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San Blas Nayarit: One of the Pacific’s Best-Kept Secrets

  • Joel CZ 
  • 7 min read
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San Blas Nayarit is a small beach town dedicated to fishing, agriculture, and tourism. Since it is a semi-remote place, the best way to get there is by land.

I will tell you all about its important history and things to do, so read on.

San Blas was founded in the XVI century by Nuño de Guzmán, but it was not until the colony in the 18 century that it became a strategic place for having the most important shipyard on the Pacific coast.

The colonists that would later explore Alaska and evangelize the Californias set sail from there.

In 1770, The Fort (El Fuerte) was built on the hill of San Basilio to combat pirate attacks. The accountant’s office was erected where the port’s fiscal affairs were handled.

In addition to serving as a weapons warehouse, the maritime customs office was also built to regulate the traffic of merchandise and ships, such as the Nao de China, which brought merchandise from the Philippines.

Unfortunately, it was closed to maritime commerce in the 19th century.

Where is San Blas Nayarit?

If you are in the capital of the state of Nayarit, Tepic, and wish to visit San Blas, take Federal Highway 15, heading north towards Mazatlan.

Once you arrive at the San Blas crossroad (you will see a big sign), continue west on Federal Highway No 74, which will take you, after 35 km, directly to the port of San Blas on the Nayarit coast.

If you are in Puerto Vallarta, take the highway heading north, it will take approximately two hours.

Top things to do and see in San Blas, Nayarit

san blas nayarit
Shrimpers in the port of San Blas – Source: De Mochila por Mexico / flickr.com

Along the journey to San Blas, you will find exuberant vegetation in the middle of a tropical jungle with coconut, pineapple, banana, mango, coffee, sugar cane, papaya, and tobacco plantations.

This lush jungle forms natural arches that welcome you to this small town of friendly people where everyone greets you.

You will not get bored with all that San Blas has for you.

San Blas is characterized as being an original town where time stood still. On a typical day, people get up early and start their daily life either in the field, fishing or trading.

In the mornings, the smell of wet earth and the church welcomes its devotees with songs and bells.

The central garden has a kiosk where the lanterns of sailfish sculptures adorn the landscape.

Sit on one of the benches and enjoy a snack or drink while quietly watching the children and students pass by, distracted by their activities.

Arts and Nature

A couple of turtles in La Tovara National Park – Source: marosf / flickr.com

Its handicraft market is ideal for those looking to take home a typical gift.

Local artisans make sculptures in the shape of marlin fish and crocodiles, baked and glazed clay handicrafts in jewelry boxes, and exciting pictures adorned with flowers and colorful animals.

Nature is everywhere you look. Photography lovers will have free rein to capture landscapes and living nature.

A must-see is La Tovara National Park, a protected area accessible by boat that allows you to admire miles of estuaries and mangrove channels.

Here you can observe a wide range of flora and fauna that inhabit the aquatic jungle. The tour is about 4 hours of being in contact with nature.

Halfway through the tour, you will visit the crocodile farm where native species of these reptiles live in captivity.

The lagoon meets the sea and generates fascinating ecosystems that give life to endemic and migratory species.

You may want to read: Discover San Pancho Mexico: TOP 12 Things You Must Do

Every year thousands of birds choose this place as their home. There are herons, frigates, boobies, gulls, pelicans, the famous cinnamon herons, and ducks.

In addition to countless turtles, crocodiles, iguanas, and humpback whales (whale season is between December and March).

As for flora, apart from all fruit species, there are giant ferns, lilies, reeds, mangroves, and orchids.

Cultural attractions

san blas nayarit
Ruins of La Marinera temple – Source: roblestjorge / flickr.com

Cultural tourism is not left behind; the church of Our Lady of the Rosary or Marinera, which is the protector of sailors, is a latent testimony of the seventeenth century.

Although it has lost its roof and bell tower due to the ravages of time, it is undoubtedly a mausoleum of stories eager to be discovered. Can you imagine the masses in that church?

A little further up from La Marinera, you can visit the fort of San Blas with its original cannons and what was once the famous Contaduría.

The panoramic view from the fort is impressive; it is the ideal place to get a glimpse of the town and the surrounding nature.

San Blas Beaches

san blas nayarit
Matanchen Beach in San Blas – Source: janhamlet / flickr.com

San Blas boasts 30 kilometers of virgin beaches, such as Los Cocos, Platanitos, El Rey, Miramar, and the famous Matanchen bay.

The fine and golden sands are the best temptations to put on a bathing suit and enjoy the sun.

You may want to read: Sayulita Beach: Surf, Swim, Eat, Dance, and More

Its palm trees invite you to lie in a hammock; they are ideal for spending the day with family, friends, or a partner.

Try the local food

hotel garza canela
Pool area in Hotel Garza Canela – Source: Luke Mastin / flcikr.com

On the beaches of San Blas Nayarit, food is the star: fish such as snook, snapper, mackerel, and Mahi-Mahi are prepared fresh to your liking; shrimp, lobster, and prawns are everywhere.

If you like oysters, this is heaven. Also, San Blas is famous for its banana bread; I’m a big fan of it, I know.

One of the best places to taste all these dishes and many more is the Delfin restaurant of the Hotel Garza Canela, where Chef Betty Vazquez (renowned for her studies in France, Italy, and Spain) will delight you with her signature cuisine.

Chef Betty creates an excellent fusion of European and Mexican seafood.

So now that you know about San Blas, Nayarit, do you still want to go? I hope you do. It is well worth it, trust me.

Don’t forget to bring your camera, a good mosquito repellent, sunglasses, a hat, a fishing rod, and your desire to discover a new place in Mexico. Vamonos!

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