The Pacific Coast, Mexico: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
The small state of Nayarit, on the Pacific coast has invested a lot in tourism development over the years. The relaxing palm shaded beaches between San Blas and Nuevo Vallarta have attracted visitors from Puerto Vallarta for a while now. One of the popular beaches, Playa Los Cocos, surrounds Bahia Matanchen, which is a Mecca for surfers. A few miles inland stands the regional capital of Tepic, famous for its tropical fruit and tobacco production.
Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s top tourist destinations. A chain of hotels and resorts surrounds Bahia de Banderas (Bay of Flags). Aside from the dazzling beaches, water activities and stylish restaurants, Puerto Vallarta also features the iconic Parroquia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe church, the Los Arcos open-air amphitheatre frequently hosting concerts, the Vallarta Botanical Gardens and the Island of Río Cuale with a small museum near its western end.
La Costalegre covers the coastline between Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, the most important industrial port in the country. Some exclusive hotel chains have been set up here, with more future development very probable. The rocky bays along the coastline offer great spots for snorkeling. A few miles inland from Manzanillo is the charming town of Colima featuring many colonial attractions, museums, art galleries and three, yearly festivals. Further east is the regional capital of Morelia, offering numerous monasteries and museums.
Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo
Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo together form one of the most popular beach destinations on the Pacific Coast. The 24km stretch of beach land is sought after by tourists and locals alike. There are great snorkeling and diving spots and some of the luxurious resorts have golf and yacht clubs.
Acapulco, towards the southern part of Mexico’s Pacific Coast, has been a prime destination for tourists over the past decades. The city offers endless entertainment, from great beaches and water activities to the cliff divers of La Quebrada and all-night parties in its famous clubs. Traveling inland, visitors will find even more attractions, from natural parks and colonial towns, to archeological sites and one of the largest cave systems in the world.
A good portion of the country's western coast is taken up by the state of Oaxaca. The city of Oaxaca, which is the local capital, is a multi-cultural hub, rich in traditions and historic sites. Spectacular colonial buildings, ancient ruins and a unique local cuisine are just some of the reasons to visit Oaxaca and its surroundings.
The southernmost state of Mexico, Chiapas, contains the last stretch of Pacific coastline. Chiapas is home to the largest group of native Americans, north of Peru. Their traditional way of life has remained intact over the centuries, with agriculture being an essential part of their lives. The regional capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, is a good place to start exploring the attractions of Chiapas, like the colonial city of San Cristobal, the ruins of Palenque, as well as many others.