7 Interesting facts you probably didn’t know about the Riviera Nayarit

7 Interesting facts you probably didn’t know about the Riviera Nayarit

March 31, 2020 posted by Norma Hernández

Take advantage of these days at home due to COVID-19 to get to know a little more about Mexico’s Pacific Treasure!

Even though you’re staying at home to play your part in keeping the COVID-19 virus from propagating it doesn’t mean you need to be bored! Take advantage of the downtime to get to know a little more about our tourist destination.
Read on for some interesting facts that you probably didn’t know about Mexico’s Pacific Treasure—we’re sure you’ll remember them on your next visit!
Did you know…
1 The image of the Playa del Amor (Love Beach) that gave the Islas Marietas National Park its worldwide fame—and made it an icon of the Riviera Nayarit—was taken over seven years ago by Argentinean photographer Nicolás Melani, who lives in Punta de Mita. Melani conducts tours to the islands, which is why he was able to snap the shot that has become a focus of the destination’s tourism promotion on a global scale. 
Melani has been quoted in several different media as saying: “A lot of tourists from other countries—mostly Europe—arrive here asking for the spot and make reference to the picture; they consider (the Marietas) to be a unique landscape. The best part, though, is that it’s in the Riviera Nayarit and it’s real.”

2 The Cerro del Mono (Monkey Mountain) is one of the many natural marvels found in the Riviera Nayarit. It’s located north of Banderas Bay near the Higuera Blanca community. Over the past few months the peak has become a very popular hiking route for both residents and visitors to this tourist destination, but do you know the origin of its name?
There are several theories regarding this topic, all wrapped up in the stories told by the citizens of Higuera Blanca who’ve been exploring the Cerro del Mono for years. It’s said the mountain was a “sacred space” for the ancient Huichol natives who climbed to the top every so often to do their rituals. As part of their ceremonies they placed several totems with primate shapes in the area. Another version says long ago there were a lot of monkeys living there ago; in fact, you can still spot a few of them during your hike. 
We suggest putting the Cerro del Mono on your list of “musts” to explore after the COVID-19 health emergency has passed, of course. You’ll absolutely fall in love with the spectacular 360° view from the top! 

3Sayulita, the Magical Town, is known the world over for its beautiful beaches made for surfing and its bohemian flair. According to Banderas Bay chronicler Eduardo Gómez Encarnación, its original name was Santa Cruz Saloc. In his chronicle titled In the Days of…, Gómez Encarnación makes this reference: “In the Relación de Compostela, written by Lázaro Blanco in 1584, a village appears on the coast of the Banderas Valley with the name of Santa Cruz Saloc. It is, undoubtedly, Sayulita…”
According to the chronicler, the place still appears with the name of Santa Cruz on a map of the Coasts of New Galicia in 1798. By then it belonged to the Hacienda Jaltemba, owned by the Romero Family from Guadalajara. It was don Lauro González Guerra, originally from Sayula, Jalisco, and administrator at that time of the Hacienda de Jaltemba, who decided to name this small coastal village on the lands of the hacienda “Sayulita” as a tribute to the hometown he loved so much. 
Can you imagine a name like that for Sayulita? No, we can’t either!

4The Beach Cleanup Network (BCN) —the only one of its kind in a tourist destination— has been doing its work since June of 2014, coordinated by the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) together with the Banderas Bay Hotel and Motel Association. Several volunteer groups from different sectors of society participate in the BCN including NGOs, hotels, private enterprise, authorities, and educational facilities located in the Riviera Nayarit’s coastal towns from Bucerías to Punta de Mita all the way to Rincón de Guayabitos and the Isla de Mexcaltitán. 
In 2019 alone there were 45 cleanups in beaches, streets, gullies, streams, riversides, empty lots, medians, etc. plus a cleaning marathon that included locations around the municipalities of Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay. 
Would you like to join one of our cleanups on your next visit to the Riviera Nayarit? For more information, comments or if you’re interested in learning more about the project, please write to: jmenendez@rivieranayarit.com

5La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, one of the Riviera Nayarit’s coastal towns, has a very odd name. Many think it stemmed from a religious celebration held on May 3rd, marked by the Catholic Church as the feast of the Holy Cross (Santa Cruz). And even though the town has adopted this celebration as its own, the truth is its origin is not very clear. The best-known reference that its name comes from the cross is right at the entrance to the town, carved from the trunk of a huanacaxtle tree. Another legend talks about a peasant who discovered this lovely landscape by the sea on his way from the Banderas Valley to Punta de Mita and stopped to rest under the shade of a huanacaxtle tree. He liked the place so much that before he left, he decided to mark the trunk with a cross. His intention was to return someday, identify the tree that gave him shade, and set up his home there. 
No one knows if he ever returned, but historical documents signal this typical fishing village was founded in 1930 by the Chávez and Blancas families. 

The Riviera Nayarit has many natural attractions that identify it as an eco-tourism destination—among them the Olive Ridley turtle, the humpback whale, the bottle-nosed dolphin, and the Playa del Amor, to name but a few. However, one of its best-kept secrets is a unique and marvelous species that sleeps at the bottom of the sea and surprises tourists who sail around the Bay with its flight: The Manta birostris, also known as the giant manta. Data from specialized biologists indicate this unique creature can reach a size of up to 8.4 meters from one tip to the other of its side-fins, weighs approximately 1,400 kg, and can live more than 40 years. Contrary to what many people think, this species does not have a venomous stinger on its tail, so it is completely safe to swim alongside it. 
Jot down a tour of Banderas Bay on your wish list—you might just see one of these enigmatic specimens! 

7 Six of the micro-destinations in the Riviera Nayarit—Nuevo Vallarta, Flamingos, Bucerías, La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Destiladeras, and Punta de Mita—are located around Banderas Bay, considered Mexico’s largest natural bay at 42 km across. It’s also the largest in North America (Canada’s Hudson Bay is in first place), the seventh-largest in the world, and one of the deepest bays in the world, with more than 500 meters in depth. 
Banderas Bay is located between the states of Jalisco and Nayarit. On the far southern end (Jalisco) lies Cabo Corrientes, in the north (Nayarit) is Punta de Mita, and near the center lies the mouth of the Ameca River, a natural division between the states. It should be noted that the city of Puerto Vallarta also shares this beautiful bay. 
Now that you know a little more about the Riviera Nayarit, we have no doubt it will be on your mind when you start planning your next vacation. 

During this public health emergency:#StayHomeWithRivieraNayaritVisit our website: https://www.rivieranayarit.com.mx/###The Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Bahía de Banderas Hotel and Motel Association (AHMBB) continue to promote the destination, helping to position it on the domestic and international maps with the support of the Government of the State of Nayarit via the Tourism Promotion Trust (Fiprotur). 

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