Even though many enjoy a very active vacation, going out to bars and dancing all night, some also enjoy relaxing a bit and enjoying a more direct contact with mother nature.
A trip to the northern or southern areas of the bay will bring you to many smaller towns and more secluded beaches.
Once you jump out of Banderas Bay the first town you'll encounter is Sayulita, a small fishermen town on the Riviera Nayarit.
When you arrive from the highway or from the road that connects Sayulita with Punta de Mita, you find it relaxed and a bit boring, but once you cross the small bridge over the river and get closer to the main plaza and the main streets leading to the beach, things change quite a bit.
Sayulita is actually one of the most active beaches in the area, when I visited in April, Sayulita was, together with Playa Los Muertos in downtown Puerto Vallarta, the most active beach in the area.
- 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). Approx. on km 125 of the Highway from Vallarta to Tepic, take the detour towards the sea, take Av. Revolución to the right after 800 ft. and then it's 1800 ft to the town itself.
- Lat: 20º52'08"N - 105º26'27"W, altitude: 20 meters over sea level.
- Getting there: From Puerto Vallarta take Highway 200 north or board the "Sayulita" bus at stops in town, the ticket will cost you approximately 2 dollars.
- Average temperature between 84ºF to 88ºF (29 & 31ºC) with rain that makes the summer more pleasant.
- Food: For all budgets, from a home cooked meal, prepared with local produce, to restaurants with international cuisine.
- What you can do there: Surfing, surfing, and surfing. 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.
- Pure nature and outdoor sports, camping, diving, hiking, and horseback riding.
Many people who knew 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.
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 nightclubs or 5-star hotels, here people just chill out and relax.
The general environment makes you think of the 70's, hippie-surfer culture and very eclectic when you look at it as a whole.
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 (SUP)
- Snorkeling and scuba diving
- Yoga & massages
- Whale watching
- Sea turtle releases (Turtle Camp)
- 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.
At sunset, you'll notice some silhouettes floating across the water, it's the numerous surfers that enjoying the sport they love, one of the main attractions in Sayulita.
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, walk up the little hill along the path, walk past the cemetery and you go toward the sea. You are now at Playa de Los Muertos, a great little beach where you can relax and enjoy a more relaxing day at the beach.
Sayulita 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.
Lodging options here include boutique hotels, villas, smaller hotels, bungalows and campsites for RV's or tents. Some of the most recommended include:
- Hotel Don Miguel Plaza - Avenida Revolución 48 Colonia Centro, 63734 Sayulita, Mexico - http://hoteldonmiguelplazasayulita.co
- Hotel Kupuri -Calle Gaviotas Sur 12, Centro, 63732 Sayulita, Nay., Mexico - http://hotelkupuri.com
- Los Encantos Hotel & Suites - Calle Miramar 13B, Colonia Deportiva, 63732 Sayulita, Nay., Mexico - https://www.facebook.com/LosEncantosSayulita
- Amor Boutique Hotel - Calle Pescadores S/N, 63734 Sayulita, Nay., Mexico - http://www.amorboutiquehotel.com
- Villas Sayulita - Corner of Rosalio Tapia & Sábalo, Sayulita, Nayarit - http://www.villasayulita.com
- Sayulita Beach House Hotel - Gaviotas 1, Col. Centro, Sayulita, C.P 63734 - http://sayulitabeachouse.com
- Casablanca Sayulita Hotel - Del Palmar #79 Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico - http://www.casablancasayulita.com
Along the cobblestone streets, you'll find innumerable small stores selling traditional local dishes, bakeries 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
- Palmar Trapiche -Av. del Palmar 10, Sayulita, Nay., Mexico - https://www.facebook.com/TrapicheSayulita
- Tierra Viva - Calle Marlín 10, Centro, 63734 Sayulita, Nay., Mexico - https://tierravivasayulita.com
- 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
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 the area, 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.
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.
To get to San Pancho, if you are at the Puerto Vallarta Airport and take one of the white airport taxis, the rate will be around 90 dollars at least... so I would recommend you walk and cross over the pedestrian bridge and hail a cab on the other side if the highway or get an Uber there, it should set you back about half that amount (check out this video explaining how to get a cheaper taxi).
In Puerto Vallarta, you can go to the bus terminal where buses leave to Sayulita for 4.5 dollars more or less.
If you drive there from the airport, take the highway to Tepic, it will take under 50 minutes depending on your transport option. Just take the Tepic-Vallarta Federal Highway 200, on kilometer 125 you’ll find a detour that'll take you in to Sayulita.
Just in case you are wondering, if you are traveling to Sayulita, the closest airport is Puerto Vallarta International Airport.
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 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.
|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|
More useful information: Wikipedia