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Marias Islands in Riviera Nayarit to Start Welcoming Visitors this Summer

Marias Islands in Riviera Nayarit

Marias Islands, located about 60 miles off the coast of San Blas in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, will be open for tourists starting the summer of 2021.

The pristine archipelago, made of four islands, was mostly uninhabited except for the Maria Madre island, which until 2019 housed a prison. Since its closure, the facility has undergone extensive renovations to become an education center that promotes biodiversity conservation. The Mexican government is currently working to update regulations that will allow for sustainable touristic activities on the islands, which will both respect the native ecosystem and empower the local community.

“We are excited about this new development that will enhance Riviera Nayarit’s eclectic offering and continue to solidify our commitment to providing responsible and sustainable travel experiences. Marias Islands will offer visitors added opportunities to enjoy our unparalleled natural beauty, and an exceptional chance to be a part of history in the making, as we transform a penitentiary into an educational center” said Marc Murphy, managing director of the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). 



Marias Islands was declared a Natural Protected Area in 2000, World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2005, and Reserve of the Biosphere by UNESCO in 2010. The islands boast great biological wealth that visitors will be able to responsibly enjoy come soon, which is due to the area’s isolation and a lack of sustained human interference.

A paradise for birdwatchers, Marias Islands is home to the Tres Marias Amazon, an endemic parrot unique to the islands that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Other endemic birds include blue-footed boobies, blue mockingbirds, broad-billed hummingbirds, and migratory birds such as the hook-billed kite, Caspian tern, and blue-winged teal.



Divers and snorkelers will appreciate the diversity of marine life, with coral reefs, an abundance of colorful mollusks, over 21 shark species and 10 different kinds of rays.  The islands will also be the ideal starting point or stopover for whale watching expeditions.

The Marias Islands is also perfect for surfing and other water sports. For example, Hammerhead beach on Maria Cleofas Island has a consistent break ideal for surfing, and San Juanito Island has one of the longest waves in Latin America.

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