Laguna Santa María del Oro

Central Pacific Coast

Surrounded by forested mountains, this idyllic lake fills a volcanic crater that's over 100m deep and 2km in diameter. You can walk around the lake and in the surrounding mountains, climb to an abandoned gold mine, cycle, swim, kayak, fish and bird-watch (some 250 species) here. By bus, catch a ‘Santa María del Oro’ colectivo (M$35, 45 minutes) on Avenida México in Tepic, then change to a colectivo marked ‘Laguna’ at Santa María’s town square or take a taxi.

Incredibly photogenic, the clean water takes on colors ranging from turquoise to slate. A number of restaurants serve fresh lake fish.

If driving, take the Santa María del Oro turnoff about 40km from Tepic along the Guadalajara road. From the turnoff it’s about 9km to Santa María del Oro village, then another 8km to the lake.