Gay Nagle Myers
Gay Nagle Myers

The Riviera Nayarit is home to several ecosystems known for their flora and fauna, making them magnets for thousands of tourists annually to the area, according to Mark Murphy, managing director of the region’s convention and visitors bureau.

Of particular interest is the mangrove ecosystem. According to the CVB, the Riviera Nayarit is one of the few places in the world where all four groups of mangroves — white, red, black and buttonwood — are found, especially in the Tovara area in San Blas, a small fishing village about 90 miles north of Puerto Vallarta.

The mangroves in San Blas attract birdwatchers, a niche tourism market that contributes to the Riviera Nayarit’s overall visitor numbers, which topped 1 million in June alone, up 11.1% compared with June 2014.

In high season, more than 500 tourists a day visit the Tovara area to explore the waters around the mangroves by kayak. 

The mangroves are a lure for tourists visiting the Riviera Nayarit.
The mangroves are a lure for tourists visiting the Riviera Nayarit.

The destination as a whole welcomed more than 2.4 million visitors in 2014, including 532,448 from the U.S., which represents 22% of total arrivals.

“Our market diversification, whether luxury travelers or those seeking nature, preservation efforts and ecology-based tours, is an enticing draw for both Americans and Canadians,” Murphy said.

Many of the visitors are returnees while other come on recommendations of family, friends and recommendations of travel agents and tour wholesalers.

“The continual training sessions with agents and meeting planners plus the public relations and marketing strategies keep bearing fruit for the destination,” Murphy said.

The mangroves are doing their part, as well.

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