Between the Pacific Ocean and the forested mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental in western Mexico is the tiny state of Nayarit. Colonial San Blas sits on the northern shore of the Nayarit Riviera, and its Fuerte de San Basilio fort served as a defense against pirates in the past. Matanchen Bay's surfing beaches are nearby to the south, and Mexcaltitlán Island, the cradle of Aztec culture, is just to the north.