Semana Santa Riviera Nayarit Style

Happy Semana Santa and Happy Easter to all of our advertisers and viewers  from the crew at and all of our town websites,,,, and, and the new site coming!
No matter what your religion, Semana Santa and Easter day allow all of us on opportunity to be more caring and heart centered with our friends and families, creating a group vibration that spreads the love around the planet. So Enjoy and embrace the holiday!
Happy celebrating and many blessings!

Time to Celebrate!

Semana Santa all starts with a week long celebration on the Riviera Nayarit, with beaches filled with familia and friends, laughing and dancing until the early hours of the morning. The Mexicans really know how to have a lot of fun, as they love to play, and love to dance to the very loud music! One of the reasons the I adore the Mexican culture, is their sense for love for their family. Everyone from the very oldest to the little babies come to the different beach towns on the Riviera Nayarit to celebrate life. I love to watch them play, and dance to the brass bands on the beach, throw sand at each other and eat and party!  If you like Mexican culture, Easter week, or here in Mexico is known as Semana Santa,  is the time to come immerse yourself in the wonderful Mexican culture.

Holy Week

In the religion Christianity there is the last week of Lent, and the week before Easter. It also includes the religious holidays of Palm Sunday, Maudy Thursday or Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It, however, does not include Easter Sunday. There are variations of the Christian Religion, and each day has a specific meaning, with certain rules. Easter Sunday, which immediately follows Holy Week, is the great feast day and apogee of the Christian liturgical year: on this day the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is celebrated.
Easter Sunday is the first day of the new season of the Great Fifty Days, Easter-tide, there being fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.

The starting point for Samena Santa’s extensive history is the death of Christ, but the celebration that we see today on the Riviera Nayarit in all of Mexico is the result of centuries of evolution.  And, on the Riviera Nayarit, it is one big party and celebration with live music going until 4:00AM and campers spread out over the beaches and filling the RV parks, bombs going off (something about the spirits) and fireworks. Everyone shares space and is quite friendly from my experiences. Its also a great way to practice your Spanish!
Its a fun time to dive into the Mexico culture as Mexicans come to the Riviera Nayarit from all over Mexico for their Semana Santa vacation. Here is Fanny selling yummy cakes and Fidel selling oysters on the playa.

Enjoy your Easter Celebration with love and joy in your hearts, and I’ll see you later on the Riviera Nayarit in beautiful Mexico.

Visit the Riviera Nayarit for your Mexico Vacation, relocate to Mexico for life!


Music on the Riviera Nayarit San Pancho Style

Its that time of year again, and the  12th annual San Pancho Music Festival will be opening in San Francisco (San Pancho), Nayarit, Friday February 24th at 5:00pm on the beautiful Riviera Nayarit in Mexico. The Festival will be held for three days, Friday through Sunday the 24th through the 26th.  Performances are free to the public and begin each afternoon at 5pm, typically ending prior to 12pm midnight.

San Pancho Music Festival History

San Pancho’s Music Festival is a vibrant, eclectic expression of performing art traditionally held annually for 3 days during the last weekend of February. It began informally in 2001, and by 2006 included some 116 performers. The Music Festival attracts some of the most colorful musicians from around the world, including international acts from Europe, the U.S., Chile, Guatemala, France and Germany. Regional talent has also been retained to include the traditional Mexican and Latin music of local musicians. (Werther Ellerbrock, on left and below Dave Fisher, both played in the 2011 event)

Musicians Play for Free

Traditionally there is no fee to attend, and performers are not paid. The Festival is entirely supported by the gracious contributions of local musicians and international recording artists, and by the local residents of San Pancho. Artists come to perform because they enjoy performing in the intimate venue and magical surroundings of San Pancho. It is a truly wonderful balance of amateurs and professional performers coming together for 3 days to share an unforgettable and enriching musical experience in one of the most beautiful regions of Mexico. Donations are encouraged, but there is no intent for the Festival to profit from the performances. Additionally, proceeds from sales of music and video CD’s go directly to the performing artists.

San Pancho Community Park

This year the Festival has been moved to the community park in San Pancho due to street construction and remodeling of the Plaza. Seating in the park is festival seating only, and is somewhat limited. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets. Restaurants like the Blue Pig and bars like Ponchitos, who make the best drinks in town, and shops like  Galeria Serendipity with amazing native Indian beading and the cool kite shop San Pancho Aire Paplotes  next door that has kites and very colorful windsocks. They will all be open throughout the event to serve the crowd. There are also plenty of rentals at San Pancho Rentals…Caren will be happy to find the perfect place to stay so there is no worry about drinking and driving. Eat, drink, dance and be merry in San Pancho!


San Pancho Music Festival Itinerary

Check out and see who is playing so you don’t miss your favorite Riviera Nayarit band! Its time to get your groove on!

FRIDAY Feb. 24th

5:00 Nuiwarika (Grupo de Danza – Folklore Dancing)

6:00 Olivia de la Cruz

7:00 Frida’s Eyebrow

8:00 No Walls

9:00 Steve O’Connor

10:00 Jeff Oster

SATURDAY Feb. 25th

5:00 – open -

6:00 La Turquesa

7:00 The Coolerators

8:00 Werther Ellerbrock

9:00 Banderas Bay Jazz Allstars

10:00 Jam Session (with others to be announced)

Jeff Oster, trumpet Chas Eller, keyboards

Bryan Savage, alto sax Steve Goldberg, flugelhorn

Werther Ellerbrock, guitar Dov Schiller, percussion

Tom Lillienthal, bass Lazaro Poey, drums

SUNDAY Feb. 26th

5:00 – open -

5:30 Los Compas (musica nortena)

6:00 Awacero (trova Mexicana)

7:00 Sons of the Beach (featuring Jodi Moran)

8:00 Latcho & Andrea (Blonde Gypsies)

9:00 Tatewari

9:45 Jazz Tubo (with Beto and Carlos)

10:30 Atrakadero

For more current information and directions, please visit the Music Festival website:

Enjoy the sounds of the Riviera Nayarit in beautiful San Pancho Mexico and have a great time dancing and eating at the San Pancho Music Festival 2012.




Riviera Nayarit Vacation Paradise

One of the reasons why the Riviera Nayarit is such a great travel place is its wide selection of resort towns.  Each one is special in its own unique way, so there’s a town that’s sure to appeal to everyone.  As varied as each one may be, they all have two spectacular things in common: the surrounding natural wonders and cultural diversity.

This tropical paradise on Mexico’s Pacific Coast is one of the few remaining places in the world with an abundance of undeveloped nature – lush tropical rainforests, rolling hills and valleys, marshes and mangroves, exotic plants and animals, pristine gold beaches and the deep blue sea – thriving ecosystems full of biodiversity where nature conservation reigns.

The indigenous peoples who once flourished here, such as the Cora and Huichol tribes of Aztec descent knew this and continue to inhabit the region sharing their cultural traditions and handicrafts with locals and tourists.  The region would not be as historically rich without them as witnessed by tourist attractions with archaeological sites of ancient ruins, such as the Altavista Petroglyphs, and other cultural tours.

With such variety in one place, travelers can try it all.  Adventurers who prefer outdoor vacation activities may opt for surfing along the beaches of Sayulita, Chacala, and San Blas  or zip lining across Monkey Mountain south of Sayulita on the road to Punta de Mita and Nuevo Vallarta, two luxury beach resorts with elegant accommodations.  A more practical, down-to-earth option would be the midsized fishing town of La Penita de Jaltemba.

Nature lovers who prefer the ocean will find the best sailing, fishing, diving, and whale watching conditions near La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and Bucerias. Some of the nicest swimming and snorkeling beaches are north in Los Ayala and Rincon de Guayabitos. Those who would rather have a more authentic Mexico vacation will adore the small towns of upscale San Pancho (San Francisco) and sleepy Lo de Marcos.

Reconnect with nature on your Travels to Vacation Paradise when you take a Mexico vacation in the Riviera Nayarit.


Uncover the Treasures of Central Riviera Nayarit

This lesser known but not to be neglected section of the Riviera Nayarit has much to be discovered and is probably best geared to adventure travelers seeking to explore the Pacific Coast of rural, historic Mexico.  Some of these tourist attractions include archaeological sites of ancient Aztec ruins, such as the Altavista Petroglyphs near Chacala and other ruins in Las Varas.

While Central Riviera Nayarit is still a relatively undeveloped tourist area, some towns like Chacala and Platanitos are growing in popularity for their exotic nature and pristine beaches of all shapes, colors, and sizes that offer varying ocean conditions for different vacation activities.  A hidden natural attraction near Platanitos is the lovely Laguna La Mataiza Lagoon that flourishes within a supportive ecotourism environment.

Other towns in the area are slightly inland along the lush tropical hills and valleys of the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains and rainforests, such as Zacualpan and Las Varas.  Primarily agricultural towns with tropical fruit orchards, vegetable farms, and tobacco fields, they also feature some combined cultural and natural attractions like the caves of La Cueva de La Tigra containing ancient Indian cave drawings.

On your Mexico travels, explore the cultural treasures and natural wonders of Central Riviera Nayarit north of Bahia Jaltemba Bay along the Riviera Nayarit.


Seven Golden Rules of Mexico Tipping

A vacation on Mexico’s Pacific Coast can be a very indulging experience, especially if travelers view the concept of tipping for services in a different way.  Foreigners usually view tips as a bonus – something extra that service professionals receive for taking really good care of us.  In the Mexican tourism and hospitality industry, tips are typically the majority of employees’ income, since most only earn about $50 pesos (less than $4 USD) a day.

When you travel to towns along the Riviera Nayarit and receive that friendly, helpful Mexican hospitality, keep in mind that the service staff depend almost entirely on your tips as a source of their income – even at all-inclusive resorts.  Although tourists may not be responsible for foreign business practices, we can have a positive influence on Mexican culture and individual lives by giving generous tips.  Leaving good tips can also make the difference between an acceptable versus an extraordinary vacation.

1.  Currency Type

While Mexicans will accept foreign currency, they must pay exchange rate costs, so in most cases, the tip they ultimately receive is lower than the tip provided.  If you decide to leave a tip in foreign currency, leave only paper bills since coins cannot be exchanged. Note:  A benefit of paying for items in Mexican pesos is getting the lower purchase price.

2.  Taxi Drivers

Taxi cab services in Mexico typically include a tip as part of their established rates, so tipping drivers is not expected on standard trips.  If the taxi driver ‘goes the extra mile’ by helping you load and unload bags or by waiting for you at a destination, then leaving an extra tip is appropriate.

3.  Bell Boys & Baggage Handlers

Depending on the number, size, and weight of your bags and the room location (i.e., up or down a flight of stairs), a tip of $10 to $20 pesos per bag is customary.  Larger tips are recommended for heavier loads or repeat trips to collect and deliver your luggage.

4.  Room Housekeeping

Each time a housekeeper cleans your room, a tip of $20 to $60 pesos per occupant is recommended.  If you leave the hotel room in an unusually messy condition, giving a higher amount is appropriate since it takes them longer to clean the room.

5.  Waiters, Bartenders & Spa Services

A customary tip for spa technicians, restaurant servers and bartenders is 15% to 20% of the total cost if the tip is not already included on the bill.   Tipping $10 to $20 pesos for one round of drinks is acceptable, but when running a bar tab, a tip of 15% to 20% is customary. Note:  Base your tips for drinks on the full price instead of a discounted price.

6.  Tour Guides & Boat Crew

Sailing cruises; yacht charters; fishing, snorkeling, diving tours, and other organized vacation activities follow the same 15% to 20% tipping scale of the overall fee and are offered to the guide or captain (not a crew member) at the end of the tour.  For charter boats and yachts, a tipping alternative is to leave $500 pesos for the captain and $250 pesos for each crew member.

7.  Gas Attendants & Store Baggers

Since there are no self-service gas stations in Mexico, and store baggers work only for tips, tipping between $5 to $20 pesos is customary.  If the station attendant or bagger provides additional services, such as checking under the car hood, washing car windows, adjusting tire pressure, bagging many products, taking the cart to your car, loading and unloading bags, then tipping at the higher rate is recommended.

For a truly rewarding Mexico vacation in the Riviera Nayarit, apply these Helpful Tips on Tipping in Mexico.


Play at Playa Las Tortugas

Protecting endangered sea turtles is an important part of Mexico’s various nature conservation programs.  In the township of Otates, southwest of San Blas and northwest of Chacala, lies a glistening gold beach in the Riviera Nayarit called Playa Las Tortugas (Beach of Turtles). Named for the sea turtles that nest here, this secluded beach extends across miles of pristine Pacific coastline bordered by hundreds of immense coconut palms on a working coconut plantation.

Although it’s not easy to find, it’s well worth the trip.  Heading northwest beyond the charming beach town of Chacala, Playa Las Tortugas is about a one-and-a-half hour drive from Bahia Jaltemba Bay which includes a 30-minute drive along a rocky dirt road that winds through the lush tropical countryside. There are only a few road signs spread wide apart, so just when uncertainty kicks in, “Ah ha!” Another sign points in the right direction.

Trusting the road and bouncing through rural Nayarit unveils this secluded beach, tucked away in a remote location – one of the reasons why it’s worth the visit.  There are virtually no people; the beach is empty and peaceful; and there are no vendor stands or shops.  If you plan to stay a while, bring plenty of drinks and snacks.  One thing you will find is a small community of brightly colored villas for vacation rentals or retirement homes surrounded by lush tropical gardens at the end of the road.

On the villa grounds at Playa Las Tortugas is a turtle rescue sanctuary for protecting the offspring of endangered sea turtles that nest on the golden sand.  Supported by donations and volunteers who scout the beaches looking for the turtles’ shallow nests, they save the eggs; bring them to the sanctuary for incubation; and then release ready young hatchlings into the ocean.  Visitors are welcome to observe and learn about sea turtles, and participate in turtle releases – a wonderful experience!

What else can you do at Playa Las Tortugas?  Plenty. Besides swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing, this beach happens to be a secret spot for surfing and boogie boarding for its long, intense waves.  Other popular vacation activities include kayaking along the beach and canoeing through the coconut palm-lined estuary.  Surrounding tropical rainforests, marshes, and mangroves are natural habitats for hundreds of native and migratory birds making this an ideal spot for birding and bird watching.

Enjoy a true escape to Playa Las Tortugas northwest of Chacala and southwest of San Blas in the Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.


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