The Huichol, native people of the Pacific coast Nayarit and surrounding states, make traditional folk art using intricate designs, vibrant colors and sacred symbols to express spiritual beliefs and portray an unbreakable connection between man and nature. Regional traditional crafts include embroidery and woven objects such as bags, but it is Huichol beadwork, used to decorate everything from masks and bowls to figurines, that tends to draw the most interest from visitors to Riviera Nayarit.
Photo courtesy of Riviera Nayarit CVB
What to Do: Learn about the Huichol The intimate Hotel Matilda. Community and buy Huichol art with a visit to the Huichol Center for Cultural Survival and Traditions at the Tanana Gallery in the surfing town of Sayulita. Purchases help to support the center’s projects that improve the quality of life in the area’s Huichol communities. You can also visit The Octopus’s Garden Shop & Café in the marina-fronting town of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. If you want a more immersive cultural experience sign up for the full-day Huichol Indian Encounter excursion, which includes stopping in the fishing village of Rincon de Guayabitos before climbing 3,000 feet into the Sierra Madre Mountains. You’ll pass through the historic city of Compostela and the Puga sugar factory then arrive at Nueva Valley, a small Huichol village with a population of 130. Here, visit the central temple and learn about Huichol culture, dress and arts.
Where to Stay: At the beachfront, all-inclusive Iberostar Playa Mita, Huichol art is displayed throughout the hotel. In the lobby is a giant jaguar head, made with three million beads and created by one family — grandparents, parents and children — over a period of three months. The enormous piece is significant in size but also highly symbolic. For Huichol Shamans, the jaguar is a power animal and considered a messenger of the god of fire, Tatewari. There are also four large string-art works in the lobby. And all of the guest rooms boast smaller one-of-a-kind and specially commissioned pieces, such as beaded masks (room rates start at $105 per person, per night and are all- inclusive; iberostar.com).
Photo courtesy of Iberostar