Riviera Nayarit - A Tropical Paradise Along the Pacific Coast

By Jennifer Ercoli - Publisher Macaroni Kid Lafayette August 2, 2018

In July I had the pleasure of attending an amazing press trip with 45 other Macaroni Kid publishers. CVB (Convention & Visitors Bureau) Riviera Nayarit was our host and they went all out in making sure our adventures were unforgettable and that we really dived in to the local culture and experienced traditional customs and food. And now that I am back home I am ready to tell you all about it! 

Nayarit is a state in Mexico. Riviera Nayarit is a 200 mile long stretch of amazing coast within the state along the Pacific Ocean. The first thing you will notice upon arriving is the lush vegetation everywhere. There are many dense forests full of wildlife, exotic plants, fruit, and nuts which make the area extremely beautiful and full of color. 

The first adventure the group went on was with Vallarta Adventures. This company has thought of everything possible to make your adventures exciting, educational, fun, and memorable. We started off with an Amazing Race style game where our group was broken into four groups. We climbed into the big yellow jeep like vehicles and the off-road journey began. Our guides gave us clues that we had to work together to accomplish. It was a blast! The last clue landed us in the forest. We all put on the bug spray and sunblock and began hiking through. The guides were incredibly insightful about everything in the forest which included the insects you could eat, the plants you should never touch, and where to find unlikely sources of food. After completing the hike they had cool towels and cold beer, the perfect touch. Then we visited a woman name Sarah who had lived on the land her whole life. She taught us how to make fresh corn tortillas the traditional way and we cooked them outside on her fire. The homemade guacamole and salsa were to die for. Seriously, tacos will NEVER taste the same again. Once we finished our tour guides took us to a local hangout where they cooked and served us more fresh food which included tortilla soup, hibiscus tea, grilled vegetables, salad, and banana muffins. 

The adventure will never be forgotten and I truly feel like it would have been an amazing adventure for a family. I honestly cannot say enough good things about Vallarta Adventures. Make sure to visit their website by clicking the hyperlinked title to see all their offerings. It will certainly have you booking a trip in no time. 

After a long day it was a must to get back to our hotel, enjoy some ac, and clean up before dinner. The Reflect Krystal Grand Nuevo Vallarta provided everything we needed. The hotel and CVB worked together that evening to provide us with an exceptionally delicious and beautiful meal decorated with cultural items from the Huichol tribe. The Huichol tribe, known for their colorful attire and elaborate jewelry, is one of the four tribes of indigenous people that still exist today in the area. A piece of jewelry was gifted to each of us during dinner which highlighted the kindness and generosity of the people in Riviera Nayarit.  They truly want you to enjoy your stay and come back again and again.

We were able to immerse ourselves in the local communities even more throughout our stay. The most heart-warming visit was to San Pancho. Pancho means Francisco in Spanish, so technically we were in San Francisco Mexico. This small community is all about helping each other out and that concept is most visible through their Community Center. The center itself is made mostly of recycled materials. The whole town now recycles and the workers in the community center pick it up. They teach kids skills not otherwise offered to them and provide after-school tutoring, summer programs, a trade shop for clothes, and a gift shop of their own. In Mexico the government pays for school buildings and teacher salaries but do not pay for any supplies it takes to run a school; therefore, the children must pay to go to school. This in turn means that families with multiple children cannot afford to send all of their kids. The San Pancho community center, Entreamigos, has programs set up to help fund children throughout their educational years. They have been in operation for 11 years and are to the point that some of the kids who went through their programs now have a college degree, and a few more have come back to work with them! It is truly an amazing establishment and their stories touched my heart. So much so that I went across to the street to the local chocolate shop and stirred my emotions up some more with a fresh banana chocolate smoothie. Made with fresh cocoa beans from their community! 

Our adventures carried us to the town of Sayulita, which is only 30 miles from Puerto Vallarta. This small tourist town (approx. population of 5,000) is known best for it's surfing and shopping. The bay provides the perfect place for beginners and other areas offer more complex challenges for the professionals. Several world renown surfers call Sayulita home. There are many shops which range from local artisans with pop up tents to art galleries and leather shops. This is actually where I purchased most of my goods to bring home to the family. I was able to get great deals on t-shirts, traditional Mexican toys, surf shorts, and candies. I will say my favorite part of visiting here was the fresh ice-pop I purchased from a street vendor. It was full of real fruit and delicious. Casually strolling the streets shopping and taking in the local art made for a great day. I plan to take surf lessons on my next visit. I'll let you all know how that goes!

Traveling through Rivieria, Nayarit was an adventure I will never forget. It was so much more than beautiful beaches and sunshine (of that there was plenty). The next time I visit my family will be with me. We are an outdoor family so we will make sure to take advantage of surf lessons, zip lining, horseback riding, atv tours, and snorkeling. And once we do I will be back to tell you all about those adventures. In the meantime visit their website,, and begin booking your own family fun today! 

CVB Riviera Nayarit provided a complementary 3-day stay which included all activities, meals and transportation