Also known as San Francisco

Also known as San Francisco

Savour the culture along Riviera Nayarit

On our way to the tiny beach town of San Pancho on the Pacific Coast of Mexico in Nayarit state, we saw a horse being transported in the back of a small pickup truck. As if that wasn’t strange enough, the horse appeared to be dancing to music that was blaring from a portable stereo inside the vehicle.



On our way to the tiny beach town of San Pancho on the Pacific Coast of Mexico in Nayarit state, we saw a horse being transported in the back of a small pickup truck. As if that wasn’t strange enough, the horse appeared to be dancing to music that was blaring from a portable stereo inside the vehicle.

After driving behind this talented animal for several minutes, our tour guide explained that in Mexico, some people train their horses to dance to music and put them on show at various festivals and events. Perhaps the horse we saw was training for Dancing with the Stars, because he was good.

If you want to get a feel for the real culture of a place, sometimes you have to go to the backwoods stops and see the quirky stuff, but in Mexico, that can be a little challenging these days. High levels of organized crime and urban violence in some

areas of the country have made travellers nervous, but it’s important to note that most major tourist destinations have not been affected.

The coastal area of Southern Nayarit from Nuevo Vallarta to La Peñita de Jaltemba remains relatively safe and is a fun region to explore if you want to go a little off the beaten path.

Bucerias

Often described as “the Puerto Vallarta of 25 years ago,” this little fishing village has a wonderful main square surrounded by cobblestone streets and tiny shops.

The shopping market is excellent and prices are much lower than in downtown Puerto Vallarta. There are also a good number of excellent seafood restaurants.

Each January, the village holds an annual festival celebrating the “Virgen de la Paz” which includes a ceremony blessing the fishing fleet.

Sayulita

Surfers first discovered Sayulita in the late 1960s and today it is an internationally recognized surfing destination.

The village has an eclectic quality about it and seems to be part bohemian art colony and part expat hippie hangout.

There are also some great art galleries and restaurants to explore, but make sure you don’t miss the Huichol Indian crafts on display in the plaza located in the heart of the village.

San Pancho

Also known as San Francisco, this Mexican village is nestled between the jungle area of the Sierra Madre Mountains and a pristine coastal beach area.

The village has a famous polo club that operates between November and May.

There are several small hotels, B&Bs, and restaurants in this thriving expat community.

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

Those travelling to Riviera Nayarit by boat will be impressed by the elegant new marina in La Cruz that can accommodate yachts up to 120 metres in length.

This traditional fishing village is rapidly growing and has a variety of restaurants and shops.

The newest and best of the bunch is a restaurant called Sandzibar (www.sandzibar.com), which is operated by chef Bernhard Guth a well-known chef in the area.

Where to stay

There are plenty of great accommodation options in Riviera Nayarit. We stayed in a Royal Club room at the Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta, which is conveniently located about 10 minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta airport. From there we travelled on several daytrips along the coastal area of southern Nayarit.

The 270-roomOccidental resort recently underwent a complete renovation that transformed it from a 3.5-star Allegro category to a 4.5-star Grand with a Royal Club section. “One of the advantages we have always had is the ideal location on one of the best beaches in Riviera Nayarit, but now we also have one of the finest accommodations in the region,” said general manager Jesus Aguirre. “This is basically a brand new resort and we’re really proud of the transformation that has taken place.”

There is a spring and summer special at the Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta with room rates at up to 40 per cent off and the first child staying for free. In May, all-inclusive rates with the special for two adults and one child start at $33 per night per person for a standard room for a one-week stay. Air and hotel packages are also available with several tour operators. For reservations or information, visit:

http://en.occidentalhotels.com/grand/NuevoVallarta.asp or call 1-800-858-2258.

Travel safe

More than 1.5 million Canadians travel to Mexico each year — the vast majority without incident. Whether you are travelling to Mexico or another destination, there are things you can do to ensure your safety.

•Always check the Canadian Consular Affairs website (www.voyage.gc.ca) to find the latest warnings, entry requirements and travel recommendations for the destination you are planning to visit. You should also consider using their online registration service for Canadians travelling or living abroad. The service is provided so that Canadians can be contacted in emergency situations such as natural disasters or civil unrest or to inform travelers of family emergencies at home.

• Avoid travel to regions of a country that have been flagged by Consular Affairs as being particularly dangerous. If there is an official warning against travel to a particular destination or area, your travel insurance may not cover you if you go there and experience a problem. Note: The current travel warning for Mexico advises against travel to the northern Mexican states — especially in border areas and notes that road travel should be particularly avoided in these areas. Tourist areas like Riviera Nayarit and Riviera Maya are not included in the official warning.

• Avoid risky behaviour and use common sense to minimize your risk of being a target for crime.

• Use extra caution if you travel outside tourist areas and avoid road travel at night if possible (You never know when you might come across a horse in the back of a pickup truck that may or may not have functional headlights.)

More info: For more information about travelling to Riviera Nayarit, visit the official Convention and Visitor’s Bureau website at: www.rivieranayarit.com.

Debbie Olsen is a Lacombe-based freelance writer. If you have a travel story you would like to share or know someone with an interesting travel story who we might interview, please email: DOGO@telusplanet.net or write to: Debbie Olsen, c/o Red Deer Advocate, 2950 Bremner Ave., Red Deer, Alta., T4R 1M9.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer has a new welcome sign at the south end at the new entrance from Hwy 2. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Red Deer ranks 241st on MacLean’s Best Communities list

The list features 415 Canadian communities

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

A FedEx worker loads the 255,600 doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine which came from Europe into a freezer trailer to be transported during the COVID-19 pandemic at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canada’s incoming supply of Moderna vaccine slashed in half through end of April

Procurement Minister Anita Anand says Canada’s incoming vaccine supply from Moderna will… Continue reading

Energy Minister Sonya Savage speaks during an event to mark the start of right-of-way construction for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, in Acheson, Alta., Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. A committee that is supposed to consult Albertans on coal development in the Rocky Mountains won't be able to ask questions about water or land use. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta coal consultation terms of reference rule out land use, water concerns

Alberta coal consultation terms of reference rule out land use, water concerns

Brittany Lausen, RDC Students’ Association president. (Advocate file photo).
RDC Students’ Association takes aim at ‘period poverty’ in Red Deer

Vulnerable clients of several non-profits can access free hygiene products

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

Have an opinion you'd like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)
Letter: MLAs who are against tougher restrictions have no plan for consequences

The group of UCP MLAs pushing to end lockdowns are exacerbating what… Continue reading

Former Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair leaves the police station after being charged with two counts of sexual assault dating back to 2014, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Preliminary inquiry in September for ex-PQ leader Boisclair charged with sex assault

MONTREAL — Former Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair will have a preliminary… Continue reading

Three vials of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine are pictured in a new coronavirus, COVID-19, vaccination center at the Velodrome-Stadium in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Sohn, pool
Trudeau sending help to Ontario as Pfizer vaccine supply bolstered by 8 million doses

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says more doses of COVID-19 vaccines are coming… Continue reading

Teachers demonstrate outside a school during a morning walk out in Longueuil, Que., Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Around 73,000 Quebec teachers say they will walk off the job for several hours on April 27. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
73,000 Quebec teachers plan to walk off the job for more than two hours April 27

MONTREAL — Around 73,000 Quebec teachers say they will walk off the… Continue reading

People line up in the rain for a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up clinic at the Masjid Darus Salaam in the Thorncliffe Park neighbourhood in Toronto on Sunday, April 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario science advisers urge six-week stay-home order as province pleads for help

TORONTO — Ontario’s science advisers called for a six-week stay-at-home order and… Continue reading

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19, in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. Alberta is set to join three other provinces in exploring the feasibility of small modular reactors as a clean energy option. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Students in Alberta town ready to return to school after quarantining

ATHABASCA, Alta. — A superintendent of schools in northern Alberta says the… Continue reading

Britain’s Prince Charles, with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, visits the gardens of Marlborough House, London, Thursday April 15, 2021, to look at the flowers and messages left by members of the public outside Buckingham Palace, following the death of Prince Philip. (Jeremy Selwyn/Pool via AP)
Princes William, Harry won’t walk side-by-side at funeral

LONDON — Prince William and Prince Harry won’t walk side-by-side Saturday as… Continue reading

Most Read