One of the best day trips from Puerto Vallarta is to spend a day exploring the Riviera Nayarit which encompasses a 200 mile stretch of coastline north of Puerto Vallarta. Dotted with beautiful beaches and laid back beach towns this stretch of Mexico is a true paradise! We spent a day taking in the sights of Bucerias, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Punta de Mita/El Anclote Beach and Destiladeras Beach. Additional day trips could also be added to explore the laid back beach towns of Sayulita or San Pancho along the beautiful Riviera Nayarit.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
BREAKFAST IN BUCERIAS
Located about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta on the Riviera Nayarit is the wonderful town of Bucerias. Originally known as a fishing town, the town of Bucerias has become a very popular spot for expats and tourists - many say the town is very similar to what Puerto Vallarta was 50 years ago before major tourism took over. To start off your day in Bucerias, head there bright and early and enjoy a breakfast along the beach with your toes in the sand. One of our favorite restaurants is Adrianos Restaurant which is located right along the beach just to the right hand side of the main road that leads to the beach. The bright orange and green painted building is easy to find and they offer basic Mexican fare at a great price! Nothing beats sitting along the waters edge, listening to the sound of the crashing waves and enjoying the ocean views as you begin your day.
After finishing breakfast, spend some time just exploring along the colorful streets and beaches of Bucerias. Right along the main road towards the waterfront you will be greeted with a statue of a diver. It is said that Bucerias in Spanish means 'place of divers'. From this statue, the beach beckons - continue down to the beach and enjoy a walk along beautiful Bucerias Beach. The calm waters here offers a great place for swimming and the beaches are relatively uncrowded, adding to the appeal of his wonderful area! After the beach, head back into town and head towards the market for some shopping - here you will find all the Mexican souvenirs your heart desires.
LA CRUZ DE HUANACAXTLE
Our next stop of the day was 10 minutes north, also along Banderas Bay - La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. Known as a fishing village, this area today still retains it's identity as a fishing hotspot with the construction of the Riviera Nayarit Marina. Spend some time strolling the local fish market and watch the numerous commercial fishing boats as well as traditional panga boats that fill the marina. We loved wandering along this lovely marina and enjoying the picturesque views of the harbor! Make sure and stop by the Seafood Market which offers some of the freshest seafood found anywhere! Even if you don't purchase anything, it is still worth a walk thru the market!
PUNTA DE MITA - EL ANCLOTE BEACH
Continuing on, we made our way to Punta de Mita. There are two separate areas to be aware of when visiting this area - Punta Mita is the gated St. Regis property consisting of luxury resorts, golf courses and beaches - which can't be accessed by the public and then there is the small town of Punta de Mita that offers a few restaurants and access to a small public beach called El Anclote. It was here that we made our next stop - El Anclote. With lunch time nearing, we were able to grab a beachside table and a wonderful lunch while we enjoyed the views out over El Anclote Beach. The beach itself was quite rocky and not as nice as some of the other beaches in the area, but was still fun for a quick beach walk.
Our favorite beach of the day as we explored along the Riviera Nayarit was at Destiladeras Beach. Located between Punta de Mita and La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, this unspoiled beach was an absolute delight! We loved spending a large part of our afternoon enjoying the sound of the crashing waves and swimming in the calm waters along Destiladeras Beach. Activities at the beach included banana boat rides, kayaking, and parasailing for those looking to add a bit of adventure into their time at the beach. What we absolutely loved about this beach is that it was filled with local Mexican families and has yet to succumb to the typical tourist beach that is surrounded by hotels and resorts. The untouched and authentic feel of this beach was wonderful!
DINNER & SUNSET IN BUCERIAS
To end our day of exploration along the Riviera Nayarit, we headed back to Bucerias for a sunset dinner on the beach. We ended up a the beachfront restaurant called Mariscos El Gordo (Seafood the Fat Boy). Delicious seafood and tasty margaritas were a perfect way to cap off our day as we watched the sunset out over Banderas Bay.
Interested in planning your own trip to the Riviera Nayarit? Below is our summarized itinerary for you to follow or adjust to your own preferences. ENJOY!
One Day in the Riviera Nayarit: Breakfast in Bucerias, explore along the beach and markets in Bucerias. Head to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle to see the marina and seafood market. Next stop in Punta de Mita and spend some time at El Anclote Beach. Swimming and relaxing at Destiladeras Beach. End the day back in Bucerias watching the sunset along the beach.