Travel: Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit
This time of year for those who live in Puerto Vallarta, the steamy weather makes us turn to higher altitudes and less heat. Santa Maria del Oro. This is definitely an overnighter, taking over three hours on the northern route to get there. We make it longer by stopping for lunch in one of the small villages we pass on the way, picking up novelties and snacks from roadside stands, and stopping to take photos of the breathtaking views. Mountains, valleys and forests are the awesome landscapes on this delightful journey.
There are several hotels in the area and we recommend booking ahead. Call on your own, visit websites or see a local travel agent in Puerto Vallarta. Worthy of mention is The Laguna de Santa Maria, a destination for those looking to relax in a quiet setting. Laguna de Santa Maria is a certified Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). Santa Maria Resort Boutique Collection offers forest cabins that face the lagoon and is graced by a restaurant, docks and a pool. Yemaya Adventure Club is exactly as the name implies, for those seeking activities and the energy to enjoy them. The surroundings of the lagoon entice the sport lover and the observer, with kayaking, paddle boarding, water skiing, bumper balls, swimming. There’s no need to bring your own equipment; everything you’ll need can be found at locations around the lagoon. There is no shortage of activities in the area, with horseback riding tours, zip-lines, cycling, mountain bikes, hiking, and rappelling.
The ubiquitous colorful letters that greet arrivals in all Mexican towns are in this case SAMAO. The magnificence of Santa Maria del Oro beckons you. If you’re looking for something different and a respite from the heat, we highly recommend this escape where you’ll be greeted by wildflowers, birds and butterflies. Whether it’s a challenging hike, a visit to the waterfalls, or a simple walk alongside the water, there is something for everyone.
A with most legends in Mexico, there’s always more than one story. One of those is the tale of two star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet from differing tribes, who were tied together. Held close but unable to touch, they cried tears that formed the lagoon. A deeper and actually plausible origin of the lagoon is that it’s a volcano crater. No one has ever tested the depth enough to know, and many believe it will take one to the center of the earth.
The lagoon’s water changes color with the seasons, moving from light turquoise to deep green, caused by alkaline and mineral levels.
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