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Sayulita, Nayarit: beach, surf and peace

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Summary | Where is Sayulita? / How to get there | What's Sayulita like?What to do | Where to stay | Where to eat | Weather | Sayulita Webcam

Even though many enjoy a very active vacation, going out to bars and dancing all night, some also enjoy relaxing a bit and enjoying more direct contact with mother nature.

  • Population: 2318 inhabitants (2010 census).
  • 28 miles from downtown Puerto Vallarta following Federal Highway 200 (45-55 minutes from Vallarta, depending on the time of day and season). 
  • Lat: 20º52'08"N - 105º26'27"W, altitude: 20 meters over sea level.
  • The average temperature between 84ºF to 88ºF (29 - 31ºC) with rain that makes the summer more pleasant.
  • What to do there: surfing, outdoor sports, camping, diving, hiking, and horseback riding.

A trip to the northern or southern areas of the bay will bring you to many smaller towns and more secluded beaches including this popular beach town/fishing village.

Sayulita Beach and a Mexican Town

Where is Sayulita & How to get there

Going north from Puerto Vallarta, you'll find Bucerías, then La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, further north, there's Destiladeras Beach and Punta de Mita. 

Once you jump out of Banderas Bay the first town you'll encounter along the Western Pacific Coast is Sayulita Mexico, a small fishermen town part of the Riviera Nayarit, between Punta Mita and San Pancho (San Francisco, Nayarit).

Around 24 miles north of Puerto Vallarta (a little more if you drive from downtown PV), on km 125 of the two-lane Federal Highway 200 from Vallarta to Tepic, take the detour to the left toward the sea, take Av. Revolución to the right after 800 ft. and then it's 1800 ft to the town itself.

Map of Sayulita and the surrounding towns and beaches

When you arrive on the highway or from the road connecting Sayulita and Punta de Mita, you find it's a bit bland, nothing indicates that the place will be interesting or even worth visiting, but once you cross the small bridge over the river and get closer to the main plaza and the downtown streets leading to the beach, things change quite a bit and the reasons to visit this town become obvious.

In Puerto Vallarta, you can go to the bus terminal where buses (Vallarta Plus & ETN, for example) drive by Sayulita along the highway for $15 dollars more or less, but it's cheaper and you walk less if you catch a "Compostela" bus, read below.

Getting there from Puerto Vallarta International Airport

To get to Sayulita, if you are at the Puerto Vallarta Airport and take one of the white airport taxis, the rate will be around $40 dollars at least... so I would recommend you can grab a bus, Uber or taxi from the other side of the pedestrain sky bridge (watch the video).

You'll go along Highway 200 north, take the "Camión a Sayulita" at the bus stop there (20 yards to the right of the taxis). The bus line to Sayulita is "Compostela", they include a Riviera Nayarit logo and are white, red and green, they should have "Sayulita" written on a sign or on the windshield, not all the Compostela buses go to Sayulita, so make sure by just asking "Sayulita?" to the driver. A popular place to catch the Sayulita bus is in front of Walmart and Sam's Club opposite the cruise terminal / harbor area.

"Compostela" bus line that takes you to Sayulita

The ticket will cost you approximately $2.40 US dollars (2019: $46 pesos). They drive by every 20 minutes (more or less) between 7AM and 11PM. It takes around 1 hour to get to Sayulita and at times it can even get up to 90 minutes if there are a lot of stops along the way (there is no fixed amount of stops) check out the route here.

Buses from Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta take off beside the Centro de Salud Rural in Sayulita on Av. Revolución, this is what is called the "Sayulita Bus Terminal", it's more like a parking lot.

The bus will take the Federal Highway 200 back and will stop at all the shopping plazas along the way, the route ends just past Plaza Genovesa on the corner of Berlin and Berna streets in Colonia Versalles, PV Hotel Zone.

The bus will take the Federal Highway 200 back and will stop at all the shopping plazas along the way, the route ends just past Plaza Genovesa on the corner of Berlin and Berna streets in Colonia Versalles, PV Hotel Zone.

Just in case you are wondering, if you are traveling to Sayulita, the closest airport is Puerto Vallarta International Airport, there is no airport of any kind in Sayulita.

What's Sayulita like?

Sayulita beach looking south

Sayulita is actually one of the most active beaches in the area, each time I have visited, Sayulita was, together with Playa Los Muertos in downtown Puerto Vallarta, the most active beach in the area.

Many people who knew Puerto Vallarta before it became famous, say Sayulita is very much like it was before. It offers a beautiful estuary, cliffs, a beautiful beach, and the sea.

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The town attitude is very relaxed and both locals and tourists share and mingle and enjoy each other's company, here you won't find ritzy nightclubs or 5-star hotels, here people just chill out, relax and take it easy. 

The general environment makes you think of the 70's, hippie-surfer culture and very eclectic when you look at it as a whole.

Sayulita Beach

What to do in Sayulita

The town is best known for surfing, but there is much more to do here, some ideas include:

  • Windsurfing and Kitesurfing
  • Horseback riding
  • Bike tours
  • Kayaks & Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP)
  • Snorkeling and scuba diving
  • Yoga & massages
  • Whale watching
  • Sea turtle releases (AKA, Sea Turtle Camp)
  • A visit to the Marieta Islands
  • Fishing and more.

Don't forget to visit the surrounding hills and enjoy the panorama, you'll really get a view of the long beach, the jungle, and the astounding sunsets.

The beaches are a pure delight for surfers, and for anyone who would like to be one. In addition, there is shopping and don't forget to get a massage in front of the ocean.

Sayulita Beach Bar
Sayulita Beach Bar

At sunset, you'll notice some silhouettes floating across the water, it's the numerous surfers that are enjoying the sport they love, one of the main attractions in Sayulita Riviera Nayarit.

Waves, when I visited, were soft and very good for beginners, as the day wore on, they grew too, making them more appealing to the experienced lot.

 

A great little excursion is to visit Los Muertos Beach, it's some 15-20 minutes from Sayulita's main square, you go to the beach and start walking to the left, you follow the street once you run out of beach and are leaving the fishing village, walk up the little hill along the path, walk past the cemetery and you go toward the sea. You are now at Playa Los Muertos, a great little beach where you can relax and enjoy a more relaxing day at the beach.

Sayulita offers various activities

Sayulita is a beach town that attracts surfers from all over the world, which is why you'll encounter on the streets people speaking in many languages, plus a hippie style atmosphere surfers carry in the blood, peace, love and a deep respect for nature and its beauties. These are some of the reasons to visit Sayulita.

Sayulita another word for surfing

Where to stay

Hotels in Sayulita include boutique hotels, villas, smaller hotels, bungalows, vacation rentals and campsites for RV's or tents. Some of the most recommended include:

Where to eat

Along the cobblestone streets, you'll find innumerable small stores selling traditional local dishes, bakeries, street food stands and elegant restaurants too.

If you are looking for restaurants, some ideas we can recommend are:

  • Alas Blancas Sayulita - Delfines 9, Sayulita, Nay., Mexico - http://alasblancas.restaurantsnapshot.com
  • Tierra Viva - Calle Marlín 10, Centro, 63734 Sayulita, Nay., Mexico
  • Don Pedro's - Calle Marlín 2, Sayulita, Nay., Mexico - http://www.donpedros.com
  • Sayulita Café Casa del Chile Relleno - Calle Revolucion 37, Zona Centro, 63734 Sayulita, Nay., Mexico - https://www.sayulitalife.com/sayulita-cafe
  • Restaurant Don Juan - Carretera Ranal A Punta de Mita 9, 63734 Sayulita, Nay., Mexico
  • El Jakal - Av. Del Palmar Norte, Sayulita, Nay., Mexico

Sayulita Plaza panorama

The vegetation in and around Sayulita is very similar to what we find in a normal tropical forest, tall trees such as the Serrano Oak, Huanacaxtle or Parota, the Guayacan, Ceiba, Red cedar, Coacomate, and Mahogany. The latter, as we know, has highly prized wood and has been overexploited, so at the present time, it is a very rare tree. Fauna includes armadillos, badgers, wild boar, rattlesnakes, iguanas, ocelots, deer, turkeys and more.

You can enjoy fishing in this part of the Pacific Coast, Sayulita offers various options and a variety of species you can enjoy catching, such as marlin, swordfish, dorado, red snapper, tuna, lobster, shrimp, octopus, scallops and more.

Sayulita Scuba

Despite the absence of large nightclubs and a quiet nightlife, Sayulita does offers options for all tastes. During the holiday period, you’ll find live bands in outdoor concerts on the beach or by the river. Also for those who want to go to a disco, it is possible to sometimes find events organized at the local baseball field. For those who prefer more adrenaline, on Sundays, there are rodeo shows.

Sayulita surf

Weather

If we compare the climate of Sayulita with that of Puerto Vallarta, we could say that it is a bit more temperate. The best months of the year are from November to April with temperatures ranging from 72 to 78°F. Nights are sometimes cool enough to require a long-sleeved shirt and thin pants. The rainy season spans from the month of June to October, more or less. As is common in this area, as well as in Hawaii, the rain normally falls during the night and the days are very clear and quite humid. During the rainy season, it is common to see impressive thunderstorms and lightning.

Sayulita Nayarit Mexico has a subtropical climate, rarely temperatures fall below 77°F. Due to its location and natural environment, the climate of Sayulita also varies very little between each season of the year.

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Temp average (°F) 72.0 72.0 72.0 75.0 78.8 81.7 83.3 83.1 82.9 82.0 78.1 74.1
Temp min. (°F) 59.9 59.9 59.5 62.6 67.5 72.9 74.3 74.3 74.3 72.5 67.1 63.1
Temp máx. (°F) 84.2 84.2 84.6 87.4 90.1 90.7 92.3 92.1 91.6 91.6 89.2 85.3
Rain (mm) 23 11 6 1 5 117 239 334 316 86 22 25


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