Santa Maria del Oro, Nayarit, Mexico
Here is a place that is well worth a visit. It makes a nice day trip from San Blas or Tepic and is ideally situated to provide a relaxing break while travelling between Tepic, Nayarit, and Guadalajara, Jalisco or to escape for a day or two from the huge tourist complexes of the nearby Riviera Nayarit.
Santa Maria del Oro crater lake is about 9 kilometers from the town of Santa Maria del Oro, on the edge of the mountainous region known as the "Sierra Madre Occidental". It is about 2,000 meters long by 1,600 meters wide with an average depth of 60 meters and at an altitude of approximately 730 meters. There is a partly cobblestoned road around the approximately 8 kilometers perimeter which is great for mountain bikes or hiking.
This area is off the beaten path and abounds with wildflowers, birds and butterflies. There is easy walking around the lake and more challenging hiking in the surrounding mountains. Excursions can be made from the lake to visit some spectacular waterfalls.
The lake is ideally suited for kayaking, swimming, windsurfing, and fishing for black bass and perch. Hiking and biking is also popular, and kayaks, rowboats and mountain bikes are available for rent. The area surrounding Santa Maria lake has been described by many visitors as a bird watchers paradise.
The principal hotels at the lake are Resorts Tau, Koala Bungalows and Bungalows Lucero. There is a campsite and small RV park at Koala Bungalows.
The many restaurants at the edge of the lake serve the now famous "chicharron de pescado" (deep fried morsels of battered fish) A pleasant and affordable restaurant is "La Mojarra de Samao" located at the entrance to Koala bungalows.
"El Nido" Recreational Center
This newly inaugurated project opens new possibilities for adventure and eco-tourism and is situated at "El Real de Auitapilco" about 15 minutes from the lake by car or about 40 minutes using mountain bikes. One may bathe in the cascading water at the base of the waterfalls and practice rappel and tyrolese.
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