Come explore nature and magical sunsets on the Ameca River in Jalisco. It’s considered one of the 100 best sites in Mexico for birdwatching, but there are many other points of interest along its path. This is one of the largest rivers in Mexico. It’s also a protected natural area and offers plenty of options to the thousands of travelers that visit this corner of the world. At just 143 miles, it’s not a long river, but it’s immensely rich in biodiversity. Keep reading to discover everything there is to see along the Ameca River and its estuary.

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Source and Course of the Ameca River

The Ameca River begins in the Primavera Biosphere Reserve, very close to the city of Guadalajara. It divides the two states of Jalisco and Nayarit, acting as a natural border. Its main sources are the Ahuacatlán and Amatlán de Cañas rivers.

The Ameca empties into the Bahía de Banderas (Banderas Bay), close to Puerto Vallarta. The river flows through several cities: Zapopan, Tala, Teuchitlán, San Martín Hidalgo, Ameca, Guachinango, Mascota, San Sebastián del Oeste, and finally, Puerto Vallarta.

The Ameca River flows into the immense Bahía de Banderas, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. This bay is home to Puerto Vallarta and other points of interest, such as the Marietas Islands and the Riviera Nayarit, with some of the most amazing beaches in the country. 

In fact, if you plan to visit the Ameca River, we recommend that you save a few days for the area around Puerto Vallarta and Bahía de Banderas, since it offers plenty of attractions for all tastes and many options for accommodation.


Flora and Fauna of the Ameca River

The areas that play host to the Ameca River are predominantly agricultural, including tropical forests and abundant vegetation, which allows the local fauna to develop freely. Since Mexico is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, it’s no wonder that hundreds of different species of animals and plants can be found in its rivers. Among those there are 80 species of birds.


The Ameca River is also home to interesting animals such as crocodiles, turtles, raccoons, and other mammals and fish that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Among the birds, which are the animals that attract the most visitors to the Ameca River in Jalisco and Nayarit, you can find elegant quail, hummingbirds, monk parakeets, crane hawks, woodpeckers, crested caracaras, and many, many more. Don’t miss this opportunity to explore the unique world of the Ameca River.

Natural Landscapes of the Ameca River

In Mexico, a deep river and forest with dense vegetation and plentiful exotic fauna sounds like the type of place we’d love to visit again and again. Places like these are very different from the towns and cities where we live. The Ameca River is one such place and has lots of things to see. Imagine traveling the entire river on a boat, seeing its magical landscapes and watching birds and other animals along the way. Imagine that, at the end of this trip, you’ll reach a place with every possible comfort and leisure activity: beaches, restaurants, bars, and water sports, perfect for the whole family. You can even cross the Ameca Bridge, the longest golf course suspension bridge in the world. This is the reality of the Ameca River in Jalisco and its estuary, and why you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to visit.


The Delta and Estuary of the Ameca River

When the Ameca River empties into the Bahía de Banderas, near Puerto Vallarta, it creates a large system of wetlands, which attracts a huge variety of wild fauna. Apart from the species we mentioned earlier that live along the Ameca River, we can also see white ibises, herons, terns, kingfishers, and sandpipers living at the mouth. There are also activities available that you won’t want to miss: boat trips for whale observation, excursions around the bay to see dolphins, and turtle watching in their natural habitat. Extraordinary experiences!


We bet you’d love to visit the beaches in the area. They’re amazing! We’ll list the ones that are, in our opinion, the 10 best beaches on the Riviera Nayarit, so you can take full advantage of your days in the sun:

The 10 Best Beaches on the Riviera Nayarit

  • Manzanilla
  • Rincón de Guayabitos
  • Playa Los Ayalas
  • Playa Nuevo Vallarta
  • Playa Mita
  • San Blas
  • Punta Monterrey
  • Playa Los Venados
  • Playa del Toro
  • Playa San Francisco
Playa vidanta

If you’re not sure which one to visit, then just go to them all! Some of these beaches are perfect for water activities, such as surfing or snorkeling, while others are better for relaxing while the sun warms your skin. Whatever your preference, you’ll find a beach for you by the Ameca River and Puerto Vallarta. Find out the best beaches in Bahía de Banderas here.

Stay by the Estuary of the Ameca River

Near the estuary of the Ameca River, you’ll find everything you need for a special vacation, including the Ameca Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world on a golf course. Nature joins leisure to create an unforgettable experience. Puerto Vallarta is very close, so don’t hesitate to visit this incredible tourist destination in Mexico. Look for a vacation house or apartment by the Ameca River and Puerto Vallarta and enjoy an unforgettable stay with your family, friends, or partner.