San Blas, Mexico

Once a prominent Pacific port, the small fishing town of San Blas (population 10,000) between Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta is home to 30 km of beaches, winding estuaries and mangrove swamps. It is also one of the most important natural bird shelters in the Western Hemisphere.

In La Tovara National Park, you can find more than 300 different species of birds – pelicans, terns, egrets, blue heron, ocelots, the works – not to mention quite a few crocodiles. A boat tour through the watery maze of vegetation and wildlife will remind you of every prison escape movie ever made. San Blas is also home to the Riviera Nayarit region’s unsung hero of Mexican cuisine, chef Betty Vázquez from El Delfin Restaurant. Do drop in.