A busy beach vacation town, renowned for it’s natural beauty and consistent surf
The picturesque Sayulita is recognizable by its striking rocky headland and the lush green jungle that envelopes it.
The small beach town has become a national and international tourism destination and boasts resorts, apartments, cabanas, beach bars, cafes, and restaurants.
Before we arrived, we were worried that the tourism industry here would have stripped Sayulita of some of its charm. While the beach right in front of the town was busy with umbrellas, sun lounges, and tourists, there were still plenty of opportunities to escape the crowds and discover the beauty and charm that Sayulita is renowned for (we visited in September so we weren’t there for peak season). And, after a day of sun, surf, and sand it was fun to return to a town with plenty of options for dining and drinks.
Sayulita offers an idyllic beach escape for those looking for a bustling beach town with plenty to do, without the excess, high rises, and partying of nearby Puerto Vallarta.
Where is Sayulita in Mexico?
It may come as a surprise to many but Sayulita is in fact located in Nayarit. It wasn’t until recently that I was looking up something that I realized I had been telling everyone the wrong thing. There is no Sayulita, Jalisco! Sayulita is in Nayarit, Jaslisco’s neighboring state.
An honest mistake and one that is easily made as Sayulita is only 35 kilometers from the Jalisco/Nayarit border!
How to Get to Sayulita
Less than one hour north of the resort city of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is easily accessible.
The closest airport to Sayulita can be found 40km south in Puerto Vallarta. Direct flights are available from within Mexico, the USA, Canada, and a handful of European cities.
Regular buses run between Puerto Vallarta to the south, popular beach towns like San Blas to the north, and Guadalajara to the east.
Sayulita is easily reached by car along the coastal route 200 to the south and north. Sayulita is about half a day’s drive from Guadalajara (longer if you dodge toll roads). The roads surrounding Sayulita are in well-maintained condition but can be slow going as you wind your way through the dense jungle. Road work is common as the wet summer season leads to regular road damage.
Where to Stay in Sayulita
There are some options for parking and camping in your vehicle close to the beach and a short work from the town center. Try the streets and beach access roads to the north of the Sayulita river.
Looking for quieter lodgings? San Pancho (officially San Francisco Nayarit) is a smaller surf town just 7km to the north which is a little more low-key.
Hotels and Hostels
This popular tourist spot has plenty of great accommodation options for every taste and budget. Check out some of our picks below.
La Redonda Sayulita Hostal offers the best budget accommodation in town with dorm beds starting from $13 USD.
If you on a budget but value your space, Casa Curva offers private apartments 1.5 kilometers from town, just outside the town center.
A mid-range boutique hotel with a homely feel, Hotel Colores has everything you need for a relaxing stay in Sayulita at a reasonable price.
The stylish Condominio Paraíso has modern suites each with a terrace and kitchenette. This impressive hotel offers fantastic facilities and overlooks the stunning Sayulita beach.
If you’re looking to treat yourself Hotel Anjali Casa Divina may fit the bill without breaking the bank.
Looking for something else?
What to Do in Sayulita
Explore the Surrounding Jungle and Beaches
Hike, ATV, mountain bike, rent a golf cart, or explore from horseback the jungles and hidden beaches that surround Sayulita.
Highlights include the Playa De Los Muertos and the hike up Monkey Mountain both of which you can discover on your own using Google Maps.
There is consistent surf right in front of the town. Point breaks and a sand bar perfect for beginners to learn on are serviceable in most conditions. There are plenty of surf shops, surf schools, and board rental companies in town and on the beach. Of course, the beautiful beach, consistent break, and abundance of surf schools mean that, even in low season, the line-up gets pretty crowded.
Relax on the gorgeous beach. Get amongst the action on the southern end of Sayulita beach where you will find beach bars, umbrella and chair rental, and get a great vantage point of the local surfers. The northern end of the beach offers an opportunity to escape the crowds and carve off your own little piece of paradise.
Other Tours and Activities
From popular water sports like sailing, fishing, and kayaking, to relaxing massage, raki and yoga as well as excursions to see whales and the seasonal turtle hatching there is more then enough to round out a complete vacation in Sayulita.
Where to Eat in Sayulita
Given its touristic reputation, dining on Sayulita can be pricey compared to other parts of Mexico. On the upside, some fantastic dining options have popped up here and there are still some bargains to be had.
As with the rest of the country, street food is the cheapest and often some of the best food on offer. Sayulita is no different. Find the best street foods carts near the beginning of Avenue Revolucion, just north of the Sayulita River. Fish tacos and ceviche tostadas are the go-to here.
This local hole in the wall in the heart of Sayulita is a hot spot for fish tacos. While the prices might be a little more than street food, the payoff is delicious, fresh, loaded tacos with all the trimmings.
Delicious California-style burritos. Great prices, fast and friendly service make this a go-to for a quick and easy dinner or lunch.
A personal highlight of Sayulita’s dining scene. This is another taco restaurant, but with a focus on meat tacos. A large board of fresh, delicious condiments, accompaniments, and sides are served alongside giant mouth-watering tacos stuffed with steak, pork carnitas, or grilled chicken.
Where to Drink in Sayulita
There are plenty of bars to choose from in Sayulita. From laid-back beach bars to up-scale cocktail bars. The one thing they all have in common, prices out of step with much of Mexico. While it’s hard to beat a fresh margarita or mojito right on the beach as the sunsets, this was a town where skipping the bar for a couple of beers on the beach was the budget-friendly move.
Like the bars and restaurants, there are plenty of great cafes in the town for coffee, pastry, food, and drinks, and as the bars and restaurants, prices are a little inflated when compared to other destinations. The pick of the bunch for us was Miscelanea. Cold brew coffee and strong espresso are served in a modern, stylish courtyard cafe just off the main drag. It was a great place to catch up on work and emails.
Other Beaches Near Sayulita Worth Exploring
San Francisco Nayarit
Only a few kilometers north of Sayulita, you will find another amazing beach. San Francisco Nayarit is Sayulita’s little brother. Not as well known as the tourist circuit, here you can find a handful of quality restaurants and bars and a fraction of the people of Sayulita.
A great alternative if you want something a little more laid back than Sayulita.