Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The region of Nayarit

Mexico state flags Nayarit
Nayarit is one of Mexico’s 31 states and is located on the central west coast, bordering the Pacific Ocean. Nayarit is surrounded by the states of Sinaloa to the northwest, Durango to the north, Zacatecas to the northeast and Jalisco to the south with the Pacific Ocean bordering it to the west. Also in Nayarit are the cities and towns of Acaponeta, San Blas, Santiago Ixcuintla, Matanchen, Tecuala, Zacualpan, Chacala and Tuxpan, as well as the island settlement of Mexcaltitán. Also belonging to the state are the Islas Marias, Islas Tres Marietas and Isla Isabel, all in the Pacific Ocean. Its capital is Tepic, which is located inland and south on the Tepic River. Nearby is the Sanganguey volcano and the crater lake.

The Spanish knew the region of Nayarit in the sixteenth century although they didn’t conquer it until the early seventeenth century. Compostela, a town in the region near Tepic was the first capital of Nueva Galicia. Nayarit shifted from being a dependency of Guadalajara shortly after that, to part of Jalisco after Mexico won its independence. In 1884 Nayarit separated into its own territory and became a state in 1917.

Nayarit covers 26,908 square kilometers (10,389.2 sq mi), making it one of the smaller states of Mexico. Nayarit is located between latitude lines 23°05' north and 20°36' south and longitude lines 103°43' east and 105°46' west. Its terrain is broken up by the western ends of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains. Its highest mountains are: San Juan, Sanguangüey, El Ceboruco, Cumbre de Pajaritos and Picachos. Nayarit has two volcanoes, Ceboruco and Sangangüey. In the northeast are broad, tropical plains watered by the Río Grande de Santiago, a continuation of the Lerma River. The main state rivers are the Río Grande de Santiago, San Pedro, Acaponeta, Ameca and Las Cañas. The last two also form natural boundaries with the states of Jalisco and Sinaloa, respectively. Nayarit also has several lagoons such as the Santa María del Oro, San Pedro Lagunillas and Agua Brava.
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Some Economy facts:

Nayarit depends heavily on natural resources and agriculture to support their economy. Cash crops such as mangos, coffee, tobacco and sugar cane are staples in the economy. There is a huge mining industry due to large deposits of lead, copper, silver, and gold which makes for a large industry in mining, making up another significant portion of the economy. There is also a fishing industry in Nayarit, but it is not as major as the mining or agricultural industries.

Mexican town of Sayulita

Sayulita Town square
Sayulita is a small fishing village about 25 miles north of downtown Puerto Vallarta in the state of Nayarit, Mexico.

The pre-Columbian indigenous inhabitants of the area were most likely small bands of the semi-nomadic Cuyuteco. In 1530, Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán's account of his battle with the Cuyutecos at Valle gave name to the Bay of Banderas, as the natives carried colorful banners. Given the lack of interest in Occidental Mexican archaeology, only a small number of substantial civic sites have been identified in the region, namely at Ixtapa, Valle, and Ixtlan del Rio. These sites were most likely tributary outposts of the Aztatlan kingdom centered in northern present-day Nayarit. Like most of the greater Banderas Bay area, the sheer remoteness and thick jungle prevented permanent European colonization until the late 1800s. The ejido of Sayulita was not established until 1941 when the first families arrived from the mountains of Jalisco.

Sayulita nanzal view
Known for its consistent river mouth surf break, roving surfers "discovered" Sayulita in the late 60's with the construction of Mexican Highway 200. Today, Sayulita is a prosperous growing village of approximately 4,000 residents. Hailed as a popular off-the-beaten-path travel destination, Sayulita offers a variety of activities such as horseback riding, hiking, jungle canopy tours, snorkeling and fishing. Still a mecca for beginner surfers of all ages, the quaint town attracts upscale tourists with its numerous art galleries and restaurants as well. The most well-established restaurant, Don Pedro's (since 1994), has attracted an international clientele for years, many of whom have vacation villas in the picturesque village.
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Horses in SayulitaSayulita has a curious eclectic quality, frequented by native Cora and Huichol peoples, travelling craftsmen as well as international tourists. Sayulita is the crown jewel in the newly designated "Riviera Nayarit", the coastal corridor from Litibu to San Blas. It's stunning natural beauty and easy access to Puerto Vallarta have made Sayulita real estate some of the most sought after in all of Mexico. With a growing ecological awareness and stricter zoning enforcement, development is being regulated to help safeguard the environment and quality of life of the community.