Chacala, Nayarit


Chacala is a beach town in the state of Nayarit some 8 miles from Las Varas. It is part of the so-called Riviera Nayarit, a 180 mile (290km) long stretch of coast in the state of Nayarit on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, which includes Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerías, Sayulita and other great beach towns and tourist destinations.

Chacala is found on the coast some 62 miles (100 km) north of Puerto Vallarta and has a population of around 300 inhabitants, which can triple during Christmas and Easter and high season which is during the winter months (December to March).

The locals are all very kind and inviting and will not make an issue out of you not speaking the language, they’ll be very willing to share their culture despite that limitation.

  • On the Pacific Coast of Mexico
  • In the State of Nayarit
  • Lat. 21° 10.0’ N; Long. 105° 13.0’ W
  • 19 meters over sea level
  • Near the town of Las Varas
  • 100 kilometers (62 mi) north of Puerto Vallarta
  • The name means “where there are shrimp” in Náhuatl
  • Part of the coastline known as the Riviera Nayarita.
  • Population 346 full-time residents
  • Climate is Tropical (hot and humid)
  • 11 kilometers (6.8 mi) off Highway 200
  • On the Pacific coastal plain

The locals are all very kind and inviting and will not make an issue out of you not speaking the language, they’ll be very willing to share their culture despite that limitation.

Chacala’s inviting warmth will follow you as the sun sets on this Nayarit beach, where it is common to see everyone just relaxing. Stop by the beach for some delicious seafood and an awesome view. You’ll be tempted to play in the sand or just cool off with one of their refreshing tropical drinks!

What to do

The town is a very picturesque and true Mexican fisherman village surrounded by the sea and rainforest. It offers exuberant wildlife that includes margay, coatimundi and ocelots and hundreds of bird species. The calm bay is bathed by gentle waves, ideal for swimming, you can also enjoy fishing, snorkeling, hikes, horseback riding and more. The area is also fabulous for enjoying nature and birdwatching.

A tour of the beaches of Chacala Mexico will bring you to a giant tree that was once inhabited for quite some time by an indomitable woman determined not to let it be cut down.

You might also see a family watching the ebb and flow of waves as they wait eagerly to catch some “tiquiliches“, crustaceans similar to shrimp. These small invertebrates can be found washed ashore after rough seas or high tide; their meat makes up part of traditional dishes from this region like ceviche mixto (a mixture including raw seafood).

It has a cultural style market on Av. Chacalilla 3 in Chacala itself.

Chacala is also a starting point to get to some of the best surf locations in the area and the state. You can either hike or take a boat to, for example, La Caleta a local favorite and enjoyed by those in the know.

Las Cuevas, Chacalilla and la Caleta are three of the most popular beaches in this destination. Las Cuevas waves can be strong at times but they’re great for adrenaline junkies looking to get their fix! Chacalilla is a calm oasis in the middle of tumultuous water. La Caleta offers surfers an ideal spot to ride waves without being pounded by its power, making it popular among those who want more than just fun but also challenge from their activity.

Surfing in Chacala

If you hit it right, the south end of the main beach at Chacala offers a rideable barrel (left and right), but only available at the beginning and the end of a swell period. It is not so good at a peaking swell because they close out quickly onto the sandy bottom.

This is a great place for learning to surf and is always good for boogie boarders. Something special about this main beach is that it has been awarded the coveted “Clean Beach” certificate for 2 years running. The beauty of the surrounding lush green jungle that greets the sand and sea makes for a great beach day out, no matter what your level of experience is.

North of Chacala, further up into Riviera Nayarit, there are many more breaks with some of the longest waves in the world, if you catch the correct swell.

How to get to Chacala

Chacala Surf

A tropical paradise

You can get to Chacala taking a left (when coming from the south) one mile before entering Las Varas, there is a widening of the highway there and there are signs saying Chacala 9 kilometers, 5.5 miles off Federal Highway 200 to the W by the sea, 48 miles south of San Blas and 20 miles north of Rincón de Guayabitos.

Chacala Location Map

Where to stay

Chacala has charming boutique hotels that offer exceptional spa services and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. You can also stay in one of its local homes rented out to tourists, which are perfect for anyone looking forward to an authentic Mexican experience!

Chacala Hostel and Surf Shop

Just ½ block off the main beach of Chacala and steps to the marina to pick up that panga to some of the best surf of your life. Car rental is available.
Address: Chacalilla #5, Chacala Beach, Nayarit
Phone: (322) 191-2778

Villa Celeste Chacala

Ex-Casa Azul, one of the very best locations in Chacala.
Offers 9 guest units, garden areas, fountains and multiple patios for guests.
Address: Calle Atlantico, Chacala
Phone: (327) 219-4114

Where to eat

Chacala beach is normally empty except for a few locals and kids, plus the local seabirds, along the edge you’ll find some palapas that offer seafood, drinks and a very relaxed ambiance by the beach, with your feet in the sand. Enjoy their seafood specialties that include mahi-mahi, slow-cooked over charcoal, and fresh shrimp cooked any way you like.

Chac Mool Cafe

Restaurant Chac Mool is a beach club that offers great food, a variety of drinks, coffee in front of the Chacala beach, free WiFi, and cultural events.
Address: Avenida Chacalilla 3, Chacala
Phone: (327) 219-4037

Nature & Biodiversity

Orchids, Mexico

Chacala is also a land of birds. From magpies and herons to pelicans and seagulls you can find them all here! But don’t forget your camera because each moment will be unforgettable.

Chacala consists of a tropical savanna, tropical deciduous forest, semi-deciduous tropical forest and riparian wetlands. The region also includes large and small tracts of cultivated land. The lush Nayarit jungle is home to more than 300 species of orchids. The biodiverse tropical deciduous forests of Mexico, such as those of the hills and mountains of Nayarit, contain up to 40% of Mexico’s flora and fauna diversity. Parts of the lowland deciduous forest on the Pacific coast near Nayarit are classified as one of the ten most floral-rich habitats on Earth.


Last Updated on 22/10/2021 by Puerto Vallarta Net