Mexcaltitan Island, Riviera Nayarit Mexico

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MexcaltitanYou’ve never seen anything like it. Mexcaltitán Island, located northwest of Santiago Ixcuintla, is quite literally a magical place. Many even say time has stopped on this ancient Mexican Island village.

Decreed as a Historic Monuments Zone in 1986, Isla de Mexicaltitán Nayarit is known for its picturesque tile-roofed homes and small, tranquil streets.

The name Mexcaltitán has been interpreted to mean a variety of things: for some, it means “land of herons” while others translate the name as “in the house of the moon.

Getting to Mexcaltitán Island is a highlight on its own. Your adventure begins with a 15 minute boat ride to the island. If it is shrimping season you'll likely notice local fishermen out in the waters catching shrimp for the local Mexcaltitán restaurants.

The oval shaped Mexcaltitán Island is not very large in size. The island is approximately 130 feet wide from north-to-south and 1,150 feet long from east-to-west. During the rainy season the streets of town flood, making travel by boat the only option. For this reason, the island has earned the name "The Mexican Venice."

Today the Mexcaltitán Island population is only 800 or so people and its history goes far back. Many historians consider Mexcaltitán the birthplace of our Mexican identity as it was from this island that the Mexicas originally departed on their journey to find Tenochitlán, which eventually became Mexico City, the capital of the Mexico.

Shrimp fishing is the main economic vocation of the inhabitants of Mexcaltitán Island. Many shrimp fishermen will start their day at 3 am during the busy season between May and August and then spend the afternoon napping and relaxing at the pool hall. The few local Mexcaltitán restaurants on the island offer fresh shrimp on their menus, including tamales de camaron (shrimp tamales).

Mexcaltitán locals are also known for their unique handicrafts made from mangroves, and barcinas, spheres created with manta cloth and palm leaves and used to preserve dry shrimp.

And in addition to the houses and wide streets, the island is also home to a beautiful church and the El Origen museum, situated in the Plaza Central. At the Mexcaltitán museum you can find a variety of archeological pieces from Meso- American cultures.

There is only one Mexcaltitán Nayarit hotel on the island called Hotel Ruta Azteca. This family run hotel is simple and provides visitors with everything they need when visiting the island. Mexcaltitán hotel rooms in the back offer views of the lagoon.

And rest assured: this will be a magical trip, a truly inspiring, authentic Mexico adventure.

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