If you can take your eyes off the stunning ocean vistas in Riviera Nayarit, you’ll find just as breathtaking views of the verdant mountains that surround the city. At the tip of Punta de Mita, Cerro del Mono, or Monkey Mountain, rises above the sea, covered in lush palms and trees. Those who climb Monkey Mountain are rewarded with panoramic views of the Bay of Banderas that can’t be found anywhere else. For an activity in Riviera Nayarit that will take you into the heart of Mexico’s natural beauty, join a Monkey Mountain hiking tour or follow the trail yourself. Once you reach the summit, relax and soak up the views on all sides of the mountain.
Locals and visitors alike have been exploring Cerro del Mono for years. For many, the hardest part of the hike is finding the Monkey Mountain trail since public transportation does not directly pass it. To get to the start, take a taxi or rent a car to drive towards Hacienda Jacqueline in the small town of Higuera Blanca. About ten minutes down the road, you’ll find the trailhead. When you return from the hike, there are no taxis waiting at the trailhead, so you’ll need to make arrangements with your driver before heading out. If you don’t mind some extra walking, you can flag down a local bus on the main road to head back to Riviera Nayarit.
The Monkey Mountain trail has a few challenging sections, but visitors of all ages participate in the hike every year because of the beauty that surrounds you from the first step to the incredible view at the top. Cerro del Mono is privately owned, so the Monkey Mountain trail crosses through different properties and farms. Along the way, you’ll likely encounter local farmers as well as other foreigners who have decided to climb Monkey Mountain, but your chances of spotting an actual monkey are fairly low despite the mountain’s name. To create your own map, the coordinates of the summit are 20.8219440,-105.4652350, but for the most part, you’ll just follow the path up the mountain.
If finding the trail and passing through the land sounds complicated, a Monkey Mountain hiking tour will provide you with an experienced guide who is familiar with the trails and farmers. MexiTreks offers two different Monkey Mountain hiking tour options: one during the day and another at sunset. Along the tour, a naturalist will show you the hidden gems of the jungle, pointing out the natural flora and fauna of Mexico. Once you know the way, you can return to the trail over and over again on your future visits to Riviera Nayarit.
As you prepare to climb Monkey Mountain, there are a few things you’ll need to pack. The hike will likely take you around three hours, depending how long you choose to hang out at the top, so bring plenty of water. While you’ll be under the jungle canopy for most of the hike, wearing sunscreen will protect your skin during those hours from UV rays, and insect repellant will keep you from wanting to scratch your ankles the whole time. Finally, don’t forget your phone or camera to capture the view from the top.
Cerro del Mono is one of Riviera Nayarit’s many natural wonders. Exploring the natural landscape of Mexico during your vacation will show you another side of the colorful culture and leave you with a deeper appreciation of all the country has to offer. Whether you brave the trail yourself or hire a guide, you’ll enjoy the adventure of the hike and fall in love with the spectacular view from the summit.