Flamingos is along a beautiful stretch of beach on the Bay of the Banderas. It is part of the master-planned community of Nuevo Vallarto in the state of Nayarit. The beachfront has recently been renamed Riviera Nayarit to highlight the beauty of Flamingos Beach. In addition to resorts, its nearly eight miles of beach stretch from the traditional village of Bucerias south to the resort/retirement community of Paradise Village. The area also offers world class golf courses, two marinas, restaurants, and retail establishments.
We bought a timeshare at Villa del Palmar Flamingos in 2005 and have enjoyed visiting there several times, most recently last week. It is an all-inclusive resort for those who choose the total experience–fabulous beachfront, beautiful pools, poolside activities, theme parties and the like. For us, however, it is a comfortable place to stay while we take tours and explore the environs.
During our first visit, we walked along the beach northward for a half hour or so to Bucerias. We walked from the beach to the town square and through the large open air flea market that’s there daily (it’s a great place to buy souvenirs), then took a taxi back.
During subsequent visits there, we walked through the authentic downtown, and had a fabulous sunset dinner in one of the beachfront restaurants with tables in the sand.
There is a really great Mercardo del Pueblo (village open air market) in La Cruz, just a bit north of Bucerias, that we went to and decided it was a must do for subsequent trips. It is held in the marina. Not only are there many vendors of both food and craft items, but there are also fish markets from which one can buy a beautiful piece of catch-of-the-day for a nominal price. We have bought tuna that was right off the boat and just sliced for a fraction of what it costs as home–and it was twice as good!
In October 2014, we hired a taxi to drive us to two locations further north that we’d heard about: Punta de Mita and Sayulita. These villages are in the state of Nayarit, but I don’t think they fall within the Riviera Nayarit designation.
Punta de Mita is a small village at the extreme north end of the Bay of Banderas. Only about 6km in size, it is surrounded on three sides by over nine miles of Pacific Ocean beaches and coves. According to our taxi driver, it is primarly occupied by luxury resorts (like the Four Seasons and St. Regis) and residential communities.
Sayulita‘s claim to fame is that it is a surfer’s paradise. The main beach is dotted with surfing schools and rentals, and many–tourists and locals alike–come to enjoy the nearly constant rolling turf.
The downtown has a lovely plaza surrounded by retail and eating establishments, along with vendors and a picturesque little church. We only spent an hour or so wandering around that day, and were so taken by this pueblo that we decided it was a place to which we would return and spend more time. And here we are in November 2015 doing just that! More to come in a subsequent post…stay tuned.