Explore the Historic City of Tepic in the State of Nayarit

Tepic, the capital of the state of Nayarit, is a splendid city. See this guide to visit it and build your itinerary: where to go, what to visit.

Explore the Historic City of Tepic in the State of Nayarit
Tepic, Nayarit, is a corner of Mexico that offers history and tradition. Image: Informador

Tepic, a beautiful and peaceful city whose name comes from the Nahuatl "tetl", stone and "pic", hard, was founded in 1532 by Nuño de Guzmán with the name of Santiago de Compostela and declared the capital of the state of Nayarit in 1917.

Attractions in Tepic

Tepic is an ideal destination for those who wish to enjoy the beautiful Mexican province. When you go there, we recommend you to visit the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, located in front of the Main Square, of neo-Gothic style from the 18th century and one of the tallest in the country, as its towers measure 40 meters high.

The Government Palace, from the 18th century, with neoclassical elements and a wide staircase framed by an elegant balustrade; the Templo y Exconvento de la Cruz de Zacate, built on a hill and where a cross of zacate is conserved that has reverberated again and again through the years.

Other interesting sites are the 18th-century Franciscan-style Fenelon House; the Amado Nervo Museum, located in the poet's former home, where photographs, manuscripts, and other personal objects are exhibited, in addition to serving as a stage for diverse artistic and cultural events.

The Regional Museum of Anthropology and History, built in the 18th century as the home of the Counts of Miravalle and currently houses colonial paintings and pieces from the Cora and Huichol cultures. It is very interesting to see the different petroglyphs, especially the one known as the Venus of Nayarit and the house of cadet Juan Escutia, where there are personal objects of this hero and several others.

Tepic, Nayarit
Tepic Nayarit map

The Aromara Museum, with 4 rooms where photographs, paintings, sculptures, and shell miniatures are exhibited; the Emilio Ortiz Museum which exhibits paintings by Emilio himself and a plastic, sculpture, and painting workshop.

La Loma Park, has an artificial lake, a children's train, a "lienzo charro", an acoustic shell, a forest, an exhibition of local fauna, and sports facilities; the typical Alameda.

The Jardín de los Constituyentes and the Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, within a campus with modern buildings and cultural centers, are other attractions that the city of Tepic offers.

Handicrafts of Tepic

In Tepic you can buy multicolored embroidered blanket clothes made by the Huicholes, decorative figures of the Cora culture made of stamens and wood, pottery, wicker articles, Huichol tablets of different sizes with admirable colorful designs, sacred arrows adorned with feathers -that signify omnipotence, will, lightning force, speed and space-, bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings of chaquira, diverse objects of marine origin and the famous Eyes of God, crosses of rod lined with stamens of colors in the form of rhombuses in the center and extremities.

Around Tepic

At 3 km north of Tepic is El Punto, a beautiful place where there is a 26 m high waterfall, and 4 km away is the San Gabriel beach. And 4 km away is Balneario San Gabriel. Compostela is located 37 km south of Tepic; there we recommend you visit the Temple of the Lord of Mercy, from the XVI century and Plateresque style, where objects and accessories of Charles V are exhibited; the Museum that houses pre-Hispanic pieces of the Cora and Huichol cultures and the El Molino beach.

Be sure to buy the famous handmade cigars. Also on the outskirts of the city is the Hacienda de Miravalle, with bathing areas. The Santa María del Oro Lagoon, located 41 km from Tepic, in the crater of a volcano, is quite deep, oval-shaped, with transparent waters and some of its beaches are sandy.  It has a camping area, restaurants, and rowboat rentals. If you take a walk around the lagoon, you will have the opportunity to observe the fauna of the region - ducks, rabbits, and badgers - as well as to fish for tilapia, mojarra, and lobina.

The port of San Blas is 70 km north of Tepic and is considered the most important tourist center of the state. Its beaches -Aticama, Las Islitas, Bahía de Matanchén, Los Cocos, and La Manzanilla- have soft waves and fine sands, ideal to enjoy some vacations. In the city, we suggest you visit the Church of Nuestra Señora La Marinera, and in the Cerro de la Oontaduría, visit the ruins of a colonial-style fortress, where on January 30 the defeat of the royalist forces by the insurgents is commemorated, and the ruins of the Customs House from the colonial era.

From San Blas you can start a walk through the Estero La Tovara, through canals of fresh and crystalline water, surrounded by mangroves. The fauna of the region includes fish, turtles, herons, macaws, raccoons, crocodiles, and a great variety of birds. There are lodging services, restaurants, motels, trailer parks, and bungalows.

Rincón de Guayabitos is a quiet beach, 104 km northwest of Tepic, ideal for canoeing, snorkeling, diving, and skiing. Nearby are the Isletas de los Cangrejos and Coral, with beautiful underwater landscapes. lxtlán del Río, 87 km south of Tepic, has the Church of Santiago Apóstol and the Archaeological Museum.

3 km ahead you will find Los Toriles Archaeological Zone, built by the Toltec people. The main building, of circular plant and little height, in its high part, conserves a parapet with cross-shaped windows. This construction was dedicated to Quetzalcóatl and it is communicated with a patio through a corridor. The whole ceremonial center was structured based on platforms, on which rooms with columns and altars were seated; there were pavements, a series of narrow causeways that communicated some buildings with others.

Santiago Ixcuintla, located 63 km from Tepic, is the main blond tobacco-producing area in the country. Visit the Church of Señor de la Asl ación, which dates back to the 17th century. In May, the Spring Fair is held, which lasts 15 days, and in which there are dances, exhibitions, the sale of handicrafts, religious processions, festivals, etc. In one of the streets of the town you can see an interesting petroglyph and on a nearby hill, two others represent two large spirals on its surface.

Approximately 9 km away is located Sentispac, the place from where the boats depart that take you to the Island of Mexcaltitán, which is presumed to be the legendary Aztlán, and whose name means "house of the Mexicans"; it is exciting to know the original and symmetrical urban layout and to walk along its high sidewalks, built this way because, in the rainy season, the streets become channels.

In the Main Square, there is a kiosk and, in the surroundings, there is a temple of the XVII century, which we recommend you visit, as well as the Museum, which preserves characteristic objects of the region. Several restaurants offer delicious regional food, such as the zarandeado fish, originally from the island.

Festivals and fairs in Tepic

On May 3, Tepic celebrates the festivity of La Cruz de Zacate with fireworks, masses, and processions. On July 25 are the celebrations in honor of Santiago Apostle and in March the National Fair of Tepic is held, a cultural, handicraft, livestock, agricultural, and commercial event. On December 12, as in the rest of the country, the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe is held. In September, the Fiestas Patrias is celebrated with civic, cultural, and sports events.

Food and Gastronomy of Tepic

When you visit this beautiful city be sure to try the exquisite pozole, pork and goat birria, chanfaina tostadas, enchiladas, zarandeado fish, tatemado fish, shrimp pate, fish ceviche, chimichangas, oyster sopes, accompanied by a refreshing tejuino, a drink made from corn, or barley water, pineapple tepache or nanche liqueur. And when it comes to desserts, enjoy some cocadas, torrejas, jericallas, or ates.

Services in Tepic

Tepic has all kinds of services, such as lodging of various categories, restaurants of national and international cuisine, travel agencies, banks, exchange houses, car rental companies, bars, nightclubs, an airport, a bus station, and everything that will make your stay a pleasant one.