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Bucerias Nayarit

Bucerias, Nayarit

Part of the so-called Riviera Nayarit, Bucerias has a long, wide, gently sloping beach that is perfect for jogging or long walks. The town itself is less than picturesque, sprawling for several kilometers along the beach and either side of Highway 200. From the road, a jumble of pharmacies and other businesses present a rather hodge-podge appearance. It appeals to snowbirds and other travelers looking to stay near the sea in an area that's less touristy and expensive that Bucerias, about half hour to the south.

Most visitors see only the west side of town, where seafood and Mexican restaurants face the ocean and a broader range of good eateries are sprinkled throughout town. North to south, Bucerias is divided by el Arroyo del Indio, a creek bed that can be forded in a passenger car during the dry season. If you want to avoid crossing the rutted gully, it helps to know whether your destination is in the north or south end of town.

Restaurants and hotels on the south side are found at small, dead-end streets off the main road, Avenida Lázaro Cárdenas. Claudio's Meson Bay is one of the pioneers, serving up all-you-can-eat specials several times a week, accompanied by marimberos tickling the ivories.

You can walk south along the beach all the way south to Flamingos, a development where new hotels are cropping up and the golf course of the same name has been refurbished. Continue perambulating uninterrupted to the south end of Nuevo Vallarta, which ends at the Ameca River and the border with Nayarit State.

North of El Indio creek, the town's simple church faces the main plaza, across from which taxi drivers play cards in the shade as they await fares. Travelers bargain for silver, cheap jewelry, sarongs, and other goods at the outdoor market by the pedestrian bridge. Long- and short-term rentals outnumber hotels, but there is a range of accommodations---from the all-inclusive Decameron (which discourages walk-ins and books primarily through Canadian travel agents) to smaller, mom-and-pop establishments for budget travelers.  

Renowned for its marine life since before the Spanish arrived in the early 1500s, Bucerías' name translates roughly to "diving places." Snails producing a highly sought-after purple dye are said to have been collected here for use exclusively by noble families. Today rather than diving, the main aquatic activities are swimming and, when a swells arrive, long-boarding, body surfing, or boogie boarding.

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