Bucerias, Riviera Nayarit Travel Guide
- Laid-back, but lively, feel
- Less crowded than other tourist areas
- The longest beach in Banderas Bay
- Calm waters
- Scuba diving hotspot
- Numerous art galleries
- Lively crafts market and interesting workshops
- Wide array of local eateries serving authentic traditional food
- Picturesque main square with pretty church
- Can get crowded on weekends
- Limited downtown lodging options
What It's Like
Bucerias is a small village on Banderas Bay, a 15-minute drive from the airport. Meaning "the place of divers," Bucerias is known for its great scuba diving, and many expats have moved to the area to do just that. The calm waters and beautiful sandy beaches also allow for relaxing swimming and sunbathing. The action during the day takes place around the main square, where a pretty church partially hidden behind a lush garden stands. “Huicholes” (a Native American ethnic group of the region) sell bracelets and traditional crafts, and local street vendors offer wonderful homemade food from small carts.
The town is a popular destination in Riviera Nayarit, but has managed to keep its local charm. It is less built up than other areas in the region and has a laid-back, though lively, feel -- shack-like restaurants line the beach, and locals and tourists mingle in the street. Here, the weekend spirit starts on Thursdays -- Sundays, however, are the busiest days, with tourists and locals alike swarming the pretty cobblestone streets and the beach.
Bucerias is home to a few interesting attractions besides the beach, but the biggest draw here is the crafts market, which is set up off the main square. Dozens of stalls sell both traditional Mexican items and souvenirs along Mexico and Abraham Gonzalez streets. While some things can be a little tacky and not all that original, there is a wide array of beautiful glass ornaments and clay crafts painted in bright colors that are worth checking out.
A few blocks south is the renowned Callejon del Beso (or Alley of the Kiss), a narrow street lined with traditional wall murals and small local shops. At the end of the street is a bridge connecting the old town with the newer areas. The vibe on the other side of the bridge is somewhat quieter, as it is more residential, but there are several solid restaurants and a few shops on the first stretch of Lazaro Cardenas Street.
Bucerias is a family-friendly place with limited nightlife. There's little activity beyond buying traditional jewelry from “huicholes” on the main square, snoozing on the beach, and enjoying the town’s wonderful street food. That said, there are a couple of lively bars where visitors can get a drink, but there is little tourism-oriented entertainment here.
Where to Stay
While the city center is home to several small inns, the outskirts of Bucerias are were the resorts can be found. Those who want to walk to restaurants and shops and get a taste for local culture might want to stay closer to the city center, either in the old town or the newer areas across the bridge. However, there are no luxury hotels here. Bucerias is a small town, so those who decide to stay there will find virtually everything it has to offer within a few blocks, including the beach.
Most resorts are located on the very southern end of Bucerias, along the coast. This area offers little local flavor and there’s not much within walking distance, but this is a good pick for those who prefer self-contained resorts and don’t mind driving to the city center.