- The Surfing Capital of the Riviera Nayarit has a very 60s-type vibe: love, peace, and communion with nature in a friendly, bohemian ambiance.
Sayulita has no pre-Hispanic archaeological sites or colonial buildings, but even without those elements this destination in the Riviera Nayarit has become the Magical Town that casts a spell over everyone who visits.
It might be its friendly, laid-back atmosphere, its beaches perfect for surfing, or perhaps that very 60s-style vibe: love, peace, and communion with nature. Truth is, whatever this town may have, it’s a certain je n’ai sais quoi that’s quite charming, with a boho-chic style present in its streets, shops, galleries, and accommodations.
The village is infused with a cosmopolitan air and is in constant motion. The three streets that embrace the main plaza are filled with tourists walking without a care in the world on their way to the beach, while others seek a café or a restaurant where they can enjoy a beer. In the afternoons it’s all about the beach and those beach-ready bodies are on full display, balancing on colorful surfboards or laid out under a beach umbrella.
There’s no doubt Sayulita is the trendiest town in Mexico. It was named the most visited domestic destination in 2016 according to an analysis done by website Despegar.com, and it’s constantly being touted on the Internet as a “must-see destination.”
As do most coastal villages, it has much to offer beach lovers and water sports enthusiasts. Read on for some recommendations:
Hop on (a) board
If you’re ready to learn how to ride the waves and not simply enjoy the water from the sand, then you’ve found the right place in Sayulita—it’s not for nothing this micro-destination is known as the Surfing Capital of the Riviera Nayarit. You can surf these beaches whether you’re a beginner or a pro, as it offers three different types of waves: left-handers, right-handers, and another entire section for learners. You can rent boards and equipment right on the main beach.
Spine-tingling Playa de Los Muertos
To reach Playa de Los Muertos you have to literally cross a cemetery filled with colorful headstones that serve as resting places for surfboards, flowers, candles, and bright sheets of pierced paper. Past the cemetery there’s an ample stretch of beach with shady palm trees for those wanting to avoid the sun, clean sand and clear ocean waves. This is a semi-virgin beach, exclusively for those seeking peace and quiet.
Eat like a local
You’re going to love Sayulita’s varied gastronomy—there is a lot to choose from and as a tourist you might not be sure what to pick out of so many delicious options. There are dozens of restaurants very close to the beach and many more along the main avenue where you can dive into anything from fresh seafood and grilled fish to traditional Mexican cooking along with, of course, an excellent variety of tacos.
Some of the most popular eats include the “chocobananas” from Chocobana Breakfast; the popsicles and fresh fruit beverages at Wakika; the very famous tacos from Naty’s; the elegant choices at Don Pedro’s, located right across from the ocean; or more casual eating at La Rústica, right on the main drag—a favorite, by the way, of famous Hollywood actor, Matt Damon himself.
Don’t leave town without stopping in at the Sayulita Wine Shop, where you’ll find over 80 labels—primarily Mexican—, as well as fantastic spirits: tequila, mescal, raicilla, sotol and bacanora, among others.
Go on an adventure
Sayulita’s eco-parks will get your adrenaline going. For example, there’s Rancho Mi Chaparrita, with horses for rent and tours on the beach, though the main attraction is the Canopy, with 13 zip lines and hanging bridges that descend from the top of the mountain down through the jungle. There are also 4WD tours, snorkeling, and surfing. Other activities include fishing and whale watching (in season from November through March, approximately).
STAY IN AWESOME HOTELS!
If you’re looking to kick back the Haramara Retreat is a great option. This small hotel is known for its holistic service where body, mind, and soul fuse with the jungle and the ocean. They offer yoga and meditation year round, as well as a series of rejuvenating massage and therapies for your wellbeing.
Want to have a unique experience in direct contact with nature? Then Playa Escondida is for you. This beautiful hotel right in the jungle has an eco-chic comfort concept, and it’s located close enough to Sayulita for the fun but far enough away from the hustle and bustle. Each room is unique and has hammocks, private terraces, fully equipped kitchenettes, Jacuzzis, and much more. During the day you can chill out at the Spa or do some yoga, or practice your boogie board skills on the beach; in the afternoon enjoy the spectacular sunset from your terrace.
Hotelito de los Sueños
If you want to dream and relax to the sound of the ocean waves, there’s no better place to do it than the Hotelito de los Sueños, an eco-hotel powered by 40% solar and LED lighting. Plus, they compost all their organic kitchen waste. It only has room for 46 guests, so you’ll find it’s pretty quiet and the staff is dedicated to meeting your needs. This little hotel is ideal for a spiritual retreat or a special event such as a wedding, a family reunion, or a yoga retreat.
HOW TO GET TO SAYULITA:
+ This town of approximately 2,400 inhabitants is located along the coastline that bridges the states of Nayarit and Jalisco, about 45 kilometers from Puerto Vallarta.
+ Take road 200 Tepic-Vallarta and you’ll find the exit at kilometer 125 that will take you to Sayulita.
The Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Bahía de Banderas Hotel and Motel Association (AHMBB) continue to jointly publicize the region, reinforcing its promotion and helping to position Mexico’s Pacific Treasure on the world map, together with the full support of the Government of the State of Nayarit via its Tourism Promotion Trust (Fiprotur).