Make your Mexico vacation the best it can be with these top things to do in Sayulita Mexico and be sure not to miss a thing.
If you’re planning to head to the Riviera Nayarit for your next vacation in Mexico, you’ll not want to miss the gorgeous little town of Sayulita. Situated right by the beach, it’s the perfect mix of beach, surf, sunsets, nature and boutique shopping. Sayulita also has some of the best restaurants in the area.
Located just 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is a world away from the beach-front mega-resorts and the Malecón tourist traps. It’s a lovely little town full of gorgeous little beaches and sandy coves, modern cafes and so many incredible boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants. It really is the perfect place to spend a few days or even a few weeks or months.
In fact, if you discovered that Puerto Vallarta is not for you- which I recently did, make sure to head straight for Sayulita and neighboring San Pancho.
*This ‘things to do in Sayulita Mexico’ post contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep providing you with top quality content for free.
From the airport: You’ll first need to fly to Puerto Vallarta International airport. From the airport, it’s about 40 minutes to Sayulita.
To get to Sayulita from the airport, the best option is Uber, so make sure you’ve activated roaming or bought a local SIM or eSim ahead of time. The taxi drivers like to charge an exorbitant amount so avoid them. We paid about 600 pesos ($30) to get from Puerto Vallarta airport to Sayulita.
Ubers aren’t allowed into the airport so you’ll have to meet your driver outside the airport. As you exit the terminal building, turn left and walk the length of the arrivals building. You’ll see a pedestrian footbridge you’ll need to walk over to meet your driver on the other side of the highway.
From Puerto Vallarta: From Puerto Vallarta, you can take an Uber straight to Sayulita or you can take a bus.
You can catch a bus to Sayulita from outside the Walmart/Sam’s Club on the main highway going North. The bus will say Sayulita on the windshield.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Sayulita is during the winter, November- March. At this time temperatures are at their coolest- a comfortable daily average high of 78°F/26°C and there are clearer days and little rain. This is also, however, the most expensive time to visit and it’s the most crowded.
The summers on the Riviera Nayarit are extremely hot and rainy and hurricanes can pass through the area from July until October.
If you don’t mind the heat, you’re on a budget and want to see fewer people around, then the shoulder season months of October, November, March and April are also a good idea.
It’s also a good idea to visit Sayulita during the week rather than at the weekend if you can. At the weekend, many locals might travel to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta making it even more crowded than usual.
Wonderful Things to Do in Sayulita Mexico
Sayulita may be small, but there are so many things to do in this charming little town. To make the most of your stay you’ll want to stay at least 2 full days but I highly recommend 4 days or even more to really make the most of it.
1. Spend Time on the Beach
You are on the blissful Riviera Nayarit after all with the Pacific Ocean in front of you!
Sayulita has four main beaches nearby including the one in town (Playa Sayulita) which tends to be the busiest.
You’ll find the best beaches in Sayulita slightly outside town, yet they are still perfectly walkable. Most beaches have restaurants/beach bars or beach clubs on them where you can grab a drink or something to eat as well as a lounger and an umbrella.
If you prefer to bring your own drinks and/or a picnic and just lay on a towel in the sand- there are plenty of opportunities for that too.
Due to the waves which are great for surfing but not so great for swimming, many of Sayulita’s beaches aren’t the best for swimming. Waves are high and currents are strong. If you’d like to swim make sure to head to Los Muertos beach which has the gentlest waves and a cornered off area for swimming.
The best beaches are:
- Playa Escondida/Carricitos – The best beach to come for sunset. It has one restaurant but generally, this is quite an unspoilt, gorgeous beach. Definitely bring your own snacks/drinks for a sunset picnic.
- Los Muertos Beach near Punta Sayulita – A small, palm-fringed, cove beach with yellow sand and turquoise water. The best beach in Sayulita for swimming. There are two bars selling drinks and basic Mexican food.
- Playa Malpaso near San Pancho – For a wild, off the beaten path experience, Malpaso Beach is a trek up the north end of Sayulita beach all the way to the end and over a headland. It’s an adventure in itself that’s rewarded by a pristine, wild beach with no infrastructure. There really is nothing here but pure nature. It can also be reached by taxi or from San Pancho.
2. Go Boutique Shopping
Sayulita is a great place to shop unique, boutique and local and you’ll see all the gorgeous boutiques as you explore.
Most of the pieces you see are made locally and many of them are also from local Jalisco designers that combine local culture, history and traditions.
In Sayulita, you’ll be able to find a wide range of boutique stores which include stores selling jewelry, clothing, art, home decor, swimwear and surf apparel. I highly encourage you to walk around and explore them all but there are some of my favourites:
- Evoke the spirit – A gorgeous, unique concept store selling clothing, unique jewelry pieces and home decor. Evoke the Spirit was created by New Yorker Brittney Borjeson, who calls Sayulita home for 10 years now. The pieces you see are designed but Brittney and made by local Huichol artisans. They beautifully combine Huichol traditions with modern designs and taste. You won’t want to leave without buying something.
- Revolucion del Sueno- A colorful boutique selling unique prints, bags and other lovely decor/home items. It’s definitely worth a peek.
- Artefakto – Beautiful pieces from different artistic communities around Mexico. Lots of art to check out here including homeware, bags, hammocks etc. It’s a great way to support local communities all over the country.
- Manyana- A stunning home decor and clothing boutique with a minimalist style and Japanese aesthetic. Gorgeous ceramics and clothing pieces.
- En Plural Concept Store- Unique clothing designs from a local Guadalajaran designer. There’s also one in San Pancho which is larger and also sells art prints.
- Zafiro- Gorgeous jewelry with heavy use of gemstones.
- SayulitaSol- lovely gold and silver plated, handmade jewelry
3. Go Surfing
The Pacific Coast of Mexico has some of the best surf in the Americas, especially for beginners and intermediate surfers. Here, beaches and tides allow for a lot of whitewash if you’re trying out surfing for the first time or consistent waves for those that have some board time under their belts already.
There are many little surf shops and schools from where you can get surf lessons near Sayulita’s main beach. You can also rent boards from the same surf schools.
4. Go Whale watching
If you’re in Mexico during whale watching season you’ll not want to miss the opportunity to go whale watching, especially if you haven’t yet been.
The whale watching season in Mexico is pretty short and only lasts from December to March each year but during this time it’s almost guaranteed to see humpback whales in Banderas Bay. To see the whales, you’ll need to go out on a boat as part of a tour or you can also rent a luxury boat for a day trip on the water.
It’s a good idea to do your research before committing to a tour company. You’ll want to look for a skipper who cares about the whales and knows how to approach them without scaring them off.
5. Catch a sunset at Carricitos Beach
One of my favourite beaches in Sayulita is Carricitos Beach. It’s located over the other side of the headland towards the west of Sayulita town. It’s about a 20-minute walk from Sayulita town but the road is a little hilly. You can also get here by motorbike, ATV or golf cart but by car, it’s a little difficult due to the narrowness of the road.
Carricitos Beach is the best for watching the sunset directly over the ocean (it faces directly west). The beach is quite wild still- there is only one property and restaurants directly on the beach while the rest is fringed by vegetation and palm trees.
There isn’t much to buy here so bring all your own snacks and drinks and come for sunset. It’s the perfect end to a lovely day in Sayulita.
6. Go for Brunch
With so many amazing cafes