Meagan Drillinger
Meagan Drillinger

A beach vacation in Mexico implies that time outdoors is built into the equation. But for outdoor enthusiasts who want a little adventure than landlubbering on the shore, here are some top tips and places for exploring Mexico's great outdoors in Riviera Nayarit  a destination with nearly 200 miles of coastline, surrounded by the rainforest-blanketed Sierra Madre Mountains.

Flyboarding has been all the rage in Riviera Nayarit for a few years, and it's still one of the coolest (and weirdest) things to do on the water. With the use of a water-propelled jet pack, riders are shot through the water and into the air where they can hover and fly. Hand and foot controls allow for in-air acrobatics like somersaults and twirling. Visit Punta Mita Adventures for more information.

Take an off-road adventure with Vallarta Adventures' 4x4 Safari. Hop in a Mercedes Benz unimog jeep and cruise the Sierra Madres. The adventure visits historical towns, making stops along the way, as well as includes hikes through the region's forests.

Guests staying at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita can get on the water with their Catch & Cook Adventure, which offers excursions on the Bay of Banderas for guests to try their hand at catching what's in season, like mahi mahi, sea urchin, yellow fin, snapper and octopus. Back at the resort, a chef guides guests through the preparation using the catch of the day.

Head to San Blas, one of the many Riviera Nayarit beach towns, for an experience swimming with whale sharks. Travelers can catch a boat with specialized guides that will take them out to shark's habitats where they can also see dolphins, sea turtles and giant manta rays.

Hike up the mountain village of El Cora to explore three of its 70-foot waterfalls. Travelers can then plunge into a 40-foot pool or get a neck massage from the waterfall above. There is also a hidden cave behind the falls to explore. Visit San Blas Eco Tours for more information.

Take a boat trip with Punta Mita Expeditions out into Bandares Bay to Islas Marietas, a protected sanctuary with a hidden secret. Swim through a cave to reach Hidden Beach, a white sand beach with a hole in the island rock that opens to the sky.

For more national park adventure, visit La Tovara National Park, which is teeming with mangroves, brown pelicans, glass snakes, turtles, and whale sharks. Explore the park by boat, where travelers will come across floating wooden homes that were occupied by the areas first settlers. Toward the end of the river is a crocodile sanctuary.

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