Lo de Marcos – Exploring Pacific Mexico’s Beachside Pueblo

by | Last updated Apr 5, 2021 | Mexico | 4 comments

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Have you ever heard of Lo de Marcos in Nayarit, Mexico? I hadn’t either, not until we moved to the eco-conscious pueblo of San Pancho just a few miles south of Lo de Marcos. But now we know Lo de Marcos as one of the cutest places along the coast of the scenic Riviera Nayarit where you can truly experience and witness what life in a small Mexican pueblo is like.

Those who do know it, know Lo de Marcos as an authentic Mexican pueblitio with an endearing laid-back vibe. It has a large colorful plaza, Mexican-style villas and resorts, local delicious eateries, organic farms and markets, a thriving expat community, and not to mention the beautiful Lo de Marcos beach. Plus, there are a handful of events led by associations and internationals alike, including the Lady Coco Burning Man started by friends of ours just two years ago.

The town is an unassuming destination unlike Sayulita or Puerto Vallarta, so you can imagine our surprise when we discovered how popular it is among international expats and retirees who come to live among the locals in this beachside town. Lo de Marcos isn’t at all on the tourist trail, not yet at least, so it’s the place to go for a quiet escape by the Pacific Ocean.

Read more to discover what to do and see on a trip to Lo de Marcos in Nayarit, Mexico!

Ultimate Lo de Marcos Mexico Travel Guide

Location & Map

lo de marcos beach

lo de marcos map

First of all, where is Lo de Marcos and how far is it from Puerto Vallarta? Puerto Vallarta is the gateway to the Riviera Nayarit which is home to dozens of colorful magic towns and quaint fishing villages. So getting to or from any of the small towns that speckle the coast usually takes an hour or less.

RELATED: 13 Cutest Beach Towns & Destinations in Nayarit, Mexico

Lo de Marcos is one of the northernmost towns in the Bandera’s Bay in the state of Nayarit so it takes a little longer to get to than places like Sayulita.

Getting to Lo de Marcos from Puerto Vallarta is pretty easy by bus via Hwy 200 or by Uber or taxi. (Expect to pay 600-800 pesos for an Uber or taxi).

  • Puerto Vallarta: 1hr 10min
  • Sayulita: 23 mins
  • San Pancho (San Francisco): 13 mins
  • Punta Mita: 44 mins
  • Guayabitos: 15 mins

Lo de Marcos Things To Do

Despite being a small town, there are fun things to do in Lo de Marcos for newcomers and repeat visitors! I always enjoy going to Lo de Marcos and seeing new shops pop up or exploring a new part of town.

Here are some of the best things to do in Lo de Marcos:

Enjoy Lo de Marcos’ Beaches & Outdoor Activities

The Playa Lo de Marcos is the town’s main beach at the end of the street with golden sand and slow-crashing waves. If you head south to El Atracadero beach you will be near a rocky inlet that’s ideal for paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing. Head to the north end of the Lo de Marcos beach for the estuary and the surf-break.

lo de marcos beach

Two other cool beaches to discover are Playas Los Venados and Playa Las Minitas. They’re more private, hidden beaches a bit further south of the town that you can reach by hiking or by car via Camino a Las Minitas.

Getting out in nature and enjoying the beach, mountains, & jungle is easy in Lo de Marcos. The rolling green hills are the perfect place to explore on foot while the sea beckons you to go on a kayak or paddleboarding adventure. Surfing is popular in Lo de Marcos too, although you won’t see as many surfers as you would in La Lancha close to Punta Mita.

You can also trot across the sandy beaches and get to know Lo de Marcos better on horseback with a local guide.

Shop for Handicrafts at the Saturday Tianguis Market

Like many of the small towns along the coast, Lo de Marcos has its own farmer/craft market every Saturday through the high season (until April).

The Tiagnuis Saturday market is one of the best places to get a feel for the village, meet the locals, and stock up on a variety of goods from authentic Mexican handicrafts to organic produce, baked treats, and more. The market also is just fun to attend because there’s live music, face painting, and tons of treasures to search through!

When is the best time to visit Lo de Marcos? You’ll want to be in LDM from December to the end of March if you want to catch events, festivals, and markets such as Tianguis. The market hours are from 9-2 and the quaint courtyard where it’s held is located at Luis Echeverria #9.

Eat Your Way Around Town!

Lo de Marcos is one of those surprising places that offer the best of both worlds when it comes to eating out. It has mouthwatering Mexican street food like pozole and tacos al pastor; American-Canadian style bars and cafes with beers on tap and live music; and upscale restaurants with delicious fresh twists on catch-of-the-day seafood and comfort food!

La Tomatina is one of the best places to eat in Lo de Marcos. You can find it right on the beach at El Atracadero down on the southern tip of Playa Lo de Marcos. It’s always packed with locals and visitors. You can get there through the RV park La Parota or by walking on the beach.

Some other great restaurants in town are Tacos Oscar, Carolina’s, Arcelia’s, and if you want American-Canadian fare – head to the Endless Summer Sports Bar. Fancy wine? Check out Lo de Marcos’ wine bar at El Vinatero.

More restaurants and places to eat in Lo de Marcos:

  • The Watershed – organic fine dining
  • La Sea Food – seafood & sushi
  • Billar Neptuno – lively bar & billard
  • La Quinta – burgers, pizzas, wings
  • Sabina Cantina – tropical bar with live music
  • Il Piacere – Italian food
  • La Rosticeria – to-go roasted chicken

For cafes, bread, sweets and pastries, check out Cora Bistro Cafe, La Flor, Pops, and Cacao Nayarit.

Also, If you’re just shopping at looking for organic produce, look for Granja El Paraiso. They have some amazing products like beet pesto, fresh cheeses, fruity kombuchas, and more!

Support/Volunteer Lo de Marcos’ Centers & Organizations

Lo de Marcos, like many of the small towns across Nayarit, is committed to giving back to its community. There are several opportunities to get involved that benefit the local people and animals in Lo de Marcos. With that said, look for these organizations to support during your time here!

The Sanctuary at Lo de Marcos

The Sanctuary at Lo de Marcos is an animal sanctuary sheltering and caring for the hurt, lost, and abandoned dogs and cats in Lo de Marcos and the surrounding area. They are constantly taking in and adopting out animals to loving families in the area. They will also send cats and dogs to adopters within the United States and Canada and can help organize the air travel if you wish to be a temporary guardian on your return trip home.

El Centro de la Gente is the non-profit and Lo de Marcos Community Center and host of The Food Bank of Lo de Marcos. The center supports kids and families of Lo de Marcos through educational opportunities and community resources such as its food bank, plastic recycling program, public library, and sterilization clinic for dogs and cats.

Amigos de Lo de Marcos is another volunteer-based civil association in Lo de Marcos which aims to support and benefit the community through donations, partnerships with local officials, and sponsored projects.

Staying in Lo de Marcos

Lo de Marcos is low-key one of the best places to stay in the area if you want to slow down and relax. There aren’t gigantic resorts in Lo de Marcos, but rather cozy Mexican-style hotels like Quinta Aremar, quaint hotels, villas and bungalows, b&bs, and not to mention 4-5 RV parks. Anywhere you choose you’ll enjoy the best the town has to offer with peace of mind.

Most places range between $30-60 USD. But if you’re looking for a secluded paradise, there are luxurious options too! Also, if you prefer to stay at a vacation rental in a home, there’s plenty of awesome options there. I have never stayed in Lo de Marcos myself but when we go I always scope out the area to save for later!

Lo de Marcos Travel Tips

Here are a few final resources for exploring Lo de Marcos, including tourist services and good-to-know travel tips.

Getting Around

Getting around Lo de Marcos is easy. The town is not that big and it’s more than safe to walk everywhere. You can bring your own car, but if you’re vacationing here and get dropped off another option for you is to rent a golf cart. Other than the main road cutting through downtown and ending at the beach, most of the roads in Lo de Marcos are dirt or gravel roads.

Pet Services

While living in San Pancho we often came to Lo de Marcos to drop off our cat at the Beach Dog Boarding & Salon run by Melanie. She is a long-time Lo de Marcos expat and resident who started a doggie and kitty pet-sitting service in her backyard. She’s got great space for cats and dogs to relax while they await the return of their owners.

ATMs

ATMs are far and few between in towns like Lo de Marcos. The best ATM in Lo de Marcos is probably at the OXXO gas station. You can’t miss it at the entrance of the town just off Hwy 200. Otherwise, someone mentioned there is one at the corner of the big plaza in town. It’s best to take out cash before you arrive at the airport!

Taxis

To hail a taxi in Lo de Marcos you can go near the plaza. The taxis are mostly run by local families so if ever you’re in need of one just ask around. One time we needed a taxi so we asked a lady at this little shop in town. She yelled up to her husband who was in his home napping, lol.

Lady Coco Burning Man in Lo de MarcosLady Coco Burning Man 

Other Places to Visit Near Lo de Marcos

Exploring the area around Lo de Marcos is great because there are a handful of awesome towns to discover that are less than 20 minutes away.

I may be biased, but San Pancho is an amazing town to experience. Compared to Lo de Marcos, there are a few more options here for hotels, restaurants, and things to do. You also have the beach and the amazing Entreamigos community center which is extremely worth touring.

If you’re looking for a livelier town with tons of cafes and bars, shops, and activities, then check out the “pueblo magico” (magic town) of Sayulita. It’s one of the most well-known towns in Nayarit for its boho-chic vibe and gentle surf break. There’s also the luxurious resort town of Punta Mita famous for its 5-star hotels, golf courses, and nearby surfing beaches like La Lancha.

If we had to put the nearby popular towns of the Riviera Nayarit on a scale of less developed to full-blown touristy, it would go like — Lo de Marcos, San Pancho, Sayulita, then Puerto Vallarta.

Lastly, if you head north of Lo de Marcos you’ll reach popular destinations among locals such as Rincon de Guayabitos, Chacala, San Blas, and the state capital of Tepic.

There are just so many awesome places to visit in Mexico that it’s hard to know where to spend your time. But we LOVE the state of Nayarit and it’s definitely become home for us over the past two years!

Enjoy Traveling in Lo de Marcos, Nayarit, Mexico!

I hope this guide to Lo de Marcos inspires you to visit responsibly one day! The town, although it isn’t developed so much yet, does have a big expat community that will attract more businesses and hotels. As tourism works itself north from Puerto Vallarta, and as soon as the new highway gets built, Lo de Marcos will see an influx of visitors.

But at all costs, let’s keep the authentic Lo de Marcos the way it is. We do not want big hotel groups and chains to spoil this part of the coastline and take away the land from the locals. Remember to practice responsible tourism wherever you go — Mexico and beyond!

Have you ever heard of or been to Lo de Marcos? If so, drop your recommendations for things to do and see and I’ll add them to this guide! 

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4 Comments

  1. TERESE

    HOW SAFE IS LO DE MARCOS AND THE STATE OF NAYARIT? WE ARE GOING TO RETIRE IN MEX. IN JAN. OF 2022 AND ARE TRYING TO DECIDE IF WE SHOULD MOVE TO MERIDA AND RENT FOR 6 MONTHS AND BUY OR I LO DE MARCOS ANY COMMENTS WOULD BE APPRECIATED MY HUSBAND READ NAYARIT ISNT SAFE

    Reply
    • Bri

      Hi Terese! Thanks for reaching out! Nayarit is very safe for tourists. After living there 2 years we felt safer there than in many cities in the US. There are many American and Canadian expats that have been living in Nayarit for 20, 30 years! You will find a very nice community there, especially in the towns of Lo de Marcos and San Pancho, even Sayulita. If you’ve never been, I’d recommend checking out Lo de Marcos first before deciding on Merida. The two offer completely opposite types of living, so it depends on what type of retired lifestyle you would prefer. Merida is very big and cityesque while Lo de Marcos is a small beach town with jungle, mountains, horses, etc, plus there are great towns around and Puerto Vallarta is just an hour away. I have a special love for Nayarit though so I may be biased, haha. We actually thought about moving to Merida from Nayarit once, went and checked it out, and were like, “nope!” lol. Let me know if you have any more questions. 🙂 x, Bri

      Reply
  2. Janet Kuo

    The restaurant is called the Water Man not Watershed.

    Reply
    • Bri

      Thanks, Janet! Are there two or did it change its name? I’m seeing both.

      Reply

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Hi, I’m Bri! I’ve been slow traveling around the world in search of new adventures since 2013. I have lived in 8 countries on 4 continents including Nepal, Mexico, Colombia, and parts of Europe! I created this blog to inspire others to live a life of adventure, seek out meaningful experiences, and to travel slowly and mindfully. Join me on this journey and let’s tick off our bucket lists! Read my story here.

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