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Day tripping in Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit, Mexico

Posted by AdminGalvan on June 18, 2019

Originally its name was “Santa María de Acuitapílco”, in honor of the patron saint of the place and the Acuitapílco mine located at the tail of the lagoon. In 1594 the name was changed to “Santa Maria del Oro” in consideration that there were three fine gold mines near the town. At the moment it is a municipality located in the State of Nayarit.

Now… visualize a narrow, curvy road, surrounded by stunning vegetation, then you take a curve in the road and just then a lagoon embedded in a volcanic crater appears in front of you, can you imagine it?

This place is real and it is called Santa María del Oro. A recent visit proved first hand that Santa Maria del Oro is as lovely as it sounds.

The history behind Santa Maria del Oro –

There are two great legends as to where the name came from … one of them is because it is said, that it was created as the by-product of the tears of two young people from different tribes who, falling in love and being discovered, were tied facing each other, so that they could be close but never touch each other.   They cried so many tears that the lagoon was formed. 

Another myth that surrounding the lagoon is that it is in reality the crater of a volcano. The depth of the lagoon never has been determined it is so deep, so … maybe it connects with the center of the Earth!

And another curious fact of the lagoon that is a reality is the changes in the color of the water, which goes from turquoise blue to emerald green.  This is caused by the high alkaline and mineral content of the water.  Each Season you will notice the change of colors.

The Views are stunning

Being a lagoon nestled in the crater of a volcano, before descending to the shore travelers will find several viewpoints where you will want to stop to take photos of the lagoon and to appreciate the contrast of the green of the forest with the blue of the water.

The lagoon is a National Park, due to the rich flora and fauna that inhabit it (from beautiful multicolored birds to deer or even oncillos);  There are many things to do, you can go hiking, rappel, visit hot springs and even kayak, paddleboard or take a boat ride around the lagoon.

A trip to the waterfalls of Acuitapilco, cannot be missed

Another site to see is the archaeological zone of Ixtlán del Río? Also known as Los Toriles, it is 45 minute drive.   It is small in size, but this historic value of its being one of the few Pre Hispanic circular constructions of the Mesoamerican area makes it worth the visit.

Lodging around the lagoon

There is no shortage of places to lay your head from campsites to Luxury Lodging.

Here are two of my favorites.

On my recent trip I stayed at the Yemaya Resort

With a prime location on the magical Laguna de Santa María del Oro is YEMAYA ADVENTURE CLUB, a hotel created especially for those who seek a space where adventure meets style.

YEMAYA ADVENTURE CLUB is your perfect place, either to relax with your family or to share with your friends a weekend full of adventure and fun with our multiple activities, or if you prefer, be with that ideal person and spend romantic moments in front of you… one of the most beautiful lagoons in Mexico.

In YEMAYA ADVENTURE CLUB the adventure is combined with the style.

Take a look for yourself here —

On the opposite side of the lake, another phenomenal property exists, The Hotel Santa Maria Resort. At the Resort, each room offers an impressive view of the hotel’s extensive gardens, so that the contact with nature is permanent and offers a quiet and relaxing lodging experience.

Although the weather is usually hot in summer, that is not a problem because their pool is ideal for relaxing lying on the shore or to cool off.

The onsite restaurant and pool are a big hit.

To learn more about the Hotel Santa Maria Resort, click here –

Getting there –

From Guadalajara you can take the highway to Tepic, following the signs to Santa Maria del Oro.  The lagoon is located 15 minutes outside the town.

Santa Maria del Oro is a wonderful weekend getaway for annual snowbirds or year round residents

If you have any questions on what to do or need a car rental to get you there, contact

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