The beaches of the Riviera Nayarit are undoubtedly a privilege that nature has given us.
The Pacific Ocean borders these beaches, some of which have very calm waters, so if you want to live a quiet yet exciting adventure, this is the right place.
The overall temperature on the coast of Nayarit is around 26°C (78°F), which makes it an ideal environment for different land and ocean species to reproduce.
Whether you’re a bird lover, fishing enthusiast, or both, this destination will indeed surpass your expectations.
Here are my top 15 beaches in the Riviera Nayarit, so you don’t miss the opportunity to visit them!
Top 15 Beaches in Riviera Nayarit
1. Sayulita Beach
This Magical Town is located in a prime spot of the Riviera Nayarit.
One of the first things you should do when visiting Sayulita is to take a walk around the village to explore its colorful streets, visit the artisan stores and enjoy the region’s rich gastronomy.
Sayulita is one of the best beaches to practice this activity due to its continuously high waves if you are a surfer.
Also, a few surf tournaments occur during the year, where children and adults can participate.
If you are a beginner, don’t worry, there are several renowned surfing schools here.
Likewise, if you are looking for something quieter and just sunbathing, Sayulita’s beaches are also an excellent option for relaxing while reading your favorite book.
Recommended hotel: Boutique Hotel Siete Lunas
You can also enjoy the sighting of humpback whales that come to Mexico yearly to give birth to their calves.
2. The Marietas Islands in the Riviera Nayarit
Located west of Puerto Vallarta, you can’t miss visiting these islands, which have very calm waters, and swimming in them will make you feel at peace.
The Marietas Islands, also known as “The lovers’ beach,” originated thanks to volcanic activity under the sea.
Believe it or not, the volcano grew until the crater surpassed the sea’s surface; that’s right, nature once again surprised us with this creation.
Interestingly, these beaches were disabled before being discovered, and the army took them for training at the beginning of the 20th century.
In the ’60s, oceanologist Jacques Costeau dedicated himself to the defense of these beaches and managed to leave them as a natural enclosure.
If you want the best experience, take good pictures of the Marietas Islands.
I recommend Get Your Guide; they offer the best tours and packages.
Also, I recommend you plan your visit between December and March, and you will be able to see humpback whales and dolphins.
It is also a place where you can observe birds such as seagulls, pelicans, and the blue-footed booby bird, among others.
3. Rincon de Guayabitos
Among the best beaches in the Riviera Nayarit is Guayabitos.
It is a Mexican bay that the Spaniards discovered when they were looking for a port to disembark and explore the islands.
Also, in the XVI-XVIII centuries, it was a place where pirates came to steal whatever they could get their hands on.
Rincon de Guayabitos is one of the most beautiful beaches in Nayarit, Mexico; come and let yourself be amazed by its crystal clear waters and fine sand surrounding it.
Visit the Captain’s Cabins, where you’ll relax with a nice ocean view.
Rates start at around 1500.00 pesos (70 USD), but I assure you that it will be worth the experience of sleeping in a cabin facing the sea.
You will also savor the delicious local food after an excellent adventure on the sea or land.
4. La Peñita de Jaltemba
I cannot talk about Rincon de Guayabitos without recommending its neighbor, La Peñita de Jaltemba, located 5 minutes away.
One of the main attractions here is the carnival. Every February, the streets are filled with colors and parades.
As for the beaches, the main one is La Peñita. Its waves are calm so you can swim easily and sports lovers can enjoy it.
Also, five minutes away, you will reach the beach “El Playón,” a virgin beach where you can admire its soft sand.
Another attraction is the boardwalk, where you can watch the sunsets and enjoy one of the local snacks and a cold beer.
And if your thing is the nightlife, don’t worry, La Peñita de Jaltemba also has bars and restaurants where you can have lots of dancing fun.
5. Punta Mita, the Star of the Riviera Nayarit
In Punta Mita, also known as the glamorous peninsula, you will find some of Mexico’s most beautiful and exclusive beaches.
This is a fishing village and tourist place where its beaches and high-end resorts are the main attractions.
It is located in Nayarit and north of Puerto Vallarta (approximately one hour by car).
One preferred activity is boat-riding around the peninsula while observing the vast marine life.
Of course, visiting the surrounding towns is another activity you should not miss to learn more about the place. San Pancho and Sayulita are the closest to Punta Mita.
If you plan to visit Punta de Mita, here are some of the top resorts you can stay in:
- Four Seasons Resort
- The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort
- Marival Armony Luxury Resort & Suites
- W Punta Mita by Marriott
6. Miramar beach in Nayarit
Miramar beach is located north of Santa Cruz in San Blas, about 50 km from Tepic, on the Tepic-Jalcocotán-Santa Cruz highway.
It is distinguished by its tranquility and pleasant climate all year round.
If you want to visit a beach that has not yet been fully exploited, Miramar is the one.
Since it doesn’t have so many constructions around it, practically, just you and nature will be there.
The waves of Miramar are ideal for you to practice sports such as surfing and marvel at the landscapes that can be seen from every angle.
An interesting fact about the history of the place is that the Germans settled here in the nineteenth century because they were interested in a brewing company.
Still, when they were surprised by the beauty of the beach, they decided to stay.
They began the extraction of precious metals such as gold and silver, cultivating cocoa, and coffee, among others.
7. San Blas Beach, Nayarit
On this beach, you can visit one of the iconic “Las islitas,” rock formations on the seashore.
It is also an ideal attraction for fishing, where the different fish species are the main ingredient that will delight your palate.
Around the beach, you will find palapas, where you can take a break while enjoying the local food and watching an incredible sunset. San Blas is perfect for families and children.
However, if you don’t want to eat on the beach, there are other restaurants around the small village.
On your way home, don’t forget to stop by the roadside and buy a handicraft souvenir so you won’t forget your visit to San Blas beach.
8. Chacala beach in the Riviera Nayarit
Chacala is a small village with few inhabitants; this town has some virgin beaches with an exciting story to tell because they witnessed the arrival of pirates that used it as a fortress for a while.
Another important fact is that Chacala was declared a Gallery Town because of the number of birds you can observe. Some of them are rare seagull species.
These beaches are one of the most peaceful, ideal for sports and other relaxing activities.
The main beaches in Chacala are Caleta, Chacalillam, and Las Cuevas; the latter is characterized by its strong waves.
9. Bucerias Nayarit, Mexico
Bucerias is one of the most visited beaches on the Riviera Nayarit.
This beach is located about 20 km from Puerto Vallarta. Among other attractions, you can see some of the best sunsets ever.
The main activities here are kayaking, sailing, and jetskiing.
On the other hand, if you want to enjoy the sea, you can rent a palapa and have a pleasant time with your friends or family.
Going to the Ejidal market is also a good option for buying Bucerias souvenirs.
Here you will find handicrafts, silver jewelry, typical local clothing, etc., that you will love.
If your thing is urban art, you can admire the murals painted by the inhabitants of Bucerias, don’t miss the opportunity and get your camera ready for some good pictures.
Another cool attraction in Bucerias is the crocodile sanctuary “El Cora,” here, you can see the crocodiles in their habitat and learn more about these species.
Something interesting is that you can take a picture with a baby crocodile.
10. San Pancho: The best-kept secret of the Riviera Nayarit
San Pancho is another cool little beach town where you can enjoy extreme, relaxed activities.
Walking through the streets, you will feel the magic of a small, quiet, yet vibrant “hippie” town.
Appreciate the handicrafts made by the Huicholes living in San Pancho, and buy one if you can.
This way, you will take a souvenir of your visit to San Pancho and support the economy of their families.
Another activity you can do here is the turtle release. They take this labor very seriously; the best part is that you can participate.
So, if you’re looking for another excellent beach option near Sayulita, San Pancho is the one.
It will take you only 20 minutes to get there by car.
11. Lo de Marcos Nayarit
Lo de Marcos is another famous beach town in the Bay of Banderas (about 25 minutes from Sayulita) known mainly for fishing and livestock activities.
The beaches that I recommend you to visit are: Lo de marcos, Las minitas, and Los venados.
They are surrounded by palm trees, hills, and rocks, where you will lose yourself from the outside world.
These beaches are known for being one of the quietest, it is said that when the waves break, you can see the fish; interesting isn’t it?
If you get hungry during your visit, you can eat at La Tomantina and Oscar Tacos, 2 of my favorite places.
12. La Cruz de Huanacaxtle
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle is about 30 minutes from Puerto Vallarta and borders Punta Mita.
Since its remodeling a few years ago, it has a world-class marina with a nice boardwalk.
You will enjoy activities like snorkeling, surfing, fishing, and diving on this beach.
If you prefer to save yourself the trouble of catching your food, you can visit the Mercado del Mar de la Cruz; here, you can find the best fish and seafood in the area.
13. Litibu- Riviera Nayarit
Litibu is another beach near Sayulita, it is an almost virgin beach, and the color of its turquoise water and white sand will amaze you.
Surely like me, you are wondering what Litibu means.
Well, it is a word of Huichol origin that means “bird song.” As you can imagine, there are tons of different bird species here.
Walking on the sand of this beach will make you feel as if you were in the desert since it has a very soft texture.
And as I mentioned, it is a relatively virgin beach, so you will hardly find mega constructions or large crowds as on other beaches of the State.
If you like to play golf, here in Litibu, you will find an 18-hole course designed by Greg Norman, where you can go with your friends and have a fun afternoon.
14. Destiladeras Beach
It is located north of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle beach. It will take you about a 40-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta to get there.
This is like a “generic” beach for people looking for fun and adrenaline.
It is usually frequented by locals and those seeking tranquility because you can sit and admire the scenery here.
You can practice swimming and have competitions with your friends to see who can break the most waves, or you can play a beach soccer game and invite more people around you.
Also, if you prefer, you can walk on the soft sand while watching the sunset and forget about your routine, the city, work, or school.
15. El Novillero beach
El Novillero is the longest beach in Mexico and one of the largest in the world, 90 km long and half a km wide.
If you are in Puerto Vallarta, you must head north as if going to Mazatlan.
I recommend visiting this beach; it is only four hours away. I assure you it will be worth it.
Also, El Novillero is considered one of the safest beaches in Nayarit since its low waves make it ideal for families and children.
One of the main attractions of this beach is a boat tour that will take you to see El Canal de Cuautla and La Laguna Brava.
Here, you will see the different types of birds and impressive flora and fauna.
Top 15 Beaches in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico: Conclusion
Riviera Nayarit is a hidden gem of Mexico, offering a diverse range of stunning beaches perfect for relaxation, adventure, and everything else.
Whether you’re looking for a secluded hideaway or a bustling hotspot, there’s something for everyone in this picturesque coastal region.
From the vibrant surf scene at Sayulita to the tranquil shores of Nuevo Vallarta, these top 15 beaches in Riviera Nayarit will surely provide an unforgettable experience.
So pack your sunscreen, grab your swimsuit, and get ready to discover your own slice of paradise on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
I know it may be challenging to choose which beach is most suitable for you.
However, I’ve been to all of them, so I may be able to point you in the right direction if you need further advice.
Please contact me if you have any questions or need further tips on your next visit.
Stay safe and healthy. Vamonos!