting with visitors. There’s plenty to do and see here, from picture-perfect beaches to excellent restaurants. Go to a wine or tequila tasting, have lunch and chilled cocktails on Sayulita Beach, and support the small shops that sell artisan goods.

Of course, one of the best ways to see the area is from the ocean. If you’re not a surfer, you can take a lesson, or give kite surfing or windsurfing a try. The beach is also great if you just want a relaxing dip in the water, or if you want to spend an hour stand-up paddle boarding.

Just half an hour from Puerto Vallarta and close to the Puerto Vallarta airport, Riviera Nayarit has everything you’ll need for the perfect beach getaway.