- San Blas, Nayarit
- San Blas is both a municipality and municipal seat located on the
Pacific coastof Mexicoin the state of Nayarit.
It is a port and a popular tourist destination. It is located about 100 miles north of
Puerto Vallarta, and 40 miles west of the state capital Tepic. It city had a population 8,707. [cite web|url=http://www.e-local.gob.mx/work/templates/enciclo/nayarit/index.html|title=Enciclopedia de los Municipios de México: Nayarit|accessdate=2007-12-02]
San Blas is known as the port where the Spanish priest
Junipero Serra, 'Father' of the California Missions, embarked on his journey north. The area is also noted for its fine surfing.
Much of the town was devastated by the Pacific
Hurricane Kennain October 2002, but most damaged structures have since been rebuilt, repaired, or removed. It was immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's final poem, "The Bells of San Blas". Interestingly, Longfellow never visited San Blas. [cite web|url=http://www.mexicofile.com/bellsofsanblas.htm|title=Longfellow's The Bells of San Blas|accessdate=2007-12-02]
San Blas boasts several attractive beaches, which have been kept safe from large-scale development by the area's notorious population of jejenes or no-see-ums, that are mostly active at twilight. San Blas sits between two estuaries, the Pozo and El Rey, which are the main entries into a vast wetlands system. The many rivers that flow through the mangrove forests serve as the breeding grounds for fish. The wetlands also serve to buffer the land from storms and prevent erosion.
Recent incursions by shrimp farms have threatened the balance in this very fecund ecosystem. A local environmental movement has helped to mitigate the loss of substantial mangroves and diversion of waters. While claims that San Blas has suffered a loss of fish and wildlife due to development may be true, this area remains abundant in birds, bugs and crocodiles.
For downmarket vacationers (San Blas has only one luxury hotel) looking to get away from the more common tourist-filled Mexican beaches, San Blas is a popular choice.
Puerto de San Blas is the northernmost point of a stretch of Nayarit coastline called the "Riviera Nayarita" that extends south past the towns of
Chacala, Los Ayala, Punto de Mitaand Nuevo Vallartato end at the Río Ameca, just near the border of Jaliscoand just north of Puerto Vallarta.cite journal |last= Armendáriz |first=Lorenzo |year=2008 |month= February |title=Viva la Riviera Nayarita |journal=Guía México Desconocido |volume= 372 |pages=70–77 |url= http://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/notas/8261-Viva-la-Riviera-Nayarita.-Sus-playas,-sus-frutos-del-mar,-su-paz ]
The total municipality had a population of 37, 478 in
2005. [cite web|url=http://www.e-local.gob.mx/work/templates/enciclo/nayarit/index.html|title=Enciclopedia de los Municipios de México: Nayarit|accessdate=2007-12-02] Islas Marías, site of an infamous prison colony, are part of the municipality.
The area is known among birders for its abundance of migratory
birdsin the surrounding estuariesand lowland palm forests, attracting significant numbers of bird-watchers. The town is also gateway, along with the nearby village of Matanchen, to the La Tovarapark, an extensive mangroveforest and federally-protected nature preserve accessed by small boats. A boat tour can be taken up the estuary, where a freshwater spring provides the local drinking water as well as a natural swimming hole used by both locals and tourists.
The economy is based on agriculture, fishing, and the tourist industry. The main crops are beans, sorghum, tobacco, corn, watermelon, and citrus fruits. There is a substantial cattle herd and the raising of shrimp in the extensive marshlands has become a recent economic windfall despite the environmental damage.
* [http://www.turnay.gob.mx/attr/en-san-blas.html Government tourism page]
* [http://www.militarymuseum.org/SanBlas.html The Naval Department of San Blas] , Spain's Supply and Shipbuilding Center for Alta California and the Pacific Northwest, 1770-1810
* [http://www.rivieranayarit.com/ Official Website of Riviera Nayarit, Mexico]
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