On Mexico’s Pacific coast, above the state of Jalisco is Nayarit, a state long known for the unspoiled beaches along its jungle-covered coastline, the tiny fishing villages that punctuate the dense green foliage and dramatic, rocky headlands. Look closer and you’ll see it’s not just fishing boats that line the beaches here anymore.
The area known as the Riviera Nayarit was once a sparsely populated wilderness, known only to the small local communities that farmed and fished this region. Today it is routinely recognized as one of Mexico’s most beautiful coastal destinations.
Despite its increasing popularity, many destinations along the Riveria Nayarit remain authentic and, as yet, unspoiled by tourism.
One such place is Lo de Marcos Nayarit, known locally as LDM.
Originally popular among retirees and van lifers from the US and Canada this seaside village is starting to develop more mainstream appeal as nearby Sayulita and San Pancho expand. As people start to seek more authentic Mexican destinations they are looking further north along the Riviera Nayarit, toward Lo de Marcos.
In town, dirt roads connect small guesthouses, tiny mom-and-pop run restaurants, and tiendas that spill out the back of family homes. Local children sell freshly picked fruit to passersby heading toward the beach, alongside them, vendors sling tacos, burgers and charcoal roasted chickens from rickety carts.
Lo de Marcos long beach is quiet compared to the beaches of neighboring San Pancho or Sayulita. A couple of restaurants toward the southern end serve freshly caught fish under traditional thatched palapas. In front, a smattering of locals and visitors relax under colorful umbrellas. Near the southern headland, a handful of surfers bob in the water, waiting patiently for the long point break Lo de Marcos is known for when the swell is just right.
Lo de Marcos is an up-and-coming beach destination waiting to be explored with plenty to see and do. Here are the best things to do in Lo de Marcos, the best restaurants and bars, and our favorite places to stay.
Best Things to Do in Lo De Marcos
Surf, relax next to the beach, and take the kids (and the dog) on a long walk along the beach. Eat delicious food and sip margaritas. Lo de Marcos has everything you needfor a low-key, relaxed beach holiday, and nothing you don’t. For those looking for a quieter and more authentic destination, Lo de Marcos offers the perfect Mexico beach getaway.
1. Surfing in Lo de Marcos
You can surf in Lo de Marcos. In fact, the surf here is a pretty well-kept secret.
While the surf here is not quite as reliable as Sayulita it often gets a nice right-hand break that peels consistently off the southern headland. On the other hand, when the swells is not right the beach here can be either completely flat or be subject to a heavy dumping wave.
The good news is when it is firing it’s pretty good and you won’t have too many people to share the waves with.
Renting a surfboard in Lo de Marcos is easy. Surfboard rentals can be found in front of La Tomatina on the far left side of the beach. The price to rent a surfboard in Lo de Marcos is $450 pesos for a day, $150 pesos for an hour, and then $100 pesos for each subsequent hour on weekends. During the week, you can get a reduced price on your rental.
2. Boogie Board
If you’re not sure about surfing, there’s also the possibility to go body boarding in Lo de Marco.
Boogie boards can be rented from the small surf rental tent outside of La Tomatina.
3. Visit Nearby Playa Los Venados and Playa Hongos
Reachable by bike or a golf cart, a trip out to Play Venados and Playa Hongos is a must when staying in Lo de Marcos for a few days. With a secluded and private beach down a dirt road, you will likely have it all to yourselves.
At low tide, you can walk around the headland to Playa Hongos. Just make sure to watch the tide as you wouldn’t want to be here when the tide is coming in.
4. Volunteer in the Local Community
One of the best things about Lo de Marcos is its focus on the community. One of the ways to be a part of the community whether you are visiting Lo de Marcos for a week or a month is to volunteer. There are numerous organizations where you can volunteer during your stay in LDM.
The Sanctuary at Lo de Marcos
For animal lovers, The Sanctuary at Lo de Marcos is a great way to get involved. If you are missing your furry friend at home, then come and give the pets here a bit of love. A cuddle goes a long way and, hey, you might even decide you want to take one of your new friends home with you!
Las Casa de los Ninos
Giving back to the community is popular in Lo de Marcos and it’s part of what creates such a nice atmosphere here. One way you can get involved is by volunteering at La Casa de los Ninos.
Working with this organization gives you an opportunity to help enrich the lives of the local kids through an after-school program. Volunteer opportunities here range from very short term to long term with Spanish speaking and non-Spanish speaking roles available. Las Casa de Los Ninos runs between Monday and Thursday each week from 4:00 – 6:00 pm.
Sea Turtle Release Program
From June to November, the beaches of Lo de Marcos Nayarit become home to sea turtles returning to lay their eggs. Volunteers from the Campamento Tortuguero Lo de Marcos protect the baby turtles by moving the eggs to a safe place out of reach of poachers and then helping the hatchlings to be released safely back to the sea when the time comes.
5. Take a Walk along Playa Lo de Marcos (Lo de Marcos Beach)
The picturesque main beach in Lo de Marcos is lined with palm trees and stretches over two kilometers. It’s perfect for early morning or afternoon strolls. The northern end of the beach also is home to a few rock pools waiting to be explored.
6. Join the Walking Group on Mondays and Wednesdays
Another great community activity to participate in when visiting Lo de Marcos is the active walking group that meets each week on Mondays and Wednesdays. The walking group meets and seeks out the best trails in the area including beaches, lagoons, mountains, and the beautiful Nayarit jungle.
The group meets at the Lo de Marco arch in the town plaza at 8:00 am.
7. Get Even MORE Active with the Saturday Morning Hiking Group
If the weekday walking wasn’t enough, on Saturday mornings a group of locals, retirees, ex-pats, and anyone else that would like to be included meets at the Lo de Marcos Plaza at 8:00 am before heading off to explore the area surrounding Lo de Marcos.
Make sure to check out the “What’s Up Lo de Marcos” Facebook page for hiking events scheduled as they do not run every Saturday of the year.
8. Visit the Tianguis Market
The Tianguis Market is a weekly market held in Lo de Marco each week. With local artisans selling their goods and wares and, of course, delicious food, a visit to the Tianguis Market is not to be missed. The Tianguis Lo de Marcos Market is held each Saturday during the high season which runs from mid-November to mid-May from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm.
Make sure to check the local Facebook group to double-check it will be running.
9. Attend One of Many Lo de Marcos’ Annual Festivals
Lo de Marcos hosts a series of festivals throughout the spring to benefit local volunteer organizations. The festival season in Lo de Marco runs between February and April which coincides with the best time of the year to visit this stunning beach.
The festival season begins with the annual Taste Lo de Marcos. Held in February each year, Taste Lo de Marcos is a chance to sample the local cuisine as well as enjoy live music and local artisans selling their goods and wares. A festival for the whole family, this is a great time to visit Lo de Marcos. Proceeds from Taste Lo de Marcos go to the Amigos of Lo de Marcos who run community projects and initiatives such as education and awareness of recycling efforts.
In March, turn it up a notch with the I Survived the Heat! Lo de Marcos Chili Cook-Off, complete with a chili pepper eating contest and chili tasting. A local talent show keeps everything interesting.
Finally, round off the festival season in Lo de Maros with the annual Beer Fest. Quality beer, live music, and local artisans round out this epic event in Lo de Marcos. The proceeds for the Beer Fest go to support the local Campamento Tortuguero or turtle sanctuary.
10. Shop Locally
One of the best ways to give back to a community while visiting is to shop locally. And there is no better way to do that in LDM than at Granja El Paraiso. This organic produce store sells the freshest ingredients in LDM. Fresh, organic yogurt and dairy products, kombucha, and gluten-free bread are just a few of the many options available at Granja El Paraiso.
11. Grab a Paddle at the LDM Ping Pong and Social Club
Unique to LDM is the weekly ping pong tournaments hosted by the LDM Ping Pong and Social Club. A chance to hone your ping pong skills and hopefully take home the gold medal, a visit here is a great way to meet members of the community during your time in Lo de Marco. A fun, friendly yet competitive way to get involved here, this is another one of the more unique, community-based things to do in Lo de Marcos.
Tournaments start at 4:00 pm on Fridays. Make sure to check the LDM Ping Pong and Social Club Facebook page for the most up-to-date information including unexpected closings.
12. Explore the Area by Bike
A truly, authentic beach town, there is a lot to be seen simply by wandering through the streets. Grab a bike and explore the area. Plus, it is a great way to stay active while on holiday.
13. Visit Nearby San Pancho or Sayulita
The Riviera Nayarit is full of beautiful beaches and beach towns, two of which are just a mere 10-20 minutes south of Lo de Marcos.
Busier than LDM, both Sayulita and San Pancho cater to ex-pats and international holidaymakers. Trendy, modern cafes and restaurants line the streets as well as lively bars.
Popular destinations in their own right, Sayulita and San Pancho are two great beaches to visit even if only for the day.
14. Splurge at the One&Only Mandarina
One of the most luxurious resorts in Mexico is mere minutes away from the idyllic beach town of Lo de Marcos. If you are looking to splurge a bit and treat yourself on this Mexican holiday, then consider a stay at the One&Only Mandarina.
The One&Only Mandarina resort is truly an amazing experience. The seclusion of the resort, hidden amongst the jungle of Nayarit, is complete with private beaches, world-class restaurants, and first-class services.
A true escape from everything, you can expect to be pampered and treated like royalty with a stay at One&Only Mandarina.
Where to Eat: The 5 Best Cafes and Restaurants in Lo de Marcos
Exploring the cafes and restaurants in Lo de Marcos should be at the top of your list in terms of activities. Lo de Marcos restaurant options may be limited compared to the number of restaurants in San Pancho or cafes in Sayulita but there are still a few diamonds in the rough. Here are the best restaurants in Lo de Marcos worth visiting.
Located directly on the beach on the far left of the beach is Tomatina. Attached to the local La Parota RV park, Tomatina serves up the absolute best pizza in town for just $200 pesos. The pizzas are large enough to feed two people (or one hungry person) and come with your choice of three toppings.
Tostadas, ceviche, and fish tacos round out the menu ensuring that you will find something to eat that will tickle your fancy.
Seats here fill up fast so expect a small wait for a table due to its popularity and location right next to the more popular area of the beach.
- Address: Cam. a las Minitas 1953, 63729 Lo de Marcos, Nay. (La Parota RV Park)
- Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday from 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm
2. Il Piacere
This small unassuming restaurant with just five bar stools run by an Italian ex-pat is a great dining option in Lo de Marcos. On offer is a small menu of pizza by the slice, calzones, arancini, eggplant, and lasagna, all prepared with a simple toaster oven.
Wine from the nearby El Vinatero can be purchased and brought over to round out your Italian night in Lo de Marcos or, alternatively, you can enjoy your Il Piacere meal at one of the tables of El Vinatero.
- Address: Luis Echevarria 45, 2, 63734 Lo de Marcos, Nay., Mexico
- Hours of Operation: Daily from 1:00 pm – 10:00 pm, except Tuesday (closed)
3. La Sea Food
Without an online presence on Google, it is easy to miss La Sea Food located on Calle Naranjo, a side street off the main street Luis Echevarria. Run by the vibrant Cynthia, La Sea Food is the best place in town for delicious seafood as the name suggests.
A combination of Mexican seafood specialties such as aguachile tostadas, fresh ceviche, and shrimp any way you like ’em alongside an assortment of sushi rolls is what you can expect to find at La Sea Food. Come prepared to over-indulge as the portions are large and deciding just what you want to eat can be a challenge.
La Sea Food is also LGBTQAI friendly and seeks to employ and empower the LGBTQAI community in Lo de Marcos.
- Address: Calle Naranjo
- Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday from 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm
4. Water Man Cafe
The best place in Lo de Marcos for breakfast and coffee is the Water Man Cafe. Breakfast classics such as omelets, bacon and egg sandwiches, and a full American breakfast complete with eggs, bacon, and pancakes.
They also offer a range of fresh pastries in cabinets just outside the front door for a grab-and-go type of breakfast. Suitable for those who are looking to head down to the water early for an early morning swim.
- Address: Avenida Luis Echeverría, El Centro, 63729 Lo de Marcos, Nay., Mexico
- Hours of Operation: Daily from 8:00 am – 9:00 pm, except Tuesday (closed)
5. La Casa del Abuelo
For some seriously good roasted chicken, La Casa del Abuelo is the spot in Lo de Marcos. Recognizable by the rows of chickens roasting on an open face grill on the main street, you will not be able to wander past this place without taking a second look.
As delicious as they look and smell, a whole chicken with all the accompaniments will only set you back just $180 pesos and can feed a whole hungry family. The whole chicken comes complete with rice, salad, tortillas, and tons of salsa.
- Address: Luis hecheveria #33, 63729 Lo de Marcos, Nay., Mexico
- Hours of Operation: Monday to Friday (excluding Thursdays) from 12:00 pm – 5:30 pm, Saturday from 12:00 – 5:00 pm, Sunday from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm
Is There Nightlife in Lo de Marcos Nayarit?
Lo de Marco is not as well known for nightlife as nearby Sayulita, and the town’s bars and restaurants are all shut by midnight here.
Although nightlife in Lo de Marcos officially ends by midnight, it is not uncommon to find locals barricading streets and hosting large parties well into the night complete with DJs, bands, and overflowing cervezas.
The Best Bars in Lo de Marcos
While there are a few bars in LDM, the nightlife here shuts down by 11:00 pm at most places.
A new addition to the nightlife scene in LDM and one that is very much appreciated is the addition of Apapacho. This courtyard bar gives the crafty cocktail bars in Sayulita a run for their money with unique cocktails such as the tomatillo margarita or the sandia smash. Regular DJs liven up the attractive outdoor space.
- Address: Benito Juárez 12, 63729 Lo de Marcos, Nay.
- Hours of Operation: Friday to Monday from 4:00 pm – 11:00 pm
You already know this popular restaurant and bar combo serves up quite possibly the best pizza in LDM, but Tomatina is also a popular beach bar and a great place to kick off your evening.
With regular live music performances, cheap beer (as far as beach bars go), and some of the best views in all of LDM, Tomatina is one of the busiest places to be in Lo de Marcos Nayarit.
- Address: Cam. a las Minitas 1953, 63729 Lo de Marcos, Nay. (La Parota RV Park)
- Hours of Operation: Tuesday to Sunday from 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm
3. El Vinatero
It was a welcome surprise to find a wine bar here in Lo de Marcos. This unpretentious wine bar is great if you are looking for a change from cervezas and margs. El Vinatero mainly showcases wine from the Valley de Guadalupe just south of the California border of both white and red varieties.
Their house wine costs just $160 pesos, quite a bargain compared to the other wines available for sale. Wine can be enjoyed in the shop or taken to-go.
- Address: Corner of Calle Miguel Hidalgo and Luis Echevarria
- Hours of Operation: Daily from 2:00 pm – 11:00 pm, excluding Tuesdays (closed)
Pool sharks will feel at home at bar Neptuno. Located a little ways from the main avenue in Lo de Marcos, Neptuno is said to have the best margaritas in town. Coupled with the cheapest beer you can find in LDM with a cerveza costing only $20 pesos and you cannot really beat a night out at Neptuno.
- Address: Corner of Calle del Bosque and Calle Colosio
- Hours of Operation: Daily from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
5. Endless Summer Sports Bar and Grill
The only American style sports bar in town, this is the most popular spot for beverages during the evening. The Endless Summer Sports Bar and Grill offer cold cervezas and large TVs regularly playing NFL, NHL, and other American sports. Karaoke is also a hit here with regular karaoke nights during the high season.
- Address: LUIS ECHEVERRIA #3, FCO I MADERO & OBREGON Centro, 63729 Lo de Marcos, Nay.
- Hours of Operation: Monday, Tuesday & Thursday from 10:00 am – 10:00 pm; Wednesday & Friday from 10:00 am – 12:00 am (midnight); and Saturday from 8:00 am – 12:00 am (midnight); Sunday from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
How to Get to Lo De Marcos Nayarit?
Getting to Lo de Marcos is easy and there are several options largely depenpent on your budget. This authentic beach village on the Riviera Nayarit can be reached by bus, Uber, taxi, or with your own set of wheels.
How Far Is Lo de Marcos from the Airport?
The main airport that services the Riviera Nayarit and Lo de Marcos is Puerto Vallarta’s Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport. The journey from the airport takes between 1 – 1.5 hours depending on the time of day and the traffic in Puerto Vallarta and the method of transportation you decide to use.
Public Bus to Lo de Marcos
The cheapest way to reach Lo de Marcos is by public bus. Buses run from the PVR airport to Lo de Marcos and should cost approximately $75 pesos (less than $4 USD). The bus (known as a compostela) can be found by crossing the pedestrian walkway over the highway to the left of the airport when you exit baggage claim.
A public bus also runs from nearby Sayulita if you are making your way up the coastline. The bus runs from 6:30 am – 9:00 pm leaving every hour. The bus ride takes approximately 20 minutes and costs $50 pesos.
Uber to Lo de Marcos (from PVR airport only)
The second cheapest way to reach Lo de Marcos from the airport is by taking an Uber. If you do not have a local SIM card or an international plan, the PVR airport offers free wifi which you can use to request an Uber. The Uber drivers are not allowed inside the airport which means you will need to meet your Uber driver near the pedestrian bridge.
Confirm with your driver on which side of the bridge he will be waiting to avoid any confusion. We were under the impression that we needed to cross the bridge to meet our Uber driver, however, when we arrived he was on the same side of the road as the airport which meant we almost missed him given that we did not have service after we left the airport.
Private Transfer to Lo de Marcos
Another option is to prearrange a private driver to pick you up from the airport. This will typically cost around $100 USD for one way which is oftentimes discounted when booking return travel. We recommend Vallarta Transfers for transfer to and from LDM. Great communication, accommodating, timely service, and even a cold beer or water waiting on you in the vehicle! All the requirements to make sure you start your vacation off right in sunny Mexico
Taxi to Lo de Marcos
The second easiest way behind hiring private transportation is hopping in a taxi at the airport. Airport taxis add a premium to the standard fare for the convenience it offers by literally just stepping outside to a line of taxis. The taxi fare from PVR to LDM can vary wildly depending on your Spanish and negotiation skills. Expect to pay somewhere between $2,000 – $2,500 pesos but we have heard of the fare costing upwards of $3,200.
Your final option for how to get to Lo de Marcos is by renting a car in Puerto Vallarta. Having your own set of wheels not only makes traveling to LDM easy but also gives you the flexibility to get out and explore the surrounding area on your own time.
Car rentals for a week in LDM run around $150 – $250 for the car alone before adding any insurance, collision damage protection, and other add-ons.
Where to Stay in Lo de Marcos?
Outside of the nearby One&Only Mandarin Hotel, you won’t find any large hotels or high rises. Only small family-run inns offer apartments most mere minutes from the beach. If you are wondering where to stay in Lo de Marcos, here are our top picks.
Glamping El Sendero
What better way to enjoy the nature that abounds in the jungles in nearby LDM than to sleep in it. Glamping El Sendero offers safari-style tents near the beautiful beach of Playa Los Venados. The accommodation offers peace and tranquility in a beautiful setting with all of your basic accommodation needs met.
The host, Nora, goes the extra mile in making sure you have everything you need for an enjoyable stay in LDM.
A cozy, one-bedroom apartment complete with two double beds, Casa Taiyari is perfect for families with small children or couples looking for a getaway. Clean and comfy, Casa Taiyari ticks all the boxes for a great stay in Lo de Marcos.
The hosts, Paola and Sharon, are attentive ensuring your stay is simply amazing. The apartment is well appointed and includes all of the basic necessities for an LDM holiday.
Apartamento los Gallos
Another great option close to the town square and a mere five-minute walk to the beach is Apartamento Los Gallos. This two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment is perfect for small groups or families. A full kitchen, as well as access to a shared, onsite pool, means you will have everything you could want in a place to stay in LDM.
Other FAQs to Know Before Visiting Lo de Marcos
Before heading beachside, here are a few other things you might want to know before you go.
Is Lo de Marcos Mexico Safe?
The tourist towns along the Riviera Nayarit including Lo de Marcos are extremely safe. We spent over a month along the Riviera Nayarit and never once felt unsafe even walking around late at night.
It is without saying that you should still show some common sense, and avoid drawing unwanted attention to yourself. Despite LDM being a relatively safe tourist destination. Do not flaunt wads of cash. Don’t wear flashy jewelry. Don’t be a menace. Pay attention to your surroundings. Things that should be applicable everywhere you go.
Are There ATMs in Lo de Marcos?
There are ATMs in Lo de Marcos but expect to be charged $100 pesos from the local ATM each time you pull out money with a maximum of $3,000 pesos per transaction.
We recommend using the ATM at the PVR airport to avoid paying high ATM fees.
Are There Taxis in Lo de Marcos?
Taxis can usually be found around the town plaza. Expect to pay $300 pesos to travel from Lo de Marcos to San Pancho or Sayulita, $1,200 pesos to travel further north to Chacala, and $2,000 pesos to travel to the PVR airport.
Is There Uber in Lo De Marcos?
Outside of using Uber to reach Lo de Marcos from Puerto Vallarta and the Puerto Vallarta airport, you won’t find Uber. Taxis are readily available and can usually be found around the town plaza.
Can I Buy Groceries in Lo de Marcos?
There are a handful of local tiendas selling all of the basics that you would need if you wanted to cook for yourself while on holiday. For longer stays and for more specialty items, you may want to consider visiting the Mega Soriana or Walmart.
Most transportation services from PVR will allow you to stop for an hour for a small fee.
Can I Drink the Water in Lo de Marcos?
A general rule of thumb is if the locals are buying water then you should too. We recommend grabbing a self-filtering water bottle before heading to LDM to ensure you are never too far from clean water and to help save the planet one single-use plastic at a time.
How Much Do Drinks Cost in Lo de Marcos?
You can expect to pay between $30 – $40 pesos for a local beer at the bar even the beach bar Tomatina.
Where to Next?
Head north to the even quieter beachside community of Chacala, south to the fantastic restaurants and community vibe of San Pancho, or the bustling town and busy waves of Sayulita.
Lo de Marcos is one of our favorite places along the Riviera Nayarit. LDM still retains an authentic, Mexican vibe while providing a few of the amenities that travelers want from a beach holiday. Quality restaurants, a handful of bars, excellent surf, and smaller crowds are just a few of the many reasons to visit Lo de Marcos.
Let us know in the comments below if you enjoy Lo de Marcos as much as we do!
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