In our EXPLORE! series, we are giving you insider tips to help you discover all the incredible areas around Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit so you can best experience this amazing part of Mexico. Today, we are touring three great areas in Riviera Nayarit that are close enough that you could see all in one day, although they are all well-worth staying longer to enjoy: sophisticated Nuevo Vallarta, beachy Bucerias, and beautiful La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.

Nuevo Vallarta

Nuevo Vallarta

Nuevo Vallarta is an absolute paradise for outdoor sports enthusiasts. The El Tigre Golf Club is set in the center of the community offering 18 holes of beautifully manicured course to play. For those that love water adventures, the Paradise Village marina is a hub for sailing, yachting and sportfishing charters, as well as watersports like paddleboarding, jet skiing and parasailing from the beach. Or for those like to stay ashore, Nuevo Vallarta has miles of paved running and cycling trails along lushly landscaped boulevards.

There is great upscale dining to be found in Nuevo Vallarta with some of our favorites including Porto Bello overlooking the canal, Nicksan for excellent Japanese cuisine, and the lovely terrace at La Dolce Vida.  And for tacos, a local favorite is absolutely Barracuda for some of the best fish tacos in the region. Keep in mind that Barracuda only accepts cash so have some pesos or dollars handy.

There is also the modern Paradise Village shopping plaza where you can browse jewelry, clothing and galleries in air-conditioned comfort, as well as make a quick stop in their specialty grocery store which carries several imported goods, if you are craving a taste of home.

Insider Tip: In case of the unexpected, like if you lose your passport, the American Consulate is located in the Paradise Village shopping plaza to assist you.



This charming little beach town is very popular with people looking for lots of restaurant and entertainment choices but in a less crowded and more casual environment. The bright little seaside town offers a vibrant arts and culture scene, full of art galleries to explore, and the central plaza is always buzzing with fairs, live music and vendors.

For those who love to stroll along the beach, Bucerias is your dream destination with 5 miles of uninterrupted soft sand beach- the longest section of walkable beach in Banderas Bay. And if you don’t feel like a walk, you can lounge in a beach chair at one of the many beach clubs or stop at the popular Karen’s Place or Suka Beach House for a delicious lunch and great cocktails, and watch the kite-surfers who take best advantage of the steady ocean breezes in Bucerias and launch their boards high over the waves as they race across the sea.

Insider Tip: When out, order a Buclas beer when available. It is the only craft beer made in Bucerias and comes in a Pale Ale and a Witbier that both pair perfectly with sunny, seaside days.


La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Most often affectionately just called “La Cruz”, this marina community offers laidback luxury and relaxed sophistication. With the large marina serving as the hub of the town activities, one of the most popular attractions is the weekly Sunday Farmers Market, which uses the long, scenic breakwater to set up dozens of local vendor booths, from fresh fruits and vegetables to gourmet products and ingredients, and the works of local artists and craftsmen. There are also several food stands so you will never leave hungry and live entertainment and even yoga classes for a full day of fun.

Also located in the La Cruz Marina is the lovely Frascati restaurant, where you can enjoy beautiful Italian dishes overlooking the boats in the harbor.

Insider Tip: make a trip to Destiladeras Beach and you will not be disappointed. This gorgeous beach is a local’s favorite, so make sure you arrive early on the weekends to be able to rent a table and chairs to spend the day.

Watch for our next installment of EXPLORE! where we will talk about the towns of the Northern Coast – San Blas, Mexcaltitan and Playa Novillero.

Click here to learn more about Punta Mita luxury vacations and travel from Riviera Rentals Mexico.

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