- Natural landscapes, beautiful routes, and spectacular ocean views are just a few of the characteristics of the hiking trails this tourist destination has to offer.
If you enjoy a walk surrounded by nature, the Riviera Nayarit has just what you’re looking for, thanks to the innumerable trails available to indulge your passion.
In recent years, hiking or trekking has aroused great interest among outdoor enthusiasts as a low-cost method of increasing physical activity and good health. Walking is also how visitors can discover all those hidden places of Mexico’s Pacific Treasure, which otherwise would be almost impossible.
Some of the best routes to enjoy the loveliest natural landscapes are in the coastal and mountain towns of this tourist destination, among them Punta de Mita, Sayulita, San Pancho, Lo de Marcos, and Altavista.
What are you waiting for? Let’s go for a good walk! There are several outfitters in the region that offer tours—some take you to the mountains and some to visit archaeological ruins, discovering not only the local flora and fauna, but also pre-Colombian history, unique lifestyles, and the cultural riches of the people of Nayarit.
Adrenaline and selfies are guaranteed if you take these hikes!
CERRO DEL MONO (MONKEY MOUNTAIN)
This is the perfect tour for an afternoon. Few routes offer more poetry than one that ends up overlooking the Pacific waves crashing against the rocks as the sun slowly sets on the horizon. That’s what awaits you once you arrive at the Cerro del Mono (Monkey Mountain), one of the natural marvels of the Riviera Nayarit in the Western Sierra Madre. To get there you begin your walk in Higuera Blanca, very close to Punta de Mita, down a path that cuts through several properties and small ranches. You can join a tour or go by yourself or hire a guide—we recommend the latter because they know the route and the landowners. Once you get to the top, relax and enjoy the splendid 360º view.
MexiTreks offers two options for tours, one during the day and another at sunset. Vista Paraíso also offers this tour with specialized guides that will take you on this unforgettable trek.
Approximate duration: 2 hours.
LO DE MARCOS
Come here to relax in nature. Walking around this quiet coastal town of Riviera Nayarit is always rewarding: The tropical zone is rich in colors and places to see, and a guided tour will give you the opportunity to learn about plants, animals, the local culture, and history of the area. Located at the southern end of the beach, the Xplore company offers the hiker real adventures and leisure activities inspired by the outdoors.
Tour duration: 45 minutes.
Birding San Pancho also offers a highly recommended birding and hiking tour that lasts about 4 hours.
Call for availability: Birding San Pancho Hiking.
SAYULITA AND SAN PANCHO
Hiking in Sayulita is an experience to remember. You can walk through jungles inhabited by jaguars, trek beautiful hidden beaches, and view exotic tropical wildlife. If this is your first time visiting the region, we recommend joining a hiking tour. There are local companies that offer fun and adventure, such as MexiTreks, with hikes along the so-called “Jaguar Route” or fun family day trips around Sayulita and San Pancho. Along the way you can enjoy captivating views of San Pancho to the north and Sayulita to the south. You will also have the opportunity to explore the secluded beach of Malpaso.
Wildmex has its own tour through the jungle to the Magical Town of Sayulita and the neighboring San Pancho. It’s about a 30-minute walk on relatively flat land and another 30 along a narrow trail that takes you up to get to the other side of the mountain.
Both companies have experienced guides familiar with the zone, are trained in first aid, bilingual, and can point out interesting birds and animals along the way.
Duration of the tour: 2 hours.
PETROGLYPHS AT LA PILA DEL REY
Birding San Pancho also has a hiking tour to “La Pila del Rey,” one of the most important archaeological sites in the area, offering visitors a unique setting in the rainforest. The place also known as “Los Petroglifos” or “El Santuario” (The Petroglyphs or The Sanctuary), is located in the Sierra de Vallejo, in the municipality of Compostela, and has more than 2000 petroglyphs carved by the Tecoxquines, the Aztec group that is believed to have inhabited the place more than 1,500 years ago.
The entire area is magical and peaceful, as if you stepped back through time, and for most of the journey you will be able to hear river running nearby, observe butterflies, and listen to birdsong.
Approximate tour duration: 8 hours.
Keep in mind the following recommendations before starting a hike: Plan your route; know the general conditions of the territory you are going to walk through; wear adequate footwear and clothing for hiking; and eat and hydrate yourself properly during the walk. Most importantly, respect the environment: do not light fires, do not leave any trash, and be mindful of the local flora and fauna.
Remember, Mexico’s Pacific Treasure will be here when you’re ready to travel.