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Tepic

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Some 170km north of Puerto Vallarta, the first town of any size is TEPIC, capital of the state of Nayarit and home to some two hundred thousand people. Founded by Hernán Cortés’s brother, Francisco, in 1544, it’s appealing enough in a quietly provincial way, but for most travellers it’s no more than a convenient stopover along the route to Mazatlán, or a place to switch buses for San Blas and the coast.

Plenty of shops sell Huichol artesanías in Tepic, including vibrant yarn paintings and bead statues; alternatively, you can buy them directly from Huichol artists in the main plaza.

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