- Enjoy a risk? Need to get your adrenaline pumping? Read on for some truly exciting sports and activities that you can do in this destination on land, sea or sky.
For many, traveling to unknown places—sometimes alone—is a thrill. But there are others who, when they travel, need an extra dosage of adrenaline. They need to explore their limits and conquer their fears.
For lovers of the extreme, the Riviera Nayarit offers endless activities to do on land, sea, and even in the sky, from swimming with whale sharks to liberating turtles, from surfing, kitesurfing, deep-water scuba, and sailing to jungle treks, mountain biking, zip lines, and ATV tours.
We’ve chosen seven of these activities—the most exciting and popular—although it’s important to point out that to do them requires more knowledge and awareness than other sports.
SCUBA / FREE-DIVING
Although some people don’t consider diving an extreme sport, we need to keep it on the list because not just anyone is willing to dive 30 meters underwater with only an oxygen tank strapped to their back for sustenance and be surrounded by fauna that can sometimes be dangerous. How much more extreme can you get? On the other hand, diving can become a passion because it allows you to get up close and personal with marine life, coral reefs, colorful fish, starfish, jellyfish, and the many other species that call the sea home.
In the Riviera Nayarit there are wonderful diving spots including the Islas Marietas, El Morro, Los Anegados, La Corbeteña, Isla del Coral, and Isla Isabel. Shops that can take you on these tours include Vallarta Adventures, Pipilas Tours, and Xplore.
For those seeking an even bigger thrill, some shops are offering free-diving. This activity requires you to train your body to dive to great depths (up to 50 meters) with no equipment, holding your breath for long periods of time. Check out Spearmex.com.
To the casual observer, mountain biking might not look like an extreme sport, but if we take into consideration the conditions that surround the average ride on demanding tracs with high-speed downhill runs dodging trees, rocks, and roots that stick out along the way, then we consider it very appropriate to include in this list of recommendations.
This sport has gained quite a following over the last few years, and the destination has hosted important biking competitions thanks to the Riviera Nayarit’s incredible natural beauty and splendid mountains. Among them is the Riviera Nayarit MTB Race held in the Litibú Master Planned Center with a route that includes mountains and sea. On the other hand, if you’re a biking aficionado, there are plenty of established trails in the lush Sierra de Vallejo mountains.
Kitesurfing, or kiteboarding, is a dynamic, young, athletic, and showy sport you do on a surfboard dragged by a kite (parachute). This combination allows riders to pick up a lot of speed over the water and do some spectacular stunt jumps.
The wind around the Riviera Nayarit is considered one of the best in the world by kitesurfers, and the waves are ideal to showcase the athletes’ abilities. These conditions are stable pretty much year round, though May is a favorite month.
This sport is so popular that the destination created a Wind Festival, an event included among Mexico’s “Can’t Miss 100” in the “moments and events” category, on par with the top international events.
SWIMMING WITH THE WHALE SHARKS
Can you imagine swimming with the largest fish known in the marine world? Swimming with a whale shark is one of the most exciting experiences you can have in the Riviera Nayarit from November through March. The majesty of this incredible fish is such that visitors leave completely impressed and grateful for the privilege of observing it from a distance of just one meter.
Experiencias Turísticas Mata (Ecomata), a tour company specializing in this type of tours, is located in Boca de Camichín, municipality of Santiago Ixcuintla. Pipila’s Tour, located in the port of San Blas, also offers this experience. Both have expert guides trained in Nature Tourism.
There’s no doubt surfing is a favorite of adrenaline addicts that hang out on the beach, hunting down the biggest waves with the motto: “The bigger the wave, the better.” This is considered the king of the extreme beach sports—all you need is a specially-designed board, lots of patience, and tons of energy.
This sport has made Sayulita a Mecca for surfers from around the world. You can glide on its beaches whether you’re a beginner or a professional, as it has three different types of waves: left, right, and a learner’s area. You can rent boards and equipment right off the town’s main beach.
RAPPELING, CLIMBING, AND CANYONEERING
A very extreme alternative for nature tourism lovers, rappelling, climbing, and canyoneering is a major experience in the Riviera Nayarit. Adventurers can get to know natural and cultural attractions while they exercise, guided by the experts from Onca Expeditions and Travesía Cora that lead tours to the Cora Canyon in San Blas and the El Tenamache Canyon in the municipality of Ruiz. These include rappelling off cliffs from 2 to 10 meters high, and descents down impressive waterfalls of 18, 22, and 35 meters in height. They also offer canyoneering, hiking, and rappelling at the Ceboruco Volcano and La Papalota Route.
Sailing is one of the most extreme water sports because not only do you have to be in admirable physical condition, but you also need to have temperance, strength, and courage to face the wind and the sea. Fortunately, in the Riviera Nayarit—especially in the region of Banderas Bay—the conditions are perfect for any kind of sailing, since there’s always a strong wind to fill the sails and the waves are kind to the boats. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an expert at handling waves—you’ll find a great variety of places to enjoy this sport. You can set sail in complete safety from the marinas of Nuevo Vallarta, Marina Riviera Nayarit, and the Marina Fonatur in San Blas.
Remember, Mexico’s Pacific Treasure will be here when you’re ready to travel.
The Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Bahía de Banderas Hotel and Motel Association (AHMBB) work together to promote the region with the support of the Government of the State of Nayarit through its Tourism Promotion Trust (Fiprotur).