Sayulita, Mexico, is a small surf town with a hippy vibe, amazing restaurants, and a beautiful beach. Usually, I find myself getting bored in tiny towns when I’m on vacation, but not in Sayulita! And I wasn’t just impressed with the number of activities available, I was blown away with the eclectic vibe and culture of the town.
Watch this video of my week-long visit to Sayulita
Getting to Sayulita, Mexico
This surprising Mexican town is located just 90 minutes from the more popular tourist destination of Puerto Vallarta. I flew into Puerto Vallarta and took a local bus, which only cost me about $8 USD. Other options would be to take a taxi (expensive) or rent a car (not necessary once you are in Sayulita). The local bus was a bit crowded, but I was comfortable enough for the short trip. Of course, it’s your budget and your choice. I tend to travel more like a local than a tourist.
Sayulita is a small town, but there are plenty of choices in a variety of budget ranges. If you’re celebrating something special, you can stay at a resort right on the beach and enjoy high-class amenities. If you’re on a budget, there are several hostels right in the middle of town with a social vibe. Personally, I prefer a little more privacy, with a middle-of-the-road-budget. In order to achieve this, I rented an affordable and quirky AirBNB (get up to $40 to try AirBNB here). I didn’t always have hot water, but I was steps from the action, with my own apartment. Again, I felt like a local!
Top 10 Things to Do in Sayulita, Mexico
1). Take a Boat Tour to the Marieta Islands
The Marieta Islands are a series of rock islands located just a few hours by boat off the coast of Sayulita. “Hidden beach” is the most popular destination (if you’ve seen photos, you understand why). Alas, this gorgeous oasis is super regulated and expensive to visit. Expect to pay 3,000 pesos ($150 USD) just to explore Hidden Beach for 15-20 minutes! And, at certain times of the year, this beach is closed to the public. That being said, there are plenty of other islands and beaches to explore in the Marietas for less hassle and cost. Choose between an affordable ride on a fishing boat, or splurge for an all-inclusive (lunch and drinks) catamaran.
2). Eat Your Heart Out
There are so many amazing restaurants and taco stands in Sayulita, but here are a few of my favorites:
- Burrito Revolution offers the best burritos and non-street tacos. My mouth is salivating just thinking about those tacos!
- Don Pedros is probably the most expensive restaurant in town, but it’s still reasonable. I highly recommend the mussels!
- The Blue Corn Mama Cafe offers great breakfast options and homemade blue corn tortillas. All sales support the local natives.
- Mama Mia has homemade pasta as well as a full menu of delicious and authentic Italian dishes.
3). Listen to Live Music
I was shocked by the number of live music venues in this tiny town. Every night there is a new, eclectic band at several different places! Don Patos, Su Casa, Lucid, and El Attico have great bands on the weekends, and El Attico has live music every single night. Don Pedros has salsa music on Monday nights, which is so popular they charge a cover – $5 USD.
4). Soak Up the Sun
There are two beaches in Sayulita. The main beach is alive with activity. You can rent a chair and umbrella for a small price, and order drinks and lunch from the beachfront restaurants. You can even get a beach massage! That being said, you will get haggled often on the main beach by locals trying to sell crafts, blankets, etc. It can get annoying after awhile.
The second beach in Sayulita is called Playa Los Muertos. Get there by walking south of main beach (follow the signs). After about 10 minutes of walking along the coast, you’ll pass through an authentic Mexican graveyard, which eventually leads to a more private beach. There are fewer crowds and fewer people pressuring you to buy jewelry and knick-knacks, but also fewer amenities on this beach. Don’t expect clean restrooms and bartenders like you’ll see at the main beach.
5). Take Surf or Paddle Board Lessons
One of the main attractions in Sayulita is the surf, which I hear is good for beginners and professionals alike. If you’re interested, there are several vendors on the main beach offering surf and paddleboard lessons. You can also rent a board of your choice and try to master the waves on your own.
6). Go Shopping at the Boutique Stores
Sayulita offers dozens of boutique shops with hip Mexican-made products (just make sure to check the label). From clothing to leather goods, to art, you’ll definitely find something trendy. And, trust me, the prices are much cheaper than in Puerto Vallarta! Do your shopping here.
7). Explore the Hippy Market
Located in the heart of town, there is an artisanal market that is self-named as the “Hippy Market.” Every day locals set up booths with handmade goods. You can find straw hats, jewelry, home decorations, hand-sewn stuffed animals, and much more.
8). Get a Spa Treatment
As someone who likes to get massages in countries all over the world, I must recommend getting a spa treatment in Sayulita. In fact, I had two! It’s affordable, relaxing, and…. hey, you’re on vacation! Treat yourself!
9). Take a Yoga Class
There are a few options for yoga in Sayulita. I tried two studios during my visit and, personally, I recommend Heart Shala over the more popular Paraiso studio. Both were the same price – about $10 USD. They also offer weekly or monthly memberships at a discounted rate.
10). Rent a Golf Cart
You won’t find many cars in Sayulita (aside from taxis). A popular thing to do is to rent a golf cart to drive around town. You can even keep them overnight if you’re out bar hopping. Many travelers stay on Gringo Hill, which can be a challenge to climb in the warm summer months, especially if you do it multiple times a day! A golf cart is a remedy. Plus, it’s fun!