Beaches of Riviera Nayarit

Top 10 Beaches You Have to See in Riviera Nayarit

You’ve dreamed of the perfect beach vacation—one with endless stretches of pristine sand, warm waves lapping the shore, palm trees swaying in the breeze. A getaway where you can unwind completely, leaving the stresses of daily life behind. The good news is that paradise awaits in Riviera Nayarit. This gorgeous region of Mexico boasts nearly 200 miles of spectacular coastline dotted with secluded coves, lively beach towns, and world-class resorts. In this travel guide, you’ll discover the top 10 beaches you absolutely have to see for yourself in Riviera Nayarit. From surfing breaks to snorkeling havens, you’re sure to find your perfect slice of beach bliss. So get ready to soak up some sun because your dream beach escape starts here!

An Overview of Riviera Nayarit’s Breathtaking Beaches

Paradise Found in San Pancho

Nestled between jungle-covered mountains and the Pacific Ocean, San Pancho beach is a slice of paradise. With soft white sand and gentle waves, it’s perfect for swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, and sunset walks. When you’re ready to cool off, grab an ice cream or fresh fruit from one of the beach vendors.

Surf’s Up in Sayulita

If you’re looking to hang ten, head to the surf town of Sayulita. Its crescent-shaped beach offers some of the best waves in the region, attracting surfers of all skill levels. When you’re not riding the surf, explore the cobblestone streets, shop for handcrafted goods, or dine on fresh seafood at an open-air restaurant. Sayulita has a fun, laid-back vibe that will make you want to stay forever.

Seclusion in Chacala

For a secluded beach getaway, visit the tiny fishing village of Chacala. Its pristine beach is set in a scenic bay, encircled by jungle-covered mountains. You’ll feel miles away from it all as you swim, build sandcastles, or read under a shady palm tree. The beach is also popular for whale watching, sea turtle nesting, and bird spotting. Best of all, the beach is delightfully uncrowded, even in high season.

With scenic bays, pounding surf, and secluded coves, the beaches of Riviera Nayarit offer something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to relax, adventure, or find solitude, this Pacific paradise awaits your discovery. The hardest part will be deciding which beach to visit first!

The Top 5 Beaches in Punta Mita

Playa Punta Negra

This secluded beach features dark sand and massive rock formations that offer privacy from prying eyes. You’ll have to access it by boat or by hiking through the jungle, but the reward is having a picturesque cove nearly all to yourself. The snorkeling and kayaking here are unparalleled.

Playa Las Palmas

A short walk from the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Playa Las Palmas has soft white sand and gentle surf perfect for swimming or boogie boarding. Lined with swaying palm trees, this beach has a laid-back vibe that’s ideal for whiling away an afternoon in the sun. Beachside restaurants and bars dot the shore, so you’ll never go hungry or thirsty.

Playa La Lancha

A locals’ favorite, Playa La Lancha is a secluded cove tucked between Punta Mita and Punta Negra. You can access it only by boat or via a short hike, but the rewards are an undeveloped beach with no crowds. The snorkeling is amazing here, with a reef full of colorful fish just offshore. Pack a picnic and make a day of enjoying this hidden gem.

Playa Litibu

Just south of Punta Mita, Playa Litibu offers over a mile of soft white sand and picturesque views of the Sierra Madre mountains. This undeveloped beach is perfect for walking, beachcombing, and watching sunsets. Surfing and boogie boarding are popular here when the waves are up. Access is easy, with just a short walk through the Litibu Golf Course.

Playa Punta Mita

The beach at the Punta Mita resort community has something for everyone. On one end, gentle waves lap at the shore of a family-friendly beach with calm surf. On the other end, rolling waves attract surfers and boogie boarders. In between, you’ll find beach clubs, resorts, and restaurants along a picturesque stretch of soft sand. This beach offers a vibrant social scene in an idyllic setting.

3 Amazing Beaches in Sayulita Not to Miss

Playa Los Muertos

This picturesque beach is found right in the heart of Sayulita, located just south of the town plaza. With soft sand, gentle waves, and stunning sunsets, Playa Los Muertos attracts both locals and visitors. Rent a beach chair or towel and spend the day swimming, sunbathing, and people watching. When you need a break from the sun, grab a drink or snack from one of the beachfront restaurants. As night falls, stay to enjoy a beach bonfire under a sky full of stars.

Playa Carricitos

For a quieter beach scene, head north of town to Playa Carricitos. This secluded beach stretches over a mile long, with scenic rock outcroppings and tide pools along its shore. You may spot manta rays, dolphins or even whales offshore. The beach is accessed by a short hike from town, so you’ll likely have it mostly to yourself. Pack a picnic lunch, your favorite book or a Frisbee and enjoy a peaceful day in paradise.

### Playa Escondido

Hidden away at the end of a jungle trail, Playa Escondido offers a perfect escape. Trek about 30 minutes from Sayulita to discover this rugged and secluded beach, surrounded by lush foliage and granite cliffs. There are no amenities here, so come prepared with everything you need for the day. The effort to reach Playa Escondido is well rewarded with a pristine stretch of sand, azure waters and a sense of solitude. Make sure to check tide times before hiking in, as parts of the trail may be impassable at high tide. Your own private tropical oasis awaits at Playa Escondido!

The beaches of Sayulita offer something for everyone, from lively social scenes to isolated retreats. With a little exploration, you’ll find your perfect patch of paradise in this Pacific gem. Don’t miss out on these amazing beaches – your Riviera Nayarit getaway isn’t complete without them!

The Best Family-Friendly Beaches in Nuevo Vallarta

Playa Bucerias

With over two miles of soft white sand and gentle waves, Playa Bucerias is an ideal beach for families with little ones. The water is shallow for several yards out, so kids can splash around freely while you relax. Beach vendors stroll by selling everything from fresh coconuts to handmade jewelry. If you get hungry, grab some fresh fish tacos or a mango smoothie at one of the casual beachfront restaurants. The laid-back vibe and amenities make this beach perfect for a family beach day.

Playa Gemelas

Twin beaches, Playa Gemelas, offer double the space for families and a quieter alternative to the more popular beaches. The smaller size means fewer crowds, even in high season. Gentle surf and lifeguards on duty during the day provide peace of mind. Pack a picnic, bring some beach toys and chairs, and enjoy a relaxing day in the sun. The beach is within walking distance to restaurants for when hunger strikes.

Playa Nuevo Vallarta

Fronting the resorts of Nuevo Vallarta, this long stretch of beach has a little something for everyone. The north end tends to be busier, with lots of activities and amenities like beach palapas, massage tents and beach vendors. Head south for a quieter spot, or walk along the scenic malecon, a beachfront walking path. Lifeguards, restrooms and beach rentals make it convenient for families. The beach is also great for walking, jogging or cycling.

In summary, Nuevo Vallarta offers families an array of beach options for fun in the sun. With lifeguards, gentle surf and amenities galore, parents and kids alike will love an easygoing beach escape here. Pack up the sunscreen, towels, buckets and shovels, and enjoy a memorable family beach day in paradise.

The Most Secluded Beaches in Riviera Nayarit

Playa de los Muertos

Hidden away near the town of La Peñita is Playa de los Muertos, one of the most secluded beaches in Riviera Nayarit. Reachable only by boat or a 30-minute hike, this pristine beach stretches over a mile long with soft white sand and turquoise waters. The trek here is not for the faint of heart, but worth it for the reward of having this tropical paradise nearly all to yourself. Pack a picnic, your swimsuit and a sense of adventure and head out to discover this secret beach.

Playa Mecatán

Down a winding dirt road in the coastal jungle lies Playa Mecatán, a rugged yet stunning beach with rocky outcroppings, tide pools and crashing waves. There are no amenities here, just raw natural beauty. Come at low tide to explore the sea life in the tide pools and see sea turtles nesting along the shore. The rip currents here can be strong, so use caution if swimming. This secluded haven is ideal for a quiet escape surrounded by nature at its finest.

Playa Punta el Gringo

Tucked between two resorts near San Francisco is a hidden gem called Playa Punta el Gringo. Access is by boat or via neighboring resorts, keeping crowds to a minimum. Palm trees sway over powdery beige sand that stretches as far as the eye can see. Gentle surf and a picturesque rocky point make this an ideal beach for swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing and watching dazzling sunsets. Pack a picnic basket, grab your beach towel and make your way to this secret slice of paradise for a relaxing getaway.

With kilometers of coastline, Riviera Nayarit has no shortage of hidden beaches waiting to be discovered. Escape the crowds and uncover the natural beauty and solitude these secluded beaches have to offer. Keep an open and adventurous spirit—some of the very best rewards come after the hardest journeys. The secret spots are out there, you just have to find them!

Activities and Attractions Near Riviera Nayarit Beaches

As much as you’ll love relaxing on the soft sand and swimming in the turquoise waters, there are lots of activities and attractions near the Riviera Nayarit beaches to experience.

Adventure and Nature

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you can get your fix in Riviera Nayarit. Options include zip lining through the jungle canopy, riding ATVs along dirt roads, kayaking or paddle boarding on the Pacific, or rock climbing over ocean cliffs. Many tour companies offer guided excursions for these activities.

For a more laid-back adventure, go on a whale watching or bird watching tour. Every winter, humpback whales migrate to the region to breed and give birth. You might spot whales breaching out of the water or calves swimming next to their mothers. Bird watching is also popular, with many native and migratory species in the area like herons, terns, frigatebirds and pelicans.

Culture and History

Learn about the region’s history and culture by visiting some of the nearby towns and landmarks. In San Blas, you can tour an old Spanish fort, see traditional dances, and shop for handmade crafts. The town of Chacala has cobblestone streets, colorful buildings and an historic church. Outside of town, you’ll find secluded beaches, jungle trails and waterfalls to explore.

For a glimpse into the indigenous Huichol culture, visit the Museo de Arte Indígena in Puerto Vallarta. The museum features a renowned collection of yarn paintings, textiles, beadwork and other crafts made by the Huichol people. You can also take tours to Huichol communities in the Sierra Madre mountains.


When the sun goes down over the ocean, the nightlife in Riviera Nayarit towns comes alive. Listen to live music on the beach, sip cocktails at an oceanfront bar or club, stroll the boardwalks and shop at night markets. Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita are popular spots for nightlife, with options for all tastes whether you want to relax or dance the night away. However, be aware of your surroundings, don’t leave drinks unattended, and take normal safety precautions.

With so many options for adventure, culture, nature and nightlife near the beaches, you’ll never run out of activities in Riviera Nayarit. Discover all the area has to offer for an unforgettable beach getaway.

Where to Stay Near the Top Beaches

With miles of coastline and some of the best beaches in Mexico, finding the perfect place to stay in Riviera Nayarit won’t be hard. You have lots of excellent options near the top beaches that will put you within walking distance of the sand and surf.


The surf town of Sayulita is an ideal base for exploring many of the area’s beaches. It has a hippie-chic vibe with yoga studios, organic eateries, and bohemian boutiques. You’ll find beachfront villas, intimate boutique hotels, and budget-friendly hostels. Being only a 30-minute walk from Playa Los Muertos and a quick drive from Playa Carricitos, you can’t beat the location.

Punta Mita

For a more upscale beach getaway, head to Punta Mita. This resort area on a secluded peninsula is home to luxury resorts like the Four Seasons and St. Regis. You’ll have access to a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, world-class spas, private beach clubs and every amenity you can imagine. Playa Punta Mita and Playa Anclote are right outside your door, with their picturesque white sand and turquoise waters.

San Pancho

The laid-back beach town of San Pancho (also called San Francisco) is ideal for budget-friendly beach living. You can rent a simple beach bungalow or casita for under $100 a night. It’s only a 10-minute stroll from Playa San Pancho, a quiet cove lined with seafood shacks and beach bars. The town has an arty feel with live music venues, murals, and a thriving expat community.

The key to finding where to stay in Riviera Nayarit is identifying what vibe you’re going for—whether it’s seclusion, surf culture, or total luxury. No matter your style or budget, you’ll discover the perfect beachside place to lay your head under the swaying palms. After all, the beaches are the real stars here. Your accommodation just helps set the stage.

How to Get Around Riviera Nayarit’s Beaches

Getting from beach to beach in Riviera Nayarit is half the fun. With so many scenic spots along the coastline, the journey can be just as enjoyable as the destination. Here are some tips for navigating between the beaches:

Rent a car – This is a great option if you want flexibility and independence. You can stop whenever and wherever you like along the coastal road. Just keep in mind that parking at some beaches may be limited during high season. Look for rental car companies in nearby towns like Sayulita, San Pancho or Punta de Mita.

Take a taxi – Taxis and shuttle services are readily available for transport between towns and beaches. Fares are usually reasonable, but be sure to agree on a price before getting in the cab. If there are a few of you traveling together, a taxi may end up costing about the same as renting a car.

Ride the bus – Public busses run daily between many of the beach towns, and fares are very budget-friendly. However, bus schedules can be limited, especially on weekends and holidays. The busses also make frequent stops, so travel time may be longer. Check with your hotel for the nearest bus stop and schedules.

Hire a private driver – For door-to-door service and a tailored itinerary, hire a private driver for the day. Many taxi drivers and tour companies offer private driving services for a fixed daily rate. They can take you to multiple destinations at your own pace and schedule. This is a convenient option if you want to visit more remote beaches.

Walk or bike – For beaches within the same town, walking or biking are ideal. Not only is it good exercise, but you’ll get to soak in all the surroundings at a leisurely pace. Many beach towns have bike rentals available if you prefer to pedal. Just be aware of vehicle traffic on narrow, winding roads.

With so many ways to get around, you’ll be beach hopping in no time. Enjoy the ride—the scenic coastal drives and pathways are half the adventure in Riviera Nayarit!

Riviera Nayarit Beaches FAQ: Your Top Questions Answered

You probably have a few questions about the beaches in Riviera Nayarit. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions from travelers.

How do I get around the beaches?

The easiest ways to explore the beaches are renting a car, hiring a taxi, or taking a guided tour. Riviera Nayarit’s beaches are spread out over 100 miles of coastline, so a rental car will give you the most flexibility. Taxis and tours are good options if you want to avoid driving. Many resorts also offer beach shuttle services for their guests.

Are the beaches safe?

Yes, Riviera Nayarit’s beaches are very safe for tourists. The area has a low crime rate, and the beaches are patrolled. As always when traveling, exercise normal precautions with your belongings. The main safety risks are the strong ocean currents and rip tides at some beaches. Pay attention to any posted signs and warnings, and swim near a lifeguard when possible.

What is the weather like?

Riviera Nayarit has a tropical climate with warm weather most of the year. The dry season runs from December to April, with little chance of rain and low humidity. Temperatures average 77 F. The rainy or “green” season is from May to November. You can expect frequent afternoon rain showers and thunderstorms, with temperatures around 82 F. The ocean is warmest from July through October, perfect for swimming and other beach activities.

What can I do at the beaches besides swim?

There are many activities to enjoy on Riviera Nayarit’s beaches in addition to swimming. You can go sunbathing, beachcombing, kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding. Several beaches offer opportunities for snorkeling or scuba diving on nearby reefs. You may spot dolphins, whales, manta rays and sea turtles in their natural habitat. Some resorts provide equipment for beach volleyball, soccer and other sports. And of course, you can always relax with a cold drink at a beachfront bar or restaurant!

Riviera Nayarit’s stunning beaches have something for everyone. With the answers to your top questions, you can feel confident planning a beach getaway in this Pacific paradise. Let us know if you have any other questions!


So there you have it – ten of the best beaches in Riviera Nayarit you simply must put on your bucket list. From the secluded coves of Playa Escondida to the bustling sands of Punta Mita, you really can’t go wrong with any of these spots for an unforgettable beach day. Just don’t forget the sunscreen! With so many options for water sports, tasty snacks, and gorgeous views, you’re sure to find a new favorite to return to again and again. Whether you prefer to relax or play in the waves, you’ll make lasting memories at any of these incredible beaches. So start planning your Mexican beach getaway – your dream destination awaits in Riviera Nayarit!