The Nayarit Riviera in Mexico is home to a gorgeous cultural heritage which includes four unique ethnic groups. These groups are made up of the Mexicaneros, the Coras, the Tepehuanos and the Huicholes. Along with the presence of these rich and fascinating cultures has come a wealth of traditional artistry encompassing various events, festivals and folklore as well as traditional art and handicrafts you simply will not find anywhere else in the world.
If you take a trip to the area, you’ll have ample opportunity to see everything from the most traditional pieces to some creatively dynamic contemporary ones. They may reflect only one of the four cultures, or they could represent a blending of two or more of the traditional styles.
As the region is often visited by both Mexican and international artists, it offers visitors the fantastic opportunity to discover incredible boutiques, galleries and open air markets featuring some exceptionally skilled artists. The following are some of the most popular art galleries to visit along the Nayarit Riviera.
• Estudio-Cafe – This gallery is located in Nuevo Vallarta and is a stunning 2 hour drive along the coast from Villa Estrella. Many local artists show their pieces at this gallery. Visitors can enjoy taking in the style and skill of the artists as they enjoy a bite to eat at the café. On Saturdays, there is an outdoor waterside show that makes the experience especially memorable.
• Luna Layne – This art shop is located in San Francisco, about an hour and twenty minutes along Nayarit’s coastline. The shop belongs to Layne and Ricardo, who have been there since 2014, two years after their arrival in the town. They feature Mexical folk art in the form of black clay, textiles, and talavera, among others. They hand make each item for the purpose of creating beauty while maintaining the old artistic traditions.
• Galeria del Sol – This gallery is in Bucerias, which is an hour and fifty minute drive from Villa Estrella. It is both a gallery and an art school focused on the natural colors and flavors of the local culture and geography. Some are resident artists, such as Calum Cameron (the “master of light and shade” according to Vallarta Lifestyles magazine), while others return annually.
• Mexica Teahui – In Sayulita, this gallery is an hour and a half drive from Villa Estrella and shows the pieces of a true jewelry artist. The pieces are pure and honest and are designed to encourage the viewer and the wearer to have a personal and emotional response. Each piece is for sale and are highly affordable, giving visitors the opportunity to bring a piece of local art home with them.
Each of these Nayarit Riviera galleries is within easy reach of Villa Estrella and make for a perfect half day trip. They are not difficult to find for those who have their own rental cars, but for visitors who don’t, transportation by way of your own personal driver can be easily arranged at the gatehouse for a reasonable cost. Your driver will also be happy to act as your guide and to help you to get a great bargain if you stop at local markets.