Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - At the Segunda Feria Nacional de Pueblos Mágicos held in Puebla last weekend, the nearby villages of Sayulita, Talpa de Allende and Mascota were among the 28 destinations added to the list of Pueblos Mágicos ("Magic Towns") in Mexico.
A tourism promotion concept launched in 2001 by the Mexico Tourism Board, the Pueblos Mágicos designation is reserved for cities, towns and villages with special symbolic features, legends and history, and tourism opportunities. The most important prerequisite for the nomination, however, is possessing magic.
Talpa de Allende, Jalisco
Secondly, the town should be characterized by outstanding and distinguishable aspects of local cultural identity. The villagers "must" make handicrafts locally, and maintain their traditional ways of life.
The third criterion is the particularity of the village environment and its surroundings. A Pueblo Mágico has to differ from other villages in certain ways, owing, for example, to its beautiful village square (zócalo) or scenic surroundings, and should possess at least one major attraction that is different from those in any other community of the state or the region.
Once a village is chosen to participate in the program, it receives multi-level financial support, including federal funding for the modernization of tourism-related infrastructure and businesses such as handicraft shops and restaurants.
On September 25, 2015, Mexico's Tourism Secretary, Enrique de la Madrid, announced that 400 million pesos in federal funding will be divvied up amongst the 111 Magic Towns between 2016 and 2018 for spending on maintenance, rebuilding historic centers, improving infrastructure, developing tourism products, training and other projects.
For Sayulita, this injection of capital will help improve the town's service infrastructure while maintaining the "Hippie Chic" vibe that makes the Riviera Nayarit's Surf Capital unique. In addition to being a renowned surfing mecca, snorkeling, paddle boarding and whale watching; fabulous fiestas, nightclubs and restaurants; and the rich biodiversity of flora and fauna are some of the other elements that make Sayulita "magical."
According to Nayarit Tourism Director, Catalina Ruiz, the Pueblo Mágico designation will set off a five-year project for the government and the citizens to work on in order for Sayulita to receive its official certification.
This project began with the creation of the Pro Pueblo Mágico Sayulita Executive Committee, presided by Marcos Scott, which integrates elements from the Nayarit and Bahía de Banderas tourism offices. Together they will structure a plan with input from civil associations and citizens to improve the services of the town while maintaining the unique essence that attracts people from around the world.
In principle, the Pueblo Mágico designation is indefinite, although it has to be renewed periodically, and the nominated villages are subject to yearly auditing. Click HERE to see the list of all 28 newly designated Pueblos Mágicos.Sources: sectur.gob.mx • Riviera Nayarit CVB • El Universal