Alta Vista Petroglyphs on the Riviera Nayarit

I led a group on this hike recently to the Alta Vista Petroglyphs on the Riviera Nayarit  in Mexico, and it struck me again how differently each visit to this ancient and special place effects me.  The seasons change the feeling of this sacred place:  winter’s riot of color and gurgling stream give way to early summer’s semi-arid browns and greens and drying pools.  Every hike in is different because of temperature changes and cyclical rain patterns.  Each visit is different because the ancients knew what they were doing – this is a special place!  There is a serene power at work here, as you enter the area you begin to feel its pull, the deeper in you hike the stronger it becomes, until you stand in the amphitheater surrounded by dozens and dozens of petroglyphs.  Until you stand humbly next to an ancient peoples holy site, a simple ring of stones, a primitive altar still used today by the Huichol Indians, and bow your head, and give thanks to your Maker.

Located on protected land, the Alta Vista petroglyphs are clustered along a stretch of the Las Piletas creek,  south of Chacala.  Covering an area of 80 hectares (200 acres); archeologists have discovered over 2000 petroglyphs there, making the Alta Vista Petroglyphs one of the largest known concentrations of stone carvings anywhere.  The trail meanders along Las Piletas creek leading visitors to various groups of petroglyphs, signs in Spanish and English explain various historical facts about the region, what the different Alta Vista Petroglyphs are believed to have meant, and some of the religious and cultural beliefs of the Indians that originally  carved the Alta Vista Petroglyphs.
But the glory of the Alta Vista Petroglyphs is the amphitheater.  Located in a bend of La Piletas creek, the rock creek bed descends in a series of steps, seemingly hand cared and lovingly placed to shape this one sacred venue.  An elevated finger of land juts out into the creek bed above the turn, and there under a tree, is the small altar – surrounded by dozens and dozens of different petroglyphs – most of them symbolizing requests for fertility, and an ample harvest.  You feel at one with the Tecoxquines Indians who carved these Alta Vista Petroglyphs in order to communicate with their god, as you sit quietly and communicate with yours. For more information on Alta Vista Petroglyphs tours, please contact Cat Morgan at

Discover the amazing Alta Vista Petroglyphs on your Riviera Nayarit vacation in Mexico!


  One Response to “Alta Vista Petroglyphs, Hiking & Eco-Tourism Riviera Nayarit”

  1. Cat did a great job of leading this tour…fascinating subject and not too hard as to make it un-fun!
    The bilingual explanations on the signage along the path really help and the reward of the “amphitheater” of rounded, fossilised rocks and gleaming water was just the place to relax and take it all in. Thanks Cat.

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