Catering to all ages, budgets and vacation preferences, Riviera Nayarit attracts families who can choose to stay at a wide range of ultra-luxe resorts, quaint B&B’s and family-friendly, all- inclusive hotels. Kids’ clubs, playgrounds, teen programs, game rooms, amenities for children and nannies are available in most resorts. Most properties will offer activities like boogie boards, kayaks and surfing lessons for small children through teenagers and adults.
Many hotels offer special packages ideal for a family getaway that can be planned anytime of the year. The entire family can discover something new every day just by exploring Riviera Nayarit’s wonderful beaches in small towns along the coast. Or they can learn about the authentic Mexican culture and history, UNESCO-recognized cuisine and impressive list of nature activities.
Highlighted below are tours that can be experienced by the entire family:
Dolphin & Sea Lion program
Dolphins and humans have a natural affinity with one another, and at the top of the agenda on your vacation to Riviera Nayarit must be a visit to the Vallarta Adventures Dolphin Adventure Center. The sea lion program gives visitors the chance to swim, interact and learn more about these amazing, energetic and mischievous marine mammals in the most intimate of settings. The signature swim offers the smallest group size available anywhere to swim with dolphins and develop a close personal bond with a dolphin.
The Marietas Eco Discovery
There is a vast array of marine life living on the shores of Punta Mita in the Mexican Pacific. On the trip to the Marietas Islands, everyone anxiously watches to spot whales and dolphins but the ocean is also home to a plethora of majestic giant manta rays, sea turtles and exotic tropical fish. This eco tour also features many indigenous feathered friends like the blue footed boobies and red-billed tropicbirds and, sadly, some of the world’s last remaining Green Macaws.
This multi-activity trip includes a fast boat ride, village exploration, horseback riding and snorkeling.Feel the thrill of 400HP on a boat trip across the bay to explore a hidden coastline and to authentic Mexican fishing villages along the south coast of Banderas Bay. First visit a beautiful village of less than 500 inhabitants as the guide shares local lifestyle and culture.. Then take a horseback trail ride through the mountains of Sierra Madre to a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole to relax or swim. The next stop is a cove with reefs full of tropical fish and interesting sea life. After a snorkeling and equipment introduction, visitors can explore with the guide or take off on their own.
The warm, crystal-clear waters of Banderas Bay and the Mexican Pacific are home to a vast array of sea life making Riviera Nayarit one of Mexico’s top diving destinations. At Vallarta Adventures’ PADI 5 star IDC Dive Center, professional diving instructors combine their expertise with the utmost personal attention in scuba lessons for every level of PADI Certification.
Sea turtles on the coastlines of Riviera Nayarit
The official mascot of Riviera Nayarit, four protected species of sea turtle use the coast of Nayarit as a nesting site including leatherback turtles, Olive Ridley turtles, hawksbill turtles, and green turtles. The Olive Ridley nesting season begins in June and ends in November. Indigenous to Nayarit, the Olive Ridley is one of the smallest species of sea turtle and is named for the olive color of its heart-shaped shell.
During the summer and fall months, travelers can visit Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde’s marine turtle nursery, located in San Francisco. Turtle hatchlings are released just after sundown, and each Wednesday evening during the nesting season, the organization conducts an educational slideshow at the Costa Azul Hotel followed by the releasing of young hatchlings if available. More adventurous travelers may volunteer with the organization for a minimum commitment of two months to aid with hatching and releasing the endangered sea turtles. For more information, visit www.costazaul.com.
Wildlife Connection, an eco tour group based in Marina Vallarta, offers an evening tour to turtle camps in Riviera Nayarit where visitors can participate in the release of baby turtles and complete their experience with an educational lecture about the fascinating world of sea turtles and their conservation. For more information, visit: www.wildlifeconnection.com.
Bird watching & Crocodile Reserve in La Tovara National Park in San Blas
According to the World Wildlife Fund, the La Tovara National Park and mangrove eco-region in San Blas is “one of the most important winter habitats for birds in the Pacific, home to 80% of the Pacific migratory shore bird populations.” A paradise for bird enthusiasts, this ecoregion has the highest concentration of migratory birds and features over 500 species of birds, including the black-bellied tree duck, great blue heron, roseate spoonbill, and endemic birds, including the bumblebee hummingbird and the Mexican woodnymph.
Banderas Bay Tours & Travel offers a special package tour of San Blas with experienced guides who can point out the amazing birds during a boat trip through the tangled mangroves and flat wetlands. Included in the package, is a visit to the Crocodile Reserve in El Manantial of La Camelota to see baby crocodiles and huge full-grown crocodiles up close, as well as a tour of the area’s colonial history and fishing villages.
Whale watching in Banderas Bay and coastline of Riviera Nayarit
Hundreds of Humpbacked whales visit Banderas Bay each year from November through April on their annual migration from Alaska to Hawaii. Vallarta Adventures’ Whale Watching Tours helps visitors get up close and personal with the humpback whales. The majestic giants raise their calves in the protected waters of the Banderas Bay and Pacific coastline of Riviera Nayarit, where they swim amongst friendly wild dolphins that inhabit the waters year-round. Vallarta Adventures offers a variety of whale watching tours appropriate for all ages and physical abilities, including packages that feature cruising and sailing amongst whales, and snorkeling and kayaking options. They are the only company with aircraft that seek the whales and relay their location to the boat captains to increase sightings of whales and dolphins. For more information, visit: www.vallarta-adventures.com.
Jeep Safari in the Sierra Madre Mountains
Vallarta Adventures offers a jeep safari adventure aboard their specially designed Mercedez-Benz all-terrain vehicle. The journey takes adventurers through historic towns with stops to interact with the locals and gain a better sense of their lives and cultures. The journey also winds through amazing scenery, fruit orchards and culminates in a fact-filled hike through the region’s forests to learn about the area’s rich vegetation and wildlife. For more information, visit www.vallarta-adventures.com