Mexico's Most Feared Prison Will Now Welcome Tourists

With the opening of the Islas Marias as a tourist destination, tourism in several destinations in the state of Nayarit, such as the port of San Blas, will be significantly boosted. One of the ferries will depart from that port to reach this new tourist center and Boca de Chila, where a new tourist development is planned.

Richard Zarkin, Riviera Nayarit’s Public Relations Director, pointed out that the ferries to this former prison, now converted into a cultural-ecotourism center, will be operated by Grupo Vidanta.


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Zarkin pointed out that the federation is already working on this. He also said that the tourists arriving at these islands, considered a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site, could be primarily tourists interested in bird watching, such as the Yellow-headed Parrot. In addition to its coral reefs, the visitors will be able to watch some species of sharks.

Riviera Nayarit’s Public Relations Director mentioned a curious fact that two of the islands have waves as long as a street in Peru -more than a kilometer-, so it will be a great attraction for surfers to challenge them.

Aeromar has already raised its hand to land at the destination, and the Secretary of the Navy has already planned flights to the islands.

Challenge for the Future

The Tepic Airport will be completely renovated by 2023. The interstate highway will also be ready by the end of this year. In San Blas, tourism will be considerably boosted. This port is expected to receive significant investments for improvements in the municipality and its hotel infrastructure.

Zarkin pointed out that San Blas receives a lot of Canadian tourism from Alberta and British Columbia in the winter, so West Jet, once it recovers the flights it maintained to the region until before the pandemic, could also arrive at the Tepic Airport.

En unos meses se abrirán las Islas Marias como desarrollo ecoturístico. El ferry partirá de Mazatlán.(Photo Riviera Nayarit).
The challenge for the future is to talk more about Nayarit, which was already reflected in the Tianguis Turístico 2022.

Likewise, there are talks with Volaris to establish the Los Angeles – Tepic route since the route they maintain from Tijuana to Tepic is excellent.

The challenge for the future is to talk more about Nayarit, which was already reflected in the Tianguis Turistico 2022. New alliances were achieved during this tourism fair to promote the state as a great destination without neglecting the promotional work carried out for several years with Puerto Vallarta and the Gustavo Diaz Ordaz Airport.

The airport has been recovering and increasing some of its flights before the pandemic. By December, Copa Airlines will return to the destination with its flight from Panama.

Zarkin also pointed out that they continue to grow in infrastructure, and for this year, they expect the inauguration of the new Alberge Susurros del Corazon in Punta Mita, a boutique hotel with only 57 rooms; in addition to The Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Costa Canova and the Fairmont.

Vidanta will bring more business and tourism to the destination with its new amusement park and the increase of more than 600 rooms in its latest development.

Se localiza a 50 km de la ciudad de Tepic.
The inspection group visited the lighthouse, where they saw the Apando, the remains of the lighthouse keeper’s house, and the lookout point.

Ferries to the Islands

Eduardo Paniagua, president of the Mexican Association of Travel Agencies AC (AMAV Nacional), told TravelPulse: “There will be a ferry that will leave Mazatlan and arrive at the Isla Madre pier. We are also looking for air access, and it will have three departure points: Tepic, Nayarit; Mazatlan, Sinaloa, and another one,” Paniagua said.

During the inspection visit made during the first quarter of the year, it was explicitly to the Balleto colony on Maria Madre Island, where the delegation, which included 21 business people, was received at the pier and continued at the Visitor’s Center.

The group continued to the lighthouse, where they visited the Apando, the remains of the lighthouse keeper’s house, and the lookout point. After the visit, the group went to the local cemetery. From there, they went to the site museum and then visited the center of the Balleto neighborhood, which has sites of interest such as the Plaza Benito Juárez, the church, and the former handicrafts market.

National and international tourists can visit the islands in the modality of excursionists, those who do not sleep on-site and stay less than 24 hours. Thus, inclusive, environmentally responsible, and economically fair experiences will be offered.

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