SEE IT TO BELIEVE IT IN THE RIVIERA NAYARIT: Punta El Custodio, a wildlife sanctuary

  • This tiny refuge exudes peace and quiet; it’s a place for visitors to swim with sea turtles, observe a fantastic variety of birds, surf some waves or savor a traditional pescado zarandeado (grilled fish).

Exuberant palm trees, mangroves, and the impressive blue of the Pacific Ocean serve as the backdrop for this micro-destination in the Riviera Nayarit. Peace and quiet reign in and around Punta El Custodio, making it an ideal getaway to leave all stress behind.

This little slice of paradise is located in the municipality of Compostela off the Las Varas-San Blas coastal highway about two hours north of Nuevo Vallarta and 40 km (19 mi) south of San Blas. It’s currently home to a lucky group of nature lovers who over the past 30 years have built environmentally-friendly villas and condos.

One of the spots in Punta Custodio you really have to see to believe is Playa Las Tortugas, which extends for 8 km (5 mi) along the coast. You won’t believe your eyes as you follow a short path through the thick vegetation, which suddenly opens up to a stunning view: tall peaks, hundreds of perfectly aligned palm trees, the mouth of an estuary, and the vast reaches of the ocean.

Located across from an old coconut plantation, this nearly virgin beach is a refuge for hundreds of species of birds and reptiles and gets its name from the different species of turtles that come ashore every year to lay their eggs. It’s also the perfect spot for eco-tourists and anyone interested in enjoying beautiful, pristine natural surroundings.
Go surfing!
Playa Las Tortugas is also a favorite for surfers and kayakers and is considered one of Mexico’s top surfing spots. Groups of teens with their boards tucked under their arms ready to ride the waves are a common sight, especially on Sundays.

This is also home to one of the most important sea turtle camps in the Riviera Nayarit, which year after year welcomes dozens of volunteers from around the world hoping to keep watch over the nests and protect the eggs. The camp is operated by the National Commission for Protected Natura Areas (Conanp) and is one of the most productive in the region, with some 250 thousand turtles liberated every season.

Playa Platanitos
Playa Platanitos is located just across from Punta El Custodio. This rustic fishing village is home to several restaurants, known as ramadas, which offer seafood-based menus and the traditional pescado zarandeado (grilled fish).

This beautiful, placid beach is 400 m (1,312 ft) long by 15 m (49 ft) wide, with warm, turquoise-colored water and very fine light-gray sand.

The Hummingbird Garden, or Jardín de Colibríes, is another “must” for visitors. This sanctuary for these tiny birds is part of a community project with a double purpose: the preservation of the local biodiversity and the creation of new tourism products.

Punta Custodio-Playa Platanitos is located along the Riviera Nayarit tourism corridor, 62 km (38.5 mi) from the city of Compostela and about 25 km (15.5 mi) from the village of Las Varas on Federal Highway 200. If you’re coming in from the south it’s about two hours from Nuevo Vallarta, giving you the opportunity to drive by other traditional coastal towns such as Bucerías, Sayulita, and Rincón de Guayabitos.

Federal Highway 200 Tepic-Puerto Vallarta connects the northern, central, and southern regions of Mexico, allowing for travel from the country’s main cities.
The Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Bahía de Banderas Hotel and Motel Association (AHMBB) are hard at work to promote the destination with the support of the Government of the State of Nayarit via its Tourism Promotional Trust (Fiprotur). The cultural tourism product offer is an invaluable asset for these promotional efforts.

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