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Magic Towns of Nayarit: Stunning History, Culture, and Natural Beauty

by | Jun 16, 2023

A Magic Town, also known as “Pueblo Mágico,” is a very special and magical title awarded to towns in Mexico that are brimming with cultural heritage, historical wonders, and natural beauty. These Magic Towns are celebrated for their one-of-a-kind charm and their dedication to preserving the vibrant tapestry of traditional Mexican culture. 

A clock tower in the middle of a plaza in Mexican magic town, Compostela.

Magic Towns radiate an inclusive and warm embrace to the LGBTQ+ community, making them a haven of acceptance and celebration. These towns paint their streets with vibrant colors, reflecting the diversity and uniqueness of all individuals. 

Intricately beaded Mexican artwork.

The atmosphere is charged with an electric energy that uplifts and empowers, creating a space where people can authentically express themselves. These towns exude an unmistakable spirit of inclusivity. In the magical tapestry of these towns, diversity thrives, and love knows no bounds.

What makes a Magic Town? 

To earn this special title, a town must meet a few specific requirements. It has a bustling central square where people come together to celebrate, it is steeped in historical and cultural significance, it offers delectable culinary delights that are unique to the region, and it boasts captivating architectural gems.

An outdoor shopping plaza in Jala, a magic town in Mexico.

The central square, lovingly called “zócalo,” is like the beating heart of these magic towns, buzzing with festivals and cultural happenings. You’ll encounter historical landmarks and fascinating museums that proudly display the rich heritage woven into its very fabric. 

Along the way, you’ll find plenty of places to eat with fabulous varieties and flavors. Every bite tells a story of local traditions, offering a delightful journey through the region’s culinary wonders. 

A community events plaza in the centre of Jala, Mexico.

In these enchanting Magic Towns of Mexico, you’ll find yourself fully immersed in the vibrant culture, relishing regional delicacies, and marvelling at the architectural gems that breathe life into the town’s captivating history.

The Magic Towns of Nayarit

Nayarit, a Mexican state, proudly houses four renowned Magic Towns, celebrated for their commitment to preserving their captivating history, vibrant culture, and cherished traditions. 

The busy streets of Compostela, Mexico.

These towns offer a mesmerizing journey, where visitors can immerse themselves in the stories of the past, witness living traditions, and explore architectural wonders that stand as testaments to their enduring heritage. From the picturesque streets to the welcoming locals, Nayarit’s Magic Towns provide a gateway to an authentic and enchanting Mexican experience. 


Sayulita, a Magic Town that is a globally acclaimed destination for its exceptional surfing, holds the allure of a bohemian art colony and embraces a vibrant ex-pat community. 

An open-air market in the magic town of Sayulita, Mexico.

Explore the fine art galleries, filled with captivating creations, and wander through the stylish and colorful shops that offer everything from trendy clothing to unique handicrafts, decorative items, handmade cosmetics, and exquisite jewelry. Don’t miss the plaza at the heart of town, where you can witness the vibrant display of colorful Huichol Indigenous art, showcasing their rich culture. 

An open-air market in the magic town of Sayulita, Mexico.

Along the coastline, beachfront restaurants, and cafes beckon with wonderful locally made fare, while luxurious villas, cozy hotels, and rejuvenating spas provide a range of accommodation options for a truly pampering stay.

Beach chairs and umbrella's along the beach in the magic town of Sayulita, Mexico.

Sayulita is blessed with a large public beach, inviting visitors to soak up the sun and enjoy the soothing rhythm of the ocean. Throughout the streets, captivating murals and public art pieces add a touch of creativity and visual delight to the town’s atmosphere.

Colorful murals on buildings in Sayulita, Mexico.

An open-air market brims with trinkets and treasures while offering a delightful shopping experience where visitors can find unique souvenirs and local crafts. If you love to shop, Sayulita has you covered with boutique shops, where fashion enthusiasts can explore trendy clothing and accessories. 

A group of gay men in front of a Sayulita sign.

Lastly, a large metal sign stands as a beloved spot for capturing memorable photos, serving as a symbol of the town’s charm, and offering a delightful backdrop for cherished memories.


Compostela, a hidden gem in Nayarit, is a stunning Magic Town adorned with splendid churches and colonial architecture, each structure holding tales of the past. One of the town’s prized treasures is Mexico’s largest bird sanctuary, where nature lovers can marvel at the vibrant array of feathered friends.

A band stand in the central plaza in the magic town of Compostela, Mexico.

Boutique shops offer a sophisticated experience, with one of the highlights being a coffee roaster, allowing visitors to indulge in the flavors of this coffee-growing region. The heart of Compostela beats at its large public square, bustling with life and energy. 

Local coffee roaster in Compostela, Mexico, brewing a pot of coffee.

Surrounding the square, historical buildings stand as silent witnesses to the town’s rich heritage. As you wander the streets, vibrant murals add a touch of artistic beauty to the town’s charm. 

An open-air food market vendor in Compostela, Mexico.

Treat yourself to traditional cookies, candied fruit, fresh fruit, and delightful candies, all while soaking in the lively atmosphere of Compostela. Compostela welcomes you with open arms, ready to share its captivating history, vibrant culture, and experience that will leave you with lasting memories. 

A colorful landmark sign that says Compostela.


Located beneath the magnificent Ceboruco volcano, Jala is a charming Magic Town that offers a gorgeous mix of natural beauty and cultural treasures. The large public square serves as the vibrant heart of the town, surrounded by historical buildings that showcase Jala’s rich heritage. 

A colorful archway into the magic town of Jala, Mexico.

Despite the strong Catholic influence, Jala embraces all of its visitors with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. 

Inside the Catholic church in Jala, Mexico.

Explore the boutique shops, where you can find fabulous local finds such as spices, hibiscus syrup and liqueur, tequila and Mezcal, and delectable baked goods. Admire the art installations and murals that adorn the streets, adding a creative touch to the town’s ambiance that truly makes it a Magic Town. 

Colorful decorations hang overhead of a plaza in Jala, Mexico.

With the majestic presence of the Ceboruco volcano as a backdrop, Jala beckons adventurers to enjoy scenic hikes and breathtaking sunset views. 

A cow grazes in the crater of the Ceboruco volcano near Jala, Mexico.


Mexcaltitan, the fourth magic town in Nayarit, holds a unique charm that has earned it the nickname “Venice of Mexico.” During the rainy season, canals form within the streets, creating a picturesque scene reminiscent of the famous Italian city. This car-free island is a vibrant tapestry of brightly colored houses, adding a splash of color to the surroundings. 

Beyond its picturesque setting, Mexcaltitan is renowned for serving some of the best seafood in Mexico, enticing visitors with delectable culinary delights. While we didn’t have the opportunity to visit Mexcaltitan, its distinct character, and culinary treasures are certainly worth mentioning.

Nayarit is a Leading Destination for LGBTQ+ Travelers

Nayarit is a tropical wonderland whose Pacific coastline stretches for almost 200 miles. Nayarit’s southern border unfolds just 10 minutes north of the Puerto Vallarta International Airport. Its northern border lies just 40 minutes west of the Tepic International Airport.

Waves crashing on a beach in Nayarit, Mexico.

Nayarit is home to many wonderful cities, beach towns and small villages, all of which are ready to welcome and host LGBTQ+ travelers. From the gorgeous oceanfront resorts and restaurants of Nuevo Nayarit to boutique-heavy bohemian beach towns like Sayulita, the luxury hotspots of Punta Mita, including Thierry Blouet’s Tuna Blanca, and the rugged nature and beautiful wildlife of San Blas, Nayarit has a vibe to fit every style of traveler.

A group of gay men posing at a landmark sign in Jala, Mexico.

Riviera Nayarit Mexico offers a backdrop of intense skies, emerald mountains, abundant vegetation, and endless beautiful golden beaches for an unforgettable Mexico vacation experience. Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the western Sierra Madre mountains, this stunning treasure awaits you: Riviera Nayarit, Mexico’s fabulous new vacation paradise!

A scenic sunrise from Vidanta Resort, looking over the jungle toward Puerto Vallarta; mist hands over the city and mountains in the background.

Start planning your trip to Nayarit today with Visit Nayarit.

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Brian Webb

Brian Webb


Brian Webb is the founder and editor-in-chief of HomoCulture, a celebrated content creator, and winner of the prestigious Mr. Gay Canada – People’s Choice award.An avid traveler, Brian attends Pride events, festivals, street fairs, and LGBTQ friendly destinations through the HomoCulture Tour. He has developed a passion for discovering and sharing authentic lived experiences, educating about the LGBTQ community, and using both his photography and storytelling to produce inspiring content.Originally from the beautiful Okanagan Valley in the southern interior of British Columbia, Brian now lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. His personal interests include travel, photography, physical fitness, mixology, drag shows.

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