Magical Towns, Riviera Nayarit

Magically fall in love: 4 “Magical Towns” to escape to in the Riviera Nayarit

  • We invite you to come experience the unparalleled charm of these Nayarit towns: relax beachfront in Sayulita and Mexcaltitán; or take in history and tradition in Compostela and Jala.

National “Magical Towns” Day was celebrated last October 5th, during which the state of Nayarit received the excellent news that the mythical Isla de Mexcaltitán will once again be designated a Magical Town (Pueblo Mágico), after having lost the label 11 years ago.

The recapture of its name is, undoubtedly, a great excuse to visit this unique gem in Mexico’s Pacific, along with the other three Nayarit towns that boast this denomination: Sayulita, Compostela, and Jala.

A few months ago and at the initiative of the Nayarit State Government, work was done to rescue and promote the magical towns of Nayarit, thus complying with the guidelines of the Federal Government, helping the image of these four towns to notably improve.

We invite you to experience the original essence of each place, its traditions, culture, language, and nature.

Come discover this unique magic!

Isla de Mexcaltitán

When mentioning Magical Towns, there’s one truly fits the name to a “t.” We’re talking, of course, about the Isla de Mexcaltitán, better known as the “Venice of Nayarit” thanks to the unique system of canals that crisscross it. Historians consider this island the mythological Aztlán, cradle of the Mexico civilization, also commonly known as the Aztec civilization. A trip to Mexcaltitán is a voyage to a world full of mystery, history, and a unique cultural experience.

To get here, one must travel 34 km (22mi) northwest from the city of Santiago Ixcuintla, located in the northern part of the Riviera Nayarit, to the La Batanga dock; from there, you need to hop on a boat that will take you to the island in a matter of 15 minutes or so. Are you ready to experience the magic?

More info:

Isla de Mexcaltitan, Riviera Nayarit, Pueblo Mágico, Nayarit


Much has already been said about Sayulita and its boho-chic ambiance and strong waves ideal for surfing. But the true magic of Sayulita rests in the small details that have transformed it into a tourist phenomenon over the past five years. You need to be there to actually experience it, enjoy its beaches and diverse culinary options, and dive deep into its galleries, Huichol art boutiques, and marketplaces, and truly enjoy its boundless energy.

Those who prefer the sound of the ocean and shy away from the happy hustle and bustle of the tourists will want to head to the northern end of Sayulita’s main beach. If you’re more of the adventurous sort, you can take a walk through the jungle to the virgin beach at Malpaso. The Muertos beach is also close-by, which can only be accessed via a colorful cemetery. It’s magical!

Click to learn more about Sayulita:

Riviera Nayarit, Sayulita, Pueblo Mágico


This city has an important past and a glorious name: Villa de Santiago de Galicia de Compostela de Indias. This colonial getaway located 48 km (30 mi) from the Riviera Nayarit has great natural wealth, with historical and cultural monuments of great value, and is surrounded by beautiful beaches that are home to some of the best resorts in the world.

Compostela is bordered to the north by San Blas and Jalisco, to the south by Banderas Bay and the state of Jalisco, to the east by the municipalities of Santa María del Oro, San Pedro Lagunillas, and again, the state of Jalisco, and, finally, to the west by the Pacific Ocean. There’s no doubt it’s a perfect destination for combining history and tradition with rest and relaxation.

Riviera Nayarit, Compostela, Pueblo Mágico de Nayarit


The Magical Town of Jala allows visitors to enjoy the purest expression of rural Mexico’s colonial architecture. The streets and buildings of this town have been protected by the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and visiting it is an unforgettable experience. This is a town that has preserved its essence in every corner, as opposed to just giving a good first impression, as happens in so many other historical sites. Besides history, though,  you can also enjoy its spectacular natural surroundings: El Ceboruco Volcano is very close-by and is accessible via a special trail. Of course, the gastronomy is unique: giant tostadas, corn gorditas, and the biggest ears of corn on the planet!

Jala is located in the southern part of the State of Nayarit. It borders to the north with the municipalities of Santa María del Oro and La Yesca and to the south with the municipalities of Ahuacatlán and Ixtlán del Río. To get there, take the highway from Tepic to Guadalajara and turn off at the junction located about ten minutes from Ixtlán del Rio.

Riviera Nayarit, Jala, Pueblo Mágico, Nayarit


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).