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Nayarit is a small state in western Mexico between the forested mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Pacific Ocean. In the north of the Nayarit Riviera coastline is the colonial town of San Blas, whose Fuerte de San Basilio fort once protected the area from pirates. Just south are Matanchen Bay’s surfing beaches, while north is Mexcaltitlán Island, considered the birthplace of Aztec civilization.