Mexico Vacation Spots on Nayarit Coast
“Vacation” means different things to different people. For some, it is an opportunity to escape the burdens of demanding workplaces. For others, a vacation is an opportunity to explore the world’s diverse cultural and biological treasures. Mexico offers an abundance of both.
For vacationers looking to experience a pristine natural site that is untouched by humankind, the Riviera Nayarit presents an incredibly diverse Eco-system for travelers, adventurers and scientists to explore and study. The Nayarit coast is home to not one, but two of these international Eco-superstars, which are famous for their ecologically fragile systems and inhabitants.
La Tovara is a RAMSAR site. The first RAMSAR Convention was held in Ramsar, Iran in 1971, to address concerns about the increasing loss of the world’s wetland habitat for waterbirds. The resulting Treaty established a need for internationally protected wetlands and identified 2 criteria that proposed wetlands must meet to be designated a RAMSAR site. Among those criteria, the site must:
– be home to endangered species or threatened ecological communities;
– provide a critical location for life cycles or refuge during adverse conditions;
– support 20,000 or more waterbirds, and
– support 1% of the global population of at least one species of waterbird.
La Tovara (”the Spring”), a diverse transition area between ocean and jungle, is set along the Pacific Flyway, a major migration route for North American birds. A boat ride through the La Tovara park reveals why it is a designated RAMSAR site. Many of its resident species are endangered so seeing them in their home habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill.
For birders, La Tovara is Mexico’s indisputably best location. Some 80% of North America’s migrating birds pass through this park on their travels, and high season is between October and early April. A crocodile reserve located in the park brings adventurers up close to these ancient and fascinating creatures.
Marieta Islands National Park
Also called the “Mexican Galapagos,” this uninhabited three-island chain is located just a few miles off the coast. The volcanic islands are a breeding ground for over 30,000 birds above the waves, and countless undersea creatures below.
The “Galapagos” reference is based on the extensive abundance and diversity of wildlife. Several environmental factors unique to the location are highly appealing to the chain’s animal populations:
– The merging of several ocean currents in the waters around the islands infuses the water with rich nutrients that support a wide variety of marine life;
– The nearby La Tovara Mangrove forest provides refuge from weather and shelter for all varieties of species through their life cycles. Wildlife born in the grove will migrate to the islands in their adulthood.
– The are no natural predators on the islands.
The islands were virtually inaccessible to humans until recently, so their wildlife inhabitants have no natural fear of people. Bird watching is fascinating as the many species squabble and squawk among themselves for prime nesting sites. Snorkeling and diving in the secluded bays and inlets reveal amazing fish, octopus and coral species.
Diving further off the beach takes visitors into the home waters of whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and other open ocean residents. Whale sharks are permanent residents, and northern humpback whales travel from Alaska each year to give birth in the warm waters just off these beaches.
The revered marine biologist Jacques Cousteau was fascinated by the islands and filmed much of his television series on and around them.
Mexico has an amazingly textured culture that spans centuries of history and encompasses great food, beautiful art and fascinating people. For vacationers who appreciate the natural world and the wonders it contains, Eco-travel to Riviera Nayarit provides not one but two world class opportunities to experience nature in its most raw form.