Welcome to Sayulita, a hidden gem along Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit. This bohemian beach town entices visitors with its natural beauty, laid-back atmosphere, and vibrant charm.
With pristine beaches, cobblestone streets adorned with colorful murals, and a bustling local scene, Sayulita offers a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. Surf the waves, explore lush jungles, and indulge in local cuisine while immersing yourself in the infectious spirit of this captivating destination. Sayulita is not just a place; it’s a state of mind—a paradise that will leave you longing for more.
With an increasing amount of visitors exploring this town, Sayulita has become a hotspot for surfers, yogis and laid-back people alike. From whale watching to food tours to beautiful hikes, there are so many things to do in Sayulita.
where is Sayulita?
Sayulita is a surf town located on the Pacific Ocean. It is a small town with a population of only approximately 2,300 inhabitants.
Known for its great surfing vibes, relaxed atmosphere and party scene, it can be found at an hour’s drive from the Puerto Vallarta Airport (PVR).
Sayulita is definitely geared toward a younger crowd; one looking to shop at trendy boutiques, grab some drinks, head out surfing, and meet like-minded people.
things to keep in mind
There are some important components to consider before deciding to travel to Sayulita. If you have already booked your trip, don’t fret, here are some things to prepare for.
Sewage Issues: Due to a constant discharge of sewage, Sayulita Beach comes with sanitary risks. There is a lack of necessary infrastucture, causing increasing numbers of Norovirus cases reported from tourists after their visit to Sayulita. Please note that Norovirus isn't a Sayulita specific virus and can be caught anywhere. It is highly contagious, so consider washing your hands often and thoroughly washing your body after spending time in the ocean or on Sayulita Beach.
Tourists Galore: Sayulita is rapidly growing in popularity, and with good reason. That said, expect busy streets, restaurants and an even busier beach. If you're someone that enjoys the ambiance of crowds and livelihoods, Sayulita is the place to be. That said, if you're looking for a quieter destination, consider other nearby pockets, such as San Pancho and La Cruz.
Tourist Prices: Sayulita, being a popular tourist spot, comes with tourist prices. Though certain areas of Mexico are great for saving a dollar or two on cheap tacos and drinks, Sayulita's prices have definitely increased over the years. Consider this when budgeting for your trip.
With all that said, consider these three factors when traveling to Sayulita to make for the safest and the most pleasant experience possible!
In my opinion, the great things about Sayulita outweigh the drawbacks, and with a bit of caution and preparation, you’ll be all set to enjoy this dreamy surfer’s paradise!
The Best Things to Do in Sayulita (Mexico)
Vamos a la playa (Let’s go to the beach)
Sayulita Beach is known for its blue skies, warm weather, great views and surfable waves. This is a great place to soak up that warm Mexican sun and watch the impressive local surfers catch a wave.
Here are a few tips for your day at the beach:
- Sunshine: The Mexican sun can catch up to you. Be sure to wear lots of sunscreen and re-apply often.
- Renting a chair/umbrella: As you walk onto the beach, you will likely be offered chairs/umbrellas to enjoy. What they might not mention is the fact that the chairs/ umbrella usage is in exchange for buying food and drinks from their establishment. If you have your own chair and umbrella, you are able to set up your own little spot without needing to pay.
- Norovirus: Be aware that you have a higher risk of catching Norovirus, as Sayulita is currently struggling to sustain its infrastructure with the influx of tourists in current years.
- Vendors: As you enjoy the beach, the closer you are to the water, the more beach vendors will pass you. The less you engage with them, the less they will try and communicate with you about buying their gear. A simple “no gracias” (no thank you) will do the trick.
- Busy beach: The beach fills up quickly and can get very busy by early afternoon. Consider heading to the beach earlier in the day to get desirable seating and beat the scorching afternoon sun.
Enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine
It’s a fun fact about Mexico that the country has some of the best food in world. What better place to enjoy delicious food than Mexico? Sayulita is filled with tasty authentic food that explodes with flavor and culture.
There are so many restaurants to choose from. If you are looking to mix it up, other restaurants offer other cuisines, such as Thai, Italian and health-oriented choices.
One thing to note is that the closer you are to the beach, the more expensive the restaurants become. Though it may be nice to head to a beachfront restaurant to enjoy a refreshing drink while looking out at the ocean, consider trying out restaurants further away from the hustle and bustle for a quieter and more authentic experience.
take a surf lesson
Sayulita is known for its impressive surf conditions. Between the laid-back atmosphere and the year-round warm weather, Sayulita is a great option for those alike.
A fun experience to do while in Sayulita is going surfing. There are many surfboard companies to choose from. You can choose to either get a lesson with a surf coach or to rent the surfboard exclusively. If you have never surfed before and/or don’t have a lot of experience in the ocean, it is essential to get a lesson.
TOP TIP: Not all surf shops offer lessons. Be sure to check them out beforehand to avoid having to jump from one shop to the next.
Approximate surfboard rental prices
|Premium board (one hour-one week)||$37-$263|
If you’re hoping to get out on the water, but aren’t looking to go surfing, there are other options to choose from. Consider going boogie boarding or renting a stand-up paddleboard.
Prices vary for these other options as well, depending on how long you are wanting to rent them for. Boogie Boards go from $7.50 for a half-day to $112 for a whole week. Paddleboards can range between $15 for an hour to $187 for the week.
Sayulita Rental Shops - Lunazul Rentals - WildMex Surf School - Surf and Roll - Quiverita Surf School
Approximate prices for surf lessons
TOP TIP: Some surf shops offer better prices the more you are in your group. Book in with your friends/family to save some money on your lessons.
If you’re looking to shop while on your trip, you won’t have any trouble doing so in Sayulita. There are countless beautiful and local boutiques. These boutiques have hand-selected trendy and stunning clothes, home decor and jewelry.
TOP TIP: It can get extremely hot in Mexico. Some small boutiques have air conditioning, which can be a good opportunity to shop local all while cooling off.
Expect to pay for the quality and experience when heading into the boutiques. It is definitely not the best area to shop if you are traveling on a budget. If you’re looking for souvenirs that are more authentic to Mexico, head to the centre block (centro) to find vendors set up at tables around the area.
One thing’s for sure, shopping in Sayulita will make you wish that you left yourself a little bit more space in your suitcase!
go for a hike
What better way to work off the tacos than to head for a hike? What we love about Sayulita is that they have hikes of different lengths and levels of difficulty, allowing you to choose your hike based on your needs.
When you’re hiking in Sayulita, we recommend wearing comfortable closed-toe shoes, bringing lots of water and having a good idea of the length of the hike to avoid hiking in the dark.
Sayulita Hike Options
- Beginner: Playa de Malposos is 2.6km in length and is an in-and-out trail. It takes an average of 42 minutes to complete, gaining 66m in elevation. This hike brings you through a lush jungle with views of a secluded beach as well. It is a good one to do on hot days, as the jungle provides shade for long periods of time.
- Intermediate: Patzcuarito is a 5.5km hike starting in central Sayulita. This hike has a 129m elevation gain and is an in-and-out hike, allowing you to turn around whenever you see fit. This is also a great trail for mountain biking and running, so be sure to stay aware of your surroundings.
- Advanced: Cerro del Mono is a total length of 9.2km with an elevation gain of 932m. This is different hike, as it includes cobblestone areas and a swampy zone which an alternative route option. This hike takes approximately 2.5 hours.
Walk around “Centro”
Every Mexican town has what they call a “centro”, essentially a gathering area for locals and tourists alike. Centro is a space for street food, music, vendors, and gathering.
Sayulita’s central plaza is a good spot to grab some authentic, handmade souvenirs. While you’re there, be sure to grab a photo with the stunning and colorful Sayulita sign as a keepsake of your trip.
Head to Happy Hour
Sayulita is a great place to take advantage of happy hour specials. We love heading for happy hour after a day at the beach! Typically, happy hour is somewhere between 3-5pm. That said, it can range from one restaurant to another.
Here are three tips to keep in mind when looking around at happy hour options:
- Some places will strategically place their drinks to seem like you are getting a deal, but you aren’t necessarily. A good example of this is when they advertise “buy one get one free”
- Wifi is hard to come back by in Sayulita. If you’re stopping into a restaurant to get wifi, be sure to confirm with the staff beforehand.
- Restaurants that offer happy hour will not always be clearly marked. If one catches your eye, ask a staff member about their happy hour deals.
Horseback riding is such a fun way to get to see a long stretch of the beach without having to walk. In addition, it is an incredible feeling to be riding on such a majestic and strong animal.
If you’ve never gone horseback riding before, do not worry! The leaders are there to instruct you and the horses are walking at a slow and relaxing pace.
Though most horseback riding companies don’t have a website, they can easily be spotted on the beach while you are enjoying some time relaxing on the sand. From there, you can negotiate the length of your experience and the price.
Attend a yoga class
Attending a yoga class in Sayulita feels like a dream! It is the perfect way to start your morning by energizing your body, or a fantastic way to stretch and unwind after a big day surfing and in the sun.
Seeing as Sayulita has somewhat of a “hippy surfer” vibe, you will get the opportunity to immerse yourself in that energy and feel like a local when attending a yoga class.
Yoga studios in Sayulita - Los Sueños Sayulita - The Rose Room - Paraiso Yoga - There is also the option to do a yoga tour through Wanderlust Sayulita
Enjoy a taco tour
Nothing is better than tasting delicious and authentic food when traveling. In Sayulita, you have the chance to do exactly that. Consider taking a taco tour to get to learn and experience more of the Mexican culture.
|Name||Sayulita Experience (Mexican Culinary Experiences)|
go whale watching
Whale watching is genuinely such a magical experience. Seeing these majestic animals in their natural habitat really makes you feel connected and thankful for the nature that surrounds you.
La Orca Sayulita aims to offer tours in the most environmentally conscious way possible. Their four main goals are to observe, respect, conserve and help the whales. Their tours allow them to gain insight into the whales, in hopes to add Sayulita as a pertinent spot for whale research.
The tours are led by zoologists, biologists and guides who are knowledgeable and offer high-quality services.
|Whale Watching Trip (3 hours)||8 ppl max||$114|
|Private Boat Whale Watch Trip (3 hours)||Personal Boat||$670|
|Chacala Private Whale Watching Trips (6 hours)||8 ppl max (led by a biologist)||$937|
|Whale Research Trip to Isla Isabel (2 days)||4-9 ppl||$670|
Rent a yacht at sunset
Cruising on a yacht at sunset feels like luxury and one of the best things to do in Sayulita. It is the perfect opportunity to unwind, connect with the sea and get lost in the stunning views of Banderas Bay.
Though the tour doesn’t leave from Sayulita, transportation is included to get you to and from Paradise Village.
What’s great about this sunset tour is that it is all-inclusive (alcoholic and non-alcoholic options) as well as offers delicious and homemade guacamole, ceviche and chips.
The Chicalocca Tour is family-friendly and runs from 5-8 pm
Cost Adult: $85 Child: $60 Todler (3 and under): Free
Culture and Gastronomy Tour
Sayulita is rich in culture and is worth taking the time to get to know. Consider joining the Sayulita Culture and Gastronomy tour to learn about the Wixarika culture and be immersed in new experiences.
The tour offers local food such as tacos, agua fresca and empanadas. The tour is 3 hours long, stopping at Los Muertos beach for one hour of relaxation.
Snorkeling is the best way to get a glimpse into what happens below the sea’s surface without having to pay the big bucks and spend time getting your scuba diving license.
Oceano Adventures offers snorkeling at Marieta’s Islands. Though this experience isn’t directly in the town of Sayulita, it is one that is worth the adventure.
Quick Info - Transportation to and from Sayulita is included - Cost: $100 per person - Begins at 8:30am and ends at approximately 3:00pm - Light lunch and refreshments are included - You will be taking a boat to get onto Marieta's Islands
Take a Relaxing Boat Trip
Is your trip all about unwinding and relaxing? If you answered yes, consider booking a boat trip to Marieta’s Islands and Hidden Beach which is one of the best things to do in Sayulita for a fun day out.
Quick Info - Transportation to and from Sayulita is included - Cost: $167 per person - 8:30am-2:00pm - Light lunch and refreshments are included
Check out the La Cruz Market
If you’re looking to explore what’s beyond Sayulita, it is well worth making the trip to the La Cruz market. La Cruz is located at a 27-minute drive from Sayulita. It can be located by car, taxi or by bus.
The market runs on Sundays from November to April, and the hours are from 9 am-2 pm with over 200 vendors!
We love heading to the market to grab some tacos, handmade goodies and to stop at the fish market on our way out. In our opinion, the Sunday market is well worth the detour!
If you’re content and have checked off all the things to do in Sayulita and want to see what lies beyond Sayulita, consider taking a day trip out to Bucerias. Bucerias is a bigger town with fewer tourists than Sayulita. You will notice a long stretch of beach, more restaurant options and less crowded streets.
At only a 32-minute drive from Sayulita, we love taking a day trip from Sayulita to Bucerias to get a new perspective and have a quieter and more relaxed day.
how long should you stay in Sayulita?
Sayulita is a small town packed with fun and unique things to do. We recommend planning a trip to Sayulita for a maximum of a week.
If you want to extend your trip beyond a week, we recommend checking out the nearby towns and cities, such as San Pancho, La Cruz, Bucerias, and Puerto Vallarta.
Though Sayulita has its drawbacks, such as sewage issues and an increasing influx of tourists, being cautious as well as prepared will make for a note-worthy experience in this colorful and relaxed town.
Plan For Your Trip
- Protect Your Trip: We don’t travel without travel insurance, nor should you. You never know what can happen while traveling, so it’s best to be prepared. HeyMondo provides excellent short-term and long-term travel insurance plans.
- Find Cheap Flights: Sign up for Going (formerly Scotts Cheap Flights) to get notified when prices get low.
- Book a Rental Car: We use Discover Car to book all our rental cars! You can also read our top tips for renting a car abroad here.
- Travel Adapter: Make sure you find a good adapter to keep your personal electronics charged. Otherwise, you may be paying for a cheap one once you land. Purchase one here.
- Travel Backpack: We like the Nomatic Travel Backpack for our travels. Check the price here.
- Our Favorite Travel Shoes: Our answer to this question is always ALLBIRDS! Check them out on their site!
- Get a Travel Credit Card: We travel worldwide for free because we have leveraged our spending into points. See why you should get a travel credit card and how you can do the same with our favorite travel credit cards.